Speaking of Netflix, Jen and I watched a pretty good show this past week that we never would have been able to see if it wasn’t for the magic of the 21st century version of the milkman. It was called 1940’s House, a BBC produced reality show that placed a present day family (a couple in their 50’s, their 29 year old divorced daughter, and her two elementary school aged boys) into a house just as it would have appeared and functioned in the 1940’s, particularly the war years. They were to live there for nine weeks. Everything in the house was authentic. The decorations, the appliances, the yard, even the occupants’ clothes and haircuts. Not only did they live in the 40’s house and dress in 40’s clothes, but they actually had to live like it was the 40’s. They only ate 1940’s food, complete with war rationing, attempted to raise a garden, built a bomb shelter in the backyard, and volunteered to work in war time industry factories. They even had to black our their windows and run to the bomb shelter during faux air raids. The husband was expected to go to work, the children to school, and the women to keep the house up like a 1940’s housewife would.
Watching this made me realize how much harder life was then, only 60 or so years ago. Besides that doing things around the house without our modern conveniences was a lot more work, there was the added factor of stress from the war. When the rationing really kicked in, making food enough for five was a real struggle. When you have that on top of being bombed for 57 straight days as London was during the blitz it makes for a stressful day. Obviously the family on the show were in no real danger, but even without that concern, you could see that the lack of food (and cigarettes, and fuel, and pretty much everything else) alone was frustrating and depressing.
Jen said it best, “It’s not quite as romantic as in the movies.” Living during the war was hard work, living through the war must have been nightmarish. 1940’s House gave a family just a taste and just watching them struggle was enough to make me appreciate all that I have now. Definitely worth watching.