Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Depression lesson from Grandma

Last week, I spent some quality time with my grandparents.  Before leaving for Seattle, my grandma gave me a newspaper clipping from the business section of the Toledo Blade.  Homer Brickey, the newspaper's senior business writer, wrote the article titled, "Polar Opposites in Great Depression's Effects".

Brickey compared his grandfathers' experiences during the Great Depression and I couldn't help but wonder how his grandfathers compared to how people are adapting to change today.  

After losing everything, one grandfather rejected all things modern, "He had his telephone and electricity disconnected.  He read by the light of a kerosene lamp.  He had no car, only an old engine that drove a belt to saw lumber and to grind sugar cane...by the end of his 84 years, he had become a virtual hermit."  

The other grandfather was quite different.  "He embraced change and was among the first in his region to buy a refrigerator, a washing machine, a television set.  He seldom missed a news broadcast and eagerly awaited his daily copy of the Cincinnati Post in the mail".  His attitude was: "Will wonders never cease?"  

I'll admit, when I got back from the Peace Corps I wanted to be the first grandfather in Brickey's story.  I wanted to come back and remember the good days before constant text messaging, Twitter updating and blog posting.  I liked the mail I received with hand-written letters and I wanted someone to call and talk to me every so often.  It worked in Armenia, why wouldn't I just stick to that lifestyle here?  

The reason, of course, is because I'm too young to work backward and there are far too many wonders that I can enjoy this very minute.  I can video chat with my family in real time, Skype friends across the globe and Tweet both personal and professional news instantly.  I'm eager to use the new tools of online communications to reach those I love and those I don't even know yet.  

Even though life's uncertain, I must agree that I enjoy the learning opportunity I have now.  

Will wonders never cease?    

No comments: