My favourite aunt turned 80 recently and we had dinner to celebrate. We considered a bit what the world was like in 1929 when she was born. Obviously, she was able to contribute little to this conversation from personal experience but my father, who was 4 at the time had some further contributions to make. My aunt was born in South Pasadena where her parents had emigrated a couple of years earlier (some unhappiness for my grandfather at home in the wake of the civil war, I understand).
My father remembers that they had to turn off the lights for 5 minutes after Edison died (1931) to see what it was like without electricity (dark, he reports). There were talkies and cars (but also horses) . There was an ice man. My father remembers nothing of the Wall Street Crash and both of them felt that my grandfather had not frequented speakeasies despite my brother’s hopeful assertions that he surely had. They did remember, though, small bottles of whiskey being sent from home wrapped in newspapers and my grandfather brewing his own stout (terrifying thought). My father remembers that when my aunt was about 2 she was rescued from drowning by a Californian lifeguard (turned upside down and patted on the back while howling). If you knew my father and my aunt and how entirely from Cork they are, you would find this startling.