MISSOURI, March 18, 2013 — The five means of transportation that relate to the 30s, 40s, and early 50s are cars, planes, buses, trains and barges.
As a rule, each family had only one car, and even that was a luxury. The majority of people rode buses, streetcars, and service cars or were fortunate enough to get a ride with a co-worker. You could get your car repaired at many different places such as a service station that employed certified mechanics, self-owned repair shops and the dealerships. A lot of men serviced their own cars, spending a Saturday working underneath the hood. In the late 30’s and early 40’s, you could get your car repaired at the Blacksmiths shop, which is the same place that put shoes on horses.
When you went to get gas, it was always full service, which meant check the oil, check the tires, wash the windows and finally fill the car with gas. The full service treatment was automatic. Road courtesies were ever present, and the term “road rage” was non-existent. Driving was a pleasurable experience, not full of stress like it is today.
Sunday was a time to take the family for a ride to visit friends and for the city people to go for a ride into the country and digest the beauty of the surrounding communities. Stop at a farmer’s vegetable stand and buy some produce. While taking the drive, read the Burma Shave signs and enjoy the site of the farm animals and the miles and miles of corn and other crops.
The whole family worked on the car. One family member sprayed it with water while another put a lot of elbow grease behind shinning the car.
In the past, air travel was for the very few. The skies were not that crowded, and business did not employ air travel for all employees. There was no frequent-flyer miles programs, as no one flew frequently.
Air travel today is a great thing to have but with the increase of air travel, we are faced with many problems, such as planes not arriving or departing on time, missing luggage, disruptive passengers while in the air, resulting in a new term that we have today called passenger rage.
In the past, vacations as a rule were taken by car or by a bus. Greyhound buses and other bus lines were used from coast to coast as within regions. This was a very safe and affordable way for the working families to travel. Bus stations were very busy in those days, and now are almost a thing of the past. However, today we see more tour buses, which help many folks to take sightseeing vacation.
Trains are still one of the prime modes of transportation for the business shippers, but the train as a means of transportation for the business as well as the vacationer is on the decline. Service men used the train as one of the prime sources for travel back in the 40’s. The “troop trains” were ever-present in those days.
Remember when it took at least three or more days to travel from the Midwest to the West Coast? There are still vacationers who travel by train, and it appears a continuous fight to keep the trains rolling for the passenger who prefers the rail.
Today the barges are one of the most prominent modes of transportation for fuel and other products such as grain.
It is a given that time marches on but yet one must review and remember our history in order to have a better future. Many senior citizens still prefer a lot of the ways life used to be, including the simple ways of transportation.
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