Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1940: 2409 E. 39th

Another in a series of posts based on the tax reassessment photos of 1940. Learn more here.

*     *     *
Late-July heat wave. Paper says it's going over 100 here, but it's hot all over. Nationwide at least 48 people have died. They're telling housewives in North Carolina to put fresh eggs in the fridge to keep them from hatching. A radio station in Texas is trying to stay cool by playing Christmas music. Yesterday a bus driver in Cleveland stopped and bought ice cream for all 11 of his riders.

The Germans are bombing England. Japan's bombing China. The corn crop is withering in the heat. Phil Rizzuto, shortstop for the Blues, is being called "the standout of all the minors at any position." Stores are advertising specials on electric fans and clearance sales on men's summer-weight suits. The Glenn Miller orchestra is coming this weekend to Municipal Auditorium. Positively only appearance within 200 miles of Kansas City. And the auditorium is air-conditioned.

Many movie theaters are Refrigerated or Ice-cooled or Healthfully Cool. Downtown at The Cool Regent you can see the Midwest premier of a film called "Hitler – Beast of Berlin" – Civilization on the brink of disaster as a monster ravishes a continent.

A giant, ten-cent malt would lower the temperature, at least temporarily. Still, the local Ritz Personality Ice Cream Company advises you to Eat Ice Cream Four Times a Day -- Builds Energy for Work and Play. The company, based in the North End, has more than a dozen retail outlets scattered primarily through working-class neighborhoods on the East Side.

This one on 39th Street, tucked into four blocks of shops and homes between Brooklyn and Prospect, is a simple shack with screen doors and a neon-lighted, double-dip cone. It sits directly in front of the bungalow home of the Fred T. Copas family. Fred is a pressman at a print shop; his wife, Myrtle, manages the shack for Ritz. Someone – perhaps teenage daughter Betty – provides the free delivery. Just telephone WAbash 9853.

The other day a guy who works for the water department cashed his paycheck, paid his water bill and pocketed the remaining $105. When he got home the money was missing. He retraced his steps three times with no luck. He thinks it must have fallen out of his pocket when he stopped to buy a ten-cent ice cream cone for a little girl.