1914: The Way We Were

1914 and Today

1914: The year my current work-in-progress–a sequel to The Calling of Ella McFarland–is set. (Tweet That!)

As an author of historical fiction, it goes without saying I enjoy most anything history-ish. In my research I’ve uncovered a bevy of facts, timelines, photographs, anecdotes, and personal commentaries about life in the second decade of the twentieth century

My Photo Album

These fascinating tidbits are gradually creating a snapshot collage fit for You Are There, a 1950s television series hosted by Walter Cronkite

“New” sometimes amounts to little more than an update of the “old.” But at other times, the new-fangled can’t hold a candle to old-timer ways. 

The Great Divide

Bar none, two of the best stories I’ve read to illustrate the great divide between 1914 and today are these: The first comes from the October edition of The Rotarian; the second from the October 31st edition of Telephony: The American Telephone Journal.

“God created the first talking machine; Alexander Graham Bell the second. Bell lengthened woman’s tongue and raised her voice until mere man struggles in vain to escape her.”

“After two trials in the county court S.J. Fuller, a prominent Fort Worth lumberman, has been convicted under the state law which prohibits the use of profane or abusive language over the telephone and fined $5. (Tweet That!) It was charged the lumberman ‘cussed out’ the chief operator of the Rosedale exchange of the Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone Co. in Fort Worth when he was unable to get the connections wanted.” 

Political correctness didn’t exist in 1914.

1914 Families

The children of 1914 played with teddy bears, dolls, and cars. They stacked blocks, enjoyed tea parties, and went on imaginary safaris. 

My 21st-century grandchildren have done the same. But Barbie has little in common with the china-faced, stuffing-bodied doll of a century ago. 

How I would love to be a time traveler on a 1914 bus. I’d soak up my surroundings. Hairdos. Clothing. Dental work. And shoes.

For traveling comfort, hurrah for today!
Care to take off for New York in a 1914 bi-plane?

I’d watch and listen for how people thought. In their dress. Their manners. Their facial expressions. And their conversations.

Who were the 1914 Chatty Cathys? And the hometown comedians? Were their conversations peppered with profanity or crude remarks? 

Ordinary Life: 1914 Style

Want to trade your smart phone camera for the 1914 version?

Fashion. Women’s high-necked, low-hemmed 1914 fashion reflected the early-twentieth century values of modesty and virtue. What does the all-but-naked fashion celebrated on red carpets say about modesty and virtue in 2017? (I would post an example, but, frankly, they’re shameful.) My grandmother’s dress reflected her view on virtue. Does mine?

Church attendance. 1914 folks knew where to find one another on Sunday morning. A community might boast paved streets, but churches would abound. Restaurants were few and far between, but Sunday dinner in friends’ homes was common. Today Sundays often consist of hunting, golfing, boating, football, TV, brunch–you name it–anything but church. My grandmother’s friends knew where to find her on Sunday mornings. Do mine?

Bedtime prayers. 1914 parents read to their children at bedtime and capped off the day with prayers.

I suspect more often than not children in 2017 go to sleep to something on an iPod, iPad, or tablet. What do your children and grandchildren expect at bedtime?

For family-friendly games, I’ll take 1914.

Entertainment. Parlor and lawn games were common in 1914. So were reading and singing around the piano. Teens interacted at church socials and taffy pulls.

1914 Life, 2017 Style

Today most children and teens go for YouTube, video games, blow-’em-up movies, or nothing more than to be left alone behind closed doors. When given the choice, do your children or grandchildren choose a board or video game? Or something else?

I’m intrigued by the lives former generations lived. I often wonder how I would have handled losing children to measles or polio. Would I serve my family bread everyday if I had to make it from scratch? Complain about the heat if I had never experienced air conditioning or the cold if I had to stoke a fire? Make it to church on Sunday if I had to hook up a team to a wagon and endure the hard wooden seat as we bounced over ruts? 

Would I have joined other women in a suffragette picket line?

Would I have worn a corset–or simply rebelled?

There’s a reason why the hobble skirts of 1914 were a passing fad. Eeeegads!

What sort of hat would I have chosen–an unadorned one that hugged my head or something outrageous with feathers and flowers and a stuffed bird or two? 

So … Would I choose 19142017, or something in between? Honestly, when boiled down to their essences, love, family, friendship, and an-honest-dollar-for-an-honest-day’s-work have held their own. So has faith and its outworking in some quarters. Personally, I prefer taking what was good about life in 1914–like faith and love and devotion–and spit polishing it for 2017.

And–absolutely, positively, bet-your-bottom-dollar surely–I’d keep cursing on the telephone against the law!

How about you?

