This is the story of two lives and a marriage that span a period of great changes in the way we live. Rose’s family home on a small farm in East Tennessee didn’t have electricity until she was in her teens. Bill was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where his father was a steelworker, when not unemployed, who became a labor leader. Indoor plumbing was introduced to their homes when they were youngsters. Telephones, radios, and cars were novelties. They experienced and participated in improvements in medicine, technology, and communications. They also experienced upheavals in civil rights and race relations, family life patterns, and even basic values. Their story, memories, and reflections represent happy, productive, and blessed lives, in contrast to the superficial, hollow, and broken lives featured on the news every day.
While this book is primarily a record of one family, it includes observations and insights about life, not particular limited to one family’s experience. A life span of eighty-six years, including a marriage of sixty-five years, has seen many changes. Bill and Rose have reflected on the changes that have affected their lives and that they have seen. What changes have been for the better? Where have we gone wrong? Looking back from the distance of age gives a perspective to culture and values. Their reflections on the civil rights struggle and race relations, on the way women experience childbirth and view their roles, on changing family values, on faith, and on what is important in life are thoughtful commentaries. Reflections are recorded after each section of the book, placing the perspective of age in the context of life experience.