Category Archives: 1940s

I Need Another 50 Years

I was watching a commercial about frozen fish and got to thinking about when I was a child, my dad would go fishing and if he kept them, would come home and clean them. What a mess. Scales all over the sink, a fishy smell and it seems there would always be a bone or two that were left in the cooked fish.

My mom killed and cleaned a chicken if they had one. Can you imagine most of the football watching, over zealous businessmen or men with working out on their mind, standing in the kitchen today cleaning fish? I know in places like Alaska and a few other places that they probably do that on a daily basis but not the majority. I was also thinking about how we did not have instant news, telling us what is going on all over the world. Sometimes it was days before word got around about happenings across the ocean. I feel like we are very spoiled but very, very lucky living in a world like we do. There are some bad things in todays world, like you can’t let your kids go trick or treating alone, there are kid snatchers who should be locked away forever, and on, and on. My granddaughters would just lay down and throw a fit if they had to walk to school and back home! I look at my laptop and wish I could live another 50 years so I could see and use all the great things that will be invented. It is definitely more interesting today as far as electronics go. Life is more hurried than the 40s that’s for sure but you know air conditioning sure is nice in the summer and I love colored TV.

When I was a kid and we got our first TV (black and white of course) we also got this piece of plastic that was tinted blue on the top, a yellowish in the middle and green at the bottom. You taped it over the standard size screen and it helped you imagine it was colored TV, at least until you were viewing an living room scene behind the green part…LOL what a hoot.

The Great 5 and Dime

Have you ever heard of a store called F. W. Woolworths or Kress?  Well let me tell you it was a 5 & dime store where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents. They had rows and rows of counters with sections full of the neatest things from makeup to toys, home and school supplies. You could buy change purses and jigsaw puzzles, craft patterns and coloring books, crayons, bobby pins, combs, a tea kettle, or a strainer. The merchandise they carried was of standard quality. They specialized in supplies for housewares, sewing, cooking, light hardware, toys, etc. They were the direct predecessors to K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target, etc. They seemed, to a kid, to have one of everything in the world.  Then the peace de resistance, a soda fountain.

A long, long counter with stools that revolved and they would make you a sandwich, and a coke or a piece of pie.  The sandwiches were almost always of an egg type, i.e., egg salad, ham salad, etc.  They made banana splits and ice cream sundaes of all sorts.  We loved to take a break from shopping and have a fountain coke in a glass of ice.

The dime stores with a soda fountain had glassware with special shapes that you could never forget.

Most of these type of stores had hard wood floors and after years and years of foot traffic, they had ruts where the traffic was heaviest.

Woolworths, building with white awning and red sign across front

As you can see from the pictures, these were very large stores which meant tons of items. About 170,000 different items were sold in these stores. Life was simple but full of excitement when we went downtown.

Kress store

If you remember these stores, do you remember buying one of these items:

The old frog clicker

Kid pilot wings

“Ollie, ollie, oxenfree”

My grandkids asked what games we played in the 40s.  I had to take a minute and think about that one.  When you are making up your own games with your own rules and very little objects to play with, you have to think.  We sure had no computers, cell phones, or ipods.  Do you remember how we used to pick which game we were going to play?  Decisions were made by going ‘eeny-meeny-miney-moe’.

-There was the “Clothes Pins in the Bottle” game:

Place a milk bottle (or other jar with a small opening) on the ground or floor. Let each kid try dropping ten clothespins into the bottle. See who can make the best score. Note: Yes, you can still buy clothespins in the supply section of most grocery stores.  This was fun and played a lot at parties, along with spin the bottle when we were a little older.  If you don’t know what spin the bottle is, you don’t need to hear it from me.

-Hide and Seek  and when the game was to be over we yelled “ollie, ollie oxenfree”.  Remember that?

Jacks played on someones cement front porch kept us occupied for hours.  My friend, who lived around the block had the best, smooth front porch.

-Hopscotch was great fun when we could find some chalk.

-My Dad had a huge collection of Lionel Trains with buildings and bridges, little trees, etc that was spread out on the upstairs floor.  My brother and I would run that train and had more fun pretending.  My dad had a car that dumped barrels off, one that had a door that opened and shut, and a bunch that did other things.  What fun!!

Monopoly was a great board game when we got big enough to count money and read cards.  We also played Clue.  I loved that game because I loved murder mysteries.

