This is where something historical, the trolley system, meets something more. Something intimate. I read some research and I can tell you when the trolley system was put into place and when it was dismantled. Who funded them, who approved and disapproved of them, I can tell you this history of these machines even in our little town. What’s even more, I can tell you the role something so simple, a mode of transportation, played in Babu’s life.
Found on the Wistariahurst website. The Wistariahurst Museum is in Holyoke and is focused around the city’s history. (Holyoke is a neighboring city so when they share information about the trolley system, there is a lot of information about Chicopee as well.) There is a lot of neat information on that website. If you are at all interested then it is worth checking out!
These images are possibly images of the very trolleys Babu used to take to get to work in Springfield.
But there is that something more. What the Trolleys meant to Babu.
They were a source of collision:
Saturday, March 2, 1935
Jeanette and I went to see “The President Vanishes” and “Lottery Lover.” Both were good pictures. Francis Polchepeck sold the store to the man who brings Jeanette’s order. She also smashed her car yesterday. Skidded into a trolley but they bought a new one.
(A new car, not a new trolley!)
They were an indication of how bad things were getting:
Thursday, March 12th, 1936
It’s been raining all week so far. If the river doesn’t stop rising conditions are going to become drastic. Havoc has already been done in some places. Some small bridges and dams were swept away and trolleys didn’t run for a while today.
Remember the great flood of 1936? Go ahead and read this post and this post.
The trolleys were places she met wonderful people:
Monday, December 14th, 1936
Met Natalie Bartula a few times down street and rode back home with her on the trolley. She’s working everyday now in the 5 + 10.
Thursday, September 9th, 1937
Ride home on the trolley most every day with Adele Janik.
Remember when they were such enemies? Read this old passage and this old passage And all over WBZ? Speaking of WBZ:
Friday, November 26th, 1937
Rode home on the trolley with Adele. She tells me that Zack is going with Mary Szelag. Gosh! Whose that man ending up?
If you remember, Zack is “WBZ” and he used to date Adele. Yes, much high school drama. Read about it in the links!
Wednesday, December 1st, 1937
Mom and Dad are rebelling against the ride “we” take after night school. We went out again tonight. John almost kissed me but I moved away. Took the trolley this morning. Jeanette was on it. Ray Balut and Jakey Stefanik too. The former attends BPI and the latter the Civil Service School.
Back when I was reading 1937 I gasped at reading his name! Little did she know sitting there on that trolley…
Imagine the many other conversations that were had on those tethered machines?
And the shenanigans:
Tuesday, March 12th, 1940
There were supposed to be quite a few of the boys going to our Nee-Wah card party tonight, but Jakey and I left to go alone from the trolley. At least Zosh, Eddie, Stretch and Nat came too. We had the party at the Y, and had a good crowd; mostly girls, but surprisingly there were a number of boys. We came home on the trolley and played airplane annoying the rest of the passengers.
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I remember my father telling me how the trolleys changed life for people back in the day. They made transportation available to everyone. It was a very democratic thing. He grew up in a neighborhood of immigrants who worked hard but could not afford to own automobiles, so they used the trolley system everyday. Much has changed since then. I think we were better off in some ways when we had less material wealth and more shared experiences like riding the trolley to work and back everyday, and going to the movies and dances and many of the things Babu writes about. Even the war was different. Now a tiny percentage of our young people fight our wars for us and we are just spectators, waving flags and buying magnets that show our “support” for them. It makes it too easy to commit troops to conflicts. And the huge income gaps we now have create separate cultures for the wealthy and the working class, who often don’t seem able to discern what is even in their best interests anymore. There is little common experience aside from FB and social media. We are all worse off for it.
Sorry, just the old broad in me going on. Enjoyed the post very much.
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Not an old broad and not “going on.” Speaking truth! But it’s worse than you say. Most people, especially my students, I poll them every year, don’t even know we are currently at war. For the most part, we are not even spectators, we aren’t even watching.
There are a lot of other valid and poignant points you made and cheers to them all and cheers to us connecting as humans despite it all.
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Yes, I find that blogs are a way to reach out and interact on a deeper level than other forms of social media. It’s not a sound bite or a one liner, the person reading your blog has to commit to reading it and then take the time to formulate a response and post it. I enjoy it so much more than FB, and forget twitter. How anyone can consider that an acceptable form of communication is beyond me. It’s like reading the comics and thinking you just read the newspaper.
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I’m with ya!
Thank you for dropping by and commenting on my blog. I love your blog too! I’m following and looking forward to getting caught up.
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