Skills from my grandmother – how the past informs the present

My digital life contains many skills from my grandmother who
was born in the last century. She was a great storyteller, she collected things
and she shared news with her neighbours.

If my grandmother was alive today she’d be on Facebook every
Storytelling was a way of passing family history from one
generation to the next. Each time the story developed and became funnier, or sadder.
Every story had a beginning, a middle and an end, a range of characters and if
there wasn’t a moral at the end, there could be enlightenment. The stories were
engaging, entertaining and educational. Born in a pre-TV era, everyday life was
perceived as being simpler, less complicated, but it had its trials. From
walking 6 miles to school in the morning and 6 miles back in the afternoon.
Shopping daily for provisions (no refrigerators) to making her own clothes. Home-made
food from jam (which I still make), growing vegetables (I do that too) and
fresh eggs from chickens (I have 5 hens).
The stories worked and there was always the call at the end to
‘tell us another’.
Collecting things or curation as it’s recognised today, was
a sign of an austere upbringing. With no spare money for ornaments, home decor
or objets d’art, every collected piece was a treasure. Empty tins recycled as
storage containers, jars with missing lids were covered with plaster of Paris
and shells from the seashore; upcycling plain vessels into exquisite pots, often
painted with an aunt’s nail varnish (it was always bright pink). Curation today
is the craft of seeing what others have created and re-purposing or recycling
that content. A far cry from a disused jam jar.
Sharing news with our connections is a key tenet of social
media. We tell stories, curate words from others and share via our social
networks. My grandmother’s connections were her neighbours, her church
and her family.  Whilst it was a
comparatively small social network, the good stories went viral, the best
curated items were admired by many and stories were shared at every opportunity. 
If she’d been born into my digital age, she’d be pinning
pictures of freshly made preserves, tweeting when the hens had laid more eggs
and adding a Facebook ‘Like’ when friends had finished darning a pile of hand-knitted
woollen socks. The original up-cycler honing skills for the future.