Thursday, July 9, 2009

9 July 1955 “Some News, Some Music, Some Food, and is it Easier Now or Then?with a little Rant thrown in for good measure.”

jack lalane Jack Lalanne of Oakland, California
swims two miles from a point off Alcatraz
Island Prison to the San Francisco shore,
with his wrists handcuffed together.
Lalanne started from a boat, because
Warden Paul Madigan refused him
permission to leave from the Island.
Madigan still maintains that Alcatraz is
virtually escape-proof for prisoners
because “the water is too cold and the
currents too swift.”

disney_castle_may1955 Last minute preparations to get the
nearly completed Disneyland ready for
dedication ceremonies will be shown on
a special this Sunday night at 8 on ABC. I know some people may get mad at me, but I have never been a Disney fan. Particularly now it sort of represents to me all that I find abhorrent in our American culture. The false overbuilt idea of ‘history’. The plastic overpriced trumped up representation of old classic fairy tales. Even the modern day affect on copyright law and all the ridiculousness that entails is mainly from the Disney’s forcing the copyright law to be extended 100 years. I find this particularly odd, since they want to protect the copyright on stories in which they were not the originator, the old fairy tales. I have to say, if I had a child, I would not even introduce them to any Disney except perhaps the old Snow White. I just see it as the beginning of the packaging and selling of youth and childhood for a fast buck.

Pop music this week in 1955 -

“Rock Around The Clock” - Bill Haley,

Pink And Apple Blossom” - Perez Prado,

“A Blossom Fell” - Nat King Cole,

“Something’s Gotta Give” - The McGuire Sisters,

“Learnin’ The Blues” - Frank

“Sweet And Gentile” - Alan Dale,

“Experience Unnecessary” - Sarah

“Honey-Babe” - Art Mooney.

At the movies this week : “Lady And The Tramp”


“The Seven
Little Foys” - Bob Hope and Milly Vitale.

“The Cobweb”
- Richard Widmark, Gloria Grahame, Lauren Bacall,
Charles Boyer.

We see Marilyn is on many magazine covers at the height of her career, including this “Liberty” magazine which is a Canadian Magazine of which I had never heard.

   july mag marilyn monroephotoplay july 55 marilyn

There is something telling about this July cover for the New Yorker. The old Brownstones of old New York, the pre-war buildings becoming shadowed by the increasing growth and building of the post WWII era. The skyscraper has arrived.

 new yorker july 9 1955

Last nights dinner included a new recipe for beets. I really like beets and this very classic recipe is easy and yummy. I really love the color, don’t you?

harvard beets HARVARD BEETS
Serves 4-5
1 lb can diced beets, drained, 1/3 C liquid reserved
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
¼ tsp salt
¼ C vinegar
2 Tbsp butter
In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn starch, and salt. Stir in reserved beet liquid, vinegar, and butter, and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and bubbles. Add beets and heat through.

Along with this dinner was a rare pot roast with roasted potatoes fresh herbs from the garden. I realized, afterwards, that I did a vintage no-no and left the skins on. I am used to doing this in the modern world as we are told that is where much of the nutrient lies, but I think from now on I will peel my potatoes instead.pot roast Of course, being good middle class 1955 folk we love our martinis dry and our steak very rare.pot roast on plate

I was thinking about some comments we had back and forth on my last post. And it does seem that there is still a considerable amount for a homemaker to do despite the modern conveniences. However, baking bread and canning and keeping a stove lit with coal or wood is no longer a necessity, yet the time at home is gone. It seems, however, that if we begin to return to the 'work at home' and embrace the modern conveniences at the level we feel comfortable we can work backwards as much as we like to simpler times. That is to say, if someone were “into it” enough, they could return to baking and canning all their own things, making all their own clothes, etc. Or, if someone wanted only to stop at mending but still buying clothes but more affordably and still buying bread but locally to support their community, that also seems a great place to go with our apron revolution.

