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Back Up The Train?

Updated on November 6, 2009

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.

Example: Radio.


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

                                                       Car: $1,800

                                                       Gasoline: 27 cents/gal

                                                       House: $16,000

                                                       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.



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    • Ginn Navarre profile image

      Ginn Navarre 7 years ago

      roxxxy thanks for stopping by. Yes maybe we lived in the good times and didn't even realize it?

    • roxxxy42 profile image

      roxxxy42 7 years ago from cleatrwater florida

      this was very interesting. I have a nephew who just finished a doc. on the depression. He talked to many famous people who told their story how they started and how hard it was I am hoping it come out soon. Its called when the world breaks. I am really expecting it to be good. It will gave the younger folks a chance to hear and see some of the tales of the great depression. Yes we have one now but this is worse because one man wants to take over the entire usa and be the boss. i do notwant him for my boss. No thank you very muchj.

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      I really enjoyed this. I love the idea of leaving behind a couple of railcars and adding a couple of nicer ones. Thanks Ginn.

    • Ginn Navarre profile image

      Ginn Navarre 8 years ago

      Thanks Rochelle Frank, maybe that's what they mean when they say "It's a small world?"

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 8 years ago from California Gold Country

      I recognize a lot of the things you are talking about-- some from my parents stories and some from experience. I think I watched that TV in Long Beach, CA, too in 1951. I'm really not kidding I lived there then. Maybe I stood beside you.

    • Ginn Navarre profile image

      Ginn Navarre 8 years ago

      Lgali, thanks it was a time to remember each time I buy milk.

      Jerilee Wei, You are right, that train derailed a long time ago.

      Thanks, William F. Torpey. Maybe thats what they mean by "those good ole days."

      London Girl, thank you and it sounds like you have a good handle on these subjects, we need more like you.

      Cris A, thanks you are right on with this hub comments--I too love nostaliga and humor which I planned on keeping with but sometimes you JUST HAVE TO VENT! (I feel much better now.)

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I'm a big fan of bigtime nostalgia, and here's another serving. Though it deviates from just being sentimental to statement making. And i heard you Ms. Ginn. Thanks for sharing another delightful hub. :D

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      Interesting hub, thank you.

      I also think actual real trains are a very useful thing. They cut down on carbon use, and they are far more relaxing than driving.

      I also agree with you about telly. I watched very little as a child, and we hardly ever watch it at home now I'm an adult. Perhaps 2-3 hours a week. And our TV is a state-of-the-art 1990 14 inch, which works perfectly well (-: We don't have cable or Sky or anything either, just the basic 4 channels.

      Isaac, our 3 year old, doesn't watch TV. I don't want him exposed to adverts, or stuff I don't know about. He does watch a DVD from time to time, because I know what's on them!

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      The younger generations will never understand, Ginn Navarre, why we insisted on looking at the radio when listening to "Fibber McGee" or "Suspense." I now have a Sirius satellite radio and I still find like to see where the sound is coming from. The corporate takeover of the television airwaves has virtually eliminated "news" from television. Aside from C-Span and PBS, all you get is "happy talk" and every little detail about the latest flock of Hollywood airheads. I used to love to play with the ration stamps during WW II when they often portrayed ships and airplanes and other patriotic symbols. Greed and corruption in business and government seems to be par for the course nowadays. I'll take those oldtime radio days over what we have now anytime! Thanks for a really great hub.

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 8 years ago from United States

      Good hub mom!  I'm thinking the train's left the station for a whole lot of people when they weren't looking (or thinking).  Milk is $4.59 here and a loaf of bread $3.99. Twenty-five dollars won't buy you a bag of groceries.  In nearby Metro Orlando over a million people out of work. Unemployment has one phone number for the state and they never answer. People can't visit them in person because they only have a PO Drawer. Most places only allow you to apply for a job with them online.

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 8 years ago

      thanks for info

      Milk: 92 cents/gal