Fast Friday Five: A Long Time Ago, in a Chicago Far, Far Away

I wasn’t going to post a Friday Five, but I’m reading some fun ones around the blogosphere & feeling JUST a bit left out! So…five fun facts I learned during research and writing this week. Step back with me, if you will, to 1913 Chicago. It’s a cold, windy year, even for that city, so bring those winter layers. (I know some of you are still wearing them, anyway!)

1. You can, apparently, spread diptheria with classroom pencils.

2. Maybe because you’re being required to turn your pencils in at the end of the class, or the end of the day. Personally, I think I’ll keep my son stocked with his own!

3. More girls were staying in school and going on to college thanboys. Pretty much because they weren’t ever going to make as much $$ as the boys, so if the boys got out of school and worked, the family could support the girl through college (increasing her earning power SOME), but if she quit, she couldn’t earn enough to help get that boy through school. Wait, I’m sorry, did we just tesseract between 1913 and 2010?

4. Nope, still there! Moving on. One of the reason big electric companies had a bit of a battle spreading their services around Chicago, is that it was so easy to set up your own, personal power-station and then sell your extra electricity to your neighbors. Okay, PEOPLE weren’t doing this, but fancy hotels and businesses that wanted to “dress to impress” with bright lights were.

5. Some rich people put just a few electric bulbs into their otherwise-gas-powered chandeliers, and then would light those bulbs for big parties or when the “Joneses” came over.

 Happy Friday. Happy Writing!


  1. Some impressive details! Good work this week.


  2. That number 4 is really interesting. And it’s something people are now doing with solar power. Funny how these things cycle in a way!


    • beckylevine says:

      I was thinking about the solar thing just the other day. Wondering if people putting their own stuff up will eventually get absorbed, like with the electrical.


  3. Maddy says:

    Hi Becky,
    Loved the meeting today.

    So glad I can put my hand on my heart and say ‘yes we have solar panels’.

    I wonder what else you can catch from pencils : (

    Anyway, I have a complaint – admittedly I’ve only skimmed the contents and read one chapter but nowhere in the book can I see a picture of a sandwich!

    Admittedly I can see the sandwich in my head [if not on my plate] but I can’t remember how to label the layers…..maybe I should have put this in an email instead?


    • beckylevine says:

      Hey, Maddy–I didn’t even HEAR about the phrase “sandwich critique” until I’d finished writing the book–weird, hmm! But if you look at the fiction section of the book, those main chapters are the elements/layers I was talking about today. Glad you had a good time. 🙂


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