Sunday, October 12, 2008

What Did You Do In The Great Depression?

A huge chunk of my 401k evaporated last week while I endured the roller coaster stock market along with millions of other happy retirees. Now I'm haunted by the growing awareness that my country could be managed by a messianic Marxist come January. These thoughts merged yesterday evening into several games of "Cat Bowling." My highest score was 158. Given that it's cool and damp, my arthritis is kicking in a bit, so my top score seems quite acceptable. After all, it only took eight games to reach it. By then, my thoughts had wandered elsewhere, including into a deep exploration of some political blogs. That led to an examination of some historic ups and downs in the nation's economy. For me, it means I end up somewhere in the Great Depression. That period is interesting for another reason: the marriage that produced me - in 1946 - took place in 1933, about the time that "hope and change" entered the White House in the form of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. My parents were never Roosevelt fans. They had to cope with hard times and political uncertainties, but I don't think "Cat Bowling" was an alternative.

Although my parents have long departed this world, I can still hear them talking about two of their favorite things: movies and dancing. I'm sure they weren't alone as millions who came of age in the 20s and 30s were value programmed, in part, by silver screens and dance bands found across America. So what did Mom and Dad do in 1933 to cope with the national uncertainties swirling around them? They probably saw this pre-code classic with its girls, airplanes, and a wedding:

Earlier in the same film, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire paired up on the dance floor for the first time. Watch them in this clip, and take a second, closer look, at those girls on the airplanes.

So much for "Cat Bowling." They had a much better time.