Joan Crawford and her 1929 Ford Town Car

I was six years old in 1929 and Daddy had a black Ford, too, but not nearly as fancy as Joan Crawford’s. 1929 was also the year that my baby brother, Ernie, was born. Daddy worked as a carpenter in Detroit and from what I hear there was also a depression in 1929  and my Daddy lost his job.

It’s funny the things you can remember from the age of six. In those days doctors would come to your home and, though I was born in a hospital, Mom’s next three kids were delivered at home. One day the doctor came because one kid was sick and Mom was terribly worried.  Whatever the doctor  said or did seemed to make Mom much happier and when Mom was happy, I was happy. I remember kissing the doctor’s hand and he laughed and hoisted me into the air. Twice since then I have wanted to kiss a doctor’s hand, but didn’t have that six-year-old freedom from inhibition.

I guess Daddy couldn’t find another job in Detroit at that time so my parents packed the four of us up into our black Ford and headed for Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where Uncle George was the superintendent in a silk mill and had offered Daddy a job.

Here we are. Aren’t we a sight?  Left to right:  Me, Bobby, Annette, baby Ernie.

Hodson kids, 1930


What else do I remember from 1929.  There was a big dog named Buck that I was afraid of.  I recognized a tomato plant that had grown from seed by its smell.  Mom taught me how to say the German alphabet and the prayer to my guardian angel.  I learned to sew on a treadle sewing machine.  All I remember about school is that we ran around in circles and I wondered why I never had to have a bowel movement in school.  (In our family we went tinkle and squeeze, not pee and poop!)

Who says six-year-olds  don’t have a life?  And that’s how it was, in 1929.