Life in 1920

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Life in 1920

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

My Easter novella, Resurrection of Hope, is set in the couple of years immediately following World War I, 1919-1920. America had survived its first world war and an influenza pandemic that killed more people than the war. Things were beginning to look up. This was a time of transition in America and didn’t fit into the time periods we normally think of. It wasn’t yet the flapper era although flappers had come on the scene, but the early 1900s era of the Gibson Girls, long skirts, and Dough Boys was a thing of the past. Here are some facts about normal life in 1920.

Modern Conveniences:

Although modern conveniences like electric lights, indoor plumbing, and running water were available in 1920, for the most part, only those living in the city took advantage of them. Although during the roaring 20’s, people moved from rural farms to suburbs and cities, in the beginning of the decade, half of the population still lived out in the country on farms.

Most people in the city had electricity, telephones, streetlights, sewage systems, and running water. Throughout the decade, housewives were replacing their iceboxes for refrigerators and some even had washing machines, vacuum sweepers, sewing machines, electric mixers, toaster, and electric fans.

Automobiles:

In 1920, the Model T automobile manufactured by Ford Motor Company made cars affordable for the average family. The days of the horse and buggy were becoming a thing of the past although you would occasionally see one in rural areas. Public roadways were improved and paved to keep up with the times. Because of the automobiles, the mobility of America changed. One of the major changes was the creation of the suburbs. People could work in the city without actually living there.

Leisure Activities:

Movie theaters, radio, roller rinks, bowling, and watching race car driving and baseball games became fun activities every middle-class family could participate in. The invention of radio also made it so the average family could listen to music or radio shows from their own living room. Dance clubs opened where couples could dance the new dances to jazz songs although the more conservative families considered them immoral. There was also a dark side of entertainment with the speakeasies where illegal drinking and gambling went on, but most people in the 1920s didn’t participate in that.

Family Life:

Most families were traditional with the father who was the bread-winner and the mother who stayed at home and took care of the family. Teenagers were non-existent. You were a child until you became an adult. Younger teens spent time playing as children. Older teens were expected to act like adults. Public schools were everywhere, and most students graduated from high school for the first time in history although few went to college. Dating was usually chaperoned, abstinence was expected, and young adults would normally marry by the time they were twenty-one.

Fashion:

The flapper era was starting to show up in the cities in 1920. Most women were conservative and wore their skirts below their knees which was scandalous five years earlier. The shift or chemise dress with the lowered waistline became popular in 1916 and continued throughout the 1920s. Most dresses were sleeveless, and women wore sweaters over them on cold days.

Many women were starting to cut their hair even in the rural areas. Older women and some farm wives still wore long skirts and kept their hair long pinned up in a bun. Cloche hats that fit tight around the face were becoming popular and went with the new short hair styles. Make-up lines such as Max Factor started opening, and women in the city wore make-up to look like the actresses on the silent movie screen.

The biggest change was ladies’ undergarments. Although the corsets didn’t disappear completely, one piece camisoles and slips became the desired undergarments. Because of shorter hemlines, silk hosiery was invented in 1920. It became the fashion for years after that. Bras didn’t come out until 1922, so most women either wore modified corsets or only wore a camisole.

Resurrection of Hope

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

The History of Saint Patrick

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, is a day everyone loves to celebrate by wearing green and having parades, but most don’t know the spiritual significance of the man named Patrick. It is a story of adventure and mystery.

Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland in the year, 387. His parents were Romans living in Britain and named him Maewyn Succat. At the age of fourteen, Patrick was captured by a raiding party and taken to Ireland to herd sheep. Ireland, at that time, was populated by pagans and druids. Patrick, during his captivity, learned the language and culture of Ireland. He also used his captivity to grow closer to God.

Six years later, at the age of twenty, Patrick had a dream from God to leave Ireland. In the dream, he was told to escape to the coast. When he arrived at the coast, a ship from Britain was waiting for him. He returned home to his family.

