One thing for sure is we never know from one day to the next what will change. I was slicing ginger two days ago and my finger became part of the ginger. I am normally very careful but accidents do happen and I had a fairly serious laceration. I have learned my lesson to not get to comfortable in the kitchen with knives.
It is difficult to type so I will get to the point.
Charles and I woke up early this morning of Wednesday,January 2020 and shortly after we were out of bed Charles declared, " We should be in 1920 !!! NOT the 1930's because 1920 would be 100 years ago since this is 2020. I have been preparing to stay in the year 1932.
However Charles was excited about studying the first year of two different decades 100 years apart and his infectious enthusiasm won me over. We also have many questions from our 1930's history project that could be solved if we study the 1920's.
So instead of continuing our study of 1932 we are jumping ship and swimming back to the year 1920.
Some of you may be confused if you are new to my blog. My husband Charles and I do history projects and study the past and live somewhat like the past while doing so to learn how they did things in the past.
It all started one year after we had been working on living a more simple life and my friend Catherine said to me, wouldn't it be interesting if we tried living like the 1940's during ww2 to learn about rationing. So we did.
We have not been organized how we have been doing this all these years, we have been jumping around our years studied like a hyper grasshopper that has vertigo. We started the year 1942 so we could start when the rationing started here in the USA.
After that year we continued on and traveled through the years during ww2 but not in order but so we could learn more about life on the homefront. When we finished that, Charles and I decided to study the years of the great depression.
Our findings have surprised us to say the least. Much of our research has found that many people did fairly well during the depression. I thought it would all be gloom and doom but my thoughts on this is those that had small family farms, which many did in our family, had food since they raised and grew their food. Those in the cities that had lived carefully and well below their means and did not owe money to anyone lived fairly well during the great depression. With their homes paid for it seems the few worries they did have were having money to pay taxes. Some struggling families moved in with non struggling families and some stayed that way such as did Charles family due to the great depression with only a little gap before world war two came along. I am not saying they did not have problems it was tight but they grew food, canned their food and were very very careful. They bartered, shared and helped one another.
We want to know more of what happened before the great depression to see more of why some families did so well and many did not so we never repeat this.
When we started our research we started going to our public library and using their research room and the microfilms and it was so time consuming. We printed and printed using the machines at the library and I filled many books. I have many larger books than this, I just did not take a picture.
I have been collecting old magazines and catalogs and a few people have generously sent me a few of them. I find them in thrift stores and antique shops and online. I have had to do this over the years..
But I needed more information so I collected diaries.... from the beginning of 1900 because we have to understand what all happened during the time before we get to the 1930's. I have the 1920's removed from this box above so these are the ones from early 1900 and the 1930s and a couple from the 1940's.
It is expensive to collect this type of history but Charles and I invested so we could share with all of you so we can learn together. This past year was more hectic than we knew it would be so we got off track but we are not stopping.
So when Charles said this morning he wants to study 1920 this year I pulled the 1920's diaries we have and some of the 1920's material and research. To be honest I have not read through every diary we have because this takes a very long time read these due to the handwriting and age and live each day an old fashioned life.
So today I have collected clippings from my unfiled clippings of the 1920's. We are looking at many things that were in our town of Dothan in the year 1920. Some people have electricity and telephone but I am certain a lot of people did not during this time knowing this area. However there is a lot of interesting information.
On January 1, 1920 a man shot a phone line and it took out 40 telephones so we know that people did have telephone here.
We found the train schedule and people would travel by train during this time and goods were brought in by train as well as ice.
We learned of the names of doctors, dentists, veterinarins, Shoe cobblers, two theaters that we know of so far, the Dothan Opera House which is still in use here, a coal and ice house and much more.
Through our research we have done for the last several years we have found that if you take air conditioning away, computers, cell phones, televisions and basically all electronics except for land line telephone and gadgets, surprising we can resemble the past quite a bit.
We look different in today's world but some things are similar.
