We didn't have Sony Playstation video games, we played marbles and mumbly peg. We took a bath in a tub every day, in summer. We didn't have cable television in our room, we had a console radio in the palor. We didn't have MP3s or Napsters, there were 78's on which you had to carefully place the needle to not permanently scratch the record. We didn't ride to school in an SUV, we walked two miles, up hill each way, in rain, sun, and snow. We didn't have the Internet or video phones, we had a tin can on as string stretched between your room and the neighbor kid's house. The American flag had 48 stars. Hawaii, and Alaska were still territories. We didn't have email and instant messaging. We wrote a letter with straight pen and ink or a pencil sharpened with a pen knife. You got an adult, fountain pen for graduation. Ballpoint hadn't been invented yet. Instead of calling friends from the address book on your cell, you dialed a number, and letters, on a rotary phone. An operator placed long distance calls for you. Long distance charged by the distance as well as the time. We did not have push button phones, digital had not been introduced. " 1- " had not been invented, Nor had 800-. Instead of texting friends on cell phones, you yelled, "Hey Joey, come out and play." Everybody had their windows open, nobody had air conditioning. Teachers also coached, chaperoned, proctored, etc. as part of the job, not on overtime pay. The high beam switch on your car was on the floor to the left of the clutch pedal. There were no automatic transmissions, stick shift was not sporty, but the way to make a car go. Tires had tubes and the tire lasted about 5,000 miles. (The reason for WW2 fuel rationing and speed limits was to save tires, rubber came from occupied territory. Likewise, sugar was rationed during the war because shipping was needed elsewhere.) Computers had not been invented. TV had been invented, but nobody had sets, yet, not even black and white. Airplanes carried 21 passengers, not 400 as in an Airbus. Anti-biotics were exotic medicines; the war introduced sulfa and penicillin. We did not have telephoto digital cameras, Brownie box cameras took pictures on film that took a week to develop at the drug store. To have copies made took another week, then were send to relatives by postal mail. Xerography, photocopy, had not been invented. Copies were made with carbon paper or by using a strong ink on jellypad that transferred the page to a dozen others, one at a time. Teaching was done with a chalk board, not a power-point presentation. Population was 99 million, not 300 million. 14% unemployed. The population center was in Indiana, not Missouri. Largest cities were: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston; now they are NYC, Los Angles, Chicago and Houston. Religious makeup was 52% protestant, 36% Catholic, 8% Jewish, 4% other. German was spoken in 4% of homes; Italian 3%. Rural areas used kerosene Aladdin lamps. Most farm work was done with real horses, not horsepower. The stock market was at 125 and traded __ shares a day, not billions. Pizza was made only in Italian neighborhood. Soft serve ice cream (frozen custard) was not known. Spam was a form of meat served for Saturday lunch. Instead of ice cream novelties from the freezer, you chased after the ice wagon begging for a piece of ice. A growcer and a butcher asked for your order and collected it from a shelf or cut a piece for you; self-service, super markets had not been invented. Nor shopping malls. Milk and bread were delivered to your home. Eggs came from a neighbor-lady. Oleomargarine had not been invented (and when it was, it was white, like lard.) Animal lard was used for cooking, not hydrogenated vegetable oils. Doctors made house calls instead of sick people getting up to go to a clinic. Gun control meant hitting your target. Women were typists, telephone operators, and elementary school teachers. There were four transcontinental phone lines. __% had telephones. Telegrams were used for important information, they was delivered early in the morning by a boy on a bicycle. Microwave ovens hadn't been invented. A stamp cost 3 cents and a penny postcard was a penny. Gay and aids were legitimate words of happiness and help. The military rifle was a bolt action Springfield. Some open cockpit, fixed landing gear, biplanes were still in first line service with the Navy. The primary purpose of a military airplane was to allow seeing/scouting over the horizon. Radar had been invented, but was not yet in use. Airplanes were detected by their sound or by men or women with binoculars. Europe was at war, but real fighting hadn't started. Japan was most noted for making paper novelties and toys. Cartoon was not a cable channel, but a short film at the beginning of a motion picture show. Film of international news was shown after the cartoons. Men and women wore hats. Canvas sneakers were worn to school because they were cheap, rather than a sign of affluence. Chicken was reserved for Sunday dinner, not as a filler for other meats. Birth at home was common, so were viewings of the dead.
Most of this is sparked by remembrances from a childhood in suburban Philadelphia during the war.
Guide for a list points of 1900 when leaders of WW2 generation were young : Fletcher (1885-1973) Most of the soldiers and sailors grew up in the Depression era, born about 1920 -- between the two dates shown on this page. The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years. Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub. Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars. There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph. Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union. The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower! The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour. The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year. More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home. Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard." Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound. Most women washed their hair only once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo. Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason. The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were: 1. Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was 30!!! Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented. There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day. Two of ten U.S. adults couldn't read or write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health." (Shocking!) Eighteen percent of households in the U.S had at least one full-time servant or domestic. There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.