Later Patrick studied for the priesthood, became a bishop. He had a vision of the people of Ireland begging him to return and tell them about Jesus. Patrick became a missionary to Ireland and preached the Gospel throughout the land. He lived there for the rest of his life, and many were converted. He died on March 17th, 461.

There are many legends surrounding Patrick. Because there are very few snakes in Ireland, one legend says Patrick banished the snakes. This legend has a grain of truth in it if you consider the snakes paganism that plagued Ireland. By the time Patrick died, Ireland was on its way to becoming a Christian nation. Another legend says an Ash tree would grow wherever Patrick poked his stick into the ground.

The reason the shamrock is used to represent St. Patrick is because he used the shamrock to illustrate the trinity. Since the shamrock is green, that color is also used to represent Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.

When 20 Million People Died of the Flu

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

We live in a relatively healthy period in time. We no longer die of the black plague or small pox. There are cures for rabies and inoculations for just about everything from the flu to chicken pox to polio. Even though we had a rough flu season this winter, very few people had life threatening problems because of it, and only twelve died from the flu this year, many because of complications from other health problems.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that less than one hundred years ago, a flu pandemic swept through the world and killed over 20 million people. Over 600,000 of those people were in the United States. Some estimates say the death toll world-wide was as high as 30 to 50 million.

The time was during the ending days of World War One in 1918. Roller skating rinks, movie theaters, and amusement parks were popping up every where as Americans had more money and leisure time than ever before. Although almost everyone in America lived on farms and in rural areas, people were increasingly moving to the cities and suburbs. Model Ts were affordable, and many were trading their horses in for cars. All the modern conveniences like indoor bathrooms, running water, electricity, and the telephone were starting to make their way into some homes. Women were starting to work outside of the home before they had children, and states were ratifying the amendment to give women the right to vote.

The only downside to living in America during this period of time was the Great War across the ocean. Germany and its allies were set on conquest and Europe was in a stalemate costing thousands of lives. In 1917, the United States entered the war, and many young men were sent overseas as Dough boys.

In 1918, the first cases of the pandemic flu epidemic hit. Many soldiers in army training camps through the US were some of the first victims. Military hospitals, both in the US and overseas, filled up quickly with more victims from the flu then from warfare. Nine million solders died from warfare, but 50 million died from the flu.

In March 1918, Haskell County, Kansas sent a message to the Public Health Department informing them of 18 cases of severe influenza. By May, cases of influenza overseas was being reported. By August the flu swept through North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The flu came in three major waves, the last hitting in Spring 1919, a few months after the Great War had ended. One factor for the defeat of the Germans was the devastating effects of the flu on their soldiers.

The Public Health Service fought the flu spread through education (fliers, ads, posters), quarantine, sanitary measures, and requiring masks be worn in public. Although these measures probably helped, the flu epidemic eventually just went away.

In my Easter novella, Resurrection of Hope, Vivian’s parents and sister died of the influenza epidemic. Most families during that time had family members who had died from the flu.

Resurrection of Hope

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

You can buy Resurrection of Hope at a variety of online sites including Amazon.

Moravian Christmas Traditions

img_1022By Tamera Lynn Kraft

In my novella, A Christmas Promise, I write about Moravian missionaries in Schoenbrunn Village, circa 1773. The Moravians brought many Christmas traditions to America that we use to celebrate Christ’s birth today. Here are a few of them.

red room with christmas-tree and colorful gift - rendering

The Christmas Tree: Moravians brought the idea of decorating Christmas trees in their homes in the early 1700s, long before it became a popular tradition in the United States.

 

Illustration of Christmas candle lighted with wreath isolated on white background done in retro style.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Services: Most churches have Christmas Eve services where they sing Christmas carols and light candles to show Jesus came to be the light of the world. The Moravian Church has been doing that for centuries. They call their services lovefeasts because they also have a part of the service where they serve sweetbuns and coffee – juice for the kids – and share Christ’s love with each other. For candles, Moravians use bleached beeswax with a red ribbon tied around them. The white symbolizes the purity of Christ and red symbolizes that His blood was shed for us.

