Friday, May 8, 2009

8 May 1955 “Harpo and Lucy, Music and Dance, a quiet Revolution”

This great classis episode of I LOVE LUCY will premiere tonight. Harpo recalled,

“When I walked on the set to go to work there was Lucy imitating me. Tousled and ringlet-red hair streamed from under a battered stovepipe hat. It was the most perfect imitation I’ve ever seen. I rushed over to Lucy, grabbed her hair and asked, “Where did you get such a perfect wig? You could have heard her scream way down in Palm Springs. It seems it was Lucy’s own hair. I had forgotten she didn’t need any help in duplicating my wig.”

This is a great bit and I wonder if it would be deemed to ‘slow’ for today’s TV viewers as this much silent entertainment might not bode well with the action required modern attention spans.

joe bolton Joe Bolton in 1955  appeared as "Officer Joe" and hosted The Clubhouse Gang, and showed the Little Rascals  on WPIX (New York’s 5th television station that is still on the air) It lost the rights to Little Rascals and in September of 1958 would switch to hosting The Three Stooges Funhouse. Over 1 million watch the little rascals comedies over this station. [I have vague memories of Sunday mornings in pajamas and dressing gown holding my little puppy and watching the little rascals and that was the late 70’s early 80’s.]

Daddy long legs with Leslie Carone and Fred Astaire opened on the 5th of this month.

I love this movie. I have not watched it in years, so this weekend we are ‘going to the movies’ to see this one together.  I was also thinking how then there were song writers and singers. Some were great writers others singers, so if there were a ‘popular’ song, it might be sung by any of the great singers of the time. Now, for some reason, perhaps with all the silly ‘ownership’ laws the big record companies are concerned about, you have an ‘artist’ who writes and sings their own songs. It isn’t bad, but I wonder how many great singers out there would be good at that, just singing, and not worrying about creating lyrics. It is as if that basic level of entertaining is sort of lost and anyone in the popular music scene is meant to have written the songs or even if they are written by others we refer to is as ‘Brittany Spears song’, though she did not write it. Just an interesting observation.


While looking at “Your Hit Parade” clips, I found this.

At first glance, with my slowly changing views and esthetics since 1955, I thought, “what a great tune and how sweet”  Then, as my modern mind set slipped in, I thought, “How silly, look how poorly they dance.  Wouldn’t they get made fun of today, those male dancers?” It sort of made me sad. Have we become so jaded that people just having fun and doing not a perfect job but their best is something to be ridiculed? I could be wrong, of course, as there is some show on where celebrities dance or something, but it is a competition and they have to be celebrities. This has a simple entertainment value that feels very, “every man” to me.   When did just having a good try at your best go out of style? It is an odd double standard, where we expect reality tv to be about normal people trying to do outrageous things or horrid people being skanky to get the notice of other wretched people. Yet, the general public is not really given an outlet to just go out and have fun and be silly dancing and listening to music where you can talk. Perhaps, it is just my own experiences, but it always seemed when we went out to places with music you couldn’t hear to talk and there really was no ‘supper club or barn dance’ venue of old. Perhaps, people and youths would not hate small town living if fun and entertainment were somehow shared by all age groups and not every age being separately defined. I think really the concept of ‘teenager fun’ is just beginning in the 1950’s, certainly there were the ‘bobby soxers’ of the 1940’s but it seemed the youth would be entertained with the adults and strive to be more like them. Now, it seems, fun has to be equated with ‘teen fun’ or else you are an old fuddy duddy. And, of course, even younger children are expected to be cool which means not having innocent fun or being with adults, but in fact ‘teen fun’ which now seems to be sex, drugs and rock and roll. I am not an old fuddy duddy but honestly, there could be so many things that young people could genuinely enjoy, but are not really shown. The more I live in 1955 the more I am beginning to resent the late 1960’s and the hippy culture. They seemed to be the pampered children of the 50’s who got the wonderful mothers in nice clothes, homemade food, milk and cookies and then could ‘rebel’ for themselves for fun at that moment leaving the world for their children and grandchildren to fix.

