Forgotten resources for crisis management–But you have to hurry before they are gone.
Once upon a time, we lived in a country that thrived on self-reliance. It was a natural process for the youth to become apprentices of the previous generations self-reliant, time-honored craftsmanship. These skills assured their culture and their very survival in early civilizations. The men in the tribe or group taught hunting, flint knapping, and weapons making along with other survival skills. The women gathered the young girls for collecting wild vegetables and herbs, hearth building and cooking, clothes and diaper making, as just a few skills learned. Somewhere along the line, however, this knowledge ceased to fall on willing ears as technology made life easier. One now had more time for the finer things in life and less of oneself was needed to complete such mundane tasks. Flip a switch, the light comes on and lights up the whole room. No need to burn tallow candles and ruin fine furniture or breath the fumes from a kerosene lamp. But, at what cost? I’d hesitate to guess that about 90% of graduating seniors of today could live successfully with electricity for an extended period.
Now, can you guess what the most valued resource of knowledge and information are on the planet are today?
Try Grandma and Grandpa— Those old folks that sit home alone week after week but love you to the moon and back anyway. Those weak, slow moving, white-haired, wrinkled old people who get in your way at the check out line at Wal-Mart. I don’t mean the 60+ yo., although, they have a pretty good handle on stuff. But I am talking about the 70, 80 and even the 90 year olds that have been to a few wars and back.
During the two years I was researching material for How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out, my own dear Father took a swan dive out of the shower and laid on a bare tile floor for hours before someone heard his weak yell for help. He couldn’t get himself up off the floor and needed help, finally, a neighbor came to his rescue. After he was released from the hospital I went and stayed with him for a few weeks to help in his recovery. He was only 79 at the time.
Dad lived in a secure senior apartment complex on the 6th floor, downtown Kalamazoo, Mich. Door to door bus service and a cool guarded lobby. The residents called me Vern’s child, and I had to get permission to stay with him. I was only 50 at the time and the rules said you had to be over 60 to live there. I was dreading the fact that I was going to live in amongst a bunch of old fogies and be bored to tears.
What a delightful surprise when I discovered the rich history and lives of those playing scrabble and putting together puzzles in the commons area. They were all to willing to tell their stories to the fresh ears, I was all too willing to listen and take notes.
One dear lady of 92, told me in a private conversation about her time as a child in a Nazi concentration camp. She even showed me the numbered tattoo on her forearm. Her story of survival as a child kept me up a couple of nights. Most unforgettable!
Another lady I talked with was 98. She and her husband had been one of the first postmasters of their little town. Melvina took out her year book from 1923 and pointed out one of her class mates that got a couple of girls pregnant. “He was a jock”, she said. “Thought himself something special until Mable’s father got him.” Seems Mable’s Dad was none to happy ,went and found the guy and forced a wedding via shotgun.
A delightful guy of 89 told me a story of how a doctor gave him a lift home from the grocery market and saved his life before dropping him at his front door. The doctor gave the mother instructions on how to treat the boy and drove off to see his next patient. All in a days work, I suppose.
My own dear mother told me many stories about her growing up years in Nova Scotia, Canada in the 1930’s and 40’s. One of the stories that intrigued me the most was how they kept their food cold during the summer months. I described her families spring house in How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out.
I could go on and on with wonderful stories of life and know-how from the turn of the century Domestic Divas and the men that kept them safe. But you get the point, old people are your very best know-how resource when facing a crisis.
Did you know that western nations are one of the only cultures that frown on old age. Most every other culture respect and revere age and wisdom, because they have lived it. Did you know that in Okinawa, the small island off the coast of Japan, that you are not even considered an adult until you reach the age of 55? Amazing, uh?