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Mon, Dec 22, 2014

LOGUE: Turning back the clock: Dutch woman lives like it’s 1938

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With the economy in its current condition, you might think we’ve returned to 1938.

Believe it or not, there was a recession during the Great Depression. It lasted for 13 months during 1937 and 1938, and the unemployment rate in 1938 was 19 percent.

The national economy didn’t really start to regain its footing until the United States was propelled by Pearl Harbor into World War II in 1941.

But there’s at least one person on the planet who doesn’t think that 1938 was such a bad year.

Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, intentionally decorates her home and her physical being in the style of 1938.

The only 21st century exceptions she will allow herself are her computer and her modern refrigerator.

She told a reporter for www.spaces.com that she would rather have a 1930s style fridge or an old-timey icebox if she could find one.

Teeuwisse says she was so repulsed by the style, if you could call it that, of the 1970s, the era in which she was reared, that she developed a nostalgic appreciation for older things.

She started as a child to collect artifacts from the 1950s and just keep going backward, so to speak.

The Dutch woman says she settled on 1938 in particular because it was before the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and because she considers it a “golden age” of aesthetic achievement.

Teeuwisse has no radio or television in her apartment, but she does have a fireplace. The furniture is of the period, and she has decorated the rooms with old magazines, an old sewing kit, even old ashtrays.

She scrubs the floor on her hands and knees using vinegar, and she cleans the carpet with a 1920s vacuum.

If you’re wondering why Teeuwisse has a computer, it’s a practical concession to the need to perform her job as the owner of an historical consultancy company.

That’s what makes her uniquely qualified to apply the ultimate historical accuracy to her quirky lifestyle.
It’s a good thing she has a computer because she would have to scour the Internet in search of parts if that vacuum ever broke down!
Her landline phone dates back to 1931. She does not own a cell phone.

She claims she’s not particularly nostalgic, but she listens to vintage music of the period and chats with senior citizens about “the good old days,” even though at 41 she is too young to have lived through them.

Some of the more notable historical events that occurred in 1938 include the creation of the March of Dimes to help polio victims, the annexation of Austria by the German army, boxer Joe Louis’ first-round defeat of Max Schmeling, Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds,” and the federal minimum wage was set at 22 cents an hour with a maximum of a 44-hour work week.

For those of you old enough to remember 1938, would you want to turn back the clock?

There are some modern conveniences I could live without, but, as one wag put it, “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.”

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1938, depression, gina logue, recession
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