When I was a young girl my grandmother divided a set of her childhood books between my cousin and myself. We each were given three of the 6-book set of the Linda Lane series written by Josephine Lawrence. I read mine right away and was utterly enchanted. At some point we traded so we were both able to read all six.
Over the years, I’ve re-read mine numerous times and the other three are at my aunt’s house so I’ve read those again at least a few times while visiting. Linda Lane was an orphan taken in by a dear older woman and the sweet stories of their simple life together made this series amongst my very favorite childhood books.
There were lots of reasons I liked this series but part of it was the depiction of Linda Lane’s home life with “Aunt Carol”. Together they kept their little home clean and tidy, prepared simple meals, washed dishes and did all the other tasks required of life at home. It was a very simple and frugal life.
This post may contain affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read more here.
I’m an introvert with a deep need for quiet daily rituals so these books really satisfied me on a soul level. The same could be said for the time I spent at my grandparents’ house next door when I was growing up. I’ve written about Grandma here on the blog. She was one of those rare souls who was utterly content with her life. And it was a simple life indeed.
Grandma’s days had a gentle rhythm. Rising early to spend the cool, desert mornings watering her many trees, roses, lilacs and other plants. Cooking breakfast for Grandpa and having a cup of tea and perhaps a slice of toast herself. A morning spent making beds, washing dishes and hanging clothes on the line. Pouring glasses of sweet tea for grandchildren in and out of the house all day. Quiet evenings watching television.
There was an old fashioned simplicity to her days and I find myself longing for a similar daily life.
Now that many of us find ourselves at home to a degree we might never have expected I’m sure I’m not the only one giving thought to the daily rituals and routines of home. And I feel certain I’m not the only one looking to the past to inform life today.
How do we begin the process of embracing a simple, old fashioned life at home? Here are the steps I’m taking:
1. Research the past.
How did women of the past manage their homes and families? Times were simpler – not easier, but simpler – in days gone by. There were so many fewer outside distractions which left more time for the activities of home.
I love to read old fiction, vintage magazines, and home economics books of the past. I currently have a subscription to the Better Homes and Gardens magazine archives. What a treasure trove!
Old movies, television programs of the 50s and 60s, as well as vintage instructional films are good sources of information and inspiration.
2. Take note of aspects that appeal.
No time period is perfect and it’s important to remember that it’s all too easy to romanticize the past. Rather than trying to recreate the past I find it helpful to consider specific aspects of an old fashioned life and evaluate their relevance to our current life.
Note what you find appealing. Is it the clothing? Manners? Daily meals taken at the kitchen or dining room table? The day-to-day household routines?
3. Choose a starting place.
Take a look at your list of appealing aspects of an old fashioned life and choose one to begin applying to your own life.
For instance – One thing I love about the past is the habit nearly everyone had of sitting at the table together for meals. None of this business of each person filling their own (paper) plates and taking it to the family room to watch tv alone.
4. Evaluate the results.
Give your chosen old fashioned lifestyle change a good trial. Aim for at least a week but 2 is better. Then ask yourself how it worked. Get input from the others in your household.
5. Make it a habit.
This is the hard part. Change is rarely easy, especially when it comes to daily living patterns which have been ingrained over many years. That’s why it’s best to focus on one change at a time. Keep practicing until it becomes second nature.
Some old fashioned ideas to try:
Note: Sadly, the Linda Lane books are out of print and not very easy to locate at a reasonable price.