I think since actual 'dancing’ has gone out of style, and long before my time, it has sort of left out an activity for my age group in smaller towns to enjoy.  Couples once could go out dancing and sort of know and expect what to do, now dancing is all about being young and sexy with no specific steps. I cannot be the only person in her 30’s who wished there were clubs that were supper clubs with a live band you could actually dance swing or waltz etc instead of noisy bass thumping meat factories! Maybe I am just getting old, although even in my 20’s I loathed such places! Although, I know there are places in some cities that offer this, it is rare and not just a normal part of any town, the local club with dancing and supper. I need to find out if there are any swing bands around.

I received some ‘new’ 1943-1950 House Beautiful magazines the other day. They are very good reading. I like giving myself some more pre-1955 reading, to really place myself into 1955. Some of these are obviously from the time of WWII and they have great ads and articles. 1940s hotpoint ad This ad talks about how we will all profit form war time production and that the acceleration in technology due to the war will result in our life being easy and better AFTER the war. These magazines are filled with ‘after the war’ talk and it obviously must have been really the norm of conversation. I was really surprised to see that this ad, which is from a 1943 edition, already showing the dishwasher. It lets me know I most certainly would have one now in 1955 and yet makes me wonder how I hear form our overseas readers that some countries didn’t see dishwashers as the norm until as late as the 1980s! We Americans had so much, after the war. The USA really was poised to grow after WWII. We lost much in people, but our own country was not physically destroyed like Europe and when we came back home we could sort of leave all the ‘bad things’ behind. They could be literally ‘visually forgot’.

It must have been such a strange time to have come from 1930’s Depression where you had very little to the rationing of the 1940’s to suddenly the endless product and ease of the 1950’s. When I see it this way, I can see when we, as Americans, really began to veer away from what I believe we once were. Though today we are taught to believe that America is all about allowing big business to grow unchecked, really that only allows good for a few key people in control of the companies.  And we all pay for it not only with our wallets but with our loss of self in that we are so defined by what we own and buy now, we really have sort of lost our identity. We need to be defined by what games we play or car we drive or what label our clothes or handbags reveal. Where is the American who went out west with disease and will power and built up towns from the dirt? The American’s who left oppression to come and forge a new land out of the wilderness. Did they really do all that so their descendents could sit wasting away in front of TVs overeating, overspending, and becoming rude thoughtless zombies? I know that sounds harsh, but really, I sort of see that happening to us. I want us, we, to have our pride of self preservation. I don’t want a world so lazy and dependent upon manufacturing that we have to buy pre-made PBJ sandwiches or we can’t clean our kitchen with a sponge hot water and our hands, or grow our own food or support our local farmer. Why CAN’T we buy a good pair of shoes and then pay the local cobbler to resole them to make them last? I know, I know, I always seem to come back to this and I honestly don’t know how. It just seems I start to see the things I am learning and hoping to learn and compare them to the 2008 me and think, ‘My God, what a lazy useless slob and corporate shill I was!’

I was thinking how much this time does in a way mirror that time in the mid to late fifties in that suddenly we are really inundated with things. I think being my age now in 1955 and if I were lucky enough to have seen my husband through WWII, after all the sheen of consumerism had worn off I think I would begin to think, “well, my how much less we did with only 10 years ago!” I think being my age then, I would have accepted the influx of things like dishwashers and washers and dryers and then really thought, “wow, how things have changed”. And, maybe I would have sort of took stock, as it were, and decided not to go overboard, just out of the lessons my own life had brought me to up to 1955. Were I 21 in 1955 and starting out a new marriage, I can see how I may start to become the group that will grow and raise the kids that will rebel in the 1960s.

