When there was nothing else on TV my husband and I could always trust HGTV to deliver some entertainment with a house buying or renovating show. Lately we have not been tuning in to HGTV. We have found ourselves annoyed by the behavior of the buyers.
Generally, as couples of any age tour a house on HGTV one thing you can be certain of is if the kitchen counters are not granite, the appliances are not stainless steel, and the cabinets are not grey the buyers will make some disparaging remark about how ugly the kitchen is and that they simply can’t live in house like this. Some of them even mock the current owners for having a kitchen in this state.
What caused me to tune out on HGTV? My Grandparents did.
Recently, I purchased a device to transfer cassette tapes to digital recordings. When we lived in England and our Grandparents were in Indiana my brother and I would make tapes and send them to our Grandparents, and they would do the same. Sometimes we would read and sing and other times we would talk about school and vacations. Last week I transferred one tape that was very specific.
I had a school assignment that required us to ask our Grandparents about how WWII impacted them. Being an American, my Grandparents’ war experiences were very different than those of my English classmates. My Grandpa and Grandma each recorded their memories. My Grandfather served in the Navy and was stationed in Hawaii and Iwo Jima. After sharing his tales of being in service he then recounted some challenges they experienced returning home in 1946.
Grandpa returned home to his new wife and they were quickly expecting my Mom. In July, with my Grandma pregnant they rented a small house. This house did not have granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances or grey cabinets. In fact, it did not have a refrigerator or stove at all. There were waiting lists for refrigerators and stoves after the war. My Grandparents were on these waiting lists. They placed an apple box outside one of their windows in the winter to keep items cool. They had a two-burner hot plate for cooking. They were lucky that my Great-Grandmother owned a grocery store, so they could get fresh food daily in the summer without worrying about food spoiling. They did not get their refrigerator until April of 1947. My Mom was four months old then.
As I tune into HGTV I can’t help but be disgusted at the behavior of these buyers as I watch these shows with my Grandparents’ words fresh in my mind. I cannot imagine the reaction of some of these buyers, especially those expecting a baby if the realtor told them they would get a refrigerator when their baby was four months old. They practically break down when there is a Formica counter top in the kitchen – no fridge would be complete horror to them I imagine.
I am also watching these shows not only with my Grandparents’ words in my mind, but also my own memories of our recent trip to Normandy in my heart. Perhaps if we took a moment to reflect on how far we have come in 75 years we wouldn’t demand as much today.
Off to have some breakfast with milk from my refrigerator on my non-granite counter top and gratefully count my blessings.