Let’s Talk Clovis: To All Those Born Before 1940

1938 Clovis High School students. The photo depicts the school dress code in the 1930s. (Courtesy of Clovis Museum)

Clovis Historian Nick Ubick lived to be 102 years old (1911-2013). He was a charter member of the Clovis Museum and was active in collecting and preserving the history of Clovis. We are grateful that his family donated a significant amount of his collection to the Museum.

The population of Clovis in 1930 was 1,314; 1940 1,626; and by 1950 2,766 citizens. Clovis High was located at 901 Fifth Street (now San Joaquin College of Law) a block from Old Town Clovis.

The photo depicts the 1938 Clovis High dress code of the day. Ankle length dresses and loafer shoes for the women and corduroy and Levi britches for the men. The britches were worn until the corduroy had deep creases and the Levi’s could stand up without support of the wearer.

Among Nick Ubick’s many papers, we found the following article (author not known). It truly reflects the life of those born prior to 1940. Enjoy.

“We were born before television, before penicillin, before Polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, Frisbees and the Pill.

We were before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams, and ballpoint pens, before pantyhose, dish washers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothes, and before man walked on the moon.

We were really QUAINT people—-we got married first, then lived together.

In our time, closets were for closets, not for “coming out of”. Bunnies were small rabbits, and rabbits were not Volkswagens. Designer jeans were scheming girls named Jean or Jeannie, and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along well with our cousins.

We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent, and outer space was the back of the theatre.

We were before house-husbands, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, and commuter marriages. We were before day care centers, group therapy and nursing homes. We never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yogurt and guys wearing earrings. For us, time-sharing meant togetherness, not computers or even condominiums. A chip meant a piece of wood, hardware meant hardware, and software wasn’t even a word.

In 1940, “Made in Japan” meant junk and the term “making out” referred to how you did on your exam. Pizzas, McDonalds, and instant coffee were unheard of.

We hit the scene when there were 5-and-10 cent stores, where you bought things for five and ten cents. Skaggs and the corner drug store sold ice cream cones for a nickel or a dime. For one nickel you could ride a streetcar, make a phone call, buy a Pepsi or Coke or enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards. You could buy a new Chevy coup for $600, but then who could afford one? A pity, too, because gasoline was 11 cents a gallon.

In our day, cigarette smoking was fashionable. GRASS was mowed, COKE was a cold drink, and POT was something you cooked in. Rock music was a grandma’s lullaby and AIDS were helpers in the principal’s office.

We were certainly not before the difference between the sexes was discovered but were surely before the sex change. (We made do with what we had). And we were the last generation that was so dumb as to think you needed a husband to have a baby!

It’s no wonder we are so confused and that there is such a generation gap today!! HOWEVER—–WE SURVIVED!!!!”

The population of Clovis is now 120,000 and growing. Those born prior to 1940 left us a rich heritage.

Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.