What I do believe we all seem to WANT to do away with is the sort of DISCONNECT we seem to all share within our communities and our own families. We may all be home but separately on computers or eating at different times in different rooms or talking or texting while around our family. We are MORE connected electronically to strangers than we are to those closest to us. I feel, for example, a great connection to all of you and you are scattered all around, but I don't want to lose that and want to foster it more, yet I also WANT the connection within my community and family. Just think how much we could change our lives and community by embracing BOTH of these aspects and relegating time and energy to them, say the time and energy we spend on watching TV or being passively entertained. Then we could form communities digitally and locally and reinforce and share our homemaking ideals and concepts. I think we may truly be on the brink of a wonderful and great revolution here. WE have the power of the modern age, now to only reach to the past and grasp what they had and wonder, "what could THEY have done with what WE have" and go for it! Think on it, we are really now given the chance to ‘time-travel’ in our minds to our fore-mothers and see what they saw and learn what they knew and then in a flash be back into the modern world and use the technology and the modern world and STOP letting it USE US! No more passivity. We don’t have to hide from our modern world, we need to remake it in a new vein that celebrates the past and revives those sage skills of homemaking and combine it, frugally, with technology, so that we can make a better home and therefore happy selves and family and community. So, try it at levels, say no to the Gap shirt and buy locally or thrift or make your own. Use your computer, but don’t just use it as a means to replace the TV, research and find ways to mend and sew and cook and share your skills and then, here is the trick, turn it off for part of the day and DO. That seems to be the main element we need in our modern society: ACTION. What wouldn’t our predecessors given for our modern devices, but would they want it to free up time to sit and watch more tv? No. So, let us build up our new vintage world, raise the flags of our Apron Revolution and march into the future proud and accomplished women. We don’t NEED everything easier, we can use the ease when we do NEED to to further our own growth along, but not to be lazy. Onward, sisters, onward!

Well, that’s my rant for today, now I have to get up and away from the computer and get to Action, myself.

Happy Homemaking.


  1. your food looks yummy, loved the music, and i can't stand disney either. i can count the # of disney films my kids have seen on one hand~and the oldest is 11!!
    i am in total agreement on the rant. we buy most of our clothes at consignment or thrift shops, or the increasingly rare rummage through the clearance racks. we also put our tv in the basement when we married,and it has been there, more a dust catcher than anything, ever since. the more tv one watches, the less that is accomplished. the only thing i could possibly do, i suppose, is fold laundry...but then, what do i want to watch that badly????
    action is, indeed, more satisfying all around. so is communication and time spent with loved ones. now i am off, as well.
    ps. did you make your laundry soap yet?? :)

  2. Kelly-just checking in, no I am trying to decide if I should break down and order fels naptha from the internet. It is what I would really like to use and I know it is vintage. I will post the completed act which I will most likely 'decorate' with my own label.

  3. is it not at your supermarket?? how odd. ck the drugstore too. i could mail you some if you want....

  4. Wonderful post, indeed. I love the idea of working backwards as much as we would like to towards simpler times. My girls and I have been doing that starting this past winter. We make our own laundry detergent, deodorant, and toothpaste. I have started gardening again, as I used to. Regardless of not having a clothes line, I am hanging my sheets out the best I can and enjoying the fresh air aroma. I have gone back to cooking and baking more, as I used to, regardless of work. I purchased a sock darner some time ago and will begin using it soon. I also got out my sewing machine a few months back and am intent on honing my sewing abilities. My girls and I would love to be able to have a few chickens and goats but because we live within the city limits can’t. DD did, however, procure some fresh organic goat milk yesterday. These are a few of the things that I/we have done.

    Once again, I so appreciate your blog. It offers much encouragement and re-enforcement to me in these wholesome and vintage endeavors. Happy day to you all!

  5. 50'sgal- Perhaps your little general store could order the Fel Naptha for you? (And how quaint and vintage if they will.) I know there are catalogs where you can order it too. Let me know if you'd like me to get you the name of one. I think ordering from a catalog would be in keeping with 1955 standards.

    Yes, I agree Disney has taken advertising and marketing to a whole new level of disgust. Really, do we need adult sized clothing with Winnie the Pooh?

    What irks me the most about the "modern" conveniences is that it is assumed they make the work disappear and there is no need for someone to run the machines and the home. This misconception negates what we do. It's frustrating. But of course we know the truth. There needs to be someone managing the home. And just hiring someone, while helpful, isn't the same. In the time all this technology was being developed household servants were disappearing to take factory jobs and had more opportunities. The assumption was that the housewife could run the home without hired help if she had these machines. Not that the the machines would take the place of the housewife and her maids. (And here I go again on my own rant...)


  6. For the Fels Naptha:

    Here's the number for the Vermont Country store. (802) 362-8460. I used to get their catalog and they have a lot of really cool stuff. The people who used to live in our house got it and it was sent for a while after we moved in. I'd like to think the lady of the house was a vintage type like me. Too bad I never met her. They moved out of the country. Anyhoo...

    I've also seen Fels at the hardware store.

    Hope this helps you.


  7. I searched for weeks for Fels Naptha. Our town did not have any to be found, so I had to break down and order online (one of the hardware stores said they could order some for me, but I would have to buy like 12 or 24 bars at a time!) It isn't as cheap, but I can get a three-pack that my daughter and I split. I order from Lehman’s.

  8. Wow, thanks for the tips. Maybe I will try the hardward store then see if my local 'country store' sells it. We also have a lot of 'health food stores' I wonder if it is something they would carry?

  9. my health food store has it! i hope you find some soon!

