Road Signs

Dear Readers:

One of my earliest memories is riding in my parent’s 1938 5-window Chevy coupe. It was dull forest green, a bit rusty around the edges, and accommodated my dad as the driver, my mom who held me on her lap, and my big brother who perched on a hassock in the middle. (There was only one seat.) There were plenty of miles on this vintage automobile but we trusted her and took routine road trips to visit my grandparents in northern Minnesota. We would roll along at forty miles per hour on Highway Ten, bouncing over the concrete slabs frosted at the seams with tar to keep the road surface even. Of course, that didn’t last long in the below zero winters and the sizzling, humid summers. Soon the trip would be a rocking and rolling experience. One of the best sources of entertainment on these trips would be reading the Burma Shave signs that popped up periodically. They were always a series of unobtrusive red signs separated by moderate distances and were of the limerick flavor. The topics dealt with the intricacies of life in the 1940’s – mostly with a romantic theme. I decided to include them as part of my Patsy and Virgie tale and was dismayed when one of the younger members of my critique group misinterpreted them as the musings of some mysterious roadside poet. (Perhaps a Rhode’s Scholar?) So here is the explanation. They were thoughts about life in a simpler time and they ended with a clear and simple signature sign extolling a shaving product the company hoped the reader would purchase. No fancy flashing, rolling, electronic grabbers – just a simple statement on life in these great Untied States of America.

One thought on “Road Signs

  1. What a nice memory. I am following the series Boardwalk Paradise now on HBO and love the iconic advertising they show around the boardwalk representing Atlantic City in the 1920s. They are great visuals to include in your novel as setting. They really translate in the BE series.

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