Through Tired Eyes
History is studied by text book. We learn the stories of times long passed through rather plain and uninteresting perspective that has been copied and copied from generation to generation . We learn with each individually irrelevant, yet wholly significant stride. Therefore, we all end up on the same page. However, it is a rare occasion that one might get the chance to ask a literal antique just what the world was like so many decades ago. Ruby Curtis, mother of my mother, is one of those fleeting antiques. At the young age of 92 she has managed to sustain a sharp and quick mind and is never afraid to share her thoughts on any subject, such is the case with our elders. However, if I had lived through the Great Depression, WWII, the Cold War, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Jazz Age, the age of free love, grunge, Woodstock, the assassination of Kennedy, the election of Reagan, Watergate, the first black president, the Civil Rights movement, two husbands, four children, and a whole lot more, I’d be quite vocal too.
Q. How was your childhood? Do you consider it a good upbringing?
Well, Aunt Ruth and I were together. We didn’t need anyone else to have fun, and there were times we had a lot of fun. We used to go to Coburg Dairy farm and walk and play in the water and in the oak trees. They were nice years, but Mama was very strict. Yet we were all we needed.
Q. As someone that was raised in the Great Depression, what would you consider the greatest struggle you or your family had to face?
Getting something to eat. For a short while we were on welfare, but all we got was flour, powdered milk, syrup, only the basics. We had oatmeal and grits too. It was all we had but it was enough to keep us alive.
Q. Have you noticed a change in the overall attitude/behavior of people throughout your decades?
Oh yes! People today have it too easy, but when you have to scrub clothes on a scrub board, that’s hardship. During the Depression there was no waste. Today we are a society of waste. We build and tear down and build and tear down.
Q. What’re your thoughts on music and how it’s aged?
- Well the music we had back in the 40s 50s and 60s were just more entertaining. People sang back then, they didn’t scream. They stuck to the music and it was just more enjoyable. Today, it just sounds a lot like noise. This is from the perspective of an old woman though.
- Q. Do you consider the Greatest Generation to actually be the greatest generation? Why?
- Yes I do. We came through the Depression and did the best we could with what we had. Men looked for jobs and families worked together. Plus we fought and sacrificed in WWII and made this nation what it was. Families worked together to provide for the war effort, not to mention we sacrificed out husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers.
- Q. What would you change about the world today if you could change one thing?
- I’d take away the animosity between all these different nations and try to work towards a world based around God, not Jihad.
- Q. What’s one piece of advice you’d give a young adult about to go into the real world?
- Know what you want. What do you want to obtain? Where do you want to go? Reach for the stars. Be ambitious and work towards your goal. Stay driven.
- Q. What’s been the most valuable/hardest lesson you’ve learned?
- Raising four children with no previous knowledge of raising children. We didn’t babysit like they do so often today. When you have a child you don’t automatically become a parent. You have to work with it day by day and lead your children the best you can, and you can’t leave out discipline. The child has to know the limitations of the family and should live by them.
- Q. What would you consider the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
- There are quite a few, but I know. My second marriage was the biggest by far.
- Q. What advice would you give your childhood self?
- I was an introvert, and it took me a long time to learn that someone has to be the first to speak, so why not me. That has really helped a lot and I’ve met some very good people because of it.