Florence Browder was born in Smyrna, TN some 88 years ago in about 1929. Her life was positive and she raised two children… one of whom went on to graduate from college and become a teacher and another who retired from the U.S. Air Force.
Ms. Browder only made it to the 8th grade, which was very common in those days. Despite her lack of book education, she was smart and had dreams for her children, just as she still does today for her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
In 1929, the population of Rutherford County, Tennessee was just under 33,000 residents. Today it has grown considerably with approximately 300,000 residents. If you were to put that into percentages, Rutherford County has grown by 800% since 1929.
Silver Springs School is where Browder received her education and it is also where she went to church as a child. The building served two purposes in the 1930’s and 40’s. “It’s gone, it’s been gone,” she told me when describing where the school was once located on Florence Road. At the time, the school was in the rural country between Smyrna and Murfreesboro.
Silver Springs once boasted an attendance of 88 children in the 1940’s. When 1959 hit, the school saw a jump in students with 185 because another school called the Rosenwald School merged with Silver Springs.
The Rosenwald School was an African-American educational facility that was started in 1927 and eventually closed in 1960.
Looking back to her childhood she told me, “I always tell my great grandchildren that I wish I could swap with them and let them be raised when I was raised, they would’ve been raised better – I mean I’m trying to raise them, but they don’t understand – they don’t pay me no tention.” I told her, “I don’t think it’s you, I think it is everyone around them – society is quite different compared to when you were younger.”
Ms. Browder went on to explain her days as a child, “When the old people spoke you just did what they told you to do and no back talk. But now, the children just back talk and do whatever they want to.”
In 1930, things were a little cheaper when compared to 2017…
- 1930 Average New Home $7,145… (2017 Average is $406,400 nationwide - 6/23/17)
- 1930 Average Annual Income $1,970… (2017 Average is $46,409 nationwide)
- 1930 Gallon of Fuel $0.10 Cents… (2017 Average is $2.38)
- 1930 New Car Average $640… (2017 Average is $34,968)
- 1930 One pound steak $0.20 Cents… (2017 Average is $5.20 per lb)
- 1930 Refrigerator (Electrolux gas) $144… (2017 there are hundreds from $350 to $5,000)
- 1930 Minimum Wage $0.25 Cents… (2017 Tennessee Min. Wage is $7.25)
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ― Sophia Loren