The News-Messenger from Fremont, Ohio on September 4, 1985 · 15
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The News-Messenger from Fremont, Ohio · 15

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Fremont, Ohio
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Wednesday, September 4, 1985
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15
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FOCUS After the war, they invaded thè suburbs By JOHN OMICINSKI Gannett News Service LEVITTOWN, N.Y. "Bored?" said Cecile Roberts, reflecting on life in this post-World War II prototype of modern suburbia. "Oh my, no. We were too busy to be bored." The year was 1949, and Roberts, her veteran-husband, and thousands just like them flocked to the Long Island potato fields 32 miles from New York City. Here, William Levitt the former Seabee who became the Henry Ford of housing was ! selling two-bedroom bungalows to veterans for $7,990, no money down. From the air, this was a vast procession of look-alike houses. For the Robertses, among 5 million caught in one of the worst housing shortages in American history, it was the way out. Veterans begged and badgered Levitt or doggedly slept overnight in lines at his offices for homes on 60-by-100-foot lots. A land rush was on, as significant to America as those of the 19th century which settled the West. By the 19905, more than half of all Americans will live in suburbs, estimates Hugh Wilson of Adelphi University's Institute for Suburban Studies. - "We had to have our own place," said Shoan Reilly, an original Levittowner. "We were Just married and living with my mother in a second-floor apartment in the Bronx. The roaches made the wallpaper move when you turned on the light." In 1948, 150 houses a week were going up, putting to commercial use innovative techniques Levitt developed in 1942 for housing needed by the military in Norfolk, Va. The government underwrote Levittown while critics predicted he would go bust and while By CHRIS COLLINS Gannett News Simko WASHINGTON The "harrumphl" from Portland, Ore., vibrates through the cross-country telephone line after Kay Baker, 71, is read this from a 1945 Time magazine: "The women want their men to come home. With a unanimity which would startle old-time feminists, they want to quit their jobs, settle down and have children." "Well, a lot of them did," snaps Baker, a shipyard welder during World War II. "But certainly not the majority, I don't think. That same old eyelash-fluttering group did." Be they eyelash flutterers or tough talkers, millions of women were drawn into the marketplace by World War II, marking the starting point of a steady increase in the percentage of working women that continues today. ' In 1940, one in four women worked, a ratio that had changed little since the turn of the century. By 1945, however, more than one in three women held jobs, and 6.3 million additional women were in the labor force. While the number of women working declined after the war, it never again fell to prewar levels: 25.8 percent worked in 1940; 35.8 percent in 1945 and 33.9 percent in 1950. Today, 54.3 percent work. But historians are still disputing what long-term impact the war had on women's roles in America. It is "a myth that all these women emerged from their '1' Buckminster Fuller's revolutionary, round "Dymaxion" house failed for lack of interest. By 1952, Levitt's 26-step reverse assembly line ("The work, ers moved; the houses stayed put") spread 17,700 houses and an entire new way of life. It continues unabated. "That's what fascinates me," says Wilson. "Academia argues about the suburbs, while people continue to move out to them." Armed with FHA and VA loan guarantees, an entire generation, for the first time, could realize the American dream: a home of their own. And Levitt was its Pied Piper. Today, signs are the only clue to where Levittown leaves off and Hicksville begins. Wilson and others agree that it wouldn't have happened had there been no war. "It would have taken a lot longer," he says, "and suburbia wouldn't look the same. "Before the war, a single-family home was something mostly for upper-middle classes. But World War II created rising expectations, prosperity and a government that felt it had to do something." Suddenly, there was a new mobility, with its roots in the war, which would change America. The 1950s would