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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE ARTIST'S GARDEN BY CLAUDE MONET

Truck Stop Diners: 1943

Truck Stop Diners: 1943

March 1943. "Pearlington, Mississippi (vicinity). Truck drivers at a highway coffee stop on U.S. Highway 90." Who's up for a slice of apple pie? Medium format negative by John Vachon, Office of War Information. View full size.

 

Ladies Lounge

I thought ladies' lounges were for alcohol-serving joints, it being impossible for men to drink with tranquility in the presence of women.

Hubba Hubba

Could someone please tell the fella in the middle that I'm waiting on a delivery?

...and a can of Golden Shell to go, please.

Now this is a hard-core truck stop -- Cans of Golden Shell motor oil stocked right under the counter!
Also interesting that back in the day you could identify people's occupations by the various hats they wore. Gives meaning to the old expression, "He's wearing a different hat today."
And apparently, unlike military custom, guys left those hats on when they came indoors...

Looks like Tyrone Power but just might have flat feet

Two of the reasons why healthy young males were deferred from military service during most of WW II were some degree of flat-footedness (restricting the joys of marching with a 60-pound backpack) and employment in a critical industry. Some types of trucking jobs could be critical, of course. To have such a job plus flat feet, the juke joint dance floors were yours until Johnny came marching home.

12 O'Clock High

Center guy's hat has that "sixty-mission crush" popularized by Army Air Corps B-17 pilots of that era.

Badges

The reason that you don't see those badges anymore is because it's cheaper to issue a laminated CDL (Commercial Drivers' License) that good for several years.

Hats were the fashion of the day

My Dad, a lifelong trucker, wore a hat like that up through the 50's. Today's trucker would have a ball cap. The badges showed the Union local.

I love their hats

Why do they have badges on them? Were they bus or coach drivers? When did hats like that go out of fashion!

[See this comment on the previous photo. -tterrace]

Familiar

We've seen one of these guys before.

Route 66 to Hollywood

Look at the guy in the middle...talk about sizzling good looks like 1940's Tyrone Power. That hunky trucker should drive his rig all the way to the gates of Paramount Studios in Hollywood. It wouldn't take long before he'd be discovered!!

From the window view

It appears They Drive By Night. Where's George and Humphrey?

Hidden Luxury

That "Ladies Lounge" is what bumped this joint from a three-star up to a four-star. I bet there was also a "Tables for Ladies" sign in the window. Maybe even a "No Shoes, No Service" sign to clinch the deal.

Back then

if you saw a lot of trucks it meant the food was pretty good. Now it means that the parking lot is large. Back then these places were truck stops where you could eat, buy fuel, and drink your coffee. Today they're "travel centers" where you wait for tourists to figure out how to fill their oversized pickups, grab a burger at the fast food franchise, and drink your coffee from a paper cup.

I know of a few old time truck stops, but they are vanishing.

Mr. Bright Eyes

Have a feeling that getting a hot cuppa Joe and great service will never be a problem for the guy in the middle.

What is stored under the counter?

Add seventy years to the age of each of the truck drivers pictured and also to the counter accouterments such as the napkin dispenser, salt shaker and restaurant china, and the drivers' clothing. It doesn't seem that things have changed that much in all those years except maybe the menu prices. This was also in the middle of WW2 so I wonder if any of the waitresses were named Flossie or Marge.

[Under the counter: Shell motor oil. - Dave]

Is that really only coffee?

These three guys almost look like an illustrated guide on the effects of alcohol on certain personalities: giddy, glazed, then combative.

 
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