The Moravian Star: In the 1840s at a Moravian school, students made 24 point stars out of triangles for their geometry lessons. Soon those Moravian stars started making their way on the tops of Christmas trees. The star as a Christmas tree topper is still popular today.

The Putz: The putz is a Christmas nativity scene surrounded by villages or other Biblical scenes. Moravian children in the 1700s would make a putz to put under their Christmas tree. Today, nativity scenes and Christmas villages are popular decorations.

achristmaspromise_medA Christmas Promise

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman

Available at these online stores:

A Moravian Christmas in 1773

achristmaspromise_medA Christmas Promise

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman

A Moravian Christmas in 1773

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

img_1022In the wilderness of Ohio in 1773, a small band of missionaries and Lenape Indians celebrated Christmas at Schoenbrunn Village, the first settlement in Ohio. They’d come to this wilderness and started the village a year earlier to preach the Gospel to the Lenape, also known as the Deleware.

The missionaries, both white and native families moved from a town in Pennsylvania called Bethlehem. Moravians had come to Bethlehem years earlier when a preacher named John Wesley had donated the land to them. But the Lenape had been forced west as more white men had moved into the area, so the Moravians decided to move west with them.

Life was hard in Schoenbrunn. Cabins were quickly made and community gardens were planted that included beans, corn, and squash. Most villages also planted potatoes and turnips next to their cabins. The rest of their food came from hunting. But the real danger came from the many Indian tribes surrounding the village, some of them hostile.

img_1023They didn’t have time to build a fence to keep out varments and the first Ohio church until Spring, 1773, but they did manage to build a school, the first built in Ohio. The school taught both boys and girls, a first for the colonies, how to read the Scripture in their native language and in English. The Moravians printed a Bible in the Lenape language.

The village council was led by David Zeisberger and including white Moravians and Lenape converts. The rules for the village were established by the Lenape Christians. These missionaries did not consider the native converts to be beneath them but instead brothers in Christ.

vector-christmas-candle_f1gwjyl__lAfter a year and a half in Schoenbrunn, the villagers were excited to celebrate their first Christmas. They had many traditions that we still use today. They would have a candlelight Christmas Eve service called a Lovefeast. During this service, they sang Christmas hymns, shared sweet rolls and coffee together, and prayed for each other. The service concluded when they gave each child a bleached beeswax candle and a scripture to hang on their trees at home. The white candle symbolized the purity of Christ and the flame showed that Jesus is the light of the world. A red ribbon would be wrapped around the candle to symbolize how Jesus shed His blood for a lost world.

schoenbrunn-cabinIn every home in Schoenbrunn, families decorated artificial Christmas trees with candles and papers with scriptures written on them. The trees were made by putting together a wood frame and decorating it with real pine branches. The family would also make a putz, a nativity village that included the nativity scene, the wise men, and other Biblical scenes and place it under the tree. Most Moravians gave small gifts at Christmas, but resources were so limited that the children in Schoenbrunn were happy with their candles they received at the church. After a Christmas feast, the family would read the verses hung on the tree and talk about God’s blessings at Christmas.

Schoenbrunn Village has been restored and is open to tourists. Find out more at this link (http://www.ohiosfirstvillage.com) .

 

10 Quotes from Great Awakening Preachers

featherThe United States of America was born out of the Great Awakening that took place in the 1700s. Men like the John and Charles Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and George Whitefield preached as America turned to God. Revivals and Awakenings have happened a number of times sense then. America is at a crossroads. It needs another Great Awakening like never before. Here are 10 quotes from some of the preachers of that first revival in America.

