The older generation may watch in wonder when pre-teens download apps, install wireless printers, and edit videos on iMovie with a few clicks of the mouse. But there are loads of skills our parents and grandparents had decades ago that the younger generations don’t. We asked our Facebook fans about this, and received a massive response.
“My grandmother was a pro at sitting and sipping a cup of coffee and looking out the window at the garden without any distractions or boredom. A skill I could really use,” said Sharon Hodor Greenthal. “Great at money management. She saved up $300 for a down payment on a two-family house during the Depression. Then started a successful business with my mom,” said Cheryl De Primio. “Nannie could clean her entire house and look lovely by 9 a.m.,” said Denice Loritsch.
What women! So what other skills did they have? Here are seven your grandparents probably mastered that you haven’t.
Cooking from scratch
Most likely your grandmother could whip up almost anything without benefit of a recipe card. They just knew when to add a pinch of this and a pinch of that to make a dish taste absolutely perfect. “My grandmother could empty the fridge of leftovers and it would taste great! There’s nothing she could not cook well!” said Alicia Floyd-Grimes.
Sewing (and crocheting and quilting and darning)
These days, if someone gets a hole in their socks or jeans, they generally buy a new pair. Your grandparents, on the other hand, darned old socks and everything else. Sure, a few folks still sew. But due to budget cuts and weak demand, many school systems have dropped sewing classes from the curriculum, meaning fewer young people have the opportunity to learn. Yet many of our readers cited sewing as a lost art they’d like to see revitalized.
Although rising food prices and the popularity of gardening have led more people to take up canning, it’s still not a skill most younger people have honed. But you can bet your grandparents sure did. For those of you who are interested, there apparently are two types of safe canning processes: boiling water canning and pressure canning. Find out more by going here.
Ironing (really well)
Although many of your grandmothers probably ironed just about everything — underwear, pillowcases, handkerchiefs — you’d be hard-pressed to find a 20-something who did so. In a world of polyester clothing, in which dryers boast wrinkle-free settings and stores sell de-wrinkle sprayers, ironing has become nothing but a, er, wrinkle in time.
Meeting people without benefit of the Internet
Your grandparents weren’t able to ask someone out via text message or to invite folks to a party via Evite. They had to actually talk to people. They got to know others over a backyard fence or at church or by joining a social club. In a digital age, people tend to talk at each other instead of with each other. In order to encourage real exchanges, many psychologists recommend banning phones and computers from “sacred spaces”such as the dinner table.
Sure, a few of you have haggled over prices in a car lot. But we bet your grandparents were even better at the art of negotiation. You wouldn’t argue with the manager at McDonald’s over the price of a Happy Meal. But in the days of ubiquitous mom-and-pop stores and tradespeople, folks did a lot of bargaining.
Writing beautiful letters
Yes, many of us still write letters — on paper. But we probably write them a lot less often than we used to. Your grandparents, on the other hand, didn’t have the luxury of email and so were forced to physically write down their thoughts and feelings — maybe even with a fountain pen — every time they wanted to communicate with someone far from home.