see construction of 15 million housing units. Shopping centers and two-car families were inevitable. Passenger air travel a prewar adventure became commonplace. Jet engines, designed to power combat planes, quickened the pace of commerce. By 1950, Americans were traveling 10.2 billion miles a year by air, quadruple the 1944 figure. And by 1980, they registered 255 billion air miles, according to the Air Transportation Association of America. A defense highway network, kitchen and joined the work forces to do their patriotic bit," says Amy Kessleman, a State University of New York assistant professor who researched the lives of women shipyard workers during World War II. "The fact is, the majority of women (who worked during the war) were working for wages beforehand, but were low paid; the war to them meant they were finally paid decently." After the war, "most continued to work for wages, but they did not continue in the shipyards," Kessleman says. "They had to return to women's work and women's wages." Kay Baker, for example, worked only sporadically before the war. Later, as a shipyard welder, she discovered that, in her opinion, women were better than men at welding "and if it was true in that field, why not in other fields?" Anticipating that her job would disappear when the war ended, Baker became a grocery store clerk. Later, she worked for a cast-parts manufacturer, doing what she describes as "female jobs, and paid female wages" until retiring in 1979. She had tried to get back into welding work, but never succeeded. "(My boss) said we can't hire women for jobs like this," she recalls. "I said, 'Why not, I'm qualified?' He said, 'Because there's family men out of work." For Aileen Griffin, however, the war "just plain opened up new worlds to me." Griffin, then in her early 30s, 0 - 3!7 LOSE THAT SUMMER BULGE WITH FITNESS FUNTASTIC! a General Aerobic Exercise a Mini-Tramp a Jump Rope Routines a Isotonic Exercises With Weights a Body Weight Composition Screening a Flexibility Testing 12 Sessions, 6 Weeks in Length Geriatric & Advanced Programs -. Classes begin Sept. 9 at Memorial Hospital. 715 S. Taft Ave., Fremont Monday..1 Wednesday 2:00-3:00 p.m. in Meeting Room "A" - Co-ed Senior Citizen erogram and 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the hospital cafeteria Public Co-ed Advanced For more information or to register CALL 332-7321, Ext. 223 raEraomaL EIOSPITA 715 S. Taft Ave. Fremont 0 1 , .... .""1 -.'', ----,',- 'k --------L----11 ...1,4 1...m.-.AA.1 e ,, U.N.& .4,.- , , t tr.....604inomm..01. Y-4' 1,., .-. - - - --,,,V., - .,-; ....., . ...14700); d a - - , , . 4 S , . . . ,,. . , - - - 0. .1-4- - - 1. AN. Mb , conceived by generals impressed by Hitler's autobahn and worried that invading Japanese would easily blow up the U.S. intercontinental railroads, led to an interstate highway system. There were consequences to the new mobility: declining cities and vanished railroads, scattered families and long commutes. The new suburbanite had to put up with cosmopolites' mockery of "little boxes made of ticky-tacky" and descriptions of "incipient slums" from critics such as Lewis Mumford. In Levittown, it hasn't worked out that way. "Mumford," said Levitt in an interview, "didn't have much vision. He didn't realize that the trees would grow." He also didn't count on the pioneer suburbanites' instinct for Individuality and more interior space. was teaching high school English in Tyler, Texas, when the war began. She specqlates that she probably would have kept on teaching, married and spent her life in Tyler had she not attended a lecture by photographer Margaret Burke White, then covering the war. As White told about her work "right in the middle of it," Griffin thought to herself, "that's for me." On the way home from the lecture, she turned to her father and said, "I think I have to go." Griffin joined the Navy, becoming one of almost half a million American women who enlisted in the military services during the war. No longer landlocked in Texas, she served as a WAVES personnel officer in a seaport town and as an aviation administrator in Washington. Thanks to the GI Bill, Griffin could afford after the war to get her doctorate degree at Columbia University. After a second stint of active duty during the Korean Conflict, Griffin went to Dallas, where she was a school system reading consultant, then to Texas Women's University in Denton. She retired as head of the education college's curriculum department in 1973. "There's no question in my mind that the war was a major accelerator of pulling the women I I Women drawn into workplace by war I 1 '.