I admit it. I often get caught up in the modern world and fail to appreciate the many conveniences I have in my life. And then one day I’m sitting with my father as he looks at the ballpoint pen in his hand and he says something out of the blue like, “It’s hard to imagine that your mother and I both learned to write by dipping our pens into inkwells.” Yeah. Whoa.
My house was built in 1924, the same year that my father was born in Chillicothe, Ohio. In fact, although it was 800 miles away from my house, the house he was born in and grew up in is very much like mine. So every once in a while I look at something in my home — the stone steps out front, the wood floor, the steam radiators — and I think about what it was like for him growing up, and for whoever grew up in this house. Coal furnace, ice box, “washing machine” that rolled into the kitchen once a week, 1 bathroom for 6 people. A simple thing like turning a knob and having a flame at the ready, must have seemed pretty miraculous when it first appeared.