I do not remember where I was on November 25, 1946. Afterall, I was only a few months past my first birthday. But thanks to my dad’s sense of history he put away that week’s edition of LIFE Magazine, its tenth anniversary issue. Lucky me, I still have it.
For the younger readers of Marc’s Blog, LIFE was America’s formost picture magazine. It arrived weekly at hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of mailboxes from 1936 through December 1972. It was literally a weekly graphic representation–a snapshot–of what was going on in America and elsewhere around the globe.
This particular issue commemorates the past decade of LIFE’s life and looks ahead to the future. For me, personally, it’s a real hoot given its depictions of the times and events of my very first year. As such, one specific article caught my attention. It features “The American Dream” as it existed in 1946. The piece is highlighted by a full double page photograph of what items “most U.S. families” included in their dreams…most of which were materialistic. Here are some of the wishes that dreams were made of in 1946: “a trim colonial house on a generous plot…a convertible station wagon, $2,890…automatic washing machine, $241…an electric stove, $266…an aluminum ladder, $22.” And yes, as seen in the picture, dreamed about was even the family helicopter…at $48,500. Perhaps if I had priced my aluminum ladder at $22 at my garage sale last week, it may have sold. My asking price of $85 had left it still leaning against the wall inside my garage. See if anything here is in your dreams….
LIFE also broke the dreams down by sex. You can ponder the two pictures below to see what his and her dreams were made of 73 years ago. Oh how times have changed…as have dreams. (I am sorry the pictures aren’t better quality; I dreamed they’d be better!)
“A WOMAN’S DREAM in 1946 would probably include most or all items in this picture, which cost about $1,000,000. Among costliest are a lace dressing gown, $595. a diamond necklace, $330,000, and emerald ring. $300,000, all worn by the model; sable wrap. $75,000, and mink evening coat, $10,000, both behind her; emerald necklace, $75,000 , and black evening gown (on bed), $625.”
Meanwhile “…A MAN’S DREAM in 1946, when people seem to want more outdoor living and sports than ever before, runs heavily to sporting goods and includes the parka and trousers worn by the model, $85; his rubber boat, $70; 12-gauge shotgun, $562; tennis racker, $22; steel fly rod and reel, $45; snowshoes, $18; golf bag and clubs, $203; bicycle training device, $79; bow and arrow set. $33.”
Given my age and probable state of mind at the time LIFE celebrated its tenth anniversary, I suspect the only thing I was dreaming about back then was a frantic search for my pacifier and would somebody pullllllease change my diaper.