Sunday, January 4, 2015

Things Were Different Before The Great War

Some may feel that WWII defined our society. No. WWI did that. Things were so different prior to that horrendous event that commenced in 1914. It was not only a damning indictment on human leaders but changed world structures and moral standards. Mostly for the worse, but some for the better. One of the better changes I will relate through a true story.

My great grandmother was born into a 'well to do' family in Liverpool, England. She fell in love with a tailor. She was told she had to marry someone matching her social status. When she insisted on following her heart, it was pointed out she would be disinherited. She accepted that and they became my grandparents. I am led to believe she never saw her family again. They themselves had a family, my grandfather was the fourth of six, born in 1890.

While he was still young, a request came that the family wanted to see my then infant grandfather. A carriage arrived with horses and footmen. He was taken to a large house with big gates. He went inside where he was given food and drink, while the family stood around and discussed who he looked like. Later he returned home in the same manner. That was the only time he went.

Such was the social divide of the day that if you belonged to the upstairs part of society, you stayed there and people in the lower level of society knew their place too. To cross that line was a shame on the family of the upper class. WWI did break down that society to a degree, although it probably still exists even now to a lesser degree.

That was the way at the turn of the 20th century. I don't believe that any person is better than another by birth or wealth. Despite that, I don't judge them because that is what they knew and it was normal to them.  However, even today if you enter a relationship with someone of a very different upbringing, you need to know such a difference is one you can be comfortable with. That's common sense. Oh, wouldn't it be nice to live in a world with nothing to divide us.

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