University students learn about the good ol’ days

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Troy University student Aaron Wine closed the “Yesteryear” program at the Lillian D. Green Nutrition Center on Wednesday with a prayer and thanked God for something “so cool as this.”

Wine expressed appreciation for the wisdom and knowledge that the senior adults have shared with the international/intercultural communications class at Troy University during the semester.

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The classmates interviewed the senior adults several times and have had opportunities to participate with them on a more social level.

Dr. Amanda Diggs, instructor, said the students “loved’ spending time with the senior adults.

“They said that they would like to have more access to the wisdom of these wonderful senior adults,” she said.

Catherine and Herman Whaley presented the program titled “Back in the Day” and brought items from yesteryear to share with the students.

“This slop jar was our bathroom and we kept it right by the bed at night,” Catherine Whaley said. “We put turpentine in it so that it wouldn’t smell bad.”

She laughed when the students responded with a collective groan.

Whaley showed the students a doll made from rags, an iron frying pan that was sometimes used to bake cakes and a “smoothing” iron that was heated in the fireplace in order to “get the wrinkles out of clothes.”

“And the rooster,” she said, holding up a tin rooster, “made biddies and biddies made chickens.”

Herman Whaley showed a churn that was used to make butter and a “flat pan” for making hoecakes.

“The scrub board was our washing machine and we put kerosene in the lamp so we could see to read or just go around the house at night,” he said.

Both Whaleys agreed that the old days were hard times but good times.

“Compared to now, the old times were better,” Catherine Whaley said. “Back then, we learned to work. Now, you just push a button. That’s not work.

“We picked cotton and did all kinds of fieldwork and you didn’t see folks going off to jail all the time. Young people didn’t have time to get in trouble. They were too busy working. And, if they did get into trouble, their mamas and daddies gave them a good licking. People back them lived according to what the Bible said about raising a child up.”

Whaley said “in the old days” people cared about their neighbors.

“If they were hungry we fed them,” she said. “Now you don’t even know who lives next door to you. And, we went to bed at night with the door wide open. You do that now and you’ll wake up in heaven.”

Charlie Terry gave the college students advice for a long, happy life.

“Love the Lord and love Jesus,” he said. “I’m 93 years old and I’m planning to live 15 more years. I don’t know the Lord’s plan though.”

Hassie Green, Center director, challenged the students to prepare themselves now to be active and happy senior adults.

“When you get to be seniors, don’t sit in front of the television watching soap operas and crying over somebody’s troubles,” she said. “Get up and get out and enjoy life and you’ll find that your senior years are happy ones and eventful ones.”