A Life-Changing Experience

  Some things that happen when you are a certain age stay with you forever.
   When i was growing up, the Six Day War took place.  Later there was the Watergate scandal , and in between i was reading all sorts of pretrib, premillennialist  literature.
  These things influenced me and will always be part of me.

  Shortly before my aunt passed away, she told me the most amazing story.  i didn't at once recognize it as the same sort of thing, but now i do.
  This is my subject today.

  In 1914 my grandparents married.  They were a farm family, reasonably well off for the time and place.
  The aunt who told me the tale was #3 of five, and my mother was the baby of the family.
  The story is about my grandparents' 25th anniversary trip in 1939.  Now you and i would think an anniversary trip is a couple-only event, but my grandparents took the entire family, plus their daughter in law.
  They took a train to New York .  They saw Niagara Falls and swam in Lake Erie.
  But the life-changing event was not any of these things, though they must have impressed the girls who may never have left the farm before.
  They saw the 1939 New York World's Fair.
  The World's Fair had Futurama, with its suburbs and highways.  It had electrical appliances, which made work easier.
  It was Utopia, to the farmers whose lives were never-ending work.

Sixty Years Later

  As i sat talking to my aunt that day, over sixty years after the event, i knew i had to get all the details possible from her.  i wrote them down, such as they were.

  And since then i have done some paltry research on the fair.  There are some websites about it. Wikipedia  is, as you've noticed by now, my favorite place to start; they have other links.  i've had library books out about it.
  Currently i have a unique "faction" type book by David Gelernter, 1939: The Lost World of the Fair.
   Gelernter alternated showing his research in musings about how 1939 was different from today, such as the character in Fitzgerald 's novel who took his girl out on Sunday afternoon, came home at midnight, worked until 3am, THEN removed his tie before bed, and interviews with and excerpts of the diary of a fictional woman who experienced the fair.  This lady's experiences, along with those of her fiance and friends, sum up what the fair was for all the people he interviewed.

After the Fair: The Future Arrives

   Within a year of seeing the fair, my aunt married her boyfriend, then graduated from high school.  She got to experience first hand the benefits of the highways promised at the fair as she followed him to Texas and many other places his service took him in the war.
  The fairplanners had a vision of the future.  Amazingly, they were correct in many ways.
  As fairgoers exited one of the exhibits, they were given a button which read, "I have seen the future."
  It excited and energized them.
  My aunt seldom talked about the fair, but she was carried by that to the end of her life.

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