- .1 , 4 The News-Messenger, Fremont, Ohio, Wednesday, September 4, 1985 135 ..P LEVITTOWN, N.Y., was the new suburbia after the war, with veterans flocking to homeownership. America's original Cape Cods and Ranchers have sprouted dormers, additions, patios, glassed porches of all shapes and sizes. Few look Just the same. Peach, pear, maple and locust trees the plantings which Levitt's father, Abraham, watched with an eagle eye from his chauffeured Cadillac limousine have overspread Levittown's tidy yards. Gently winding streets Mockingbird Lane, Hyacinth Road, Kingfisher Lane lead through well-kept neighborhoods where some $7,990 Levitt houses command $125,000 nowadays. Today, Levitt is planning a new community south of Orlando, Fla., called Poinciana Park. Many of those who want to move In, he says, are Levittowners who lived in his New Jersey and New York developments. out of the home," says social economist Eli Ginzberg of Columbia University. "The simplest way to put it is that, up to World War II by and large no respectable married white woman with an earning, viable husband would work. That was transformed by the war." According to federal statistics, the percentage of married women working rose from 14 percent in 1940 to 23 percent in 1944, and stayed at the higher figure until about 1950, when it began to climb. Today, more than half of all married women work. The war, however, did not change the then-prevailing view that mothers with young children should stay home. Instead, most of the women recruited for war jobs were single younger women or those over 35 with older or no children the two groups for whom jobs were more traditionally acceptable. In 1944, 35 percent of married women aged 35 to 44 who had no young children were working; of those who had a child under 10 years old, however, only 13 percent worked. While their numbers gradually rose in the decades after the war, it was only in this decade that the percentage of working married women with small children has begun to equal that of married women without children at home. CROGHAN COLONIAL BANK MONEY MARKET RATES I82-Day Certificate of Deposit 7040 $2,500 MINIMUM DEPOSIT 12-Month Certificate of Deposit Rate Yield 8.00 8.328 with interest compounded daily and held to maturity RATES EFFECTIVE THROUGH SEPTEMBER 9 Federal regulations require a substantial interest penalty tor early withdrawal. CROGHAN COLONIAL Ic BANK MEMBER FDC 4bl swop FRE MONT m) II WWII made military bigger part of U.S. By WILLIAM RINGLE Gannett News Service WASHINGTON With the end of World War II the military became and remained a bigger element in peacetime America than after any conflict in the nation's history. Before the war, it had been an almost invisible presence, bordering on insignificant. The first glimpse many a small-town boy had of an active-duty soldier or sailor was when he enlisted. In the '20s and '30s a U.S. ability to fight simultaneously oneand-a-halT or two-and-a-half wars, or even more deemed essential today by many strategists would have seemed utter fantasy. Prewar global military power had been centered in Europe. "Fortress America's" strategy relied on the Atlantic and Pacific to shield it geographically from attack. If war did break out, it would be confined first to Europe, giving America ample time to mobilize so the strategic theory went. But President Franklin D. Roosevelt "had regretfully discovered in 1938 that the United States did not have the military power to 'overawe' potential adversaries," writes Daniel Yergin in his book "Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State." "Its small air force and 185,000-man army were insufficient to frighten the dictators." In the days leading up to Pearl Harbor, the Navy had only 160,997 men. But after World War II "the corpse of traditional American defense policy (lay) amid the casualties," say professors Allan R. Millett and Peter Maslowski in their new military history, "In the Common Defense." "... Instead of waiting for general war to engulf the United States, or depending upon the nation's industrial and manpower potential to discourage potential enemies, the United States