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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PW Wednesday The sounds of 1940

July 3, 2024

When you sit and sew you can do a lot of thinking and remembering, especially if you have lived awhile long.  

I was the old fashioned child, "the old soul" as someone might say. I had a draw to the old things from the time I can remember.  This is especially odd since I was the daughter of my parents.

Above is Guy Lombardo and my parents.  You can do a search of Guy Lombardo and find that he was a famous musician, especially during the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. 

Their group was four brothers, and they had other musicians that played with them during shows, my father being one of them.  My dad could play most any instrument he put his hands on. Dad played with many famous musicians including Benny Goodman. 

Life changed when world war 2 happened, my dad joined the Navy and was a Moral officer during the war and also war instructor, I cannot think of the actual terms, his records are in a box that I cannot reach this morning, he was not a officer but there is another word for it.  Dad was good for Moral and an entertainer.  As soon as he got back from Pearl Harbor, Dad and Mom married, my brother and I were born 14 months apart. I guess they were happy to be back together since my brother and I are so close in age. 

A musicians pay was not great so Dad took a store job to pay bills and so we could have a home.  Dad did what one might call a side job, he would do music gigs and play with most any music group during this era. He made a good living to keep us comfortable.  Dad played music his entire life and his story is an entire story in itself. 

I could have grown up in rural Mississippi if my parents would have let me just live with my Grandparents. I would rather walk on dirt roads instead of pavement, I loved the old ways and toting buckets of water, I did not like using an outhouses but I did that anyway. I would have been perfectly content living rural.  

Part of my childhood I lived in Memphis as a city girl and then my other part of growing up was a country, more rural girl, when my mother and I moved to southern Alabama. This is when I raised a calf on my own, had a goat and chickens, gardened, sewed my own clothes. 

Then the Vietnam war, I got married, military life, gave birth to two children, had a wonderful opportunity to live on a small farm we had pigs, a fish pond, more chickens, two horses, a field to grow corn and thus I learned more skills. 

As life moved me along I ended back in the city to where I am today with a lot of years of life experiences in between, including my occupations of working with special needs children, physical therapy inpatient and outpatient. 

I still wish I could walk dirt roads and hear the bits of gravel crunch on the bottom of my shoes.  I will never forget the taste of water from an artesian well and I am thankful for my experiences.   

Why am I telling you all of this?  One reason is to say that I have some mileage on myself now and I still have the pull to learn about the time before I lived because I feel there is something there that we need to keep us grounded.  

In 1940, not that many years before I was born, it all depended on where a person lived, if it was modern or very old way of life.  In 1940, you could have a car or pick up truck, or a wagon and mule. You could have traveled by train or bus to get to where you were going.

You could have lived in a city with electricity and running water or no electricity or running water, and this is where doing your genealogy is helpful, to find out where your parents, grandparents, great grandparents lived to find would you had have electricity and running water or none at all.

Either way, it was a more quiet with many of the modern things of today missing.

It was darker at night because they did not have many street lights like they have today. 

It was quieter because stores closed early and did not open on Sunday. 

Certain towns and cities signed off their radio show at 4:45 P.M. Here in our city of Dothan in 1940 our radio signed on at 6:59 a.m. and went silent at 4:45.

North of us another radio broadcaster signed on an evening show at 6:00 P.M. and signed off at 11:00 P. M.  

Here in our city of Dothan our first television did not air until 1955. In the big city of Memphis Tennessee 1948.  There was television earlier than these times in very large cities such as New York but it was still in the making and be years before broadcasting stations would be built, more people could get electricity to their homes and add outside metal antennas to their homes.  Boy have we come a long way with just television antenna's. 

Just learning how it was in the past helps to make sense of where we are today.

As many of you know that I have a collection of hand written diaries.  I have learned a lot reading them and I am still reading through them.  I learn more from these than most anything I can research because this is every day life.

In the diaries, I am reading the lives of people living through a time without all of these expensive modern things we have today including television.  It surprises me of what all they could do to the point that it feels they were modern without being modern. They accomplished so much, they laughed, they made meals, they shopped, they sewed more beautiful items than I ever see today, they made comfortable homes and they certainly had better skills.   

One thing that I have come to understand, is that they had something that we do not have that is more important than anything modern, they had a community.  City or farm, they had people helping people, they visited and checked on one another.  

They did have struggles during wars, pandemic and depression but we have troubles too during recessions, pandemics and such.  Somehow we need to build back communities for we cannot continue to grow in isolation. 

Studying the past can give us a better perspective of how we want to balance ourselves today. Use the important things, thin out the rest and fix what needs fixing.  Studying history can help to bring calm to the home. 

Grandma Donna

Here is a link below to Guy Lombardo and his music in 1940.


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