Sunday, June 7, 2015

When history feels more historical than before

While writing this blog, I have thought a lot about how things have changed since 1945. The answer: so much has changed, especially regarding parenting advice, that I have been thinking about it for over a year and still only written about a third of the blog entries I have in mind about the topic. Shame I keep letting life, work, children, and reading trashy magazines get in the way, eh? 

1945 was 60 years ago; 35 years before I was born. It was 8 years before my mum was born, and ever since my last remaining grandparent died in 2006, I have to think really hard about whether or not I even know anyone who remembers 1945 anymore. I used to know a number of people who were around then: my granddad, my great Aunt, lovely Betty who I used to tutor Italian to every Friday morning for three years. My grandmother's brother, who died recently, the last of that generation to go.  Other old people, and people who didn't even seem so old but were still born before 1945. 

Time moves on though, and now all of those people are gone. When I was a teenager first learning about World War Two, it was something that I was only one step removed from: my Grandfather had fought, my grandmothers had lived through it. I knew plenty people who remembered the War, talked about it, and were deeply affected by it. I once met four Auschwitz survivors, and when studying World War Two for my postgraduate degree, I found six people to interview about their first-hand experiences. 

I was talking to my son about war and soldiers recently; the 100 year anniversary of the ANZAC landings brought the issue of war to the fore. In a very sanitized way, I told him about my Grandfather who fought, and when the war was. I then realised that, for him, World War Two will be what the Boer War was for me: something from a far distant time, not something my grandparents lived through, an event which also stamped its mark on the Baby Boomer generation - my parents - in a myriad of ways. And for many of my age, the Boer War is lumped with the Napoleonic Wars, the 100 Years War and the War of the Roses: conflicts that simply happened long ago in some indeterminate point in the past. Nothing that is even moderately relevant to them.

Suddenly, the original publication of Modern Mothercraft in 1945 felt even further ago than it used to. I suppose that's what motivates me to keep blogging - to keep the past alive, and to think about and reflect on what life was like then. So, now I've resolved to put down the trashy magazines and get back to it. After all, that time is only going to feel more distant and alien with every day that passes, and I hate the idea of all of those people that I knew that lived in 1945 being consigned to the distant past as well. 

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