I think, in a way, the movement of the late 60s was trying to get away from that consumerism, but really they threw away a lot of the natural mechanisms that help you cope with a world that is not about consumerism. To them, it had become this plastic world, but to their parents it had been to make the Eden that would never see World Wars again. But, by rebelling against that they also did away with the concepts of family and community in a way that can work for all, not just for young people.  When they thumbed their nose at the house in the suburbs and the family working together and not always expressing how they felt at that moment, they said goodbye to some of the basic good inherent in humans, I think. That ability to pretend to be okay so that your child may be happy at that moment is a good thing, it isn’t always about ME ME ME, but maybe because those 1950s parents DID make it about their kids, they of course didn’t want to ‘grow up’.Why would they?They got to have the smiling stay at home mothers in pretty clothes homemade food, cookies and milk and then when it was their turn to do for their children they said, “No, that’s not how it should be” and off they went. The 1950s are now often seen as the ‘bad time’ that the 60’s some how liberated us from. It isn’t odd, then that their children and grandchildren made the me me 1980s. They had no homemade food and smiling mothers they had the ME ME parents so they wanted structure and wanted that missing element, the home and family. But, now it was distorted and got all mixed up with the ME and the wanting a nice home and then you have the over consumption, get more money greed that has lead us to now. Certainly, I am not saying it would not have all happened if people just accepted their place as adults and grew up, but on some level, it is partly the problem. Where are all the adults? Where has all the responsibility gone?

I have, of late, really started to see that there are many women out there who feel as I do. That really a new ‘revolution’ is upon us. The quiet women’s revolution of ‘returning home’. The 60’s threw out consumerism and everything else, the baby with the bathwater. I say we set aside the new consumerism, pick up our aprons and make a better world with what we have using the skills of our own hands as our ancestors once did. Now, we have the advance of technology, lets be happy for it but let’s use it as a tool and not be USED by it.  Who needs the ease of McDonalds food and the throw away prices and quality of Wal-Mart, when we have our brains and talent? Why settle for what we can buy when we can make and grow and sew what we really desire and have more control over the style, quality and quantity. I don’t think it is good, anymore, to have a product be cheaper if that means there has to be millions of them, some not sold, and then being so cheap, merely tossed away into our landfills. When something is more dear, cost more, we learn to either take care of it or do without.

What is good about this sort of revolution, is it is a quiet one. We can all quietly pick up our aprons and turn our back on the evil ease offered by our present world. “No, thank you,” we can say, with nice manners and pressed dresses “I would rather not buy that five dollar t-shirt at old navy ” and make our own sturdy cotton dress that we can cherish and iron and care for instead of wear once and throw away. “No, thank you” to another plastic handbag sewn by the little hands of a Chinese girl,” this will do fine” as we buy a well made one from the 1950s at our local store, saving it from garbage, and giving money to a local citizen of our community.

Everyone always worries”Well, if we don’t keep buying the economy will fail” well, you know what, we haven’t stopped buying yet and it already failed. It had nothing to do with our buying things so much as mismanagement with the money made from our buying. We built an economy on a wish. Our current economy is all speculation, one has only to look at the real estate market to see that. If we take our money from the big chain store and give it to our neighbor who runs a thrift shop that is helping our local economy, that is good. Global thinking is good, but leave that to our government. They send the delegates to other countries, let us small citizens focus on our own towns and cities. But, I don’t want to get off point. Back to the revolution:
I really see that there are many of us who would like to go ‘back home’ as it were. Let us try. Let us look at our finances and what we buy. Let’s really evaluate the words ‘NEED’ and ‘WANT’. We think we have to be a two income household, but why? Really ask yourselves, why? There isn’t enough money, you might say. Well, what do you spend your money on. I know it sounds simple, but really we just don’t combine thinking with spending. The modern world has made money a magic thing we don’t even have to touch, we just use our credit and debit cards, no cash. But, it is real. There are consequences for what we do.

