Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Watermelon Wagon



I enjoyed the conversation on Watermelons so much yesterday, I decided to feature another watermelon picture today. We had discussed that the best watermelons came from guys selling them out of the back of their trucks. The only thing that could be better than that I bet would be a watermelon sold out of the back of a farmer's wagon. The picture was taken in 1940 in Kentucky.

I find the sign on the window for hamburgers interesting. You could buy a hamburger for 5 cents. The average wage in 1940 was 65 cents per hour, so you could work an hour and buy 13 hamburgers. Today the average wage is $10 an hour, and I would say that the average price of a hamburger is $5.  So a typical person can work an hour and buy 2 hamburgers. Am I doing the math wrong, or are we working harder and harder for fewer and fewer hamburgers?

22 comments:

  1. It's not 5 cents a pound, but 5 cent for a hambuger. So no saying how much meat was in it. You can buy a burger from McDonalds for a dollar right now.
    So you redo the math.

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    1. Yes but McDonalds invented the small hamburger. I had never seen a small hamburger in my life until my first visit to McDonalds. I feel absolutely confident that the hamburger advertised at this mom and pop diner was delicious and of reasonable portion, and real meat.

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    2. I'm sure too that the 5 cent hamburger was of good size and great flavor. My dad would tell of buying a 5 cent burger during the depression and the expression on his face told the whole story!

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  2. I've "heard" that the best watermelons are not from the back of a wagon but are the ones obtained on a late night foray (one under each arm) from the farmer's field. But one has to be young and crazy, a fast runner, and have a keen ear for the click of a shotgun. That rock salt stings.

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    1. Amen! The same goes for Sweet Corn grown here in Vermont with the best of taste and care!

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  3. I recently visited my son in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where Mc Donald's sells their burgers for 59 cents. Up here in Maryland they are $1.19! Oh well, our gas is about 10 cents cheaper, still, I need a bank loan and collateral to fill up the tank.

    The government says we aren't suffering from inflation, but they don't include the price of food, energy or housing in their figures. I wonder products they do use? Sawdust?

    The Amish down here sell melons from the back of buckboards.

    I still wish I had some nice cold watermelon to eat! We used to have watermelon seed shooting contests. The ability to roll the tongue really helps.

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    1. That meat you're eating came from cows that were grain(CORN)fed and not grass fed! Cows have 4 stomachs so they can didest GRASS. Cows cannot digest properly CORN. The 75% of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to these cows because three quarters through the cycle from calve to burger they have gotten so weak and sick from stomach ulcers that they cannot stand up! Think twice before you support government subsidies for CORN farmers? It is a rigged system! Thank you.

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  4. Not just regular bland hamburgers for 5 cents but "Coney Island Hamburgers". I looked it up and those are more like a meat loaf type burger smothered in a special sauce. So for 5 cents your getting something much more than just a regular ole hamburger. I'd like to plunk myself down at the counter and order a coney island burger with a bowl of potato soup and a coke.

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  5. I like the lady with the watermelon under her arm. She has a bucket in one hand and a basket in the other. If she fills them both, she is going to be loaded! Food would be so much fresher if we could go back to that method of shopping!

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  6. When I was 18, my family had mile long farm fields. We had one that had a nice low spot in it right in the middle, One of them was a summer fallow field, and I planted it with watermelons, about 100 hills. I took nice care of it, a lot of hoeing to keep it up.
    That fall I went off to trade school and took care of them on week-ends. I kept a good eye on them, and deceided that the next week-end when I got home from school, I would harvest them and take them to town to sell.
    When I went out there Saturday morning, the field was bare. During the prior week some one had gone in and taken EVERY last one of them.

    Rollie were where you on the fall of 1961?

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  7. DADD,
    I had heard of a farmer putting a sign in his watermelon patch "One of the Watermelons in this field has been poisoned". Next day he came back, and the sign had been chanced to "Now Two have been poisoned".

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    1. That is more than funny.

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  8. I love today's pictures for all of it's rich details. I'd assume the woman holding a melon has just purchased it. However, she doesn't seem to happy about it. Maybe she felt that she had to pay too much? Or if I zoom in on her face, maybe she doesn't like that she is being photographed.

    I think that the woman in the plaid dress is another customer waiting her turn to pick a melon. At first I was guessing she was the farmer's wife, but she doesn't have a hat. Anyone planning to stand outside in the sun selling melons would surely want to wear a hat. So I think she just stepped out from a nearby building to buy a melon.

    None of the teenagers are wearing hats either. I'm not sure what that tells us except that youth can make us feel impervious.

    Behind the woman in plaid you can see part of what looks like a teenage boy. Neither his legs or shadow appear near the woman in plaid's so he's obviously sitting in the wagon. That makes me want to assume he is one of the farmer's sons. The other son may be one of the three teens hanging out at the back of the wagon. I'm guessing it's the one facing away from the camera. The other two are probably his buddies. They are looking at the melons with interest since thier family may not grow thier own whereas the teen facing away has seen melons all of his life and finds little interest in them. The two teen boys hanging back in the shadows probably know the other boys from school, but aren't really close friends.

    There are a few men that are sitting in the shade of the awning. You can see their feet and a portion of one's head. Another man in caught mid-stride walking into the photograph from the right.

    There is a poster on the telephone pole. It doesn't say "WANTED" so I think it's a political sign of some sort.

    Finally, if I had a choice between hot soup and chili, I'd always choose chili.

    (my apologies for the rambling, but I just love the details....)

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  9. Man O Man, anonymous, that's a lot of interpretation from looking at a picture.

    Here is my comment:
    "Nice picture Mr. PJM" lol
    Thanks.

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  10. Mr. PJM, I enjoy your "whimpy" math to explain our current economy.

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  11. Love your old time pictures and hope you never stop? Thank you

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  12. I would gladly pay you tuesday, for a hamburger today.

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  13. I think the kid leaning on the back of the wagon is the farmer’s son and he’s thinking that if they sell enough melons then maybe…..just maybe…..he can buy an ice cream like the cone in the store window.

    The other two kids leaning on the wagon are trying to figure out how they can get away with one of those melons and not get caught!

    The old lady with the grumpy look on her face….probably has a heart of gold but puts on a rough exterior because she doesn’t take any guff off anyone.

    I like the sign painted on the restaurant window….a phrase not used much anymore …”Short Orders”.

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    1. My mother, cook to my dad and nine children was want to say "This is NOT a short order cafe!" She came of age in the 30s and knew that phrase well!

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  14. I think the 'hatlady's' face reflects pain for wearing a shoe that has a big hole in it.

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