They don’t make ‘em like they used to. That’s what I hear all the time. Lacking in the quality and durability of items from bygone days is what this typically refers to. And, in many cases it’s true. Pressed wood has replaced real wood. Cheap plastic takes the place of metal. Disposable replaces something that could last forever.
I’ve got a leak at my house. Somehow water is coming into the basement. I thought it was the door. Composite wood rather than a single piece of mighty oak or walnut. Fixed the door and still the leak. Next thought was the brick and mortar. What are they using for that stuff these days? Not whatever they used to build the Maginot Line, parts of which still stand nearly 100 years after being abandoned.
Turns out it might be something simple like the downspout not being connected to the drain pipe. One thin aluminum, the other cheap plastic. Not like the old days when gutters were made of tin. It would rust out after 20 years if you didn’t maintain it, but properly cared for, damn things last forever.
I keep finding roofing shingles blown around my yard after really strong windstorms. Cheap shingles, and staples rather than nails to hold them down. Of course they tear and fly off. What do you expect? Not like when they had real asphalt in them, and strong nails were used. And paint. The best quality paint always had lead in it. Same with gasoline. And pesticides with DDT.
DDT? Yeah, it’s bad stuff and we can all stand a few spots on our apples to avoid it. We didn’t know how lead is bad for the environment, and for our paint eating children and pets. Who knew it caused cancer? So change is good sometimes. We make tradeoffs.
The paint isn’t as good, but its safer. The plastic isn’t as strong maybe, but its lighter. The space shuttle wouldn’t fly if it were made of iron. Modern marvels. Improvements. We get used to them and they become the norm. The internal combustion engine isn’t the greatest thing in the world, but it got the horse poop off the streets.
Back to the house. You expect your house to be well built. And for the rain to be kept out. The hole wasn’t a hole at all. It was missed preventive maintenance. I guess the aluminum gutters are ok. And the mortar still holds the bricks together. Sometimes it’s just the human element. And the nature of that beast is evolving too.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com