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Monday, February 10, 2014

1950’s Pioneer Spirit

Small Town USA
When you hear talk about the Pioneer Spirit or the reference to the Pioneer type woman (with reference to strength), I always imagine a strong and stout woman with a near perfect posture.  In fact the pioneer spirit that we refer to is something that people simply endured or grew into for survival’s sake.
You and I can elect to be strong by choice or be made strong by circumstance.  What I mean is that back in the 1940’s and 1950’s people chose the pioneer type spirit to survive, where as the time shown on Little House in the Prairie (the television series) that was the pioneer times.
In today’s society if you have a wood burning fireplace, you can cut your own wood if you have the Pioneer Spirit or you can simply Google “firewood,” and have it delivered and stacked in the back patio already cut to perfect size.  Back in the 1950’s some people had the option to buy the product but most chose to cut their own, and many times it was used in the wood burning stove that served for cooking and heat.
Imagine having an ice box instead of a refrigerator, and waiting to catch the iceman when he came by on your route every other day.
  • The ice trade, also known as the frozen water trade, was a 19th-century industry, centering on the east coast of the United States and Norway, involving the large-scale harvesting, transport and sale of natural ice for domestic consumption and commercial purposes. Ice was cut from the surface of ponds and streams, then stored in ice houses, before being sent on by ship, barge or railroad to its final destination around the world. Networks of ice wagons were typically used to distribute the product to the final domestic and smaller commercial customers. The ice trade revolutionized the U.S. meat, vegetable and fruit industries, enabled significant growth in the fishing industry, and encouraged the introduction of a range of new drinks and foods.
Another small struggle of the early 1950’s was the need to maintain a supply of kerosene usually in five gallon cans for the purpose of lighting the homes after the sun went down (using kerosene lanterns).  One of my uncles created a job for himself by keeping the neighborhood supplied for a fee. 
You also grew your own supply of vegetables, and anything you couldn’t eat you would trade and barter with.  Homes for the less fortunate ones didn’t have running water or any kind of indoor plumbing.  Imagine having to answer nature’s call in the middle of the night and going to an outhouse with a newspaper in hand (dual purpose including reading).  Taking a bath was not as easy as it is today.  You had to plan it by first warming up water, and later disposing of the used water.  Is it any wonder people didn’t bathe more often?
The fortunate people that had cars would usually pick up friends and coworkers every day on the way to work and dropped them off on the way home.  Others would use public transportation or ride bicycles by necessity not just to conserve or be cool.  Walking was a very acceptable mode of transportation, is it any wonder why they didn’t need Fitness Center Membership to get or stay in shape? 
This post is a very small snapshot of what life was like in the 1950’s (for a slightly less than well-off family).  The majority of these people were so satisfied that they had no clue that they lived in poverty.  If you have memories of your grandparents being strong and healthy the reasons were many, including fresh air plenty of sunshine and hard work, many natural foods that included plenty of fruits and vegetables, and minimal addictions.  The best is yet to come…..

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