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FRENCH CONNECTION: A thoughtful gift looking back

‘It was a fascinating look at what life was like in my birth year,’ writes Diana French
Diana French pens a weekly column for the Williams Lake Tribune. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

You can’t tell the value of a gift from its size. When Granddaughter #3 handed me a card the other day, I wondered why, it wasn’t any special occasion. She said she’d spotted it at a local shop and thought I’d like it. She thought right. It was a Kardlet titled “1931 Remember When, A Nostalgic Look Back in Time.”

It was a fascinating look at what life was like in my birth year, from the cost of coffee (33 cents per pound) to who won the Stanley Cup (the Montreal Canadiens). It had advertisements. One showed a man modelling a formal suit for sale at $37. 50. The price has changed, the style hasn’t, the suit could be worn today without anyone blinking. Ditto Arrow shirts. A new house could be bought for $46,796. New car, $640. Average rent, $18 per month. Gasoline, 10 cents a gallon. Eggs, 16 cents a dozen, hamburger, 11 cents per pound, sugar, 55 cents for 10 pounds. This sounds rosy, but the average income was only $1,858 per year. These were US prices, but Canada would have been close.

World news included the first Trans-Pacific flight completed by Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon Jr. (whoever they were). The Worldwide economic crises continued as banks all over the world closed. In US national news, Nevada decided to legalize gambling in hopes of relieving the pressure from the Great Depression.

Of the 10 top tunes, the only names I recognized were Bing Crosby (two songs), Guy Lombardo and Rudy Valley (one each). I was surprised those three singers went back so far. I knew only one song, Dream a Little Dream of Me, but not the singer.

There are Kardlets for different years. I believe anyone would enjoy reading the one for their special year.

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