My father was born in 1904. Although he was born in what would eventually become Poland, here are some interesting facts about America in that year:
- The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years old.
- Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
- A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.00.
- An average employee had to work 50 hours to make that $11.00 call.
- There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S. and only 144 miles of paved roads.
- The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
- The Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world.
- More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
- Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
- Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.
- The three leading causes of death in the U.S. were:
- Pneumonia and influenza
- The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
- Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
- There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
- Only 6 percent of all Americans were high school graduates.
- Coca Cola contained cocaine.
- Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores.
- There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S. [of course, this was before gun control laws were passed.]
- Worst of all, movies were a few seconds long.
And just as I have told you these shocking things, my children will one day write to their friends that I was born in 1945 and in that year, these facts will horrify them:
No one had a TiVo, Ipod, cellphone or computer and there was no Internet!!!!
No other statistic would be needed to demonstrate the primitive and savage culture I was born into.
So Happy Father's Day, all you new fathers and old dads.
Sometimes, I recall things my father had told me but that I had forgotten until I looked afresh at the photos. It's funny how certain memories can stay locked in the darkness of your brain for years and suddenly come to mind. I brought up my two children with only one rule: never lie to your father. I told them them they could murder, steal, pillage, cheat and torture - but they could never, ever, ever lie to their father. With this one rule, devoutly obeyed, I would always know if they did something wrong, since they knew that whatever they did wrong, it was better to confess it to me than lie, since I held all other sins to be merely venal, and lying to me to be The Most Mortal of Sins. I had forgotten the reason I brought them up this way but was reminded by the article I wrote yesterday about District Attorney Nifong.
When I was browsing through my father's photos today, something clicked about Nifong lying and Al Sharpton and others using that lie to further their own evil purposes. It was then I recalled something my father used to tell me often long ago. It was in Polish so I will translate it as best I can into English. "A lie is a seed that once planted - anyone may reap the harvest."
Perhaps I should look more often at my father's photos.