Writing Tip of the Week 09/17/14: When Was That?

tjb logoWhen writing, make sure you don’t mix generations.

In other words today folks do not talk the way they did a century ago, even a few decades ago.

For example, my folks who were born in 1900 and 1901, lived quite differently than the way we do today.

Silver City Utah where my mother was born in a tent.

Silver City Utah where my mother was born in a tent.

Mother was born in a tent city in a mining camp in the boonies of Utah. My father was born over a bar in Bountiful, Utah (now a historical site) and was kidnapped by Ute Indians when he was 10 days old.

My parents in their early lives did not have plumbing, electricity, automobiles or telephones. In fact, we did not have a telephone in our home until about 1944 (as I remember).

Dad saw his first car when he was about 10 years old. The family doctor gave him a ride.

Sage Creek Ghost Town

Sage Creek Ghost Town

He took off for Randolph, Utah about that age, driving a cow behind his folks wagon. He lived the wild life of ranching until he was in his early twenties. He drove his siblings to Sage Creek to school. Wolves followed the sleigh so he packed a 30-06 rifle.

Mother moved from the mining towns of Utah about the same time.

Can you think of words in our present vocabulary that my parents never used? (They died in 1988 and 1990.)

Make Sure You Research the Generations you Write About

My folks knew nothing about automobiles, telephones, electricity, indoor plumbing or such when they were young.

I knew nothing about telephones or television or rockets or satellites or nuclear energy when I was young.

No one could do anything about my sisters affliction with polio and she died at age 19.

Atomic bombs drop on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, ending WWII

Atomic bombs drop on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945, ending WWII

I learned about the atomic bomb at the end of the war in 1945 when I was 13 years old.

Sputnik 1957

Sputnik 1957

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Sputnik showed up over Colorado after I got out of college in October of 1957.

My folks did not get a TV until well after WWII. I don’t remember seeing a TV in their home when I got home from Korea.

I do remember that my friend’s family had a TV and we saw a blurry George Gobble and Milton Berle.

Here are some of the things that change with time over the generations.

1. The language and vocabulary.

2. How people live.

3. Clothing and Dress

4. Technology

5. Science

6. Social Norms

7. Religion and Religious Concepts

8. Medicine

9. Art and Culture.

10. How People Earn their Living

11. Government

12. Wars and How they are fought.

I have a replica of an old Sears Catalog. Amazon has a bunch of Sears Catalog ReproductionsI also  have a Montgomery Ward Catalog reproduction. You can look back over the years and see what people were wearing and using and eating and the medicines they were taking and lots of other interesting facts of past times.

You will want to read about Customs and Cultures for the geographical region and times you are writing about.

John

 

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