Thursday, December 6, 2012

One Man’s Journey to Work and the American Dream

Throughout the 1950s a national ethos took over the United States. This was the American Dream. The American Dream was an ideal in which freedom included the opportunity for success, a white picket fence, safety, community, and all that was good in the world. It culminated in the Cold War world as a democratic vision that communist enemies could not imagine achieving. As a result, countless Americans embarked to achieve this dream. They all started from various points - rich, poor, country, and city. It was an effort filled with numerous twists and turns such as deaths in family or national crisis. Even after these families finally moved to the suburbs and seemingly achieved the dream they had to maintain their income and lifestyle through employment and making a journey to work daily.[1] This can specifically be seen when examining one World War II veteran, Charles Thomas Anderson, who moved to the Orlando suburb of Winter Park, Florida from his hometown in Kentucky with his growing family in 1955. There, he found a home, a job at the United States Post Office, and the all-mighty American Dream. The mail route that Mr. Anderson then took daily from the mid-1950s until his retirement in 1974 was the constant movement to maintain the American Dream.[2] A present examination of this journey will piece together whether these efforts of maintaining the suburbs and the American Dream still exists today.

Charles Thomas Anderson embarked on his journey at the Winter Park United States Postal Office, located on New York Avenue. Despite there being multiple of postal offices throughout the area, he would choose begin his journey at this one and it remains the starting point for this mail route today.

Throughout his journey through his mail route, Charles Thomas Anderson would often have to take numerous twists and turns, just as with the left onto Park Avenue that is depicted in the picture above. These twists and turns were part of Mr. Anderson’s travels and the current mailman’s as well.

Charles Thomas Anderson finished his route at the end of Palmer Avenue. However, his journey would not actually be over for he this was not just a one-time excursion. Both him and his predecessors would have to continue to make this journey day after day.
Everyday in the 1950s, Charles Thomas Anderson would make this journey to deliver his mail route on foot. It was one and a half miles long and took him approximately twenty-five minutes, depending both on the day and the weather. As years went by, this route would remain unchanged.

Everyday, Charles Thomas Anderson would embark from Winter Park Post Office. He would head north on New York Avenue from the Winter Park Post Office, take a right on West Canton Avenue, a left on Park Avenue, a right on East Stovin Avenue, and then a right again on Palmer Avenue.[3] This was the journey to work that Charles Thomas Anderson took to preserve his life in the suburbs and the American Dream. His journey, like the American Dream began with a starting point, was filled with twists and turns, and was a never-ending effort to maintain it. Most importantly, the mail route, and all the aspects that came with it, that Mr. Anderson traveled remains unchanged – proving that the efforts of maintaining the suburbs and the American Dream still exists today.

"Funeral Notice- Charles Thomas Anderson." The Orlando Sentinel, January 15, 2006.

Horowitz, David and Carroll, Peter. On the Edge: The United States Since 1945. Belmont: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, 2002.

Metler, Suzanne. "The Creation of the G.I. Bill of Rights of 1944: Melding Social and Participatory Citizenship Ideals." Journal of Policy History 17, no. 4 (2005): 345-374.

Mormino, Gary. Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005.

Teaford, John. The Metropolitan Revolution. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

[1] David Horowitz and Peter Carroll, On the Edge: The United States Since 1945, (Belmont: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning) 2002.
[2] "Funeral Notice- Charles Thomas Anderson," The Orlando Sentinel.
[3] "Funeral Notice- Charles Thomas Anderson," The Orlando Sentinel.

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