In my own family, my hubby and I have recently made a decision that brings us almost half of what he used to bring in. He has just found a job locally (only 20 minutes away) that has health care and some possible advancement, but with much less pay right now. However, we really don’t NEED two cars now and I am going to sell one. I can drive him to work to have the car on the days I need marketing and errands done, when I don’t then I can either walk or stay home and get my job and things done here. It seems an alien idea at first, but once you start thinking about it and then adding it all up. The cost of gas for two cars, insurance, repairs, inspections etc. It all adds up. I can now take my skills and really put them to the test, as our budget shall be much tighter and I don’t think the answer is for me to go and get some job to bring in more money and pay more gas and more car fees and buy work clothes. Then, I cannot cook all the time, so I will start getting ‘prepared meals’ etc. It is a slippery slope. SO, let us, we vintage women, try and see if we cannot start our quiet little “Apron Revolution” and see where we end up. We may not change the world, but we might find new power and self worth in ourselves and that WILL change our own little piece of the world.

Now, I will close with some little tidbits from my 1945 House Beautiful magazines.

Here is a great article on houseplants. I remember jitterbug had wondered what would be appropriate plants for the 1940s.houseplants imagehouse plants

Here is a photo showing an organized ‘cleaning closet’.organizing closets

Next time I will show some of my latest clothes and talk about sewing. One of my readers sent me a homemade dress form pattern and told me of a funny tale that happened to her in trying to make her own. Now, the sunny garden beckons to me. And, I have dinner to plan.

Happy Homemaking.


  1. Today I've been making some head scarves and sewing them... I'm much happier that I made them rather than bought them for 5 times what it cost me.

    Also Sunday I'm meeting my Boyfriends parents and instead of buying a cake for the equivalent of $30 I bought some biscuits, whipping cream and vanilla pudding for $10 and I'm going to make biscuit and cream cake for them. So yes everyone unite and make smarter decisions!

  2. good job, vintage angel, let the apron revolution begin!

  3. Wow, what a great post! You and I must be on the same wavelength...Just this morning, scrubbing the tub with Bon Ami, I kid you not, I began internally wondering why people think bars & nightclubs are so wonderful, that it is really a way of people not doing anything at all, because honestly, one cannot hear oneself think, much less chat with friends. It is just loud, noisome, bump and grind, and entirely unpleasant. I never was a fan of bars as a teen or young adult and rarely went (though meeting friends to shoot pool at a quieter place was more fun and much enjoyed, I'll confess). Then I began lamenting to myself that there is nowhere fun to go, no fun little supper clubs with dinner and dancing (something pretty common even into the 60s). No competition, just a good time.

    How nice that would be! Just go, eat dinner, dance, listen to music, talk...I think that such an environment is more socially friendly, too, because something tells me that people are more likely to chat with others, not just their friends and date or spouse. It's the communal activity, enjoying the music and dancing, the grown-up dress that would only seem natural in the environment.

    Also, as a singer myself who doesn't write songs (just other stuff, ha!)...Well, you are right about the music. Do you know that none other than Frank Sinatra thought almost exactly the way you do about songs & songwriting? He really lamented the loss of that separation!

    You are far more correct about the 60s than you know. It's simultaneously amusing and disgusting to me, how that generation really did sort of create the ME ME attitude of the 80s that some (not all) had, but then turned around to complain about it. Yeesh. It's just a continual lack of taking responsibility. They blame their parents, and they blame our generation, but won't (can't?) dare admit they might have had even the smallest part of it.

    Glad your hubby could get a job closer to home...Mine works an hour away; we'd live closer, but taxes in that state are atrocious (we're talking $3,000 on an 1100 square foot 1930s home, and it hasn't been assessed in 20 years...yikes!). So we do have two cars, but they're not brand new...With all of my doctor's visits, to be honest, I don't think we could have just one. We've considered it and tried to work it out, but no go. Ah well. Being a native Michigander, I'm a little attached to the Chevy! For some it works, for some it doesn't, but it is definitely good to even sit and think about it.

    Thanks for all the funny clips and plant info! We could use some houseplants, just to keep the air fresh and clean during winter.

    Finally, last night we had no dessert ready (I'd run out of pie). So I took the vanilla ice cream, stirred a heaping spoonful of peanut butter into each bowl, topped it with homemade chocolate syrup, and voila! Very yummy, if extremely simple, dessert. :) Thought you would enjoy that (in more ways than one, it is tasty as all get-out if one is a PB fan).

  4. (I should note that we sort of live "in the country", hence the long distance we have to travel for work, medical care, and even basic things like the fabric store and more 'exotic' groceries!)

  5. Great post! I think one of the most radical things we can do in this current crisis is re-learn the difference between need/want.
    We've had several generations now that don't know the difference between the two. Wouldn't it be something if those of us who grew up with the Material Girl were to change all that? We can do it - one well thought out choice at a time.


  6. Really good post. I don't know much about the average American household at the moment, but here in Australia we are seeing a real return to these sorts of ideals. People are growing their own food, or if they can't, they buying from local farmers markets, people are shopping more in thrift stores (we call them opportunity shops or "op" shops here) and refashioning these clothes to make them their own, people are sewing their own clothes, knitting, baking, cutting back on those unnecessary items, taking public transport, it's a real little revolution happening and people are embracing it. We are also making ourselves aware of the bigger issues, and I sometimes think that that is the problem. People have only focused on themselves, not the bigger picture, not just how changing a few little things in your life can make a huge difference globally. Thanks for the great read daily, I'm really enjoying getting an insight into post war America, and how it has grown from then.

  7. i could have written much of that post myself!!
    i am 39 and dh and i have 5 children and have always lived on one income. it can be done!! i have always felt sort of misplaced in time. always wished i'd lived in the '40's. i had/have little in common w/most girls my age. our culture is so greedy for the "next thing" that there is no contentment in the now. sad. we are teaching our kids to be thrifty, to have fun with each other, and to enjoy the simple things. they are a joyful bunch. i am so glad to see i am not alone! xo, kelly

  8. You are right on with your post about the sixties rebellion. I think it began with the James Dean movie "Rebel Without a Cause" which I remember seeing in my early teens in the late 50s. It gave middle class, well fed, young people an excuse to act up and blame their parents for every perceived wrong. I guess I was out of step then because I didn't get the point of the movie. It has been difficult to keep those 50s ideals going all these years...a bit like swimming against the tide. I was fortunate that I had a husband that was fully supportive and that for a good portion of my youth I lived in an isolated town without TV until 1964. Must have kept me from all that temptation out there.
    Your project is raising so many interesting points. I believe it is important to know how we got from there to here so that we can understand why we are in such serious trouble as a society.

  9. I used to get on clothes-buying binges, and then around this time of year, when seasons are changing, I'd end up taking tons of stuff to the local thrift store because I never wore any of it, or wore it once but didn't like it for some reason. Now, I check the local thrift store for my everyday blouses, only buy what I need, and make myself try it on before buying. (I also bought patterns to try to make some basics I can mix and match. I think as a society, myself included, we waste so much.

