Monday, July 16, 2012

LIFE Magazine, June 21, 1937...A Lost Plane Timeline!

A Timeline of Events...
          LIFE Magazine, June 21, 1937              
Putting LIFE into perspective...
I have an old copy of LIFE Magazine from 1937.  I bought it because there was an article or picture concerning the "Lost Plane."  I often will do a Google search to see if I can find any more information about the plane crash that has figured so prominently in our family stories.  I was pleased to find a full-page lay-out...

Page 27
 LIFE Magazine is so large...11" by 14"...that it's too big for the scanner. 
The article was to be found on page 27 in the "LIFE ON THE AMERICAN NEWSFRONT" section.  I had hoped to find some tidbit of information that was new to me...maybe even a mention of my Grandpa Mel.  But no...that which is of vital importance to me and my family, was deserving of only a passing interest to the American public.  This is where "perspective" comes in.  The years 1936 to 1937 were filled with turmoil and amazing historical events.  It's important when writing Family History to be able to see the timeline of events around your family story.  When you know the history of the can visualize how those events affected your family. 

Imagine a late-1930s housewife reading this issue of LIFE.  When she gets to pages 26 and 27...which story do you think she will find most intriguing...finding a missing aircraft, or...

Page 26...Jean Harlow dies.

... the death of blonde bombshell Jean Harlow, whose "platinum blonde" hair made her famous overnight?  It's a no brainer.  I'm not saying that the housewife has no brains.  In that time of economic woe with rumbles of war on the horizon, she can be forgiven for daydreaming about the lives of  Hollywood stars and all of the glitz and glamour that were out of reach for so many everyday Joes and Janes. 

Grandpa Mel and Grandma Zetta could barely make ends meet...scraping a living from the mountain soil of their little fruit farm.  They couldn't even afford a radio so they could be more aware of what was happening in the outside world.  When Mel wanted to hear the latest news, he traveled down the canyon to Alpine to get the news from the local store.  No wonder a radio was on Mel's wish list after receiving his share of the reward money. 

Page 7
$36.95?  That was a king's ransom back then.

I want to share with readers and family...some of the things going on in the world during the years of 1936 and 1937. 

Drought and depletion of the soil worsen the dustbowl in the midwest.  Desperate farmers pack up their families and possessions and move to fertile areas further California.

Hindenberg takes flight.
It was a wonder to behold.  Measuring over 800 feet in length, the dirigible Hindenberg makes the first of its transatlantic flights as it arrives in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Hoover Dam is completed.

Bruno Hauptmann.
Bruno Hauptmann, who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering the Lindberg baby (Charles Lindberg III) was executed in April.

In May "Gone With the Wind" was published.

In August Jesse Owens upset Hitler by winning four Gold Medals.

December 15...Western Air Express plane crashes on mountain above Alpine, Utah.
This was copied from Grandma Zetta's scrapbook. 
Not best surviving newspaper page, but included date and time in her own handwriting.

In May, the Hindenberg explodes as it nears its mooring in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Page 19
LIFE Magazine story on "Cinderella Man" James Braddock.
Joe Louis knocked him out for World Heavy Weight Boxing title.

Golden Gate Bridge is dedicated.

June 6, 1937...Grandpa Mel finds first pieces of missing plane.

July 2, 1937...Amelia Earhart disappears.

The following is a paragraph from the first blog post I wrote about the Lost Plane. The Lost Plane  This version was written for my grandchildren:

"The first victim was found on July 4, 1937. Her name was Hazel Skinner and she was just returning home to Chicago with her new husband. They had been honeymooning in Mexico. Gradually over the next few weeks the rest of the bodies were located. Do you want to hear a strange coincidence? On that very same Fourth of July, the Salt Lake Tribune announced that Amelia Earhart had disappeared somewhere between Lae, New Guinea and Howland Island in the Pacific and was never heard from again! What happened to Amelia is one of the twentieth century's biggest mysteries."

