B I R T H
by: Anne Dudnick Cohen
Anne Dudnick Cohen, a girl, was born on February 19, 1920, in a bed placed in the dining room of her parent's home in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In truth she was not wanted, coming too soon after the birth of her sister and her parents did not need another mouth to feed. Times were bad and the effects of the first World War were still being felt, as well as the aftermath of the flu that had run rampant throughout the United States. Nevertheless, this baby decided she was entering this world and nothing would stop her. There must have been a doctor that came to the house, but the birth proved to be an easy one. Her parents, Hyman and Blanche Dudnick were married August 5th, 1916, and after this baby was born, she was very much wanted and loved by everyone in her family.
The year 1920 proved to be an interesting year: Warren G. Harding, a Republican, was president. For the women of American, however, it was a most successful year because the Suffragist Movement finally paid off, after many years of marches and spending months in jail, women got the right to vote. Refrigerators were not as yet invented, and everyone had an ice box with a basin underneath that collected the water as the ice melted. Washing machines also had not been invented, and housewives washed clothes in a round metal tub placed in the kitchen and scrubbed away on a washboard, and then boiled the bedsheets in a metal tub on the kitchen stove, and finally finished by hanging all of the washed items outside on clothes lines with wooden pegs. Wagons were pulled by horses, carrying ice, bread, fruit and vegetables. These were the days before Supermarkets were formed, and housewives had to go to the various stores for the individual items they needed to make the meals they put on the table for their families.
In some ways, it was a happier time in spite of the financial problems that affected everyone. Housewives made friends with the storekeepers, most people sat out in front of their homes after dinner and conversed with their neighbors. Children all played together on the pavements or out in the street. I remember going to the public library on Saturday mornings and listening to the stories the Librarians would read to us. The movie houses were close by and a great form of entertainment, people listened to music on their victrolas while playing their records, or spent a little time listening to other people's conversations on their two-party telephones. I can remember someone ringing our house bell and telling us that we have a telephone call at the corner drug store. It was customary to give the kid a nickel for his trouble, run to the drug store, enter a booth, sit down, close the door and have a telephone conversation.
The technological development that has occurred by the end of the 20th Century and continuing into the 21st Century is absolutely astonishing! However, the human need for love, friendship, companionship, stimulating conversation, education and entertainment is just as strong as today as it ever was!!
Anne Dudnick Cohen is a published writer, former member of The Royal Belllingham Literary Group, and now a proud member of Tea and Tales Writing Group. She loves writing poetry, telling stories and cracking people up. She is 89 years young. She is currently working on a dramatic monologue which will be performed Monday, March 22, 2010. More details to come on that!