Forward thinking: Reflecting on beginnings…

Loren Simmonds

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 1943 . . .

It was a cold winter day. The wind was blowing, snow was falling. Streets and sidewalks were covered with sheets of ice. It was a day not fit for man nor beast — much less a time for a pregnant lady to give birth to a new born. Yet, that was the plight of my dear mother.

However, she did need a little help to move things along . . . like falling down ice-covered steps. This resulted in an emergency trip to the local hospital where she gave premature birth to a badly bruised baby boy.

According to my birth certificate, I made my grand entrance into this cold harsh world at 11:28 a.m. That was a little over 75 years ago. Needless to say, the world in 1943 was a lot different than in 2019. For a combination of reasons, I have recently spent some time reflecting on my early beginnings.

The end result has been quite eye opener. I‘ve elected to share some of my discoveries and hope you enjoy the ride.

Cost of Living ~

• Average cost of new house $3,600
• Average yearly wage $2,000
• Average monthly house rent $40
• Average price for new car $900
• Cost of a gallon of gas 15 cents
• Cost of a loaf of bread 22 cents
• Bottle of Coca Cola  5 cents

Popular Culture ~

• The Golden Globe Awards started
• Popular Films
-For Whom the Bell Tolls
-Heaven Can Wait
-Lassie Come Home
-The Titanic

• Popular Music

– Frank Sinatra

– “In The Mood” by Glenn Miller

– The musical Oklahoma, the first collaboration between Rogers and Hammerstein, debuts on Broadway, with 2,247 more performances followed.

– Kate Smith sings “God Bless America” in a radio marathon to promote the sale of war bonds.

Born in 1943 ~

Singers Janis Joplin and Mick Jagger; chess champion Bobby Fischer; gridiron stars Gayle Sayers and Joe Namath; tennis pros Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King; actor Robert DeNiro.

World of Sports ~
• Undefeated for an astonishing 40 consecutive fights, Sugar Ray Robinson is stunned in a loss to “Raging Bull” Jake LaMotta. They went on to fight five more times — all victories for Sugar Ray.

• Major League Baseball adopts the use of baseballs made out of materials deemed nonessential to the war efforts, but the balls prove to be so unlively that the league reintroduces more resilient ones.

• The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) was created by Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley. The purpose of the league was to try to fill empty baseball stadiums and provide entertainment during World War II. The league was dissolved in 1954 as interest waned. The popular 1992 file A League of Their Own was based on the early years of the AAGPBL.

Literature and Magazines ~

• A wartime icon was born when Norman Rockwell’s portrait of “Rosie the Riveter” appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. The painting later sold for a little under $5 million.

• The comic book Wonder Woman appeared on the newsstand for the first time.

Significant Decisions ~

• The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that children cannot be compelled to salute the American flag if it is in conflict with their religious beliefs.

• The American Bar Association opens its membership to black lawyers.

• The U.S. Mint began producing the one-cent coin in steel due to copper shortages during World War II. Copper was being used for the creation of ammunition and other military items. The mint switched back to copper pennies in 1944.

Other Items of Interest ~

• Jan. 4th – Thomas Mann completed his tetralogy, “Joseph & His Brothers.”

• Jan. 10 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to visit a foreign country in wartime — leaves for Casablanca, Morocco.

• Jan. 14 — German Military Leader Heinrich Himmler views Warsaw

• Jan. 15 — World’s largest office building, the Pentagon, was completed.

• Jan. 22 — Allied Joint Chiefs of Staff determines invasion of Sicily on July 10.

• Jan. 23 — British 8th army marches into Tripoli.

• Jan. 30 — Illegal opposition newspaper LOYAL begins publishing.

Looking in retrospect, January 2019 seems pretty mild compared to 1943. In fact, the major parallel is the cold, blizzard conditions back then and what we have been experiencing locally and across the nation. And for that reason, I will not complain and hopefully you will not ether.

Until next time . . .

— By Loren Simmonds

Loren Simmonds has been a resident of Lynnwood for 37 years. He served on the Lynnwood City Council for 16 years, including eight as Council President. He remains active in the community by serving on the Parks and Recreation Foundation Board, Civil Service Commission and the Snohomish County Planning Commission. He believes that volunteerism sows the seeds of community. Loren is semi-retired and works as a writer, speaker and leadership coach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *