Thursday, April 2, 2009

1 & 2 April 1955 “Lending, Chocolate Cake, Shopping, a Breakdown, and WHY”

Boston's First National Bank has started a new-type personal loan based on the revolving credit fund used by business. The bank extends credit to a borrower based on how much he can pay back each month for a year, lets him write checks against it, charges him 1% a month on the outstanding balance and a service charge of 25¢ a check.

As long as he keeps up his monthly payments, the borrower can go on indefinitely drawing checks against his limit. To date, about 2,000 people have been approved for the revolving credit plan (average credit: $450), 100 applications are being made daily. [Here we see it beginning. The concept that you have ‘free money’. Just spend with ease and pay it back when you can, there is plenty for all, spend spend!]

woman with whitewall tires Colored Tires. White-sidewall tires edged with a band of blue, green or brown were put on sale by U.S. Rubber Co. The color band starts at the outer edge of the white sidewall and runs to the tread of the tire. Price: $16 to $17.50 above present white-wall prices. [I wonder, when did whitewall tires go out of fashion? I am not old enough to remember them on anything but vintage cars, does anyone know?]

I made one of the best chocolate cakes so far the other day and here is the recipe.three layer fudge cake recipe

I made my with two 9” layers, as that was the amount of pans I had, but would like to try it in the future with the three layers. I used the seven minute frosting and made it chocolate and then I toasted coconut for the top and sides. This was the fluffiest from scratch cake I have made thus far and it was very easy, as the ‘one bowl recipe’ which this is called, made it a joy to make.  Here it is in all it’s glory.piece of coconut choc cake choc coconut cake

I received some wonderful books from readers. two recipe booksThis first set is from a lovely lady who is lucky enough to live on a farm in Nebraska and has some wonderful farm stories and life with cows worth reading. Thank you so much and we shall all be benefitting from these in the future.

I also was the lucky winner of this book from Haven of Home’s giveaway.etiquette for everyday book There is some wonderful stuff in here that will begin showing up in my blog. I found some interesting bits in here where they say that manners have ‘changed greatly since the end of WWII” so here they are already noticing the change in people’s relationships to one another, interesting stuff, I promise you.


Now, onto decorating. I found some great bargains for my ongoing redecorating vintage style:

Here is a wonderful set of Heywood-Wakefield side tables. Two are matching lower end tables and one it a little taller square lamp table. They are the most wonderful golden honey maple that I used to hate. Now I really appreciate the color and the craftmanship of these tables, though mass produced, is rather fine. Solid maple. Their modern clean lines would work with modern 1950s furniture, of course, but also blend nicely with antiques and the more ‘early American’ look I am going for.

heywood-wakefield sidetables

Here are a lovely set of gold chairs. Again, in the old days I would have thought this hideous, but now I not only enjoy their playful take on the classic wing chair, I am not going to recover them but actually enjoy the nubby gold fabric. It fits with the overall color scheme of the house.

gold side chair1 gold side chair 2

I love the pleated skirts and buttons. They are actually spot on same color, though you cannot tell form these pictures. I am not sure if they will live together in the new living room cum library or if one will end up in the new dinning room makeover. Oh, I forgot the best part the side tables were $35.00 for all three! The two chairs were a grand total of $40.00 (that is for both). They are all so well made and would cost so much more even at an IKEA which would end up breaking apart in a couple of years and be made of laminate or something.

This darling little desk cost me all of $18.00. It is sitting right now in the corner of my kitchen but is destined to replace the antique table I use for my vanity. I love the paint and stenciling, but alas, it will be repainted to go with that color scheme. I really wanted multiple drawers for my vanity and this fits the bill. Don’t mind the hideous vinyl floor in my kitchen. I had nothing to do with it. When I originally planned to do over the kitchen, I was going to put in a nice wood floor, but now am going to do a vintage inspired vinyl or linoleum floor for easy clean up and the eat in section ( the future breakfast room off the kitchen) will receive the wood floor.


Now, my current project is the new dinning room. I had settled myself to wallpaper it. I spent some time at a local store the other day trying to decide. I had just settled on this onewallpaper1 when I came across this one in the store. The first I would have to order and it is not cheap, wallpaper. wallpaper2This one they had a few rolls of and was marked down to $9.00 a roll! It is actually more blue than the picture shows, but also has touches of green and tan in. So I got two rolls for $18.00 as opposed to one roll of the above for $70.00! Since then, though, I may have decided to use the wallpaper when I redo my little sitting room where I study and write this blog and instead, paint a mural on the walls of the dinning room. I have not painted in some time and it would allow me that pleasure as well as making a nice view for the room we do spend a lot of time in. For, until the breakfast room can be done (who knows when) we eat all meals in the dinning room. There is a door in that room that leads to our side yard that will receive a patio by my hand and it over looks the chickens, which are fun to watch and would make a great spot for summer alfresco dinning. There will be picks of this progress, I promise.

   I also bought these two pair of ‘costume’ jewelry earrings to start a nice vintage earring collection. I have only a few pair of vintage earrings and they are real pearls and nice, but I want some variety and I don’t need to spend a lot to look nice. Both these pair cost me $10.00 total! I do like them, what do you think. I would like to convert them to pierced though, any suggestions?

earrings1 earrings2

Now, onto my rant for today, which is really just a self-realization. I seem to be having a lot of these lately.

I felt bad that I have not posted a blog in the past two days, but the research I began on the U.S. budget and about the contribution to litter, health, and overall culture that the growth of fast foods has put upon our country has seriously depressed me. I wanted to retreat into my safe world of vacuuming and cooking, but somehow it felt as if I was hiding out. I, since then, have had a good ‘sit down’ with myself and have come to realize I need to strike a balance. I cannot feel bad that I need to focus much on my home right now, as I am still in the process of organizing and really trying to get everything ship shape, so it can run smoothly and that I can have a home that is easy to maintain and in which to entertain. In so doing, I won’t, at the end of that, just have a nice decorated organized home to sit in reading vintage magazine in pretty clothes, but will, in fact, have a center to continue my research and to try and help and create change in my own community.  A place to commune and meet to try and change my community for the better. I really want my eventual ‘vintage club’ to become an organization of like-minded vintage loving people, but not merely to just enjoy one another and vintage, but to take that vintage spirit out into our community. I want us to help and grow our community. To try to encourage others to shop locally and raise money to help locally. I am not sure how to go about doing it, but I am going to try. I figure, I don’t have children and the time I would spend on their welfare can go to this endeavor.

I realize, since this project began, I have probably thought about children more than ever in my life. The thought that I could have a well run home and be an adult made me feel I could, in fact, contribute to the positive growth of a child and make a better person for the future. Now, I feel I really want to try to help and inspire and encourage those who are already here. I don’t know if a gathering of ladies who like to wear girdles and gloves can solve any problems, but I know if we were to get together and try, we could do something.

I have, as well, come to terms with the idea that I do need first and foremost to continue training myself in my homemaking skills. I need a home that is ship shape from bottom to top. When my home is set to receive guests, is easy to maintain its cleanliness and I can whip up a buffet for 20 at the drop of a hat, I will be poised to go out into the world, much in the way a 1950s homemaker most likely did. I know that women of this class and calling did volunteer work. They helped in their neighborhoods, held committee meetings, and took care of their family, their homes, themselves. These are the real hero’s I now look to. I know it can be done, as they who have gone before us have done so. I may not, through my future small group,  be able to change the world nor maybe even do more than make a small ripple in my community, but at least I will go down fighting. I will know at the end of each day that I have lived for myself in my habits and for others. This is a feeling I don’t want to lose and in fact want to get more.

I mentioned to a friend that the past two days have sort of been a revisit to the ‘modern world’ somewhat in that I felt really affected by my findings so that I didn’t get my housework done, we had Chinese food last night, instead of my cooking, I went shopping (though only vintage shopping) instead of writing my blog, I watched some “tv” (it was vintage don’t worry and no real commercials) and now I felt horrible. She said, “Oh, that’s so sad. So you can’t relax and just be lazy, that is really sad” and I was shocked by her answer. “I don’t want to be lazy!” I said, “I don’t want to just relax and think about myself and how I feel and hide away, I feel better AND happier, doing things. Laziness no longer  a reward to me. I would rather have free time working in the garden, or organizing a cabinet, or doing something. Just sitting and watching things on screens is not fun for me. Or buying something to make me feel better; to fill the emptiness inside, I don’t like it anymore and probably never really did”.

It was at that moment that I realized how much I have gained already from this experiment. I have already changed a major part of my modern personality: that I used to think reward is sitting on my bum, staring at moving pictures and eating. This was once a treat. Something I did look forward too (no wonder I have gained so much weight in the past few years!) This is the ‘ideal day off’ that so many people think homemakers have, “Oh, you must get to sit around and watch t.v. and eat bon bons all day!” Ha!, now that is not fun but a punishment!

So, again, my vintage reality has stepped in to save me. 1955 took me up by my shirt collar and said, “What are you doing? Don’t waste your time wallowing in your own misery and just don’t WASTE YOUR TIME”. We all only have so much time, really, so why am I going to want to spend it sitting and staring at moving pictures or just buying things that I don’t need?