P.S. Which would you choose? Pickup Sticks or Rubik’s Cube?






A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born
for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

2 thoughts on “1914: The Way We Were

  1. Marilyn R

    Linda, thank you are sharing this fantastic post. Yes, I would prefer some things as they use to be. Families praying together, attending church, sitting down around the table for meals, modest clothing and visiting with one another on the front porch or playing together versus what is happening in family units today.

    1. I agree, Marilyn. Our world would be in a far different place if only … I long for Heaven more each day. Thank you for joining me in these thoughts and adding your touches. You’ve blessed me.


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Join Our Author Chat with Sandra Cleary


Anyone interested in digging up dead ancestors? Hitch a ride with author Sandra Cleary and learn how her “digs” resulted in a story she never dreamed she’d write. Based on the true survival experience of Catherine Clare Jordan, White Moccasins tells a story that might have unfolded for “Katie” in the Black Hawk War of 1832. 

**Join the chat, and you could win a signed copy of White Moccasins. **

**Congratulations to Bonnie Mae Evans, winner of drawing for White Moccasins!

Welcome, Sandra Cleary!

OK. You’ve hooked us. White Moccasins is a must-read. 

But what’s your story, Sandy? How did you learn about the real-life Katie?

What can we look forward to from Sandra Cleary in the future?

~ ~ ~

In the Beginning

From growing up a military brat, moving every two to four years, seeing the world, I yearned to marry a military man so I could at least continue to travel. Like my mother always said, “My feet are itching, it’s time to move.” I continue to do that today!

I graduated from San Bernardino High School in California then went on to San Bernardino Valley College where the writing bug hit me when I took Creative Writing. But, alas, with bringing up children and moving I put writing aside. Now that I have more time I can’t stop writing.

Then There Were Two

I married my wonderful, supportive, enthusiastic husband in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho who immediately took me to the Azores Islands, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, for a two year honeymoon. He has since retired and we now live in Texas. Who knew with both Yankees settling in the South.

And More

Together we have six children, seventeen grandchildren, and eleven great grandchildren. We have to take short vacations in order to visit all of them as they live from Tennessee to Washington to California and everywhere in between.

My short stories and articles have been published in a local magazine. My blog, www.journeythroughourbranches.com, has had over twelve thousand hits.

Digging up Dead Ancestors

I’ve always wanted to know more about my past so at an early age I started looking for my ancestors. Through the years I’ve put together more information than I’d bargained for, but that’s another story. Through DNA and working diligently through Ancestry I’ve now located my biological father and a whole new family. (Tweet That!)

Looking to the Past: The Roots of White Moccasins

This media file is in the public domain in the United States. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chief_Black_Hawk3.jpg

In my search for my roots I discovered the story of Catherine Clare Jordan, who married Probes Eberle and reared seven children.

But before Probes and the children, there was the Black Hawk War. And Katie.

Sandra Cleary: Looking to the Future

My second book is based on how to find an ancestor through DNA.

If I can do it so can others. I owe all of this to my Lord, Jesus Christ who has guided me every step of the way.

~ ~ ~

Lord God, You’re where we’ve come from. You’re where we’re going. And You give life meaning. Bless Sandy as she journeys among those who went before her and give her every mercy as she seeks to leave stories that bring honor to their journeys. But, above all, to You.
For Jesus’ sake 


I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Revelation 22:13



6 thoughts on “Join Our Author Chat with Sandra Cleary

  1. Marilyn R

    An amazing journey filled with unexpected blessings for Sandy. White Moccasins is calling my name with the story being based on Catherine Clare Jordan true survival experience. Thank you for sharing. Books based on lives that walked this earth are always encouraging showing the perservance and determination of all they endured during difficult times. God bless.

    1. Yes, Marilyn! And be sure to read Sandy’s story about how she discovered Katie. It’s in the book. You’re entered in the drawing! Thanks so much for joining the chat.

    2. Thank you Marilyn. I really enjoy writing about people, their struggles, and their families. It makes it really special when you think you may be related to the person you are writing about like I thought when I started writing about Katie. When I found out I wasn’t related I was too far into her story I had to finish it. Katie will always be dear to my heart.
      Sandra Lee

  2. Bonnie Mae Evans


    I’m sure you found many blessings along the journey. Delving into the past takes an incredible amount of patience and perseverance. Your story sounds very intriguing. Looking forward to reading it!

    1. Thanks for joining the chat, Bonnie! Sandy’s discoveries about her roots and how it all connects to this story is fascinating.

    2. Hi Bonnie
      Thank you for your kind words. I have made a lot of friends along the way plus the Lord has taught me patience. He is still working on that! I do hope you enjoy my book.
      Sandra Lee


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