In the grand scheme of things, we each live very small lives.  Isn't it wonderful to know that there is One who is greater than even kings and presidents...and He knows us.  And knowing this helps put things into perspective for me.

When you sit down to write the stories of your family, what will your timeline look like?  What was going on the year that you were born? How did the history of our country and world events influence the way you lived your life?  Maybe it's time to start writing that story...before it's too late.

I want to thank Meri from ImagiMeri's Creations for this darling typewriter's just my type! =D


Linda Ruthie said...

I'm so glad you did this post. What an inspiration for our own family history. It may take me a while but I definitely want to do something like this on my blog.

Dorothy said...

Hi Shirley,
I enjoyed reading your post, how interesting. And all of those things happened not all that long ago! Amelia Earharts story is fascinating and I never really understood why that Bruno character stole the Lindberg's baby. I guess for the ransome money. I just always thought it was a strange story. And your grandfather finding parts of that plane crash! Bet that made for some scary stories when you were little! :)

Sandy said...

You are so right!!!! I guess I need to go abck and read about the "Lost Plane", your grandpa got money as a reward????? Forgive me, I should have already done this! :)Sandy

Sandy said...

Just read all of your posts twice! What an amazing story! How fair of your grandfather to split that reward in those hard times.....1938 and 1939 were indeed tough tough Thanks again for sharing....Sandy

vintage grey said...

Loved this post Shirley! I appreciate the stories, and what was going on during those times. My husband's father was born in 1936, and what a crazy time in U.S History. How awesome your grandfather finding parts of the Lost Plane. You really have such great family history. So wish I knew more about mine. Your grandchildren are so lucky to have you!! xo Heather

Jann Olson said...

Great post Shirley, it's nice to stop and take the time to reflect upon history now and then. I have always had a passion for history. Thanks for reminding us of these historical events.

Tresa said...

This is such an interesting and educational post. Thank you! LOVED this post.


DearHelenHartman said...

I LOVED this post. It really does give one perspective. We all think we live in the most troubled times but that's just because history has worked things out and moved on. As it will for us.

LBP said...

As always, such interesting posts! I just had an idea!! Wouldn't it be cool to have a small scrapbook with not only the headlines of the year you were born but what was in style to wear, the prices, the songs, the fads, and I think I just found out what I am making for some Christmas presents!!! Thank You Shirley! The Men in my family are always the hardest and I think they would like this! Whoo Hoo this is going to be fun!

Linda said...

Interesting post, Shirley. Thanks for sharing:)


The Cottage Market {Andrea} ♥ said...

oh miss Shirley! you sure make history interesting in every way! what a wonderful post! you have one special grand father by the way! sending hugs to you and yours and talk to you soon!

Betsy said...

Hi Shirley,

I've finally had time to get back to the computer and enjoyed catching up on your blog posts! You inspire me to dig more deeply into my family history.

Hope all is well at your house!


Creative Breathing said...

Hi Shirley, What a fascinating year. Do you know I believe there was a movie about this plane incident. My husband recalls one as well. Thank you for all the interesting research you share with us. Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't realize what a year 1936 was. Fascinating. Are you familiar with the hobbyists who comb the hills with metal dectectors around crash sites. They're looking for metal manufacturing stamps from engines and parts. They collect and display them like some folks display golf balls from different parts of the country. We were all made differently and interesting I'd say. Thanks for the trip through history.

Chenille Cottage said...

Twas a very good year....La La La La. What a fascinating post, Shirley. You always invest a lot of time and effort in gathering and composing each feature. I think you should have been a journalist. Your writing skills are wonderful.
My grandparents lived in San Francisco when the Golden Gate Bridge was being built. I remember them telling me stories about it.
I hope you are having a good week...and, that your are staying relatively cool in this summer heat.
Blessings and fond friendship,
Carolynn xo

Pollyanna said...

Such an interesting story, and so very well done. I love the pictures you chose to illustrate, you are a very talented lady.