Monday, June 29, 2009

What A Difference 100 Years Make

This week I'm celebrating a birthday.  Well actually, I celebrate birthdays in small ways with treats all month long. Already my Mom sent me a lovely card, a thoughtful gift and a fascinating clip from a neighborhood newspaper about what it was like living many years ago. The caption is, “What a difference a century makes.”  I have to admit it's a fun read, but what exactly is my Mother trying to say by sending it to me on my birthday, hmm You can read it for yourself below.

Here are some statistics for the Year 1909:

The average life expectancy was 47 years.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars and
only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
The average wage in 1909 was 22 cents per hour.
The average worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year.
A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year and
a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.
Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION!
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and the government as 'substandard. '
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
{People also used lye soap to wash their hair and skin. Homemade lye soap killed poison ivy, poison oak and took tough stains out of laundry!}
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
Five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
The American flag had 46 stars. {New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii had yet to come into the union.}
The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was only 30!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer and ice tea hadn't been invented yet.
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write.
Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at the corner drugstore. Back then pharmacists said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the Entire U.S.A. {I wonder how many murders were unreported! Or undetected!}

After considering the world 100 years ago, aren't you happy to be celebrating birthdays in the 21st century? So much has improved. People are living to be ripe old ages, and with the touch of a button information, music and video can be sent around the globe in seconds.

The article suggests we, "try to imagine what it will be like living 100 years from now."

Just think: What new technologies and inventions will there be? Which diseases will be cured? How will life be better? What will homes look like? How will people work and play? What will transportation be like? And how will the map of the world change?

And while we're at it, why not imagine how we'd like for the world to be in 100 years and contribute to making it happen for all humanity.

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