Saturday nights are not the same as they used to be. The stores are closing earlier now on Saturday. I was surprised to find out that a lumber yard closed at 4pm on Saturdays. It does seem they should be open later for those who are anxious to make some home improvements. But Saturday nights are now reserved for dinners at the restaurants or dancing at the local bars or legion halls.
Back in the ’30s times were hard. The depression, several years of drought and low farm prices combined to make life pretty difficult for most folks. People needed something to take them over the rough places. Saturday nights became that for most families. A steady stream of cars and horses with wagons filled with men, women and children began arriving early on Saturday night carrying with them cream, eggs and other farm products they were eager to sell.
Men gathered in groups along the crowded sidewalks to discuss the farm problems of the day and how low the prices were for eggs and corn. It was therapy for them to talk things out. After they had talked it all over, they engaged in a games of checkers or cards.
Women too, gathered together in the stores wearing their feed sack dresses. It took three sacks to make a dress, and a little less for their daughters so they spent time exchanging feed sacks so that they would have three sacks of the same pattern. It was a variety of chicken feed sacks they wanted. The sacks were made in colors and patterns they liked and the chickens had better enjoy that feed! Of course they talked about the same things women have talked about down through the ages, raising children and recipes they have tried.
Youngsters debated whether to squander their nickels right away or wait until later in the evening. They knew there wouldn’t be anymore nickels if they spent them right away! It was fun for them to play their games together and exchange marbles or games they were tired of at home.
Yes, Saturday nights were fun in the ’30s. I was there playing with those farm kids. So were the rest of the town kids and their moms and dads. I’m sure the store owners were glad when the farm folks got into their cars or wagons and the town people headed home. Another Saturday night was over and they can close! And the farm and town folks would still have Sunday to look forward to. They would still see each other in Sunday School and church. Oh how sweet the weekends were! They could bear the depression or whatever as long as they had Saturday nights and Sundays to enjoy.