At the weekend I went to view a property that had hardly been updated for years. I don’t know exactly how long but it was decades I think as it had no bathing facilities or hot water. It moved me almost to tears to realise that someone had been living there until recently because the house felt like a museum to me. There were objects that reminded me of the homes of older people and some of the things I remembered them having during my childhood and yet, even in the 70s and 80s our grandparents had more ‘modern’ homes than the one I visited at the weekend. It was truly like the place had been stuck in a time warp.
The shock of seeing this place preserved as if time had stood still started me thinking about the homes my grandparents grew up in and how different they would have looked to the homes most of us live in today. Sometimes we find ourselves lamenting that things and people don’t change but in fact in the last few generations many things about the way we live have changed so profoundly it can be hard for our minds and bodies to keep up.
There is much that I want to celebrate about the world we live in now and the convenience of many of the things that I take for granted; hot water, flushing toilets, easy communication, swift and accessible transport and so on. I realise that working as I do using the internet and email so much would have been impossible for my grandparents and in fact in Listening to our Grandmothers all of the women highlight the extent to which easy communication has changed their lives.
I am grateful, so grateful that I can use technology to tell more people about my writing and my work and that I can work with women all over the world to make it happen in ways that my Grandparents perhaps never dreamed of and yet, there was a magic in the simplicity of the house I visited in the weekend that made me wish I could step back in time and visit my grandparents in their childhoods and experience even for a few moments the world the way it was. I hope that in sharing five women’s stories next week as I publish Listening to our Grandmothers I will encourage many many more stories to be told and in doing so my great hope is that magic will happen for I truly think that by sharing our stories we can start to transform the world.