Days Gone By (Feb. 3)This was written by Jim Foster, former owner of Foster Furniture on Main Street (where Home Appliance now stands), and 52-year member of the River Falls Lions Club. A few of those years he and wife, Mercedes, spent abroad while he served as president of the International Lions Association.
By: Pat Hunter, Archivist, River Falls Journal
This was written by Jim Foster, former owner of Foster Furniture on Main Street (where Home Appliance now stands), and 52-year member of the River Falls Lions Club. A few of those years he and wife, Mercedes, spent abroad while he served as president of the International Lions Association.
“A scant few years before my parents were born, Custer was at war with the Indians, the horse was the only method of family locomotion, and the buggy was an early status symbol. The Civil War had been over just a few years.
“A plow, pulled by a horse, to help the man with tilling the soil and his planting, was an early invention. The farmer walked behind his horse, the reins looped around his neck, as he turned a furrow on his land.
“My parents were born in 1879 and 1881. In 1916, my grandfather lost his life while plowing with the reins wrapped around his neck. He tripped and was dragged to his death.
“The plow share of those days can be compared to a multi-bottom plow, pulled by a tractor driven by a man in an air conditioned, computer programmed cab. He listens to a radio as he plows.
“In the house, the addition of the stoker to his furnace was a later improvement, and still later the gas and oil-fired furnaces made life easier.
“The comforts of home were noticed more when the commode became a treasured antique, the potty became a planter, and the description of a house changed from five rooms and a path to five rooms and an inside bath.
“Ben Franklin was credited with the discovery of electricity. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Many, many other inventions were soon to be recognized because of electricity. Alexander Graham Bell gave us the telephone. Soon we had the phonograph, the radio, curling iron, electric iron, neon signs, television, computers, cellular phones, and on and on. Living was all at once more simple.
“My parents did not live to see television, supermarkets, electric eye-operated doors, fluid drive automobiles, garage door openers or electronic voting machines.
“I am glad that my father was able to enjoy some of the comforts that his 69 years of existence allowed him when he died in 1949. Our mother preceded him in death by 18 years.
“I do not believe she had many of the modern things, except for electricity and the telephone — a “ring ’em up Central” type that hung on our dining room wall in Casstown, Ohio.
“The one thing our forefathers could look forward to, in every one of our generations, was his copy of the hometown newspaper. It is now more high tech, but it reads the same today as it did when he found a quiet time to read.”
Please note: Photos and memories are welcomed for this column. Call Pat Hunter, 715-425-1561 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org