I feel renewed and am more ambitious than ever to get back to it. I can try to sympathize with my 1955 self and think of the days during the war when you were exhausted and depressed and just wanted to curl up in a ball, but you couldn’t. You WOULDN’T. You’d get up, dust yourself off, and get out there and do it for others if not for yourself. Then you’d be taken out of yourself and really feel a happiness that I have never felt before. I am not even really doing that much for others as of yet, except trying to make a nice home for my family and friends, but that already gives me more satisfaction than watching t.v. and eating snacks, the old ‘relaxation’.

I thought of the grandmother in the British reality show, “the 1940’s house”. I haven’t seen it in a few years and I own it, but can’t really watch it as it hasn’t been made yet, but I suddenly recalled the end of it. How she, the grandmother,  was so greatly changed by her time in 1940’s. How she stopped shopping at big stores and didn’t buy prepackaged anymore. Her grandchildren said, ‘Yea, we used to have a cool grandmother and now she is gone off her rocker’. That really hit home for me. Here she was, an older woman and a grandmother and all she had really learned was to grow up. She didn’t need to be ‘cool’ to a 10 year old way of thinking, but in fact be a grown up. To take responsibility for her actions and her family and her community. She took a few minutes to just think, “ I actually spend less by shopping locally and not just buying cheap prepackaged foods. I help my local community as well as get to know them. My free time is spent in working and enjoying it not watching t.v. and just ‘goin down the pub with my daughter ‘. I don’t know why I hadn’t remembered that before, but I recalled how it had changed her.

I feel the same. This has changed me. I can’t ever totally go back to that person on Dec. 31 2008. I can’t. And, really, I don’t want to.  I have so much learning and growing and growing up to do, really. But, you know what, for the first time in my life I WANT to be an adult. Here I am closer to 40 than 30 just realizing it, but I don’t think I am alone in our modern world in that. I don’t want to be a perpetual baby trying to ‘find myself’ and only seeking personal enjoyment in video games and tv and entertainment only. We are so over stimulated, that we bore so easily and constantly need to be entertained, like great spoiled babies, wanting someone to rattle their keys in our face to amuse us. I actually want to grow up. I want others to feel this feeling. I cannot explain it. It has an elation and happiness to it that I cannot explain. I have never ever felt this particular form of happiness before. And all of it came, along with the sadness and frustration, from opening my eyes and looking around at the world in which I live. REALLY looking at it. Asking myself WHY?

That should be the vintage creed ‘WHY’. Why am I buying this? Why do I need to rush. Why do I watch so much tv. Why do I think it is cheaper and better to shop at this chain? Why do I only wear my ‘nice clothes’ at funerals and weddings? Why can’t I cook my own food? Why can’t I sew my own clothes? Why can’t I grow my own food? Why WHY WHY!

Even if it is only in a small way, in some little aspect of your life, stop what you are doing and ask yourself, why am I doing it. It might be a good thing that you should continue to do and do more of! Or, you might wonder, why am I doing it? Did the tv and magazines and popular culture tell me to do it?

Just ask why.

So, here are some of the findings that made me feel sad and as if I could do nothing but curl up in a ball or try to ignore it:

Uncle Sam has never had trouble spending the taxpayers' money. By 1960 it had more money to spend than ever: the federal budget grew from $42.6 billion in 1950 to $92.1 billion in 1959. After World War II the government had sharply reduced its expenditures on defense from a wartime high of $83 billion in 1945 to $42.7 billion in 1946. By 1950 national defense spending—at $13.7 billion—only consumed approximately 35 percent of federal government outlays. Although defense spending soared again during the Korean conflict by more than 75 percent, it fell again by 1960 to less than 60 percent. Payments to individuals, which in later decades often meant welfare or social security, remained at roughly 30 percent of the government's outlays during the 1950s.

Each year since 1969, Congress has spent more money than its income. The Treasury Department has to borrow money to meet Congress's appropriations. The total borrowed is more than $11,000,000,000,000 and growing. Even when government officials claim to have a surplus, they still spend more than they get in. We pay interest on that huge debt. And now the Treasury is having trouble finding lenders!

In Fiscal Year 2008, the U. S. Government spent $412 Billion of your money on interest payments* to the holders of the National Debt. Compare that to NASA at $15 Billion, Education at $61 Billion, and Department of Transportation at $56 Billion. -- As of 28 February 2009, the total interest spent so far this fiscal year is $148 Billion.

Imagine if we spent half of that ‘interest payment’ money on free college education and free healthcare. And so many people still feel that those two things free are somehow socialsim, but our money going to pay interest on money borrowed that I government chose to take from places such as China which is COMMUNIST, I just even can’t imagine it. I really needed this trip to 1955 to see that ‘our America’ is now really slipping away. Pride in local business and economy is replaced with easy spending at large chains that just give more money to those we are already in debt too! How DARE they have 412 billion in interest and NOT have health and education for all? What happens when China calls in the debt? What if we don’t have the money (which we don’t) then what? So right now, our government is telling us that is it more important to try to pay down loans we could not afford more than the education and health of future generations. NO wonder we are a nation of spenders without thinking, that we have so many people defaulting on loans they could not afford originally, this pattern of spending and throwing the smoke screen of ‘oh, no don’t have health or education free, that’s socialism’ while they grow the government and in its debt bigger and bigger.

I am actually quite scared. I thought my biggest worry would be if I could handle my girdle or if I felt that time would seem to restrictive in the 1950s instead I am seeing how sad I am, representing those women who set out to make a new world from their homes by caring for children and keeping the home fires burning to only end it all in a world such as this. I am honestly not being dramatic, now, especially after I started looking at spending and such, so disgusted by the very act of going out and buying anything from someplace that is not a little mom and pop, as it feels dirty to me. I know a lot of you will think I am crazy or silly, but when I think that I have gone into Walmart and purchased things it now makes me actually feel dirty, as if I was cheating our world and stripping away the america we could be for all of us and not just for a few who are on top. We are basically living in a Consumer Dictatorship. Free market is now a joke, as who can be that happy American pulling himself up by his bootstraps, starting his own business, when he can never compete with the top 3 corporations. And, when they begin to fail, like GM, the government just throws ‘our money’ at the problem, while if ‘Joe Smith’ down the street started a business and it began to fail, the best he could hope for is bankruptcy and possibly losing his house.

So, now if someone were to ask me ‘what is the hardest part about tying to live in 1955” I would have to say “Having my eyes open to our modern world and that none of the good things I see in 1955 could really exist for us anymore and I don’t know why they ever left us”.

Our national debt in 1955 was 209 billion today it is 11 TRILLION. when I used my inflation calculator it told me that the national debt in 1955 put in to today’s money would be 1 Trillion. So, our national debt is ten times greater than 1955  and we had come out of WWII and the Korean war. Something has to be done.

There is a great quote from William Weld (a good Bostonian) that goes, "There is no such thing as government money - only taxpayer money."


  1. Donna, this is totally off topic of today’s post but it was something I was thinking about the other day and have to ask. You started this experiment in Jan, in the bitter New England weather. I asked my mom, who was 15 in 1955, how she kept warm wearing skirts/dresses all the time. She said she was ALWAYS cold, from fall through spring. She wore quilted skirts and wool petticoats but was still always cold. Also, living in a cold water flat with no heat except from the stove didn't help, she said. I love dresses and wear them exclusively in the spring and summer. I tried to do it this fall and winter but by Nov I was freezing and gave up. (I wear dresses because comfortable and look good on me, not for any other reason). How are you dealing with this aspect of vintage dressing? And on the flip side, I know you love your girdle and stocking, but I wonder, how will you fare when it is 98 and humid?J

    Just a few practical thought on this dreary spring day. I will be pondering your post further, it really is interesting

  2. Looks like you found some amazing deals!! I wish we had those types of store here, but anything remotely antique or vintage is makred waaaay up. I've since started looking for estate sales since they tend to be a bit more fair in their asking.

  3. I'm sorry you're feeling so blue. Actually, I can't follow the news every day because it gets me so upset. I check in on what going on every few days and rely on my husband to fill me in on anything that I should know in between. What's even harder is when you try to share with others about supporting your local community, etc., people look at you like you're crazy. I think people just can't imagine giving up their one stop shopping and cheaper prices. Really, it drives me batty.

    I have a book that I want to recommend, but I'm going to wait until I'm finished reading it so I can be sure that it's a good recommendation. So far, it's promising to be one of the best books I've read so far on simplicity, etc. The author looks at simplicity through the lens of history. This might be one book that you don't want to wait to read as it would be a huge help to you in your research.

    It's interesting that you mentioned watching television and how you are changing your thoughts on it. I don't watch a lot of television as it is, but was thinking about television viewing (ponderings I was having as I read the book I mentioned) and how much it has changed our culture. Just as most of our society depends of big business for their needs, they also depend on the gigantic television and movie industry for their entertainment. People no longer get together to create their own entertainment and keep social bonds strong. No more singing around the piano, or gathering on the porch for some fiddle, banjo, or guitar playing, or community gatherings where you are entertained by local talent. No more getting together for game/card night with friends and neighbors. Do you remember the boys from the 1940s House (after they went back home) talking about how they got along so well together when they were doing the 1940s House because they didn't have THINGS to fight over? Together, the two of them had to create their own entertainment, and they had fun doing it. They even created a board game with their Grandpa that they preferred playing with. It just seems like the more we allow others to do for us, the lazier we get, and the more dull our minds become. My pondering over these things has made me want to cut back on my tv viewing even more.

    I also think it's about time that we start learning to put responsibilities above pleasure...having our priorities in order. It used to be assumed that you did the things that needed to be done first, and then you enjoyed down time. I, myself, must admit that when I allow pleasure to come before responsibility, it is so hard to get myself into responsibility mode. I want to continue pampering myself because it feels so good, but the truth is, I always feel much better when I do things in the right order because my down time doesn't have guilt pricking at my conscience the whole time...I can really enjoy it.

    BTW, wonderful finds!

  4. I'm a fairly new reader and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this post. I try to adhere to a simple lifestyle, but hadn't really thought about so many of the points you mentioned here. For example, I don't really watch tv or eat fast food, but hadn't really thought about how those two things changed our world so much.

    Oh, and PL if you see this, I'd love the title of the book you mentioned in your comment. You can contact me via my profile. Thanks!


  5. PL- Please give us the name of the book you're reading. It sounds like a good one.

    Donna- Another good post. The chocolate cake looks yummy. I had a funny thought today about you and your baking. My daughter asked me to make cupcakes today, which I do every so often, using doctored up cake mix and homemade frosting. Well, I was talking to a mom in the neighborhood and the subject came up. This mom could believe I would just MAKE cupcakes upon request and asked why I didn't buy some at the nice grocery store in town. Since I had all the ingredients it was easier to just make them, was my reply but I was thinking to myself- She can't use a mix??? How hard is that??? Now of course this woman, who is intelligent and educated, can of course make cupcakes at home but it just never occurred to her. I was thinking, this is just what Donna is talking about- people want everything done for them! ///sigh///

    Anyway, I love the wallpaper. I can't wait for when you're done and we get to see the pictures.


  6. I do think it is awful that governments don't live up to their responsibilities to provide decent education and health care for their citizens. I know I am coming from a more socilaist background, though still a very democratic country, Australia, but I get so angry when our own state government has no trouble spending tax payers money supporting a football team so they will play in our state and then cries poor when schools and hospitals need decent budgets. They would rather entertain the masses than care for them.
    I think your revelation about finally growing up is wonderful and as a woman who will be 50 this year(!!!!!) I realise I am finally grown up, my life, my home and my family is ultimately my responsibility and taking all that on especially over the past ten years or so has been a freeing rather than restrictive. It means I live my own life rather than attempting to live someone else's.

  7. I so enjoyed reading this post as it parallels a lot of my own thoughts these days. I was born in 1955, and have children born between the seventies and the nineties. The rise of consumer culture in my lifetime has been truly astonishing, and, so often, pointless-the huge televisions that are some sort of status symbol here are a case in point.My parents, grandpaents and great grandparents have all lived the kind of modest but very comfortable and secure lives you are researching-it was a great place to grow up, and I still have a lot of those skills, so the current recession/depression doesn't fill me with fear.But you are right-these people were Adults with a capital A. They took responsibility, managed their budgets and families-often at astonishingly young ages( by today's standards).Your blog, and others have been such a reminder of what we have lost. But having spent my teenage years wearing one, I am quite happy not to bring back girdles! Do keep writing and documenting your journey...

  8. Tracy-Well first off two things, 1)it depends where in NE your mother lived, because although we had a rough winter for us here on Cape Cod this winter, our winters are not like, say, northern Maine, which is also NE. 2)I am not a high school girl, so if it is bitterly cold, I have the option to not go outside and as a homemaker, I can make the decision to only go out when I need to do marketing and such. With that said, I did not have wool petticoats, though they sound lovely, maybe I will sew some up for this winter, I did go out in stockings and skirts. I would wear my wool coat and of coure, when I got my fur in February, that certainly helped. We actually keep our home fairly cold in the winter as we have electric heat and need to keep the bills down, so I was used to simply, 'putting on a sweater' though my legs were fine. Of course, if I got too cold I could wear my dungarees indoors and if I wanted (though I rarely did) I could have worn nice wool slacks out in public to town. I have seen this shown in many of the magazines, but being used to skirts I merely just kept wearing them. As far as summer wear of girdle I am also lucky in that I live in a summer resort area surrounded by the ocean. We rarely have 98 and humid. In Boston, we would, but on the cape as you drive to and over the bridge to get here you can often feel the temp drop. So, I am lucky in cool ocean breezes and also, as I will be on the beach, in a boat and in my yard alot in the summer the only time I will NEED to wear my girdle is if I am going into town with a dress, or a garden party in my yard, and honestly if the worse thing I have to worry about is my girdle pincing when it is hot out while I get to wear a pretty summer dress with dotted swiss and a lovely summer hat, I think I am doing pretty good. I just think for myself, now, the importance of my appearance, in an occasion such as this or in town (not just in my garden, for example, when I may or may not wear my girdle)I will just 'suffer' through it as I know my vintage clothes will look right and I feel better having my waist and hips 'pinched in' a girl needs every bit of help, right?
    Emer-I am lucky as where I live are many retirees and they want 1950s furniture about as much as we would want old 1980s furniture, so it sells fairly cheap. Also, due to ours being a summer economy, there are many deals 'off season' that dissapear once summer hits. That's when it pays to be a local!
    PL-it's funny you mention the insturments and cardgames. We are actually trying to start a poker night on our saturday vintage nights. Also, a friend and I are messing about with some simple songs on a recorder and a flute. My husband plays the piano and we have had 'sing alongs' in the past, but that piano is not at this house and I promised not to move it here until we have room for it. I hope some day to have a 'music room' for just such occasions. Self entertaing is fun and greatly uplifting. Though I know you would like me to read the book, I really do not want to read anything that is too much influenced by today. I know I checked on some current money matters but only to compare to 1955 and I really just want only views and opinions of those made with the knowledge they had available up to 1955, I am being a stickler, but I am hoping it will give me (and I think it has so far) a unique vision into our present day. Who knows, someone asked if I thought about writing a book, after this year I may just do that!
    s-that is funny, I am glad you thought of me. Isn't it funny that just a simple think like making a 10 minute cake mix seems alien to so many!
    Jenny-I know, I was so sick to see how much we spend on interest and yet we have no healthcare. Particularly in my state of MA, they passed a law last year that says you are REQUIRED to have health care and if you don't get it (at your own expense of course) you get fined every year with your taxes! How do you like that for a solution?
    Retiring on a shoestring-They definitely were ADULTS with a captial A. Also, maybe because I don't have to wear my girdle and it is a new thing, it is good for me. Sometimes it pinches too much, but really I am used to it now so it seems no more odd to me than wearing a bra or underpants. Just out of curiosity, when did you stop wearing them? Was a particular decade and was it due to fashion or was there a movement to stop it? It is funny, as older ladies, ladies who were say 30s in the 1950s, I think many still do wear their girdles as when I bought mine locally I was told that many older customers still want them. You must have been young enough on that cusp when they went out, while older women would just have kept wearing them without thinking about it. I am certainly not telling anyone they have to dress 1950s or wear girdles, but if you have modern versions of 'nice clothes' like dresses and skirts, try wearing them more often and see how wonderful you feel just wearing them for yourself at home or for others. You will feel 10 feet tall with the compliments and will begin to expect from yourself to look good to yourself.

  9. Even local farms have to face the struggling economy. When my boss sat us all down for the staff meeting three months ago and asked, jokingly, "Alright, so, before we begin, does anyone want to quit?" I could see a little glint of fear in his eye. None of us know how this year will pan out. The farm re-opening to the public tomorrow is shaky; not only because of the dreary, April rain, but now we wonder, "How many local people are actually going to keep our heads above water? How many of us laborers will not have the option of staying on when winter comes round again?"

  10. So love your posts. Thank you. Productivity in our home is it's own reward. Laziness makes us feel yick. Thank you for the inspiration. I'm off to organize a cupboard. From, Linda

  11. linda-Good for you and yes productivity is rather fine, isn't it?

  12. You are neither crazy not silly but an inspiration. Keep it up!

  13. What an incredible and thought provoking post! I was also taken with the 1940 House series and remember the grandmother's responses after the experience was over. I been planning on buying this DVD for a while, I think I'll ready to do so now. I think there are some lessons in there for me. A part of me would like to spend some time trying to experience life in the 40s and 50s, but if I do it at all, it will be in small ways since DH is not at all interested. I would prefer to buy local, to frequent small mom and pop stores, but DH is prepared to buy food that's travelled from the southern hemisphere, and is quite happy shopping in "that" store. My trick is going to be finding a middle road that we can both be happy with.

    I love reading about your experiences and how it is changing you. And you always give us a lot to think about!

