There is an American tabloid that has a section in every issue entitled “Stars–They’re Just Like Us!” which consists of pictures of celebrities doing ordinary things–buying groceries, walking the dog, etc. Researching my ancestors has taught me that people living long ago did quite a few things that most people do today, and that they were in many ways just like us. Sort of.
They bought groceries and other sundries. Except for the pig I have bought all of the things on the bill below.
They occasionally got a new mattress, or at least the materials needed to make one.
They built homes, remodeled and redecorated, though many were far more involved in the actual construction than most people are today.
They gardened, though apparently not in ancient shorts and t-shirts like I do. Some of the apples listed below were probably intended for the manufacture of the local applejack known as Jersey Lightning.
They planned funerals, which used to include the gift of a pair of black kid gloves to the minister and each pallbearer.
They grieved. In the letter below William House struggles with the loss of his wife, Wyntje Oblenis, referring to her as his “best and only Company.” He is grateful for his three children’s health since “it has pleased [God] to take away their tender mother,” and he has not written sooner because of his great distress.
They advertised when they wanted to sell things.
They joined groups, some of which still exist.