This is 1920 furniture advertisement for January 1920. The furniture in the past was made with solid wood, much better than today.
1920, Refrigerators were cooled with ice and there was an ice house and ice delivery man that brought ice for the ice box. Now there was a new thing at this time.... There was an attachment to add electricity to the space where the ice was held and it was gas and electric that ran it but this was very new. Many people held on to their refrigerators with ice that required no electricity. When electric refrigerators became more popular the ice refrigerator was renamed the ice box.
This was one of their entertainments, a record player that wound up using a handle.
We already know that the 1920's was a bit more modern and in my opinion very loose as in drinking, smoking, music and some women seemed much less modest.
This was a sofa in 1920.
As we will learn along our journey many people went in to debt as the 1920's was known as the roaring twenties.
I told Charles that I have never wanted to study the 1920's because of my opinion but I really did not want to study the great depression as far as living "like" the 1930's but was surprised and now very fond of the 1930's.
Charles suggested if I did not want to go all in to the 1920's we can stay in the 1930's and just study 1920. But we will see how it goes. We are only studying history but we do put ourselves in to try to do things like they did to experience the time as much as possible. The summer with triple digits was the summer I hand washed every bit of our laundry and it was very hard. However I did lose weight and strengthened my body until I moved the wrong way one day and hurt my back.
I would like to say with all the experiments we have done here of living like the past. I have come to understand if we want to do this, we do not have to change to look like they did or even our homes resemble them.
The women did wear dresses most always. We can wear a dress from today. They had beds, we have beds, they cooked on wood stoves, coal stoves, gas stoves. Today we have electric or gas, some are fortunate to have a wood stove but most of us not. So we can use what we have. We found we prefer the older things because of the quality.
Charles and I now consider of what they did not have which is a lot and it shows us we can live perfectly fine without it. Except air conditioning.
One thing I feel is that they were better off than we were in a financial way. We have so much that comes with a fee and they had equipment that did not require electricity or connection to anything that had a fee until they connected to electric and telephone. They did have to pay the ice man and paper company if they took a paper.
Think of all the things we have today that now cost us.
Why do we keep doing this? Many reasons but especially to feel grounded, to learn about our ancestors and people that were not related to us.
Knowledge is power and we can learn how to be stronger and to learn from their strengths and to not make the same mistakes they did.
With the diaries, I did the the genealogy on every diary to learn about the families of the diary writers. I also have done the genealogy of Charles and my family.
Someone suggested a book to read this past year, Henry and the Great Society, a small book but powerful. It is fiction and I normally do not read fiction but this is based on how it most likely was in the past and what Charles and I have learned from research so far this book is sooooo much like how it was in the past. I cried with them while reading this book because it made me see how it could have been. I will not say more about this book.
In 1920 my Grandmother was a widow with two babies. My father three years old and my Uncle a year and half. My Dad's father died during world war 1 from the flu epidemic known by some today as the Spanish flu epidemic.
Most of my family during that time did not go with the times, they lived very simple lives and mostly rural.
Charles and I are going to do something fun with our research this year. As we find the businesses that were in our town in 1920 and their location we are going to see what happened to them, if they are completely gone or what is in the buildings that are left.
One thing I do not know yet is about food. I can only find one market or mercantile in the 1920's newspapers. There is a fish market and a sweets store so since grocery stores were very different back then we will need to find out more about that.
Little bits of information day by day.... There are diaries on the internet to read and some very enjoyable if you simply search.
This year we are trying to be very frugal to save all we can and if we find new ways to do this I will share. I highly recommend the envelope system as this is how we got out of debt and how we save for the things that we know we will need in the future such as car tires, veterinary care, repairs, emergencies and such as that. We treat these things like a bill to pay. If we do not do this then we have to come up with the money when this need arises. When we break it down into payments to ourselves to that account (tire fund) then the money is there when the tires are needed.
When we learn new information about the 1920's I will post it and I will post about the things we do here at home. I wish you all a Happy New Year. Grandma Donna