Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Edwardian Living Room PLUS

Tea party 1908 circa

I have an Edwardian living room, since I inherited a lot of furniture from the era. I have a comfy Sears couch and loveseat, tho, and kept the uncomfortable elephantine 1900 sofa (such a soft sounding word for such a hard thing) downstairs in the family room.

The other day tho I had to laugh as I came into the room. My laptop was open on the coffee table, my son's too (as he's back for summer from school) and there was a small screen tv on another table, right in from of the huge HD TV screen, for my son, who uses it to play video games, while his girlfriend watches the TV and they cuddle on the loveseat.

Modern Togetherness.

There was another lap top on the dining room table, the one my husband uses to pay bills. My son's iPod was on the coffee table too.

We certainly can't live without our gadgets. Not today. Yesterday a friend was telling me about a family, parents and kids, that moved back home with the older parents (as happens and as happens a lot in bad economic times).

My friend commented that this family would rather move in with Mom than give up their expensive gadgets. So true. We're all hooked on our iPods and laptops, and they cost money. Big money. (I'm flabberghasted by how much my husband pays for our satellite TV, 1000 channels and nothing to watch (except 30 Rock, How I met Your Mother and Big Bang and Turner Classic Movies and Flashforward.) These gadgets are also fast becoming a necessity - as is the usual case with new technologies. First they are frivolous toys then they become useful and then plain necessities of life. But what happens when a family, once solvent, gets into financial trouble? Will they give up food before their iPods?

How does this fit into Flo in the City, my work in progress about a girl coming of age in the 1910 era based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/
Well, the Nicholsons (the family in the book) were very well off in 1900, an upwardly mobile middle class family. But they lost all their money in around 1905. They didn't want to give up their lifestyle either, although they were very frugal. But they didn't have the 'necessities' we have today. Even the plain old telephone wasn't much of a necessity, YET. (AT and T was trying to make it one, with an ad telling Moms that they can keep in touch with wayward children with the new gadget.)

Big, fashionable hats were a necessity. In 1911, Edith Nicholson buys a hat for 7.50 and she makes only 200 dollars a year.