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Posts Tagged ‘The Year 1939’

These are times when I need the calming influence of nature to calm my thoughts. This photo is of Maggie at Andrew Jackson State Park in South Carolina, which I describe better in my book, Travels with Maggie. — Photo by Pat Bean

“What is history? An echo of the past in the future, a reflex from the future on the past.” – Victor Hugo

History in the Making

          I share a birth year with Lily Tomlin and Tina Turner. The three of us were all born in 1939. I discovered this fact while doing research for my memoir, which if it ever gets written will be called Between Wars.

The most significant events of 1939 were the official ending of the Great Depression and the official beginning of World War II. I was raised by a mother who had been influenced by the Depression and could make a penny stretch to the moon. While I’m not nearly as thrifty, it pains me to see things go to waste.

As for the war, I would only be six years old when it ended, and thus have few personal memories about it. The one thing I do recall, probably because I was severely scolded, was finding and childishly destroying the family’s stash of ration coupons. As I vaguely remember, it meant that I ate my cereal without sugar for the month. According to the history books I studied in school, items rationed during the war included sugar, meat, coffee, and automobile fuel.

I overheard a conversation once that left me believing my dad had illegally acquired gasoline to take my brother to the doctor. Knowing my dad, that’s quite possibly true, but he probably had to do so because he earlier wasted gas gadding about for his own purposes, Gas, by the way, cost about 17 cents a gallon in 1939

I compared rationing in my early years with what is going on in the world today because of the coronavirus pandemic. Stores here in Tucson, and elsewhere I’m sure, are limiting how much toilet paper, and other items considered essential to life as we know it, can be purchased to halt hoarding.

Meanwhile, on a much lighter note, there were some other interesting firsts for 1939.

Batman was introduced in Detective Comics No. 27 and Superman got his own comic book. John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was published and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlow character was introduced in The Big Sleep.

Premiering on the big screen were Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, while Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood gossip show made its radio debut. Nylon stockings went on sale for the first time and Harvard University students swallowed goldfish.

In New York, both the Baseball Hall of Fame and LaGuardia Airport opened.

Judy Garland’s Over the Rainbow topped the music charts, with Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade coming in second, Kate Smith’s God Bless America third and Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit fourth. It was Holiday’s first civil rights song.

I wonder if future 80-year-olds will look back on their own birth years – and discover that the coronavirus pandemic tops the list of significant events?

Bean Pat: A Slice of Life https://lindahoye.com/and-yet/ A reflective post for today’s times.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

 

 

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