The battle of excess weight is never ending battle, by today’s ideals. Prior to the 1900’s, overweight people were few and far in-between. For the average person, having enough food to eat was an ongoing struggle and having surplus food was for the rich.
With the end of the Great Depression and WWII, the availability of food changed. No longer were there the rations of the war and the poverty of the depression was over. During the late 40’s, all types of foods became available. The returning soldiers brought all types of different foods home with them. The more interesting one was a thing called a pizza pie. Snack foods became plentiful and penny candy had all but disappeared to be replaced by chocolate bars.
No longer was the table a place of basic sustenance, now there were snacks galore and deserts of all types. The hard work of the fields, manual labor was now assisted by machines. Hard work, no longer worked off the extra calories consumed at the table. Surplus weight was attaching to people and being overweight was upon the population.
The enterprising entrepreneurs took up the cause of the overweight and offered weight loss diet plans. Like today, personalities endorsed the plan or offered the weight loss program. Were they successful, probably like today, some were and some were not. Yet this was a new area of society that only the rich could over indulge. With the coming of the 50’s and the growing prosperity of the America, the average person could now over indulge like the rich.
The depression of the 30’s was probably one of Americas’ bleakest decades. Just to find money for food was a struggle for most. Even having as place to live was not there for many. Living in hovels, cars, tents, lean-2’s, was a way of life for many. With the war, much of this disappeared and a new determination rolled across the land. After the war, many doors of opportunity were opened and a wave of prosperity rolled out a carpet for many. Fabric of society was changing, and new ways of life were evolving.
The blog will be shifting focus for a short time. I found some old Life magazines from the early fifties. This era, for me, is when the focus of the USA shifted from an agrarian country to a powerhouse industrialized nation. The country had survived the “The Great Depression,” and transitioned to a powerful war machine.
The war and the depression were powerful impacts on the psyche of the American people.
With the end of the war, The United States no longer was a second on the stage of world politics, they had become a world leader. This was reflected in the confidence of the people in the States. With the rationing of the war over, consumerism was the forefront of life in America.
There were jobs in the factories for the returning soldiers, who had their combat pay in hand. The American dream was approaching, a chicken in every pot and a car in the driveway. With the jobs in the factories, the Lower Class was shrinking and the Middle class was expanding. The dream of owning their own home was at hand for most citizens.
Housing developments and suburbs were a new phase in the America fabric. Products were needed to fill these new dream homes and there new automobiles to park in the driveways.
Life magazine along with their counterparts, Look and the Saturday Evening Post, chronicled this emerging new American middle class. Back in the 50’s, the news was not real slanted and the agenda of a few was not apparent. The advertising set the tone for the changes and reflects life of the transitional decade. Technology of the day, was the television and the Atomic Bomb, both impacted how people lived during the 50’s.
I will be taking ads from the magazines, along with stories and writing my impression of life back then. I’m old enough to of been a wee lad back then and I remember a few things from way back then.