-Of course all kids had a pair of Skates and usually a scraped knee or two if you were a beginner.

-Rode Bicycles  – Do you remember how playing cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?

-Sand Box – I loved my sand box.  Dad had put a roof on it so the sand stayed just right.

Swing from a tree limb was a must.

-I have already mentioned listening to the radio in the evenings.  Daytime was outside time.  No one stayed in side unless you were sick or the weather was bad.

-card games


-Jump rope

-We went to the movies every Saturday morning

-And when we got old enough to get a library card, we went to the county library and read books or checked them out.

-We read comic books a lot and my favorite was Archie.

Boy do I wish I had saved a trunk load of those comics.  Have you seen what they go for these days?

40s Grandparents, farms and fleas

This is a picture of my dad, me, my grandma Winnie and my grandpa Sam (Dad’s mom and dad). My grandparents lived on a farm but I was amazed at my grandmother. She put her hat on for a picture and this was probably her very best dress and look she even has her best shoes on. I always remember my grandpa buttoning his shirt at the top. Another thing you might notice is that back in the olden days people never really smiled in photos. Check out some of the photos of your grandparents and I bet you find similar looks on their faces.
One of my favorite times with him was when he would tell me about his visit with the Indian Chief Geronimo when Geronimo was in prison at Ft Sill. I don’t remember why or when but he was very serious. When he was younger, my grandpa, was a very wealthy man in West Texas. That is a story for another time, maybe. I do remember a time we were visiting them and I went out in the barn and played with their collie dog. On the way home my parents noticed I was scratching something awful and needless to say I had more than half of the dogs fleas on me. When we got home my folks put me in a bathtub of cold ice water and I guess the fleas all died or jumped out because that was the last I heard about it.

40’s Fiction & Non-Fiction = Timeless reading

Have you ever wanted a really good book but can’t seem to find one that sounds like one you’d like to read? From the 40s, authors penned some really great books, both in fiction and non-fiction. Here are some of the Best of the 40s and ones that are a good read any year.

-How Green Was My Valley, Richard Llewellyn
-Kitty Foyle, Christopher Morley

Mrs Miniver, Jan Struther. 
A British family struggles to survive the first days of World War II.In early summer 1939, middle-class English housewife Kay Miniver happily returns from a London shopping trip to Belham, the Thames Valley village in which she lives, and is flattered that station master Ballard has named his newly propagated rose after her. That night, Kay feels slightly guilty over buying an expensive hat, while her architect-husband Clem feels the same way about his new sportscar. When they eventually confess their respective purchases, they laugh, happy in the knowledge that they can now afford some of life’s little luxuries. The next day, Kay and Clem welcome home their eldest child Vin, who has returned home for the summer holiday and is a bit pompous after his year at Oxford. Vin embarrasses his parents when he insults Carol Beldon, granddaughter of local aristocrat Lady Beldon, when Carol comes to ask Kay to influence Ballard to withdraw his rose from competing against Lady Beldon’s in the annual flower show. At a dance that night, Carol receives a secret message………

-For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
-The Nazarene, Sholem Asch
-The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
-The Robe, Lloyd C. Douglas
-Keys of the Kingdom, A. J. Cronin
-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith
-Mrs. Parkington, Louis Bromfield
-The Apostle, Sholem Asch
-Forever Amber, Kathleen
-The Egyptian, Mika Waltari
-Point of No Return, John P. Marquand
-Father of the Bride, Edward Streeter

-How to Win at Canasta, Oswald Jacoby
Cheaper by the Dozen, Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
A pioneering efficiency expert tests his theories on his large family.
Ann Gilbreth, the oldest of the twelve children of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, begins to relate some episodes from her family’s history. In 1921, when Ann is sixteen, the family lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where her father, an industrial engineer, is also an efficiency expert utilizing time and motion studies. Frank informs the family that they are moving to Montclair, New Jersey. Once the family is established there, Frank chairs one of his regular family council meetings to assign the children various chores that will assist Lillian and the two servants, Mrs. Monahan and Jim Bracken. When Frank goes to enroll five of the children in school, he tells the principal that he would like to meet the teachers, explaining that he wants the children placed in higher grades as their mental ages exceed their physical ages thanks to the complete home training program he has devised for them.

