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Daytime on Elm Street: 1940

Daytime on Elm Street: 1940

November 1940. "Lunchroom. Aberdeen, South Dakota." Our second look at Peterson's, which seems to have been baby-friendly. 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Fashion and utility

A hat and jacket combo that will go out of fashion in twenty years or so, but a pram of multi-tasking. Remove the straps on the bottom and the pram becomes a side to side rocker for fussy babies who don't want to be in a noisy diner.

La Fendrich

in the window to the right. Fine cigars. Nifty history here.

Fashions stay

The man's outfit is interesting in that he could wear it anywhere today and nobody would give him a second look. Any of the women's clothes would be a different story!


the man's cigarette is an Old Gold from the lovely display in the window. Wish I could find somewhere to get dinner for a quarter.


Looks like "lefty" got the kid, shouldn't have had that second cup.


My dad grew up there and could be inside. They used to pour their coffee onto the saucer and sip it until it cooled. They also would play a round of dice (yahtzee) against the waitress for free coffee.

Here's looking at you, kid.

The middle-aged waitress (with the red fingernail polish and beehive coiffure) probably said, "Hon, please park the Cadillac-sized perambulator outside. I'm tryin' to work here."

Just like my grandpappy, he said

Ashton Kuchter's grandpere about to rob a baby carriage. Wait, I have that backwards.

Requirements have changed

Compared to 1940, my grandkids seem to require an enormous amount of gear to to go anywhere. A minivan is needed to haul the load. I went to Vietnam in 1968 with less stuff than one toddler needs today.

There is a baby inside

but is it THE baby?

Baby Sez

"Hey creep, get away from my wheels. Oh yeah, and Howard Hughes wants his coat and hat back."

Polite society

The difference between now & then is the monster truck pram would be forced into the diner & baby left strapped in whilst a mobile phone conversation was had.

Now in plain view

is the baby, likely, in the restaurant interior. It was "sort of" there in the first photo, but here, I think, is proof of baby's safety, on a lap, looking at the carriage.

Ah, there's the child

The baby is indeed with the mother inside, eying the man through the window.

Mystery Solved!

Well there's the baby! Looking out the window at the guy with the Chesterfield in his hand who's leaving. I knew she wouldn't leave the baby outside. Probably just not enough room inside Peterson's for that baby carriage

Empty stroller?

The baby can clearly be seen in the window, but the man enjoying his cigarette sure looks as if he is looking at a baby.

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