My collecting story… R. L. in Daytona Beach, Florida…

April 13, 2020 by  
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Below we continue our series in which we post the “stories” graciously submitted by our collecting friends during the pandemic of 2020.

Newspapers Offer A Glimpse Into the Past

I don’t know if some things never change, or if history simply has a habit of repeating itself. As I watch today’s TV news in the era of the Corona Virus, I see many of the same challenges to society today that faced a particular society 76 years ago. Both then and now, people were searching for normalcy in their everyday lives.

Harper’s Weekly, September 11, 1858

Fall 1944 was a time when World War 2 was still raging across the globe. My period newspaper reports that “members of the International and Swedish Red Cross have been obliged to discontinue their activities…” Today, we hear of the possibility of hospitals becoming over-run and shutting their doors.

In 1944, an article headlined Enormous Drain On Resources feels just as relevant now as it did back then. As we see images of grocery stores with empty shelves, I am reading about food shortages which existed in 1944, with potato thieves being fined — or even going to jail. Yet despite shortages and community hardship, then and now, everyday life carried on. While Jeffrey Morris was born on November 4, an 85 year old widow, Marie Guilbert, died on the 6th. The cycle of life still rolls on today.

Meanwhile, one subscriber offered a billiard table for sale to help pass the long winter nights. The editor offered a column titled How to Enjoy Long Evenings. Reading, creating arts & crafts, or even doodling sounds just as good to folks quarantined today, as it did to folks back then in a time of war.

What I find really amazing is that the wartime newspaper so relevant today is the Guernsey Evening Press published on November 22, 1944. It was written in English, under Nazi supervision, on one of the German-occupied Channel Islands. I believe its readers would certainly know how to face the current hardships we are enduring, and then some.

Newspapers from the past offer a glimpse into everyday lives. For me, that is the lure of collecting old newspapers. They are our personal connection to the people who lived while history was unfolding. Many of their hopes and fears and challenges were the same then, as ours are today.

As additional “stories” are posted they will be available at: MY COLLECTING STORY. We did this many years ago as well – and their posts are also included.

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