  10. Jen B-Wouldn't it be nice? I just found out that our local theatre is having a local swing band (who I knew nothing about) next saturday. I am going. Although I have no idea how to dance yet, nor if anyone will be dancing, if I can find out who they are and where they perform, maybe it could be in my future. My hubby and at least one of my friends have already said they would take swing lessons with me. I just have had such an urge lately to do so. I know the one car idea cannot work for everyone, just letting you know the changes I am seeing and opportunity I see now that I am in my new 'mindset' the old me would have thought. "NO way, I NEED my car" Which of course, for me, is not true. I have no children to cart around and my marketing can be done on days that I drop hubby off. When you open yourself up to new ways of thinking it is funny how opportunites arise to cooincide with that. Really, they were always there, but you just didn't see them. Do you still sing and do you record?
    Rebecca-I agree, it is a HARD lesson and I am sure there are still many things I think are a NEED that are actually a WANT, but as long as we question ourselves and be conscious of our decisions and own the responsibility of our actions, we are on the right path!
    Selina-Wow, that sounds lovely, what is happening in your country. Good for you, we need to follow suit, and really probably are starting to move in that direction. At least now I know why they call them OP shops, I didn't think of that 'opportunity' I like that!
    Kelly-well you are definitely not alone, isn't it nice to see how many of us there are out there? Wow five children! You must be VERY organzied, good for you and how nice that you are instilling in your children self-sufficiency and pleasure in simple things, very good lessons for ALL of us!
    Gardener B-Good for you that you saw the silliness of such atitudes. It is funny now, thanks mostly to the media, that most people think the 'rebellion' is the realy way of living. Getting on your hog and driving off without responsibility. That can be good for some, but you can't always just drive away. And from what are you driving away from? that is the question. Just as today's role models for girls seem to be spoiled anorexic stars and rich girls who do what they want and treat people and their bodies poorly. What happened to wanting to be kind and dress pretty? You would think with so many of us wishing we had the 'past' back to a certain extent, we could somehow do it? It's like that movie theme of the woman being 'forced' into an unhappy society marriage, sure that happened but how many HAPPY marriages were there where they couples were glad to be together and there was no drama? It seems the amount of entertainment needed to fill a 2 hour movie seems to be the meter by which modern people use to determine their relationships. There has to be the 'no we cannot be together our family doesnt' like it' drama and the 'talk with the friends about it' and etc and then it is suppose to be all sealed up in two hours, only life doesn't work like that and if there is a guy who is really handsome but a jerk, he most likely won't magically turn into your prince in the end,he will probably continue to be a jerk and mistreat you. I see so many of my friends end up with jerks for this same misconception. It is amazing the level to which our 'entertainment' affects our concepts and expectations on reality. When you are raised by the tv and movies, your brain seems to take these actions as reality and you try to live your life that way, only it doesn't fit reality.
    FOrest lady-good for you and belive you me, I know of what you speak. I would do the seasonal clothes shed, where I would gather up things I had bought(some with tags still on!) and get rid of them to get to the next bundle. All of it wasteful, expensive and really I like my vintage style now, so much more and it is nicer to be in control of what fabric I like and the cut and style and decoration. It is more personal and me! No thanks Old Navy and Target, I'd rather make it myself than some 5 year old chinese girl and if I buy ready made it can come from a local dress shop. Sure it will cost more, but then I will take care of it so it lasts and you better believe I will wear it if I have to pay more for it!

  11. I've been doing the bi-yearly wardrobe clear out recently but here we have swishing shops, where you take your clothes and they give you a 10 percent voucher of what they'll sell it for, to get other clothes. I'm only now getting to understand that basics are better and a few special pieces and accessories are all that's needed. I'm still finding it hard to resist special things, especially as a vintage/thrift lover since I know that what I like is most likely a one off, so there's always the fear that it won't be there later. (See my latest post on my vintage blog if you want to know just how hard it is to resist some things).

    Sigh... slowly slowly baby steps, considering that since yesterday at 6pm I have cleaned my house, organised my sewing list, made a cake, had a cooked lunch and pampered myself with a long bath and body lotion.

    So the efficiency is there, it's just the WANT versus NEED that I need to deal with :S I think that's the hardest thing for all of us, we are a consumer society but slowly slowly we might be able to change things with our silent revolution.

  12. Always an inspiration, 50's Gal! Always an eye opener! I, too am excited to kick the prepared meals habit. I've been bringing my lunch everyday for the past two weeks and it's saved me money (both on buying out and driving during my breaks), time (lunch isn't as long as it was before, which also gives me more money in the ole paycheck) and is so much more healthy (an apple a day!) I am thrilled to see where this new revolution leads! Perhaps we can walk or bike together to the market.

  13. As a child of the 50's, I can tell you first hand that the "rebel" kids of the sixties annoyed the heck out of me. They were all so smug and demeaned everything that I held dear: marriage, family, personal accountability, and respect. I did note that the most noticible hippies where the ones who had money available to them without working for it. Later I noticed the same "tribe" advocating corporate and business practices that served them and short changed others. In the 60's I thought "what is wrong with those people?" and today I find myself asking the same question about their ilk played out in modern times.
    Bring on the Apron Revolution!