  14. Mrs G-maybe if you explain some of the ramifications of food from far away as well as not supporting local he will understand. Many people just don't know or don't think about it (I know I used to not think about it and look at me know)

  15. Whitewall tires really didn't go out of style until the early 1980s. The British sports cars in the 1950s first started to make blackwalls fashionable again. The late 1960s muscle cars furthered the trend. By the 1980s, only cars buoght by older people still offered whitewalls.

  16. Great-thanks anonymous. I have to say, I do really appreciate a good whitewall tire. I wonder, when did they start to come into fashion? And was it just American cars that sported them? We did have large cars back then and went in for a bit of 'splash' so I can see how it draws the eye, all that bright painted steel and white tires rolling out of Detroit, no more, I am afraid. There is a city that is all but gone, sad...sad, indeed.

  17. I think white wall tires would be fun. I also like the cheery 1950's car colors. Every so often I see a pink Mary Kay Cadillac and I just have to smile. I wonder if I could get white walls for my minivan? Just kidding.

    I bet people stopped getting them because they were harder to keep clean. Sad.


  18. Sure, I can give you the title of the book. I just can give a personal recommendation at this point since I haven't finished reading it. I would love if those of you who read it would share if you like the book yourself. The author looks at various forms of simplicity throughout history, so even if you don't agree with a particular form of simplicity, there are nuggets of truth that you can still draw out of the thinking. I'm curious to see what my vision of simplicity is after reading the book...will I pretty much hold the same ideas I already have, or will I see something that I was blind to that will further change how I view things?

    Okay, the title is, “In Search of the Simple Life” by David E. Shi. Just as an extra enticement, I'll list the chapter titles for you :)...Pious Simplicity, Pietistic Simplicity, Republican Simplicity, Domestic Simplicity, Transcendental Simplicity (Thoreau makes an appearance in this chapter), Progressive Simplicity, Simplicity Between the Wars, Simplicity Amid Abundance, and Ecological Simplicity.

    I hope you enjoy the book, as well as “Honey From a Weed”. “Honey From a Weed” is one of my favorite books about simple living and I have a feeling this current book I'm reading will join its rank. As a side note, in “Honey From a Weed”, she refers to her traveling partner as The Sculptor. The sculptor is actually her husband.

  19. Wow PL, that does sound tempting. I am sure many of you readers are going to have a go at it and I will,as well, only I really am going to wait until after this year, as I don't want to much post 55 info. I mean I can't help but get some now, people talking of news, what I find as I am researching etc, but I can really control what I read and what I watch, to a certain extent, and I just feel now like I want this pure experience to continue to boil up inside of me and see what soup I get at the end. Thanks for telling other readers of it though.

  20. Oops! I meant to say that I CAN'T give a personal recommendation for the book since I haven't finished reading it.

    Don't worry, Donna, I understand totally, and we don't even have to discuss the book in any way. I would just like to know if others like it, but they don't have to go into detail beyond saying if they liked it, or not. I do look forward to you reading after the year is up and compare your discoveries to the ones in the book. That would be an interesting comparison.

  21. PL, thanks for mentioning the book - it sounds very intriguing. I am going to see if my library has a copy. 50's Gal, first time poster but I've been reading your blog for quite a while and I love it all from recipes to rants - they all helps me look at my own life in a new way.

  22. I was thinking about your experiment the other day - which I love! It's the first thing I like to check in the day to see if there's a new post!!! Anyway, I was thinking of some '50s kinds of social/cultural things it might be interesting for you to try doing. Now that you've mastering cakemaking and all!

    How about joining a local women's club of some sort? (What would it have been like to join something like that 50 years ago? Dreadfully gossipy? Empowering? I bet you might get a taste of that even today.)

    How about showing some slides or learning to play some bridge with your vintage friends on your evenings together?

    Are there any theaters in your area that show any classic movies? It seems like Trixie Norton was always going to the movies when she just had to get out of the house of an evening - sometimes with Alice, sometimes by herself. (Have you felt stircrazy being at home all day long sometimes?) I wonder if the Nickelodeon in No. Falmouth plays any classic stuff. (I used to live in Bournedale.)

    Dance lessons with hubby? You could learn some of those Latin rhythms that were so popular with middle class Americans at mid-century.

  23. Oops, I meant to say Alice Kramden was always going to the movies - sometimes with Trixie, sometimes by herself.

    I also think it's quite fantastic that your taste in decor has changed since you've been immersed in '50s magazines, etc. That's remarkable - and just in a few months!

