We continued our exploration of life in the Appalachians through the book When I Was Young In The Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. This time, we latched on to the idea of home life “then,” as depicted in the illustrations, and “now.”
The Appalachians, as depicted in the story, do not have electricity and running water. To show Little T how different things were in the past – or at least life in backward rural areas- we flicked the light switch on and off several times, marveling at how easy it is to brighten up a room. Then, we pulled down the shade, turned off the lights, and lit a candle. Magic.
An old-fashioned water pump is one of the unfamiliar objects that Little T encountered in the book. A few days into the story though, we saw an actual pump that made my daughter’s eyes light up in recognition. It gave her the idea to make our faucet a water pump that goes up and down. We washed our hands using water in a pitcher and a basin (pictured above), just like what Grandfather presumably did in the story.
To show and appreciate the ease of cooking now, I let Little T turn on the stove. We then went outside to cook rice in her palayok (clay pot), kindling fire with charcoal.
We then inspected the washing machine, and how fast it washes clothes. Hand-washing now is mostly a choice, unlike in the distant past when people washed everything by hand, including bed linens. Little T then got into the act and washed a few pieces of her clothes.
Though we discussed and did many other things based on the Five in a Row manual, this demonstration of life “then” and “now” was what excited and engaged us the most. But yes, we still have to go to a museum and I will have to brave the streets of Manila sometime soon!