“It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.” — George Whitefield

“The care of the soul is ‘a matter of the highest importance;’ beyond anything which can be brought into comparison with it.” — George Whitefield

“If you are going to walk with Jesus Christ, you are going to be opposed … In our days, to be a true Christian is really to become a scandal.” — George Whitefield

“God’s purpose for my life was that I have a passion for God’s glory and that I have a passion for my joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion.” — Jonathan Edwards

“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” — Jonathan Edwards

“Prayer is as natural an expression of faith as breathing is of life.” — Jonathan Edwards

“To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.” — Jonathan Edwards

“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth. — John Wesley

“Catch on fire, and people will come for miles to see you burn.” — John Wesley

“Once more, Never think that you can live to God by your own power or strength; but always look to and rely on him for assistance, yea, for all strength and grace.” — David Brainerd

Welcoming Author Susan Page! She’s Giving Away a Book!

by Carole Brown

It’s a privilege to welcome wonderful author Susan Page today to Word Sharpeners. I’m delighted to introduce all of you to her and her books. Susan . . .

My inspiration for River Rest came easily—from a journal left by my great-aunt Belle, my River Rest orchard finalgrandmother’s sister. She described life in rural Central Maine in the 1920s and 1930s so well that as I perused her diary I felt lifted back in time.

For my novel, I created new characters, Judith and Ben, and I let them live out a romance while experiencing some of the same things Aunt Belle and her family did.

Let me say right here that Judith is not Aunt Belle, and Ben is not Uncle Harry. I also moved the timeframe of my story back to 1918. Some of the things in my novel really happened, like the fire I describe, but not in that year. The flavor is what the journal gave me—the ice cutting, the quilting, the neighborliness, the apple picking, the bird feeder.

A few real, historical people are mentioned, but not many. Grover Cleveland Bergdoll is one. He was perhaps the most famous “slacker,” or draft dodger, as we would say, of all time. Judith’s sister is eager to write a news article about him, but Ben discourages her from doing this. It’s only a mention, but one of the interesting tidbits I gleaned while researching the time period I had chosen.

I also wrote as accurately I could about the army training camp set up in Lewiston, Maine, on the grounds of a girls’ school. My own grandfather went there for training in 1918, as did Judith’s brother in my book.

When writing historicals, I have the privilege of incorporating real events into them, blending them with the imaginary plot of the story. I am able to pick and choose what happenings I want to emphasize, and which ones hum quietly in the background.
Every American has an impression of the time at the end of World War I. I let the reader fill in most of that background with her own knowledge. I chose to make the flu epidemic important in the story, since that hit my own family that year. My grandfather caught it at the training camp, and his family suffered back home. But I don’t go into details about the peace treaty of the final battles. Instead, I focus on the daily lives of those on the home front.

River Rest is available in paperback and e-book. We’re giving away a copy this week, and the winner can choose the format. Just leave a comment below to enter the drawing. Be sure to include a way we can contact you, such as your e-mail address.

River Rest orchard final

 

ABOUT Susan’s book:

Judith Chadbourne gave up her teaching job after her mother’s death to help her father with her five siblings. But when her father sinks into deep depression and her brother Joel is drafted, the household chores and farm work may overwhelm her. Neighbor Ben Thayer offers to buy their farm, shocking Judith and angering her father. An outsider from New York, Ben seems rich and mysterious, but his heart aches from his own loss. Judith accidentally breaks the antique crystal Christmas ornament her mother loved. The splintering star echoes her family’s shattering. Ben’s efforts to help make Judith suspicious, but when Joel falls critically ill at the army camp, Ben’s concern may bring the beginnings of trust. Can love take Judith beyond the frozen Maine winter?

Find River Rest at:
Kindle: http://amzn.to/1RSspPI
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/river-rest-susan-page-davis/1123861871?ean=2940158420962
Paperback: http://amzn.to/1UHiaSZ

 

Susan Page Davis cropped

 

ABOUT Susan:

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 60 novels and novellas in the historical romance, mystery, and suspense genres. She is the mother of six and grandmother of ten. A Maine native, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband Jim. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com

 

 

Find me at:
Website: www.susanpagedavis.com
Twitter: @SusanPageDavis
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susanpagedavisauthor
History blog on the 23rd of each month: www.hhhistory.com
Thank you so much for joining me today, Susan!

We’re giving away a copy of RIVER’S REST this week, and the winner can choose the format. Just leave a comment below to enter the drawing. Be sure to include a way we can contact you, such as your e-mail address.

Readers, be sure to leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win Susan’s book!