adopted the strategy of (deterring agression with) ready military forces and the political will to threaten their use ..." Statistics indicate the dramatic results of that turnabout. Before the war: O Roughly one in 335 Americans was in uniform. Today's ratio is one in 108. O Only 1.8 percent of the peacetime gross national product (GNP) was spent on the military. Today it is 6.4 percent. O Only 19 percent of the federal Depression budgets went for military spending. Today the comparable figure is almost 33 percent. O Overseas bases were located in a handful of places Critical to American interests, like Panama, the Philippines and Cuba. Today 333 bases, large and small, are spotted around the globe. O When seapower counted for more than it does now, the U.S. fleet numbered 345 ships. Today the total is 539. Dependability proven in self-service laundries First in preference. (Based on a national survey asking consumers which brand of washer they'd like to own) Nobody gets your dishes cleaner than Maytag Open Daily 8:30-5:30, Fri. 8. Sot. 'tit 4 PHONE 332-6494 700 E. STATE ST. FREMONT , Women drawn into workplace by war ..t 1 111 '..., , I ....00-- By CHRIS COLLINS kitchen and joined the work was teaching high school English out of the home," says social Gannett Nowa Wyk forces to do their patriotic bit," in Tyler, Texas, when the war economist Eli Ginzberg of Co- WASHINGTON The "har- says Amy Kessleman, a State began. She speculates that she lumbia University. "The simplest rumpht" from Portland, Ore., University of New York assistant probably would have kept on way to put it is that, up to World vibrates through the cross-coun- professor who researched the teaching, married and spent her War II ... by and large no re- S- try telephone line after Kay lives of women shipyard workers life in Tyler had she not attended spectable married white woman g Baker, 71, is read this from a during World War II. "The fact a lecture by photographer Mar- with an earning, viable husband 1945 Time magazine: is, the majority of women (who garet Burke White, then cover- would work. That was trans- "The women want their men to worked during the war) were ing the war. formed by the war." come home. With a unanimity working for wages beforehand, As White told about her work According to federal statistics, which would startle old-time but were low paid; the war to "right in the middle of it," Grif- the percentage of married feminists, they want to quit their them meant they were finally fin thought to herself, "that's for women working rose from 14 per-jobs, settle down and have chil- paid decently." me." On the way home from the cent in 1940 to 23 percent in 1944, 1 dren." After the war, "most continued lecture, she turned to her father and stayed at the higher figure . "Well, a lot of them did," to work for wages, but they did and said, "I think I have to go." until about 1950, when it began to snaps Baker, a shipyard welder not continue in the shipyards," Griffin joined the Navy, be- climb. Today, more than half of N , during World War II. "But cer- Kessleman says. "They had to coming one of almost half a mil- all married women work. 0 tainly not the majority, I don't return to women's work and lion American women who The war, however, did not think. That same old eyelash- women's wages." enlisted in the military services change the then-prevailing view - fluttering group did." Kay Baker, for example, during the war. No longer land- that mothers with young children - Be they eyelash flutterers or worked only sporadically before locked in Texas, she served as a should stay home. Instead, most ASHE - , D 1 . ER tough talkers, millions of women the war. Later, as a shipyard WAVES personnel officer in a of the women recruited for war were drawn into the marketplace welder, she discovered that, in seaport town and as an aviation jobs were single younger women , - by World War II, marking the her opinion, women were better administrator in Washington. or those over 35 with older or no i .,-- I ' m , 1 11 EA D o starting point of a steady in- than men at welding "and if it Thanks to the GI Bill, Griffin children the two groups for , --- ; --"''''' -- crease in the percentage of was true in that field, why not in could afford after the war to get whom jobs were more tradition- i ' i 4 9 ' S ER her doctorate degree at Columbia , working women that continues other fields?" ally acceptable. ' f- . - ,- today. Anticipating that her job would University. In 1944, 35 percent of married ,-i. ID ,.