  14. I enjoyed this post, 50s gal, as I've been thinking along similar lines lately. I admire the enthusiasm that you seem to have for adjusting your life to meet your husband's new income! And thank you for noting that the $5 shirts are often made as the result of poor labor conditions and/or child labor.

    Love the cleaning closet photo. Someday, I will live in a house with a proper cleaning closet -- someplace to store the cleaners, the brooms and the vacuum cleaner!

  15. You are so right. Thank you so much for the vids, and the wonderful rant!

  16. Vintage-that is the hard one, but I think we can do it and we can all inspire one another with our stories of success or unburden ourselves with our tribulations and failures.
    Renee-of course, I even have a vintage bike!
    Thoughts on life-that is nice to know that some of the baby boomers also wondered at the odd behaviour of their peers! My MIL was a hippy of sorts and probably of the ilk you speak, as she went to Woodstock in her new Jaguar. It was really, for her, about the fashion and social freedoms. It is odd how it became the sort of accepted popular norm as time went on that the 60's 'liberated' us from the bad of the 1950's. Certainly less racism and intolerance is better, but we can have those things AND manners, personal care and pride etc.
    Christine-I need to post some of my 1940's homemakers blog on cleaning closets, as they have a wonderful 'how to' that shows you how to take a small area of a wall and make a little 'built in' place for cleaning. I, too, dream of such a closet. I am not sure where I want it to be. Right now I use my small closet/pantry in my kitchen as I use the other closet as the pantry. I should show a pic of it this week.
    Moshea-thank you, glad you enjoyed it.

  17. When my grandmother died, none of us could figure out why she was wearing daily the panties with holes, while she had two boxes of new ones in the dresser. Now I understand. She lived through hard times when her children were small, and she learned to use things up, put things away for rainy days, and not just grab and toss the way we do these days. She was right, and so are you.

  18. I've always wondered why the rebellion of the 60s threw out responsibility along with their resistance to consumerism. Really, if they had just stopped the consumerism attitude as part of an over-all attitude of being responsible, we would be so much further ahead as a society. I don't know how they missed that the responsibility of resisting blind consumerism was/is part of a whole attitude of being responsible.

    I wonder why people have the tendency to over-react like that? We seem to have the perpetual problem of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

  19. I pretty much agree with everything in this post. I would suggest that after the war, England and the rest of Europe still had rationing nad shortages for quite a number of years and some countries experienced economic depression in the '50s. For my family members in Canada, the war was a release from the Great Depression whereas my family in England and Ireland felt the shortages for a long time despite being a family of some means.
    In my city of Ottawa there is strong community of Swing Dancing. I would be interested in going but with four kids, it is low on the list of prioities.

  20. Hi 50sgal!

    I'm sorry to ask such a personal question but have you always been a stay at home wife? I am giving up my job in 3 weeks to stay at home - both of us are just fed up with rushing around all the time and have decided to 'do without' instead. (really it won't be doing without as we'll have the necessities just not the luxuries!)

    I was wondering how you found the transition? At the moment I'm worried that I could easily end up spending everyday just channel hopping and then having a panic of activity just before my husband walks through the door! Do you have any tips for a newbie? How was your transition to being a housewife? Did you make the move before your 'time-machine' experience or did you do it so that you would be able to complete this wonderful project? What do your husband/ family / friends think about it? It was my husbands suggestion but some of my friends have been dismissive and my family downright hostile. I'm sorry for all the questions but I don't know anyone else who stays at home without children and the only blogs I have found on the internet are written by women who stay home for religious reasons (not that that's a bad thing - it's just not why I decided to).

    I do love your blog - I have only been a regular reader for a few weeks but I have been reading back in your posts and the more I read the more I agree with you!!

    Thank you for taking the time to read this (very long!) comment,

  21. Ah, I like that about the hippies being pampered children of the fifties. That’s what I’ve always thought too.

    We don’t have dance clubs for adults here in Denmark either and I really miss it! I would love an elegant dance club where you don’t risk falling over the school bags. And I’ve missed it since I was in my late twenties, and I don’t think I’m the only one too. I would love to dress up, eat a lovely dinner, order old-fashioned drinks and dance with DH, who is a fabulous dancer.

