I’ve always had a thing for Normal Rockwell. It’s not so much that he documented how America was, which he did, but that he documented it as it should have been and as we wanted it to be.
Today’s work is a case of showing it as it was. “Tired Salesgirl On Christmas Eve” first appeared on the cover of the December 27, 1947 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.
It’s the third Christmas since “the war” was over, and I think it was the first “real” Christmas after WW II. Christmas 1945 still saw a huge number of troops overseas waiting to come home, and I think that Christmas 1946 may have been less than it might have been as it was simply too close too the war and things had not really normalized. Wounds and death were too fresh in the minds of many to have an unbridled celebration.
But by 1947, “normal” was reappearing. Most of the boys were home, you could buy a new car if you could find one, and war time rationing in the US had finally ended in June. A sense that there really was going to be a future and that it would be bright, had shoppers in the stores on a buying spree, and there were finally goods to be had in quantity, including toys.
The store has just closed, and our tired salesgirl is trying to catch her breath. No doubt she’s tired enough that her thoughts of Christmas are sidelined for the moment. Having worked a few Christmas Eves in retail, I can sympathize.