Have I ever told you that I was born on Thanksgiving Day? The year was 1928 and I arrived in the elevator of the old Harlan Hospital on Mound Street. I was hardly old enough to sit at the Thanksgiving “big table” in 1930 being only 2 years old, but I can imagine the topics of conversation covered a variety of subject: Current events, sports, politics and the ever-present appalling cost of living.
As the usual Thanksgiving Day repast was enjoyed by family members, such topics as these probably entered the conversation:
*The average annual income was a mere $1,973 then while a new home averaged $7,146. The average monthly rent was $15 and a new car could be bought for around $600. A ticket to the “show” at the Margie Grand was a quarter, while gasoline was a dime a gallon and postage stamps cost 3 cents a piece.
*My mother and grandmother prepared the traditional dinner. While shopping beforehand for certain staples, the clerk added up the items on a paper sack with a pencil which he took from behind his ear: 10 pounds of granulated sugar, 65 cents; a gallon of milk, 59 cents; a pound of breakfast bacon, 25 cents; a dozen eggs, 15 cents; a pound of fresh ground hamburger, 13 cents; and a fresh baked loaf of bread, 10 cents.
*On the national scene, the Veterans Administration was established and the Chrysler Building in New York was completed, making it the tallest building in the world. Introduced to the public for the first time were sliced Wonder Bread, Twinkies and Snickers candy bars.
*”All Quiet on the Western Front” won the Academy Award that year for best picture and was banned in Germany.
*On the sports scene, Gallant Fox was the Kentucky Derby winner and Babe Ruth signed a two-year $160,000 contract with the New York Yankees and everyone agreed, “No one will ever be paid more than that for playing baseball.”
*Herbert Hoover was president and his vice-president was Charles Curtis. Both men were unpopular because of the terrible economy during their administration, a period which became known as “The Great Depression.”
*The “Lone Ranger” made his radio debut and “Hi, Ho, Silver…Away!” became an instant success. Betty Boop also made her debut in an animated cartoon titled “”Dizzy Dishes.” Blondie and Dagwood made their first appearance in a comic strip.
*Life expectancy was 59.7 years.
As the family fanned out into the house for a nap, or went elsewhere, they must have agreed the food had been delicious and the fellowship loving as always. Departing amid hugs and smiles, all mused 1930 was a varied and eventful year.
Looking back in retrospect, the facts and figures of over three quarters of a century ago proves the adage on this Thanksgiving Day: “The richness of life lies in the memories we have shared.”