    In Denmark we have shoemakers and I often go to them with several pairs of shoes to have them resoled or whatever service they need. Especially the stiletto heels often need resoling and since I love my shoes, I gladly pay a shoemaker to repair them. Don’t you have shoemakers in the US?

    “Apron Revolution” – count me in! :) I just bought a very beautiful apron at the Isle of Moen (where my tiny cottage is located). A lady who sews had opened a street sale and she sews SO beautifully that I had to buy several things from her. A pink and green chequered apron with roses and ruffles, very lovely. I almost have started collecting aprons. DH is the cook but I’m the cleaner, and you do need an apron while washing up and cleaning the kitchen. And why not look good while wearing an apron!? I also bought a pair of heart-shaped potholders and a dress and sun hat with purple roses for my sister’s soon four year old daughter. The set was so lovely and old-fashioned that I fell completely in love with it and simply had to buy it. I asked my sister first, since she does not share my very feminine and vintage taste, but she loved it too. My niece will get it as her birthday gift in a month – she is an exact copy of me, so nice to see yourself in such a little girl. :) She often calls me on the phone, just to say that “I love aunt Sanne!” – my heart melts completely. I will take a photo of her wearing the dress since it is so vintage styled.

    A letter is on the way for you, dear. :)

  22. Sarah-I was going to just answer you here in the comments, but as I have been so busy today and have NOT yet posted today's blog, I think I might take your question and make it into a blog for today.
    Sanne-wonderful! Maybe one day I will see this Isle of moen you speak of. I actually dreamed of going to Denmark when I was a little girl as my favorite author was Isak Dineson ( I know I mentioned her before) and was obsessed with her work and wanted to have a farm in africa as she once did (not realistic , I know!). I can't wait to get the letter. I just recieved two nice letters today and someone sent me a wonderful book from 1955 that I will have to show and talk about in a future post and DON'T worry, I will get back to the diet book!

  23. 50"s gal- Thanks for another thought provoking post. And I love the idea of the "Apron Revolution". I stay home with my children and take care of my family because it's what works for us- never knew there were so many women with the same idea.

    SARAH- Good for you for realizing you and your DH don't like the running around that a two income household requires. It's a hard concept for some to understand but you have to do what's right for you and your DH. another thought is if you choose to have children in the future you'll already be accustomed to a single income and staying home won't be a shock, as the high cost of quality day care would be.

    As for the hippies being the spoiled children of the 50's- yes I agree. But there were some good ideas that came out of the movement- like acceptance of those of other races, growing your own food, and community living. It's the free love and thumbing your nose attitude I don't like. Well, not the free love as it was then but how it's interpreted now as simple sluttiness and an excuse to treat women badly. I remember in the late 1980's, 1989 I think, there was a Woodstock anniversary concert series. The whole idea was to celebrate the original in it's ideals and dreams for a utopian society. What happened at the 1989 concert was a lot of commercialism- tie dyed t's made by corporations type stuff and girls and women being forced into "free love" by boys and men groping them and ripping their clothes. Not like the original at all.

    Another thought regarding this post- the cleaning closet picture. I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed that there were relatively few cleaning supplies. Think about the aisles of cleaners we have now. It's ridiculous. More chemicals that aren't necessary.


  24. 50s gal, have fun with the swing dancing! That would be a blast and you'll probably really like it. :)

    I don't record, but have recently considered singing professionally again in some fashion, and that might entail recordings here or there. Particularly since I love the old jazzy, romantic tunes from the 30s-50s, even some of the 60s, and think there's a real attraction to that music now, I might do pretty well, even if it is just locally, and that would make me plenty happy!

    Just the other day I mentioned supper clubs to someone and had to explain what they were all about; she, too, looked a bit entranced.

  25. Jen B-I just now read this comment, how fun! Actually, Gussie is rather a good singer and we have toyed with her singing some old standards locally. If the time and inclination ever meet. If you do record anything, let us hear. We are a community, after all.

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