Back Up The Train?
Maybe it's time to turn around and look back at where it might have begun? Here we are in the worst depression (not recession we past that long ago) I was born in the first Great Depression, don't remember some of it but I do remember going to bed hungry many times. Today there are programs to help people that are in need of food. We did not have that luxury, it was standing in soup lines or just begging---sometimes just plain stealing it.
Technology has brought us a long ways but I do wonder about the effect it has had in some areas. Take for instance television. We don't have to think any more, it is right in front of us telling-showing us every step of the way. We seem to be the sheep just following along in the flock and accepting without question. That saying (if you don't use it, you will loose it!) Well that goes for you mind too.
If you are old enough to remember, family's gathered around that little box with the two knobs that sat high up on the shelf and we all adjusted our chairs so that we could face straight at that magical box. For some reason it seemed that maybe you could in your mind visualize and almost see that person that was speaking. I'm sure that each persons mental picture was quite different but that made you each think and use your brain. Radio brought us music that we all sang along with---(without head-sets). In New York, Maritiln Block started the first disc jockey show called, "The Make Believe Ballroom," on WNEW he pretended to be talking about live bands and performers, but was actually only playing records. Yet, we could see and dance along in that ballroom by simply using our minds and letting our imaginations follow.
Sunday, 7 pm our laughter would ring out around the room with "Jack Benny." Monday-Friday 7-7:15 pm 5 nights a week, "Amos and Andy continued, with 40 million listeners, all seeing their own image of who was behind those comical words.
Many housewives turned the volume up to hear the (serial dramas) "Just Plain Bill," "Romance of Helen Trent," "Our Gal Sunday," and many more. Some times for a special treat you were allowed to stay up later and the lights would be turned off and we listened to (Mystery drama) "Inner Sanctum," or the "Shadow," again you mind was spinning with what you perceived each character looked like and was doing.
Hearing the six-o'clock news was very important. There was no recording made of the first news bulletin announcing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941. After that day our world changed completely. The percentage of radio time devoted to news increased 20%, but music still dominated programming.
In the spring of 1942 the food rationing program was set into motion and our minds were turned to new directions. Coupons were distributed based on family size The coupon book allowed the holder to buy a specified amount. Yet, that book did not guarantee that the particular item would be available. "red stamp," coupon covered all meats, butter, fat and oils. Each person was allowed a certain amount of points weekly with expiration dates to consider. "Blue Stamp," covered canned, bottled and frozen fruits and vegetables. In a way it became our currency. Still I never heard complaints and whining and people saying that "The Government," needs to do something!
The first time I saw a television set was in a store window in Long Beach California and I stood there with many others and dreamed of how wonderful it would be to really have ones (Movie's) right there in your living room. The store owner would leave this set running and we would stand outside on the sidewalk and stare at that 12 inch screen.
This was in 1951: Average Annual Salary: $4,200
Gasoline: 27 cents/gal
Bread: 16 cents/loaf
Milk: 92 cents/gal
Postage Stamp: 3 cents
Minimum Wage: 75 cents per hour
I don't mean to leave the wrong impression here, for there are many wonderful educating programs on to days television. How many times do we say to our kids ---"go watch TV. Then from the kitchen you hear screeching cars, shooting and people screaming from the TV in the living room where they are intently glued to. Yes I know that they have blockers now for what they could watch, but then we never thought beyond that wonderful new thing they called Television. The programs were not so violent then.
Television News. It seems to only now report mostly on tragedy. Yes, you should know what is happening around you and the world and yes you can change the channel numerous times and each one will be telling the same tragic story and then they follow that up by trying to analyze it for days until the next tragedy happens. When did Sensationalism take over Journalism? Technology and new invention are what made us great, yet in my opinion in some areas we are loosing our control.
In the economical crisis that we find our selfs in today --- just maybe our train should back up a little bit and move to a side rail, then release the last two rail-cars. You know the ones with the graffiti painted on the side that reads GREED-POLITICS. Then for a starter, hook on to two new ones that read PRODUCTS MADE IN THE USA.