• Old Photos: The Redistribution of U.S. Wealth

    I found this 1946 Life Magazine article while searching for vintage Kansas photos (the article features a farmer from Shawnee County, KS and a future post is forthcoming). We frequently hear about the way it used to be, stable middle class of the past, high taxes on the wealthy and many other economic and cultural realities that were lost over the past 60 years. The article briefly touches on several segments of the post-war society, their roles in the economy and their material well-being. The language of the article is strikingly similar to what we see in the media today. Over time, the classes described in the article were redefined or disappeared; rich people are not content with just two Cadillac’s; no one is paying two thirds of their income in taxes; and $12,000 a year does not equate to being successful. There is one notable exception: the teachers are still being screwed. Anyway, the article is short, enjoy.

    The redistribution of U.S. Wealth

    Taxes, unions and higher prices are making the man with a large income Poorer and the poorer man richer.

    Published in the Life Magazine December 16, 1946 p91.

    ©Life ©Time Inc.

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  • Funeral

    Cemetery

    I guess I am closing in on the age when people around me start dying off. When I was younger these people already seemed old, now that I reached their age that seemed so ancient to me not so long ago, I find myself attending funerals more often than I’d like. And this is just the sad beginning, many of my relatives and relatives of my few friends are in their 70s, 80s and 90s. As the new immigrants these are the people who will be the  first in their families to be buried in the New Country. They had the courage to leave everything, including many generations of their ancestors buried in the old Motherland, and they will be the first to be laid to rest here. And we, the younger generation, will be the first to have our loved ones separated by the ocean, the old gravestones there will eventually be forgotten after we are gone.
    The people we are losing now had truly legendary lives: they were born in the young new country, they fought in the war, they came home to rebuild, they raised their kids, they lived, they loved, they suffered, lost friends and relatives, lived through lies and propaganda, managed with very little and lived to see their children and especially grandchildren prosper in this country. Their eulogies will be said in the language they don’t understand, and Rabbi will pray to God they were taught didn’t exist. The Rabbi will talk about their lives, struggling to pronounce their names and places they lived in, knowing that most of the mourners do not understand a word of Hebrew, but still love the sound of it and a feeling that the same exact words were said for millions of people for thousands of years, for a moment bringing them in touch with all the generations before them.

    Jewish Cemetery,
    Brown dirt frozen
    With millions of tears

    Photo: Rose Hill Cemetery, Kansas City, MO 

  • Old Photos: Kansas Wheat

    Contrary to what some people believe I don’t own the idea of posting old photos from the Life Magazine Archives, but I do enjoy doing it, so here comes another set. These are combined under the tag Kansas Wheat and where taken in 1939. Some of the faces on these photos look like there were taken straight out of some Jimmy Stewart movie.

    NEW CAMBRIA sign in front of a view of team of horses pulling a buck rake as SHELLBARGER flour mills can be seen in the background. in this big wheat farming community.© Time Inc.Margaret Bourke-White

    Closeup of Kansas farmer.

    Closeup of Kansas farmer.© Time Inc.Margaret Bourke-White

    Young farm boy driving a team of horses pulling a wagon loaded with straw on a wheat farm.

    Young farm boy driving a team of horses pulling a wagon loaded with straw on a wheat farm.© Time Inc.Margaret Bourke-White

    Blue Ribbon Feeds store worker using handheld scale to weigh out the density of a pickup load of wheat brought to him for purchase to be sold as chicken feed.

    Blue Ribbon Feeds store worker using handheld scale to weigh out the density of a pickup load of wheat brought to him for purchase to be sold as chicken feed.© Time Inc.Margaret Bourke-White

    County agent Harold Harper at his desk in front of Kansas State College graph entitled Agricultural OUTLOOK PRICE TRENDS in his Harvey County office.

    County agent Harold Harper at his desk in front of Kansas State College graph entitled “Agricultural OUTLOOK PRICE TRENDS”in his Harvey County office.© Time Inc.Margaret Bourke-White

    Worker brushing paste on end edges of freshly-filled sacks which he will then put upside down (R) until the paste dries at WASHBURN'S GOLD MEDAL FLOUR mill.

    Worker brushing paste on end edges of freshly-filled sacks which he will then put upside down (R) until the paste dries at WASHBURN’S GOLD MEDAL FLOUR mill.© Time Inc.Margaret Bourke-White

    Warehouse worker wheeling colorfully printed flour sacks which housewives use to make dresses because the labels wash out, at Sunbonnet Sue flour mill.

    Warehouse worker wheeling colorfully printed flour sacks which housewives use to make dresses because the labels wash out, at Sunbonnet Sue flour mill.© Time Inc.Margaret Bourke-White

    Workers filliing colorfully printed flour sacks which housewives use to make dresses because the labels wash out, at Sunbonnet Sue flour mill.

    Workers filliing colorfully printed flour sacks which housewives use to make dresses because the labels wash out, at Sunbonnet Sue flour mill.© Time Inc.Margaret Bourke-White

    Here is a page about the flour sack dresses.

