#AMREADING The Evening Telegram of 9 November 1939.
I’ve moved into an old house that has recently been renovated. Among the debris cleared by the renovators was a pile of yellowing Toronto newspapers from 1939. Page One was all about the “Huns” threatening to invade the Netherlands, and we know how that scenario unfolded. It’s history written large. The back pages of the paper contain the small stuff, the microhistory of Toronto. Can we draw any conclusions about the city from the Classifieds? For one thing I’d say the inhabitants were tired. There are a number of ads promising to perk them up:
Wake up singing! When you awaken with a “dragged-out” feeling, take Dr. Pierce’s Golden Medical Discovery, and according to the testimonials, you will feel as good as ever before.
But maybe you want to feel even better than before. Then we suggest you take
Scott’s emulsion, a valuable tonic for run-down condition. The illustration accompanying the ad features a man dragging a large fish. Go figure.
Perhaps you feel alright, and it’s your car that needs perking up. In that case you’ll be glad to hear of the new miracle of gasoline chemistry, New-Blue Sunoco, which will provide you with knockless power and sure-fire quick starting.
But if the miracle of gasoline chemistry isn’t doing enough for your car, go out and buy a Buick. You’ll get a big, beautiful, brawny car styled to knock your eye out!
Knock my eye out?? Clearly, cars have become a lot tamer since 1939, and that’s fine with me.