Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The History They Witnessed

I have no idea where and when this picture was taken.  I do think it has a post World War 2, European feel to it.  Let's say, for the hell of it, it was taken the year I was born, 1955.  If the family matriarch was eighty, then she was born in 1875.  That means she lived through two world wars, that between them killed over 100 million people, and a flu pandemic that killed a similar number.   She was old enough to remember seeing the first cars, early airplane flights, advances in medicine, such as vaccines, x-rays, and penicillin.  The rise of communism and fascism.  She was born in a world where women weren't allowed to vote.  A world where most of the people in Africa, and many in Asia were ruled by a handful of European, colonial powers.  She saw nuclear weapons, jet aircraft and submarines.  The end of sail, and the rise of the great ocean liners.  When she was born, people lit their homes with candles or kerosene, and lived to see electric lights, movies, phonographs, radios, refrigerators, and television.  It's quite possible that the young boy on her left is still alive.  If so, he's lived to see trips to the moon, the fall of the Soviet Union, computers, and cell phones.

Not too long ago, I was asked by a twenty something if I had been overwhelmed by things like cell phones and computers?  Had I been awed by social media, knowing I could connect with anyone in the world?  No, things change, and you take it in stride.

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