Alex Asks Grandpa About the Olden Days: A 1940’s Story


Alex Asks Grandpa About the Olden Days: A 1940’s Story

Alex Asks Grandpa About the Olden Days is my newest book. It is for children. When my wife was teaching school, her class would visit a one-room schoolhouse complete with a schoolmarm for an old-fashioned day of learning. Part of that experience was a letter-writing project for children to write to their grandparents about the “olden” days. Some children did not have relatives to write to, life being what it is. Also, now that we have grandchildren, we thought it would be nice to write a book describing how life used to be for them to one day read and understand. As they grow, they might have more understanding of the story in future years.

Alex Asks Grandpa About the Olden Days: A 1940's Story

The author of the book is Gary L. Wilhelm. The illustrator is Pieter Els. The book is available in paperback and will soon be available for Kindle.

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So, an important difference from then and now is the phone. At many museums and other educational places, wooden phones are on display. Children might not even recognize what these wooden devices were for, and might dismiss looking them over. Compared to a smartphone, they are a world apart.

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Another difference, of course, was that families listened to radio shows (and they weren’t on at all times). Remember the old radios with turn dials and static? What shows do you remember from that time? The Lone Ranger was one of my favorites back then.

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Post offices could be noisy in the spring or early summer when farmers received their orders of chicks. Ever seen that yourself? Or noticed it in movie set in earlier decades? It was fun for children to observe such packages in the post office or even being delivered.

chicks in the post office sent to farmers back in the 1940s

Although my father owned a construction business and was a county commissioner, one of his first jobs was loading railroad cars for the town’s grain elevator. By hand, with a shovel, is how it used to be done.

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My mother taught school in a one-room country schoolhouse. Now such buildings might be museums, like this one in Faulkton, South Dakota. This is a post I wrote about visiting this school a few summers ago.

mother was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse

Anyway, it was a nice excursion back to the past to write this book and have Pieter Els illustrate it. Now that I have the book, I can see how the grandchildren react to it. I hope they like it, and I hope you will enjoy it, also.

Here is the book trailer that will help you understand more about my book.

Thank you for reading, Gary


Gary Wilhelm is a retired engineer with a master’s degree from South Dakota State University, who did research and development work in America, Asia, and Europe for consumer, commercial, and military products, during a career of several decades. In addition to being a civilian engineer embedded with the Marines during the Vietnam War in 1968 and 1969, he worked developing products ranging from EF Johnson citizens band radio, and the Texas Instruments home computer, communications technology for use within buildings, and with medical devices implanted within the body, to the Howitzer Improvement Program (HIP) for army artillery on the battlefield. He was also a representative on a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) committee. He hosted the USA meeting of the committee at Honeywell.
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