Return with me now to the thrilling days of yesteryear. If you remember that opening line to a very popular radio show of yesteryear you also know who Dan Reed was and to whom he was related. The year is 1904. Life was different then and in many ways it was far superior to life today. In many ways it was far inferior to life today. Let's look at life as it was then and I'll let you determine if you would prefer to live then or now.
If you were 24 years old you were middle aged since the average person only lived to be about 47 years old. Nearly one in four adults could neither read nor write and only six out of 100 people had graduated from high school.
Eighty-five out of 100 people took their bimonthly bath in a number 10 galvanized wash tub; only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub and most did not have running water.
Smart phones are pandemic today. Eight people in 100 had a regular telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City would cost $11.00.
The state highway department statistics show that every day hundreds of thousands of vehicles travel in the metro area of Indy and America on millions of miles of paved roads. In 1904 there were only 8,000 cars in America and only 144 miles of paved roads. The posted speed limit was 10 mph in cities. There is no speed limit today. There is but it is usually ignored.
Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennessee had more population than California. Las Vegas had 30 residents. The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
Today it is fairly common for workers to strike for higher wages and to maintain or improve their health insurance plus job protection. In 1904 the average wage was 22 cents per hour and if you worked enough hours you might make $650 per year. The average Joe Worker made $400 to $600 per year. Health insurance? Unemployment insurance? Work related benefits? Never heard of it. Accountants might earn $2,000 a dentist $2,500, a veterinarian $3,500 and a mechanical engineer $5,000.
Today most babies are born in state of the art hospitals but 95% were born at home in 04. Many medical schools were condemned in the press and by the government as substandard. The five leading causes of death were: Pneumonia and flu, TB, diarrhea, heart disease and stroke.
Sugar cost four cents per pound, eggs 14 cents per dozen, coffee 15 cents a pound and gasoline was ten cents or less per gallon but a worker made $10-12.00/week. Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo
There was no mother's day or father's day. Marijuana, heroin and morphine were available OTC. Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic. There were only 230 reported murders in the entire country. In 2015 there were 13,500 deaths by guns.
It is time to choose -- 1904 or 2016. As Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) said in 'True Grit', "Which'll it be?"
My website Larryvandeventer.com - Read about me, my books, and my columns. Larry Vandeventer grew up North of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State U. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656.