Sunday, January 13, 2008

The 30's

The 1930's - a more innocent time than these. A time I remember for its courtesy and graciousness.

Automobiles were the property of men who drove them into the city where they worked. Women and children walked, or if they traveled into the city to shop at Wanamaker's or Snellenberg's or Lit Brothers, they rode the trolley as far as 69th Street, then took either the subway or a bus to their destination. To go into the city, we got dressed up - even wearing our little white gloves and carrying a purse with a hanky in it. Women wore hats - wonderful hats!

Men wore fedoras. The younger men did not own automobiles. They had to use public transportation too. If my mother and I boarded a bus or a trolley and found the seats full, men and boys would leap to their feet to allow the ladies to sit down. If we were seated and an older woman got on, I was made to stand and offer her my seat. I secretly enjoyed that, hanging onto the back of a seat and experiencing the sometimes violent motion of the trolley.

There was a young man in our neighborhood who always made me feel very special. He would come swinging down the street from the trolly station in the evening, and if we happened to meet he always tipped his hat to me and greeted me as "Miss". Occasionally he would even stop for a minute to chat - very seriously, as if I were grown up. At those times he removed his hat, holding it against his chest as he asked after my health and about my family. I think he may have had a crush on my older sister. Or he may have just been putting me on. The motive doesn't matter. The point is, he made me feel really important. Thank you, Jack Evans, wherever you are today.

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