Part 6 ... 1948 ... I came to Hazard with just an old green wool suit and a sport coat. Even though I was only making $40 a week, the cost of living was such that I was able to finally get rid of the wool suit and buy some better clothes. By the end of 1948 I had three suits and several good slacks and sport shirts that I bought at Dawahare's on Main Street. One of the suits, as seen in the photograph, was a gabardine and patterned after the "zoot suit" that was popular then. The jacket was double breasted with lapels that came up past my shoulder. They were so long that I had to pin the lapel to the jacket to keep it from falling forward. There was enough material for two suits. I think I paid $75 for it which was quit a sum at the time. In the Spring of 1949 I had enough money for the down payment on a car. It was a 1940 Dodge Club Coupe. It had been well taken care of and I think I paid around $500 for it. I was really proud of that car.
I really didn't notice it at the time but in 1949 Hazard and all of Eastern Kentucky were experiencing hard times. When I was there in 1948 the mines were operating at full force and there was not that much unemployment but a year later that all changed. The mines that were operating were down to 3 or 4 days a week. People were leaving for work "up north" in Chicago, Detroit and Cincinnati. Businesses were beginning to fail. I came to work one morning to find a guy going through the garbage cans looking for food. I was in the Styles Jewelry store where Shirley worked one day and a little girl of 4 or 5 came in all alone. Her face and hands were dirty and her dress was torn and as dirty as she was, she had a note in her hand and she came up to everyone and handed them the note. It read, "please give my girl some money. We are starving and have no food to eat." This was another culture shock as I had never seen people go hungry. I did notice that there were fewer commercials and sponsors but it really didn't sink in to me as I was doing something I liked, I had my car and my girl. Shirley came home and everything was just like the summer before. Shirley was back at Styles Jewelry and time off was spent partying and now with the car - parking out. Click on image to enlarge