Saturday, July 26, 2008

Article #15 Automobiles and other Inventions

When automobiles were invented, a whole new world was opened. Now my mom and others her age could get away from home for exciting adventures. They could go to the popular open-air dances held throughout the Utah countryside during the summer. Everyone came––moms, dads and their teens, to enjoy dancing to the popular tunes of the day played by a live orchestra. Many a couple met and courted at those dances, including my parents and grandparents. (Photo of my dad Stanley with his dad's new car. My mom's elementary school in Silver City, which is now a ghost town, is in the background. Time about 1935.)

If you didn’t own a car, there was always someone willing to give you a ride. You could also hitch hike as it was much safer in those days. Trains, if your town had one, also offered cheap transportation. Many an adventurous youth liked to ride the rails by jumping on a train as it slowed down or stopped in town, then hide out so they didn’t need to pay the fare. 

With a train line, more fresh goods could come faster to the rural towns. Home delivery of milk was popular in rural areas. The local milkman would come very early in the morning and pick up the washed empty milk bottles you had put out on the front doorstep along with a list of dairy products you wanted that day. The list in the beginning was quite short and probably only included milk, cream, or butter. There were no plastic gallon jugs or waxed paper containers for milk. All milk came in glass bottles that were quart sized and plugged at the top with a paper lid or stopper. The world was starting to be filled with many modern day conveniences (or so Grandma thought.)

My grandma taught herself to drive her son Norman’s old model A car which he left at home while away one day. She was quite adventurous and in no time at all had taught herself now to start the car, back it up, and safely navigate through the sagebrush. She loved to drive. Of course, she didn’t tell her son about her escapades as he was very particular about his car. 

I remember Grandma talking about a favorite evening activity which consisted of the family sitting on their front porch and watching cars drive in and out of Silver City. Everyone tried to figure out whose car was coming home, where they were going or had been. Life was much slower in those days. (Photo of me in my pioneer costume sitting on our 1944 Hudson car in Eureka, Utah. Taken about 1947.)


  1. Hi Lin..I remember that we had a milkman who came by every day. I learned to drive on a stick shift. I wonder how many kids could do that today? Another warm and informative post...

  2. I remember my grandpa's car had a "rumble seat" in the back. It was such fun to go for a drive with him and sit in the back of his car.

    It's fun to think about the different cars we had in our family and how they've changed. My dad always drove big, fancy cars. Buick Roadmaster convertibles, Cadillacs and such. But, we still had to keep a radiator bag on the front of the car and stick wet towels in the windows to keep us semi cool when we crossed the desert.

    I also learned how to drive a stick shift... it was actually a Lambourgini, oddly enough... a boyfriend who raced cars was my first teacher. I first drove it at the parking lot at the Santa Anita Race Track.

    I know cars are such a boon to us... I know that intellectually. But, don't you remember when it seems like all you did was drive your kids from school to swimming lessons to scout meetings to soccer games to dance classes to a friends house for a birthday party, etc, etc, etc?? I had a purse my mother stiched for me that read, "If a mother's place is in the home, why am I always in my car?!"

    Another great post, Lin!

  3. By the way... the last post was from mom/caryn...I'm using my daughter's computer.