Work and Play
When the Maliks were not working in the fields or going to dances, it was probably Sunday. Sunday was an important event in their lives. It lasted from dawn to dusk, as most days did, except it was full of churchgoing, cooking and eating, and visiting all of the neighbors (Hons, Dorothy). Grandma said that when Sunday morning came everybody started an hour earlier. People wore their best clothes and they cared about their appearance, which she said is different from the more modern and relaxed society today. Joe even washed the car because the car had to be clean when they went to church. "The car" that Grandma referred to time and again was their old Model T Ford (Hons, Dorothy). I asked Grandpa what the economics of a family of modest means owning a care were. From an economist's point of view, how much money did people spend on a Model T back then?
Grandpa said in those days, they probably spent about $300 on a Model T, which is nothing compared to the $10,000 and $20,000 people spend today (Hons, Louis). Families today often own two or three at a time. It is interesting that, as a family on a farm who often struggled, they still were able to afford the luxury of a vehicle. I wanted to know more about the Model T economically and found Update, a magazine mailed to Ford owners, helpful.
Model Ts first arrived in October of 1908 and literally changed the world. They made "the American dream" come true for many people. The Model T was a valuable car, yet very affordable. By 1913 Ford Motor Company used streamlined assembly so that in 1914 they produced over 300,000 cars, which exceeded 299 other auto manufacturers combined. Without a doubt, Henry Ford made a significant impact on people's lives and the economy (Update 4).
The Maliks used their Model T quite often for traveling to dances, visiting on Sundays, and for several trips every year to San Antonio. San Antonio is about fifty miles from Hobson. In those days, roads were not paved and the ride must have been uncomfortable, especially considering the large, thin, bicycle-like tires of the Model T (Hons, Dorothy). Grandma remembers many of those long, enduring rides.
Their trips were usually spent shopping at stores such as "Kress", which was a big five and ten-cent store, where Grandma says they bought nice things for a quarter or fifty cents. These trips to San Antonio were not always pleasant, however, because Meta had several illnesses that required surgery and kept her in the hospital -- usually the Downtown Baptist. In those days, surgeries were rare occurrences, and were always extremely serious.
. . . I remember one time Momma was in the hospital in San Antonio. We were all ready to go up and see her. Daddy made sure we got to see her, even when we got a real cold norther the night before. We had a Model T then, so Daddy took blankets and covered everybody up because we had no heater. The drive took us about two hours since the car only went thirty miles an hour. When we finally got to the hospital and piled out of the car, I couldn't stand up because I couldn't feel my feet! I guess I was okay, but Momma was shocked to see us come in like that. She probably thought we were crazy.
She was in the hospital for sixteen days that time. The doctor said it was because she ate good and was in good health, like sixteen days was a real short stay! We really missed her that month, and when we finally got her back, she was weak. We had to help her get around, but that didn't matter, just as long as we got her back safe at home . . .
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