As the folks as WEGO said, we should think of the survivors of the bomb at last year’s Boston Marathon and salute their bravery, perseverance, spirit, and strength.
We are asked to reflect today on our journeys so far and our hopes for the future. I will digress a bit because I’ve been thinking of the journeys of other women in my family.
My great-grandmother was born in 1871 and died in 1963; my grandmother was born in 1901 and died in 2000; my mother was born in 1928 and died in 2010. And, I’ve been around for 50+ years.
I think about how much the world has changed in my lifetime (so far) and am astonished. I remember exposure to early word processors and VCRs, and mocking that someday almost every home would have one. I remember the first time a colleague showed me the World Wide Web in the early 1990s. And, I remember when I first truly entered the cyberverse, became part of online communities and blogs and bloggers.
But then I think of my great-grandmother whose life went from horse-drawn carriages to men orbiting the earth in spaceships. Two children were still born, another went to fight in France in 1914, and never returned – his body couldn’t be found. Her husband and one son died when the wooden schooner with masts and sails he captained was struck in half by a metal, coal-burning steamer at the mouth of a foggy harbor.
Or my grandmother who walked to a one room school house, studied in a house without electricity and running water, and sewed her clothes on a trundle (foot-powered) sewing machine.
For both, there was the war to end all wars, another world war, the cold war and the arms race, and countless wars, coups, revolutions, genocides, reprisals, pogroms and other inhuman actions.
My mother died one day after her birthday in 2010. In her life time, the world spun as well. Suburbia, washing machines and dryers, electric kettles and toasters, microwaves, and cable television.
And me? No microwave, smartphone, or tablet. No X-box, blue-ray, 3-D television. No car with an inboard computer screen, no GPS (other than my navigating by maps), no e-reader, no video screens to pass the time as I travel.
Medicine too has changed immensely. Home remedies; hospitals as a place of death; child mortality rates gave way over time to modern medicine with elaborate means of testing for disease; medication to help with a range of conditions; survival rates; even cures for some. But, we still use opiates to ease pain; alternative medicine might use methods familiar to my great-grandmother; and some chronic illnesses remain mis-or not understood; treatment or medication not yet refined; diagnoses off and answers not available.
When banks first began to issue debit cards and install ATMs, a friend refused to get one. “The government already knows too much about us,” she said. And now, any number of people can know a lot about you without you even knowing they know.
For the future? A magic pill that stops pain. Equal opportunities. Health care without health insurance providers. A roof over everyone’s head, food on the table, money in the bank, and smiles on their faces. I hope I’m not asking for too much.