Everyday Living

Program Information

Program: Witness to a Century
Segment Number: 8 (Watch entire program)
Duration: 00:02:05
Year Produced: 2008
Description:

Everyday life was a bit different when you had to make a call through an operator or put ice in a refrigerator to keep it cold.

The Roaring Twenties. Prohibition. The Great Depression. World Wars. The explosive growth of technology. Testimony from Virginia’s centenarians is used to create WCVE PBS’ one-hour documentary, “Witness to a Century.” WCVE PBS and the Virginia Historical Society have collaborated on this look back at the enormous changes that took place in Virginia in the twentieth century through the eyes of those that lived through them.

For more information visit: http://www.ideastations.org/witness/index.html

Transcript

McMurdo

In those days , you called your operator, placed your call, a long distance call, and hung up. She said, “I’ll call you back when I have the connection.” maybe 15 minutes, a half hour, or a couple hours later, your phone would ring and the operator would say, “I have your party now.” We’d ask the operator to give us time and charges when we hung up, so that we would know how much, you know, we would be liable for. At that time, I-I just couldn't imagine all of the services that they have now.

We had ice refrigerators. the ice man came around once a week with the ice wagon. we had a card in the window And the size that we had at the bottom was the number of pounds of ice that we wanted that day. So the ice man would weigh and chip out a chunk of ice about that weight, and put a chunk of ice in it. The refrigerators had a removable top or front, we had to watch out for the drip pan underneath the refrigerator. And if we saw a trickle of water across our kitchen floor, we knew we’d been a little bit too late. It was a great improvement when electrical refrigerators came in. I don’t think they had a freezer at first but You could store food and keep it for a while. They were a wonderful thing.