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Tuesday, August 11, 2009
More Stories of the Great Depression
I had decided to just post on Saturdays, but am getting comments asking for more "Memories". So here is one about how I learned to read.
As I said, we traveled around and lived in the car for part of the depression. As a consequence I did not go to school. However, the roads were lined with reading material, Billboards. I would ask, "What does that say?, and my mother would tell me. Before long I could read the ads myself. From there I moved up to Burma Shave signs. Burma Shave was a man's shaving cream. They started an ad campaign that used little signs along the road. Each sign had only two or three words on it, and as you were only driving around thirty miles an hour, reading them was no problem. The signs were right next to the road, and you read each when you came to it, another a few yards away and so on, and when done you had a jingle that hopefully made you remember to buy Burma Shave. Here is an example:
WITHIN THIS VALE
YOUR HEAD GROWS BALD
BUT NOT YOUR CHIN
When I finally started school at age seven I was put in the first grade. Two weeks later I was moved to the second with those of my own age. thanks to the jingle writers at Burma Shave.
I had the thought after writing this that those signs were not pulled up, tagged or vandalized in any way although they were in easy reach of those who might have done such a thing. How different from today.