  24. Jitterbug-funny you should mention those things, because I am going to join our local Gardening club, very 1950's I think, also I could not find a Junior League for just the cape (only Boston) so wondering if I could make that my vintage club in that I want to organize we local women into it and see if we can do any good. I sort of came to this realization the other day ( I think I mentioned it in my blog, I can't remember) but I am really determined to get my home and life in order before I go TOO far out into my community because I want to give it my all and not feel pulled in two directions. I will be joining the Gardening club this month, however and will let everyone know about that. I and vintage friend do want to do dancing with our beaus, and my hubby is for it, but vintage friends boyfriend doesn't want to, so if we can convince him, we may try. I think they teach at a local place. Unfortunately, the Nick is not as progressive as it once was because, SURPRISE, it was bought out by HOYTS and so they will play more 'artsy' films, but no old movie releases. Those have to come from our gatherings. And bridge is on the agenda, we are starting first, actually tonight, with poker. It is easy for everyone to play. we may have two extra couples tonight, so we don't want to scare them off right away, and poker is easier for a group to play, but believe you me, there will be rubbers of bridge in our future, I am determined. Also, vintage friend and I are going to be joining our local gold club (my hubby as well of course) so that will add another social 1950's element to my life. As far as stir crazy in the house, actually quite the opposite. In fact, I will often find that three days have passed and I won't have gone out (except the garden of course). There is just so much to do and study and clean and redecorate that I have not felt that yet. However, as I said, I am really trying to build a strong base from which to work, so after the house is done and cleaning is just 'maintenence' and not also redecorating and organizing, than going out into the community is EXACTLY what I hope to do. I really feel now like this project is about building a life. I also love your blog by the way and appreciate your introducing me to the america's housekeeping book. I always imgaine I recieved it as a wedding present in the 1940s!
    TP-thank you for commenting and thank you for appreciating my rants and my recipes! They are both fun and both enlightening and I learn from both!

  25. Oh, and isnt' it amazing how FAST advertising works? I mean, I liked some 1950s kitchen things, but honestly my plan for my home and kitchen when we moved back was more 1900 than 1950 and in a few months that has changed drastically!

  26. I love you armchairs, the first one is what I’m looking for for my “library corner”. DH doesn’t want it, but when I find it I’ll drag it all the way home all by myself. In my “office” we have a wall with books (and my perfume bottle collection on top of the shelves), in the corner I want such an old-fashioned armchair, an ottoman in front of it, a tiny table beside it for my book and a cup of tea, and an old-fashioned floor lamp behind it. It will look lovely and cosy, and I know I will love sitting there relaxing and reading my books. We had a twist-stepper machine in that corner a few days ago, but I’ve just sold it, so I’m approaching my dream. :) What bargains on all furnitures! The small tables are lovely too and very usable.

    I just LOVE vintage jewellery!!! See my collection here:
    And both of your earring pairs are lovely, and what a bargain you got there too! I have a huge collection of vintage earrings, bracelet and pins – and a few necklaces. I cannot stop collecting these items. I am especially in love with charm bracelets and confetti Lucite earrings from the fifties. They are very usable for daily wear and I just love the embedded glitter, shells and other small things in the Lucite. I don’t think it is a good idea converting your earrings to pierced earrings, since I think they are too large and heavy for that. They will sack or hang when being worn pierced. You can adjust the tightness of the clips to make them more comfortable, just loosen (slowly and carefully) the split in the middle at the end of the clips.

    “create change in my own community” – you are such a good girl!!! :) Good luck on doing so! I think it is a fabulous idea and I so wish I was living in your neighbourhood! I would be the first member in your “Gloves and Girdles Club” then!

    No, I don’t think you are silly or stupid – I love the way you write and make all of us THINK! I think you have grown to be an adult during the last three months, and I also think you are ready to have a child. You mention a child so often, and that was what I did too back then. The only one who couldn’t see it – was myself! :)

    I’m way behind in reading your lovely blog, so my comments will be late – bear with me, but your blog is still my favourite break!

  27. A fabulous gift idea that any mom & grandma links of london sale would be glad to accept is a mother's ring. There are countless styles to pick from london links charms and every one permits each of a mother's children's birthstone to be placed in the ring so mom & grandma can remember her children wherever she goes.Jewelry links london bracelet that is personalized or engraved makes great jewelry gifts for mom. You can have a particular word or meaningful expression engraved inside a ring, necklace or bracelet links of london earrings to demonstrate to your mother the depths of your feelings.Stylish watches are an additional idea for great jewelry gifts for mom. Your mother sweetie bracelet needs a stylish watch to go with her favorite outfit and perhaps even a few to go with her entire wardrobe.Another example of mom's & grandma's jewelry that makes a great gift is mother's earrings.


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