  • Musical Interlude

    Roy Orbison was probably a better singer than Elvis, he was just lacking in the looks department. Kind of like me, except I can’t sing either. Roy composed and performed some of the most memorable and touching songs ever recorded, but what I like the most about his music is that I can sing with him (in the car, windows shut).

    That’s what distinguishes good music from noise – you can sing to it, even if you don’t have a voice, you play accordion and you are Dutch.

  • Old Photos: Old-Timey Christmas

    Christmas is a very nostalgic holiday, probably more so than any other. It’s the time when people realize that another year is left behind, kids have grown older and now want an iPhone instead of a barbie, and everyone else is sporting more and more gray hairs. People remember their own childhoods, old presents, relatives who are now gone, and the time when Christmas dinner meant killing your own goose.

    These photos were taken in Neosho Rapids,KS in 1945.

    Son watching James F. Irwin (R) selecting a goose for an early Christmas dinner to celebrate safe return of sons and sons-in-law from WW II. © Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Son watching James F. Irwin (R) selecting a goose for an early Christmas dinner to celebrate safe return of sons and sons-in-law from WW II. © Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Family members watching James F. Irwin (C) killing a goose for an early Christmas dinner to celebrate safe return of sons and sons-in-law from WW II.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Family members watching James F. Irwin (C) killing a goose for an early Christmas dinner to celebrate safe return of sons and sons-in-law from WW II.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    James F. Irwin (R), his wife and son preparing a goose for an early Christmas dinner to celebrate safe return of sons and sons-in-law from WW II.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    James F. Irwin (R), his wife and son preparing a goose for an early Christmas dinner to celebrate safe return of sons and sons-in-law from WW II.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Mrs. James Ferdinand Irwin (2L) standing on porch watching the men in her family, most recently returned fr. service in WWII, carrying home freshly shot rabbits and a cedar tree for Christmas family reunion.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Mrs. James Ferdinand Irwin (2L) standing on porch watching the men in her family, most recently returned fr. service in WWII, carrying home freshly shot rabbits and a cedar tree for Christmas family reunion.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Mrs. James Ferdinand Irwin in kitchen preparing stuffed goose for Christmas dinner that marks the first family reunion in years w. her sons safely returned fr. WWII.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Mrs. James Ferdinand Irwin in kitchen preparing stuffed goose for Christmas dinner that marks the first family reunion in years with her sons safely returned from WWII.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Members of farmer James Ferdinand Irwins family trimming native cedar Christmas tree in living room during family reunion and early Christmas celebration marking the return of Irwins sons and sons-in-law fr. service in WWII.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Members of farmer James Ferdinand Irwin’s family trimming native cedar Christmas tree in living room during family reunion and early Christmas celebration marking the return of Irwin’s sons and sons-in-law from service in WWII.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Daughters of James Ferdinand Irwin bottle-feeding their babies at Christmas family reunion celebration marking the return of Irwins sons from service in WWII, L-R: Jeanne Haney & son Joe, Myra Lee Love & son John, Betty Roush and her daughters Julia Ann.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Daughters of James Ferdinand Irwin bottle-feeding their babies at Christmas family reunion celebration marking the return of Irwin’s sons fr. service in WWII, L-R: Jeanne Haney & son Joe, Myra Lee Love & son John, Betty Roush and her daughter Julia Ann.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    James Ferdinand Irwin family sitting around table having Christmas dinner, their young men safely returned fr. WWII, (clockwise fr. L) Fred Andrews, Mr. Irwin, Jim, unident., Jeanne, Joe, Levern Love, Myra Lee, Jack, unident., Mrs. Irwin Scotty, and 2 un.ident.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    James Ferdinand Irwin family sitting around table having Christmas dinner, their young men safely returned fr. WWII, (clockwise fr. L) Fred Andrews, Mr. Irwin, Jim, Jeanne, Joe, Levern Love, Myra Lee, Jack, Mrs. Irwin.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    James Ferdinand Irwins family singing carols at early family reunion Christmas celebration marking safe return of sons fr. WWII (L-R) Mr. Irwin, Scotty, Carolyn, Betty Roush, Jim, Myra Lee Love, Jack, Jeanne Haney, Mrs. Irwin, Jeff Haney, Levern Love, I.I. ris Beth Love.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    James Ferdinand Irwin’s family singing carols at early family reunion Christmas celebration marking safe return of sons fr. WWII (L-R) Mr. Irwin, Scotty, Carolyn, Betty Roush, Jim, Myra Lee Love, Jack, Jeanne Haney, Mrs. Irwin, Jeff Haney, Levern Love, Beth Love.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Adult members of farmer James Ferdinand Irwins family gathered nr. tree watching his brother-in-law Fred Andrews (in Santa Claus costume) give presents to young family members at early Christmas family reunion marking safe return of sons fr. service in .WWII.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Adult members of farmer James Ferdinand Irwin’s family gathered near tree watching his brother-in-law Fred Andrews (in Santa Claus costume) give presents to young family members at early Christmas family reunion marking safe return of sons from service in WWII.© Time Inc. Myron Davis

    Read the original Life Magazine article with more photos.

    This story had a surprise ending.