About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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How We Got To 1943

January 29, 2022

This is not my usual kind of post but I wanted to paint a picture so to speak of our 1943 history project and how we are living one year like 1943. Anyone can do this study and it is exciting to study our ancestors and what it was like for them long ago.  We don't have to change our home, but we can if we want. It is the research that we learn so much from. Each of you can do your own research just like me.

I am already getting emails from some of you that are very surprised at how much they are learning.  It is motivation and makes us want to clean our homes and do like our generations before us did.  We can save money all at the same time.  I used to go to our public library to their research room to use the microfilms but then I signed up for newspapers.com and I can sit at my computer and read the newspaper for my area from long ago.  I also study census records and read diaries which I am sharing and plan to share more with you.

This study is about the home and the home front in hard times and good times. It is about living a simple life, getting out of debt and turning a house into a home.

So far, our first month living like 1943 was full of research and Charles and I have learned so much that we realize that we only scratched the surface first time around living like 1943. 

My biggest problem is I feel like I am going to burst with information but it takes so long to figure out how to share it all with you.  So this post is going to explain what we had to do to really get a feel of the year 1943 and now we are feeling it.
We had to go all the way back to the late 1800s to find where we came from to where we are in 1943. Basically we became our Great Grandparents! So with much research, we took our age now and subtracted that from 1943 and there you have the year you were born. 
If you were 20 years old in 1943 you would have been born in 1923,
 30 years old you were born in 1913
 40 years old have been born in 1903. 
 50 years old, you were born in 1893
60 years old you were born in 1883 
70 years old you were born in 1873
80 years old you were born in 1863
90 years old you were born in 1853.  
You can just do this math to start a baseline. These years we were born (for the study)  show us all the difficult times in history.  They went through the recessions during the 1800s, then more recessions after 1900 and anyone over the age of 30 (in 1943) went through world war 1, the spanish flu pandemic, a recession and then great depression and now in world war 2. No wonder they were so wise and careful and grounded. We really should have asked them more questions from our parents, grand parents and great grands.

So I did some serious digging since I was born in closer to the middle of the 1800s. After researching farm work, no electricity or running water, horse and wagon, horse and buggy, started searching how our town of Dothan developed so we could figure out how we ended up here in Dothan in 1943 and, I learned a lot.

One  friend very close in my age emailed me that she picked a younger age so she could be her grandmothers age that she was in 1943 and has chosen to live in her grandparents house (in her mind) which is a very fun thing to do.
Another blog friend has chosen to live in her hometown and study the paper there. Any of us can do this, Charles and I are actually similar to our Great Grandparents age (for this study) when they were living in 1943 because we used our real age to subtract from 1943. This helps to give us a better mental picture of what our life would have been like. 
This is how our study is going, we had to become part of the study so we researched most everything, our town we live in, our great grandparents time and we came up with this.
Both Charles and I  grew up on farms when there was only horse and wagons in this area. Charles parents divided up some property and Charles built a small log cabin on his land when he was a young man. The farm was just outside of Dothan.
When Porter Hardware store opened in 1889, Charles got a job there. It was a busy job carrying items out to the wagons and help to keep the inventory straightened.  There was a livery in town to leave his horse while he worked and places to hitch the horses for people that were staying a short time. 

Later, Charles and I met and married. The population of Dothan was only 247 around 1890 so we get an idea of what that might look like. Dirt roads in the down town area. There was a bank, a Railroad, Hardware store and a hotel. Buildings were going up all over down town. Trains would deliver ice to the ice house and then wagons would be used to deliver the ice to residents and take it into the home with ice tongs and that was a very heavy job. Central Ice Company is the first ice house that I can find with my research. 

People came to Dothan to trade and Horse and buggies traveled to and from downtown. We lived in the cabin that Charles built at the farm. I tended to the farm animals and took care of the home and children. The population grew quite a bit around 1900.
It seemed that there was always a recession going on. Many before 1900 and then again after 1900. We got out of one in 1900 and went back into another in 1902. Then there was the panic of 1907 and 1910 but to us it was just hard times. Then there was world war 1, a very brutal war.  Charles signed up for the draft and thankfully he made it through that war. During this same time a major flu pandemic hit around the world, it hit the homeland and our soldiers fighting abroad. Our town of Dothan took a hard hit, they say that three quarters of our population was affected.


By 1920 we decided to sell the farm and buy a house in the town of Dothan. Downtown Dothan had been paved and there were new streets with new houses though still many dirt roads. We bought a simple house with the money from the sell of the farm. We would be frugal with our money that we had leftover.  We saw people buying bigger houses and putting in new gadgets and electricity, running water and telephones. Our house came with a chicken house and barn because many houses had large property for a barn and horses and buggy before 1920. The next few years most people had a car instead of horses. 

Some people that lived on farms would still come into town with their horse and wagon but it was becoming unsafe to mix the cars and trucks and horses on the road at the same time. Life was changing and boy it sure did.  The great depression came upon us but we did not know what it was, just more hard times. Banks were closing, people were losing their jobs. But not all were affected badly, it depended on how much debt one had or those that lost jobs and could not find work.

Charles had steady nature, the children grew up, then their were grandchildren and now great grands and here we are in 1943 with another second world war and Charles and I are getting older.  It is difficult to feel too settled and sure about money after what we have seen. Charles decided to apply for a salesman job even though he is close to retirement, he saw an ad in the paper and applied for a Jergens territory route. He sat with the nice man that was a bit surprised that he was older and they discussed other possible towns he could work since the gas rationing was tight. Since Jergens was new to the area, they worked out a different route with an understanding that he would develop the route so then a younger man could come in and take over the route when it was time for him to retire. Charles just has this sense about him that people like.

So here we are in 1943 living in town, Charles traded in his older Buick and purchased a green 1940 Chevrolet at Solomon Motors two years ago. (Not in real life, I wish though!)

End of our story....  What is your story?

We have switched from Ivory to Jergens soap now for obvious reasons. :)  We purchased some Prell shampoo since we saw it in the 1943 paper. Have not smelled that in a long time. :)

The next post is going to be really interesting.  It is crunch time and all about money!  Income, electric bill, cost of food and more.  Wait to read what our paycheck is going to be!

Grandma Donna

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