Signs of the Times: Hope and Promise in 1939

  We think of 1939 as the prelude to WWII.  Germany overruning Europe, turning on its allies while under the influence of a madman leading a Holocaust.
  But there was more to the year than that.

The Little-Known Family Story:  Entrance to a Generation's Promised Land

When i visited Aunt Mother's Middle Sister toward the end of her life, she told me about the family visit to the 1939 World's Fair.  My grandparents had taken the entire family with them on their 25th anniversary trip, via train, to New York to see it.
  Around the same, someone gave Max a book, cassette, & toy train set, with the story involving a family visiting the World's Fair.
  A year or so ago, i read David Gelernter's book, 1939: Lost World of the Fair.  In it, he desccribes the promise of the world's fair, and how it powerfully affected many people, whose names we would instantly recognize today.
  i believe he listed some of them, though i can't lay my hands on my copy at the moment.
  Gelernter described the Fair as the Promised Land. 
  Highways stretching across the country.  Appliances to clean and cook, relieving housewives of much of their labor (no one asked what they would do with the extra time).

We Live There.

  Actually, our world has looked a lot like the one shown at 1939's Futurama (and where do you think the TV show got its name?) since the 1964 World's Fair on the same site.  
  i've never had the privilege of attending a World's Fair, but they seem to have been influential on the people who did attend them.  My aunt seldom spoke of it, but it had a tremendous influence on her life.  Carl Sagan, growing up in NYC, probably attended it more than once.  It was the source of his unending wonder with science.   It seems that Walt Disney's early childhood visit to the Louisana Purchase Exposition set his take on life, leading to Disneyland, DisneyWorld, and a major part in putting together that 1964 fair.

And What Happens When You Enter the Promised Land?

  With what dream do we replace the flyover interchange ramps and easy crosscountry travel?

No comments:

Post a Comment

i look forward to your comments! Thank you for sharing them.