Working with layers in simple edit mode

Hi, noob here,

I downloaded the latest blender, after a couple of years away from it. Relearning the interface again.

In edit mode, I use to be able to click on any layer and work on manipulating the object in that layer. I’m just shaping objects at the moment, not rendering or texturing.

Every time I go back to a different layer to adjust I can’t edit the object, each new layer or lastest layer is the only one that highlights to edit, all the others seem dormant and no longer able to adjust them.
Is there some setting I have to click on?

I’m building a log house, and have a different layer for pole beams, and wooden plank walls. I first created a cylinder beam, then a different layer for plank walls. when I go back to adjust the beam it won’t let me. I can only work on the last layer I created. All the layers, even though they are separate layers are working as one. It’s a little frustrating. Never use to do this.

Thanks for any help