The times there are a changin’ folks, just like Bob Dylan told sang about in 1964. This story in the Guardian Weekly (article by Cal Flynn on February 5, 2021), states that we are now in a state of depopulation in nearly half of all countries of the world. In 1950, a woman had an average of 4.7 children over her lifetime. Today, that figure has fallen to 2.4. If it falls below 2.1, the global population will begin to decline. And, once again in the Guardian Weekly February 26, 2021 New Zealand’s birth rate has dropped to his lowest ever… “well below the population replacement rate of 2.1. According to statistics New Zealand, the total fertility rate dropped to 1.61 births per woman of childbearing age.”
My, my, my but times have changed because when I was little, there were mostly big families! I knew families and have friends today who hailed from families even larger than seven kids…eleven, thirteen, fifteen children! Almost unheard of in today’s world.
My earliest stories are about the times in my family when the Catholic church reigned. Birth control was shunned and every sperm was sacred. (Monty Python’s song). Consequence: Many children were born. In my family, Mom stayed home and worked non stop to make it all possible, “holding down the fort” and doing three-parts of the work (as my mother-in-law would say) while dad escaped to teach, in his clean suit, starched shirt, tie and hat, cleanly shaven and with Old Spice splashed on.
At the end of the day, Dad would come home to a hot, home-cooked dinner on the table followed by homemade, from scratch daily dessert and his newspaper during clean up.
My parents married in the 1950s and had seven children (all born in different towns from Burk’s Falls, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan. (All of us were born between 1954 and 1969.) Imagine having seven children and moving and setting up and adapting to seven different homes plus moving to the lake every summer! As my eldest brother points out, there was always at least one full-sized piano to move, level and accommodate too, not to mention at least one pet.
Big families equal many many happenings. We all interacted, mostly happily, with lots of singing and story telling and had tons of fun but often not. At the drop of a dime there were tumbling fights or screaming debates at any moment as resources were vied for and negotiated.
These incredibly diverse personalities that made up my family churned out a plethora of hilarious, and not so hilarious times. Countless memories that informed our lives. For my stories about my big family, click on the Those Were The Days! category and enjoy.
Leave a comment about your growing-up years…I LOVE your comments!
Left to right standing: Amy (1955), Mom (1930-2001), Eva (1954), Jobe (1964), Mark (1960), Dad (1929-2008), Luke (1969, in arms), Me (1966, I’m the little one at the front with one bent knee). Sitting: Matt (1956); This photo was taken at the lake in about 1971.