  10. I am going to look this week. Thanks.

  11. for laundry soap:

    4 cups hot tap water
    1 bar fels naphta grated
    1 cup arm and hammer washing soda
    1/2 cup borax

    grate bar of soap and add to sauce pan with water
    stir continually over med-low heat untill soap dissolves

    fill a 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full of hot tap water add melted soap, washing soda, and borax
    stir well untill all powder is dissolved

    fill bucket to top with more hot water
    stir and let sit overnight to thicken

    stir and fill used clean containers half full with mixture
    add water to to of containers

    shake before each use

    use 1/4 c front loader
    1/2 c for top loader

    I have easily cut this in half and it works great

  12. Oh! Of all of Bob Hope's films, "The Seven Little Foys" is my absolute favorite!
    Though it is definitely difficult, I agree and want to use my computer less. In fact, I hadn't even turned it on for the past two days! I have some catching up on blogs to do. However, it's been nice avoiding the small, glowing screen. Today and tomorrow are both filled with ACTION, so there will be little computer use this week, too. Besides, I've got a few books I'd really like to read waiting on my nightstand.

  13. Not related to this post exactly but I'm so excited I just have to tell all of you!! I hit the vintage magazine jackpot this weekend at an estate sale. I found 7 Better Homes and Gardens from 1941 to 1949. I absolutely love them, although I've only really read the ones from August 1942 and 1949 since I like to read them "in season". The difference from 1942 to 1949 is remarkable. The 1949 is much thicker and emphasizes setting up a home and has more ads. The 1942 issue talks a lot about making do and keeping your spirits up.

    I can't wait to read the others. I also found a yellow covered Pyrex dish. So pretty.


  14. S-congrats on the find! I know, the early and mid 40s are very much about making do and waiting for the 'happy times'. Much good advice I am finding to help us in our current economic times. I have been so busy that I haven't posted, but I have been working on my post concerning the home buying and such. What happens is I get into a subject idea for a blog and get carried away reading all the various old gov acts and facts, all so very interesting, so now I just need to somehow combine it into a comprehensible post. I am still here, though, so post comments and questions and we can keep up the dialogue.

  15. Anonymous,

    I'm pretty jealous ;)

    Great finds!

  16. I have a recipe similar to Jeanne's on my blog. I have used Fels Naptha (had to order it online), but I now use Ivory. That is a vintage soap as well, cheap, and EASY to find!

    I've used both the dry and the liquid recipes. Both work very well, and both leave a CLEAN rather than overbearing scent.

  17. I could not locate Fels Naptha when I checked a few months ago.

    Roxanne: So, would you just substitute a grated bar of Ivory bath soap for the Fels Naptha--and keep all ingredients and amounts the same? Do you think this cleans just as well?

    Thanks gals.

    Working hard at

  18. I have all of my ingredients to make the homemade detergent, I now need to locate a couple of 5 gallon buckets. I also want to do her (Mrs. Dugger)idea for fabric softener. She wrote that you take a 5 gal. bucket and put in a bottle of liquid fabric softener. Then you fill the bottle twice with water and pour it in. Mix it up and then put two or three cheap sponges in it. When you want it, wring out one of the sponges and toss it in the dryer with the clothing. It is supposed to work like dryer sheets.

    I am so exhausted today. I power cleaned my bathroom yesterday and then rearanged my front room and cleaned it really well. Then, last night, we had VBS at church. I ran my bottom off there. Three more days of it and it will be done for this year. It is fun, but exhausting.

    50sgal - you might expand your post about saving for a house to include some thoughts about how differently people view money and debt in comparision from the 40-50's to now. I know that the mentality has changed drastically. i.e. much more debt now, debit cards rather than cash, and so on. Just a thought....

  19. Lorie- it's funny about how we're a plastic card nation. Recently my hubby and I started using cash for basic expenses instead of CC's, which we paid off every month anyway. The comments I get are funny. Some cashiers look at me like i have 3 heads, another who recognized me asked if I was ok, and the gas station attendant (where they actually still pump the gas for you) pretended he was having a heart attack and asked what year it was. (He's a really funny guy!)

    What's wrong with cash?? It forces you to only spend what you have. Amazing idea, hu?


  20. That is exactly why 'they' are trying to slowly ease us all into the idea of no cash. It is easier to spend without fear (or enough money) when you don't have the money in your hand. I am really trying to only use cash and I have to say this is THE hardest part of the 1955 project so far. Not the girdle nore the fashions nor the no tv nor the no modern music but trying to only use cash! It is insane how we really are so casual about debt and spending. TO not have debt is the odd place to be in modern society. Indeed worth a post all its own, but I better just put it in the post I am working on or I will never get it posted! I am getting more and more like a novel writer with my time management and less like a newspaper woman, like I should be! I am going to try and find my fels naptha today and start making some. I am in the midst of something that I am not going to mention unless it works out, so that has taken up some of my time. I am still around, though, so lets not lose our community!

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