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Old Fashioned New England

Updated on June 22, 2011

Old Should Be New in Old Fashioned

I have to admit, I am old enough to remember a time without cell phones, personal computers, video games and 24/7 television.  But I am also young enough to understand that all of this new electronic stuff has been a boon to mankind.

But sometimes I wonder how good has our modern technology really been to us as humans, as Americans.  Is it really what we as a society truly wanted?  Or did we get caught up in the myth that we need the newest, biggest, fastest gadget that someone can think up and bring to market?

Yes, I remember a simpler time.  I know, I know.  Your grandparents say the same thing.  Your great grandparents say the same thing.  But, did you ever really stop to think that they may be right?  Did you ever slow down long enough to really smell the sweet roses?  Did you ever think to enjoy the moment that you are currently in?  Did you?

In our so-called modern life, we seem to go faster than ever.  We have all kinds of devices that make things easier, faster, seemingly more simple but we get upset when our computer takes 5 seconds to download a picture instead of it doing it in a micro second. 

We find that we work longer hours even though we have all kinds of modern stuff that makes us more productive than anyone thought possible.  We have less time at the dinner table than ever before because every member of the family is either totally connected to the outside world or schedules are so busy that even sleep takes a back seat.

How refreshing it is to live in a part of the United States where we have some semblance of history.  I say that because really we are a nation that is only a little over 230 years old.  Not counting the Native Americans that occupied this land beforehand, we are a civilization that is just barely 500 years old, if you wish to go back to the time Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

We in the United States lack a real and serious sense of history.  Think of Europe, Africa and Asia where families have lived in the same house longer than we have been a nation and you start to understand that we don't have a very deep history.

But here in New England, the Northeast, the Eastern Seaboard, our nation has its deepest roots.  I am very fortunate to live in this area of the nation because I get to go back in time whenever I wish.  Whenever I need to remind myself there is something greater and better and sweeter than this plastic, silicone and metal society we populate today.

I can easily take a trip back in time when things were made of metal, wood, paper and other natural materials.  I can see and feel cobblestones and brick streets and drives.  I can feel the old wood ships and see the devices of 100 years ago still in perfect working order today.

I can step back in time and experience when things were slower, more personable.  When service really meant service and attention by a human being, not an answering machine or an email address.

I can easily drive down a country road and stumble upon a small town with a fully functioning Country Store.  Step inside and see the store jam packed from floor to ceiling with goods both modern and from a time gone by.  I often chose the product from a time gone by.  It some how taste better.  No chemicals.  No preservatives.  No by products.  Nothing artificial.  Just the real thing.

I can look at the label and marvel at how many things still say "Made In America".  I bask in the warm and friendly smile of the store keeper and know that they will take care of my every need and still offer me a more than fair price.

I can chat with the local towns folk in the town square or library or on the steps of Town Hall.  Yes, people still gather at these locations here in New England.

I can see the old road signs of an era long gone.  Yes, I marvel at how life used to be and ask even with all of our so-called modern convenience, how is life better today?  We have less time to just enjoy life.

No I am not some old man longer for my younger days.  I have not even hit the age of 50 yet.  But I do understand a time period when a man would hold a door open for a woman.  When a child, no matter how old, would never even think about cussing in front of their parents or disrespecting their parents.  I long for the days when the local policeman walked his beat and chatted with folks on the street and truly served and protected the community vs being locked away and separated from that community by a fast moving vehicle with the windows rolled up and air conditioner blowing.

Yes, back to a time when the fire department would come to your home to rescue a cat out of a tree.  When a town parade was the high light of the summer and where everyone looked out for everyone else because you knew your neighbors by name.

So tell me again how our fast paced, 24/7, electronic, non personal modern society is better than the time of yesteryear?  Tell me again how not knowing your neighbor or your policeman or your fireman or even having a long term doctor is better?  Tell me again how having food loaded with chemicals and preservatives just to increase shelf life, but deliver little nutritional value is better than real food grown and prepared just before you eat it?  Tell me again how the lack of family dinners, trips to the beach, town parades is somehow of great benefit to our society.  Tell me again, please.  And tell me how.

Sure we know a lot more in 2011 than in 1911 but at what cost did we learn?  Could we not have learned but still have kept our basic core values?  I say we could.  I say we can have those core values again.  I say we can go back to a time when we could leave our front door unlocked all night in total safety.  I say we can go back to a time when we didn't have to pay someone to watch over us and our possessions via some distant computer monitor and charge us a monthly fee for the honor.  I say we can go back.

I like holding a door open for a lady.  I like talking with my neighbors and getting to know them.  I like small town parades.  I like the small town general store.  Yes, I like Old Fashioned and in most cases prefer it to New Fangled. 

Now if I could just have one more taste of my great aunts vanilla pudding, that would complete my trip back in time.  I miss you T.T. 

Experience for yourself what life was like.  I bet that you too, will prefer Old Fashioned.  Simply because Old Fashioned really never goes out of style.


This is not my typical article but I often write about stuff that I have an interest in including history and society.  I hope you like my little diatribe.  I hope it brings back memories for you.  I hope you share those memories with someone you care about.

Support your local small town shop keeper.  Let them know how important they are to their community.  And don't forget to get to know your neighbor.  They may be your new best friend. 


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