Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014 2

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014

Have you ever wondered how every day life played out back in the 16, 17th and 18th century?  What would be the same, might be a better question to ask, because nearly everything would be different.  Our lifestyles are so opposite today that most of us wouldn’t even know how to function without our grocery stores, our cars, washing machines, showers, and electricity.

 I was getting my winter tires put on at the local tire place, and happened to flip through this article in FamilyFun Magazine showing a family who left their modern day comforts to live a weekend as Pilgrims at the historic Plimoth plantation.  Look through the pictures, and read about their experience what life would be like back in 1627.  Could you hack sleeping on dirt floors?

A 16th century wife was busy, ( just as she is today ), she just had more on her plate.  Most households lived in the countryside, which meant she had the house and the farm to keep up with.  She had to bake her families meals, which consisted of daily baking bread and making beer.  The water was often not safe to drink by itself.  Children drank milk, instead of water.

As the mother, she was responsible for all the families meals, which included preserving.  She had to cure the meat, make jelly and the preservatives for the meats and vegetables.  As a housewife, she was responsible for the upkeep of the home which included making the candles and soaps, making the wool and linen, and of course, making the clothes for her family.  She was responsible for the animals on the property, such as the cows and pasture animals, and not to mention gardening.  Cows had to be fed, as well as milked daily.  She kept bees on the property, and a wife would also sell at market what she was able to produce.  Adding on top of that she cooked, cleaned, washed the dishes, cleaned the clothes (by hand) and taught her children. As a parent, you were responsible for your kids education.  We are finding today, that trend is going back into the home.

A wife also had to have some knowledge of how to treat her kids when they got sick.  Today we have a medicine cabinet full of vitamins, and so did they.  They knew which herbs treated which, and leaned on the other women of the community heavily, as only wealthy individuals could afford a doctor.

Here are some things I think of when I compare my life back to theirs:

  • What would you do for food after your garden was completed in the fall? Could you make it to next season?
  • Could you operate a sewing machine?
  • Do you know how to can, or store food for the winter months?
  • How about sickness?  Could you deal with getting better from herbs, than medication? How would you gather that info without the internet?
  • Comfortable beds became more common in the 16th century, could you give up your Sealy posturepedic?
  • Chairs were more common than in the Middle Ages but they were still expensive, could you sit on a stool? If you had no couch, what would you sit on?
  • In the 15th century only a small minority of people could afford glass windows, could you live without windows?
  • People slept in four-poster beds hung with curtains to reduce drafts.  Imagine a night without a furnace?  Could you keep a fire going all night long in those winter months? Would you keep your kids in the room with you?
  • In the 16th century wealthy people lit their homes with beeswax candles, although candles were expensive.  How would your lifestyle change if right after the sun went down, it was time to go to sleep?  Candles made from animal fat which gave off an unpleasant smell.  If you had to buy candles for day to day living, think about how expensive that would be.  Do you know how much candles are at your local store?
  • Rich people had clocks in their homes, but the average family relied on pocket sundials.  Do you think you could read a sundial?   How would your life change without looking at the clock from hour to hour?  How would you tell time without a sundial?  How would your life without computers or television fair? Could you give up tv if you had to, and if so, what would you do for entertainment?
  • Can you imagine going into a town and smelling urine?  Most towns didn’t have the modern sewer systems we enjoy today.  What if our sewers stopped, how would you get rid of your waste?
  • School for children would start at 6am, and end at 5pm.  Can you imagine having the kids AT the school at that time?
  • It was pretty common for most girls to marry between 15 and 16, boys between 18 and 21.  What are girls doing today at at 15?  Certainly not mature enough to be a wife, or a mother.  What would have to be taught in the years leading up to a young woman to get her ready and mature at that age?
  • The typical diet in the 16th century consisted of one cooked meal a day. How many meals do you have?  Could you go with one meal, and a few snacks? They mixed grain with water and added vegetables and meat was a delicacy.  Most of all classes of people ate bread, but it depended on how much.  The upper class ate bread which was made from white flour, while lower classes ate from barley or rye.
  • In the 17th century, goldsmiths lent and changed money.  Real money back then was gold and silver, as it is today, although most people don’t know that.  Would you know how to barter, or haggle?
  • In the 17th century, most families lived in homes with 1 room.  Some families had 2 or 3 rooms if they were well off.  How would you fair in that situation? How would you set up your home?
  • Chocolate, tea and coffee were introduced in the 17th century.  How would you do without your coffee and cream in the morning?
  • Toothbrushes arrived in Europe in the 17th century.  You have to wonder how they cleaned their teeth beforehand?

How do you think you would do if you were born in a different time period?

Info gathered from www.localhistories.org

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014 1

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014

 

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014 3

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014 4

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014 5

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014 6

Author Naomi Shulman, Photography By Carl Tremblay Seen In Family Fun March 2014

 

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