Plaque for Tin Pan Alley in New York. The plaq...

Plaque for Tin Pan Alley in New York. The plaque reads: A landmark of American Music Tin Pan Alley 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenus was the legendary Tin Pan Alley where the business of the American popular song flourished during the first decades of the 20th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking about tin cans. You know the cans that hold food. This week, I learned from a book on Roosevelt that the Victory Gardens in WWII helped save tin for the war effort. I never knew that. 

 During The War, the idea was if you grew your own food you wouldn’t need food in tin cans from the grocery store, i.e., tin could be put to other uses like killing people. (Dehydrated, flash frozen food in plastic, and microwaves were just a dream in some scientist’s mind.)

Thinking about cans took me on a trip down memory lane.

When I was a teenager, some of my class mates, and I, had a radio program at a local station. We met after school each day and walked to the local studio downtown to record a show called Teen Pan Alley*, stopping along the way at a corner drugstore to buy cherry fountain cokes and packages of peanuts.

Supposedly, we were a bunch of teen friends who were giving the local adults insight into the working of our minds as we chattered away on inane topics between pop records the studio DJ played. (we had preselected the disks). 

 I don’t know how I became part of that program, but I left after awhile, bored to death. Even then I would rather be home reading a book.

After I gave up my future as a radio talk show host, I returned to my solitary stops at the local book store, where like Ferdinand the Bull under his cork tree, I sniffed the air laden with paper molecules as leafed through new books.

Usually, I spent my allowance on the latest novel by Agatha Christie or James Michener.  Once I bought Strategy of Peace… by a bright young man named John F. Kennedy. 

English: Michener's Olympia typewriter, James ...
English: Michener’s Olympia typewriter, James A. Michener Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have the books by Michener, first editions on cheap paper turned yellow with age and moldering away in my hall closet, but I gave the Kennedy book to my parish priest who hailed from Boston and was of Irish descent. I had managed to obtain JFK’s signature on the book before I gave it to Father O’Malley. Otherwise, it too could be moldering away in my hall closet. 

I was an egghead kid in the days before kids were divided into geeks and jocks and everyone else, but I learned a lot about tin and other things including the transitoriness of life.  


12 thoughts on “Tin

  1. Just think where your radio career might have taken you! I, too, enjoyed books until geographic moves increasingly to the boonies kept me from them except for school texts mostly. Eventually I was able to resume indulging myself. The grouping differences I recall being most prevalent when I was in school were based more on popularity. Male athletes and the girls they dated were most prominent.

    I didn’t recall the Victory Garden/tin connection. I remember stripping foil from chewing gum sticks, rolling the foil into a ball for military use since it disrupted radar signals. We didn’t chew much gum so never really saved much foil.


  2. Funny how just a few years can make a difference, by the time I was in Jr, High being smart was admired. maybe it was because of where I lived the Space program was in full swing .


    • The government used tin in munitions, tin was therefore used as a weapons compoent. If folks had Victory Gardens, they used less tin which the government could then use. Its logical in a odd way.
      The argument about abortion is that if its legal, women won’t seek illegal abortions, thereby not becoming lawbreakers. Same logic, I suppose.


      • No, the argument was – controversial, to say the least – if women, usually poor, had abortions, they would not be raising children as single mothers, with those children more likely to fall into a life of crime and/or replicating the behaviour.

        A very interesting read.


  3. Me too, she says raising her hand. I spent my whole childhood with my nose in a book. I have a tendency to be just like that today. G plays Computer games, and I live in a paper world only some of which is high acid. I recently managed to replace two of my favorite Moon’s with no acid volumes. What a treat.


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