--------- .-- II" ' In 1940, one in four women disappear when the war ended, women aged 35 to 44 who had no worked, a ratio that had changed Baker became a grocery store After a second stint of active young children were working; of Griffin went to Dallas, where she ' , ,. Sr61.1 7": little since the turn of the cen- clerk. Later, she worked for a duty during the Korean Conflict, those who had a child under 10 I .5!1-;0:, tury. By 1945, however, more cast-parts manufacturer, doing years old, however, only 13 per- ! than one in three women held what she describes as "female was a school system reading con- cent worked. While their num- ! & - .4- ni J L. I , jobs, and 6.3 million additional jobs, and paid female wages., sultant, then to Texas Women's bers gradually rose in the f --' 1 University in Denton. She retired ,-,-- women were in the labor force. until retiring in 1979. decades after the war, it was ' ' While the number of women She had tried to get back into only in this decade that the per- curriculum department in 1973. working declined after the war, welding work, but never sue- as head of the education college s eentage of working married $ 0 0 It never again fell to prewar lev- ceeded. "There's no question in my women with small children has MAYLIG els: 25.8 percent worked in 1940: "(My boss) said we can't hire mind that the war was a major begun to equal that of married ryl ill", ) 1 35.8 percent in 1945 and 33.9 per- women for jobs like this," she accelerator of pulling the women women without children at home. ' 6 t cent in 1950. Today, 54.3 percent recalls. "I said, 'Why not, I'm First in preference. work. qualified?' He said, 'Because I (Based on a national survey I But historians are still disput- there's family men out of asking consumers which 1 ing what long-term impact the work." I brand of washer they d like i it war had on women's roles in For Aileen Griffin, however, CROGHAN COLONIAL BANK to own) America. the war "just plain opened up I 1 i RS E, IS: 1 It is "a myth that all these new worlds to me." MONEY MARKET RATES , . . 1 women emerged from their Griffin, then in her early 305, '. - T g ' ' ' OAD 'fe' i .. 6. ' ' . ' 1 , m , 4 romoolx,mo.ixive4Ewm.xxxx-q.410-01 1 I82-Day Certificate of Deposit N 1 i ISHIAH YE 4 IMAI 4, --e - IL..., 411 ....---..-..,' , I lift 1 --4 LOSE THAT t, i ' SUMMER 04) t I ; '. -, c........ , ------... . v . 1 -'-e BULGE I 7 0 410 i '...; ,.:::;) ...zr i 46 WITH , $2,500 MINIMUM DEPOSIT a N ' A . 1 I - 1 ' 1E': ' ' t"- I Al ,' , A. 1 I I I 1 t FITNESS I TI , , , ,, ; t , . '-I , Lil mown 0 MAITA G t FUNTASTIC! ; I f i4"b i I 12-Month Certificate of Deposit . 1 , . MAYTAG is I s s i 1 Rate Yield . ii 1 1 I I General Aerobic Exercise . I 8.00 8.328 1 'ib' 111 tl Li6 S tr1;1 17Z i , 1 Mini-Tramp Jump Rope Routines Isotonic Exercises With Weights . S Body Weight Composition Screening I 1 with interest compounded daily and held to maturity . , : $ 60 0 $ Flexibility Testing al (0 ? , I 12 Sessions, 6 Weeks In Length Geriatric & Advanced Programs - RATES EFFECTIVE THROUGH SEPTEMBER 9 , Classes begin Sept. 9 at Federal regulations require a substantial interest penalty . I Memorial Hospital. 715 S. Taft Ave., Fremont II tor early withdrawal. . Dependability prov- Nobody gets your Monday4 Wednesday . en in self-service dishes cleaner than 2:00-3:00 p.m. in Meeting Room "A" - Co-ed Senior I 1 Ac:::::bi, SWOP FRE MONT 1 NI laundries 1 Maytag , I Czen erogram Th:& . and ,:::: ,. I 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the hospital cafeteria Public Co-ed Advanced I me bank that belongs to Fnomont. '14-....---" , I CALL 332-7321, Ext. 223 For more information or to register ' I , CROGHAN - C 'i IT All ,111 91 .! E E n s , I COLONIAL om irmonIAL EIOSPITIA. IN:Jr-BANK 715 S. Taft Ave. Fremont '4 MEMBER FDIC Open Daily 8:30-5:30, Fri. Iii 8. Sot. 'tit 4 111 . PHONE 332-6494 ,. , , , 200 E. STATE ST. FREMONT v - . - - - t L,, , I , . ,, ...... , , . , . . , .- . - , - . . .. . ,. . - - , .. , , . . , 4 i . . .1 , - I A 1 r. AiLlw I I lit tz' a I AIM& "..- ..-' I - 4 .: 1 1 r I ' ' P k.at -, 7 '71 rmmeditwl .,--i;;.6 ' --.... Neb,..,,-- ,.44 ',1.'"146"t' '4..42.10, lit, . 7 . . - ,N.-,----"....".- -

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