-The Greatest Story Ever Told, Fulton Oursler
-How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie
-Crusade in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower
-The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald
Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough.
OUR HEARTS WERE YOUNG AND GAY is a travel essay that appeared
in 1942. Within, co-authors and best pals Cornelia Otis Skinner from Bryn Mawr, PA and Emily Kimbrough from Indiana share the experiences of an independent trip to Europe made in 1920 when young, footloose and relatively free of parental oversight. Skinner’s parents were traveling on a parallel but more or less separate itinerary. The charm of this delightful narrative lies in the fact that it’s a recollection of girlish innocence, naivete, and silliness told from the perspective of a more mature adulthood that achieves an engaging, self-deprecating wit. Had the two travelers been teenage boys, I doubt that such a retrospective tale would’ve been conceived and told by their grown-up counterparts; it’s just not a Guy Thing.

-The Last Time I Saw Paris, Elliot Paul
-Washington Is Like That, W. M. Kiplinger
-Blood, Sweat and Tears, Winston S. Churchill
-You Can’t Do Business with Hitler, Douglas Miller

40s Fads, Inventions and Flying Saucers

When my son did a 70s fads list on his blog I thought now is a good time to put my 40s list together. I would bet there are some things on this list that will amaze you, having been invented in the 40s.

1. Blackjack chewing gum
2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
3. Candy cigarettes
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
5. Coffee shops or diners with table side juke boxes
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
7. Party lines on the telephone
8. Newsreels before the movie
9. P.F. Flyers
10. Butch wax
11. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning (there were only 3 channels – if you were fortunate)
12. Peashooters
13. Howdy Doody
14. 45 RPM records
15. S& H Green Stamps

16. Hi-fi’s
17. Metal ice trays with lever
18. Mimeograph paper
19. Blue flashbulb
20. Packards
21. Roller skate keys

22. Cork popguns
23. Drive-ins
24. Studebakers
25. Wash tub wringers
26. two piece bikini
27. the Jitterbug
28. the first jet engine
29. Stuart Little was written in the 40s
30. Slinky
31. Moving to the suburbs
32. Bubble gum blowing contests
33. flying saucers
34. Tutti-frutti
35. Zoot suit
36. Atomic Bomb
37. The Wurlitzer Jukebox
38. The First All Electric Computer
39. The United Nations
40. NATO
41. Aerosol Spray Cans
42. Microwave Oven
43. Cake Mix
44. Tupperware
45. Velcro
46. Dairy Queen and Carl’s Jr.
47. old buddy “Kilroy” peeking over the wall
48. Color tv
49. Frisbee
50. Red Ryder BB Gun

I had a query on what were P F Flyers:

PF Flyers are a brand of athletic shoes that are currently manufactured by New Balance. They were first produced by BF Goodrich in 1937. They had popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, but lost steam during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The brand was purchased by Converse in 1972, but later sold off due to antitrust issues. New Balance bought the rights to the brand in 2001 (which had been dormant since 1992) and resurrected it in 2003.
The style most commonly associated with the shoe is the common canvas-duck sneaker, with cloth reaching above the ankle, and a patch that reads “PF Flyers.” This common style is called “Center Hi”. They are very similar to the Chuck Taylor All-Stars manufactured by Converse.

They All Wore An Apron

The principal use of everyone’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, because they only had
a few. It was easier to wash aprons than dresses, and they used less material, but along with that, it served more purposes than any other piece of wearing apparel.

They were wonderful for use as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven, drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears or wiping a child’s runny nose. My mom had a few chickens out back in a coop and the apron was used for carrying in the eggs.   When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow.   Aprons with pockets were often filled with clothes pins, handkerchiefs, and a small toy, picked up off the floor. (Does anyone remember when we had to hang the wash on the clothes line?). From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables, and after the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. If we had unexpected company, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. I even noticed on New Years day my daughter was wearing one of my mom’s aprons while she cooked the holiday meal. Someone asked her about it and she said it kept her t-shirt clean while she cooked. I find that in the summer if I am lucky enough to have some tomatoes, I bring them in by putting them in my shirt and rolling it up to keep them from falling out. That comes from watching my mom and grandma putting things in their apron all those years. It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron that served so many purposes. Maybe we need to bring Aprons back………

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