Saturday, August 29, 2009

29 August 1955 “Quick Check In, What is your ideal?”

woman packing Well, I am still busy wrapping china that will only be unwrapped a few days from now. I am trying, like this lovely lady, to do so with a smile. Perhaps she is doing as I have been, dreaming of where her new things will go and how she will arrange her new home.

I haven’t time to do an actual in depth post, but I thought, following the last blog, we could continue with the neighborhood idea. Some of you have told me what your own neighborhoods are like in summer, now let’s talk about what our ‘dream’ or ‘ideal’ neighborhood would be?hoodephemera3   Would there be milk at the door and daily tradesmen peddling wares? Where would it be? Would it be full of neighbors or would you be more isolated? A city perhaps with a strong community spirit. While I pack and dream away, let’s discuss it.


  1. I would like a small village or a small town that is commuting distance from somewhere bigger. Id like for there to be a sense of community but with a bit of privacy. Id use the local shops as much as possible and go to the village fete. Id want my nieghbours to be considerate and understanding.

  2. I love the area I live in. It is urban San Diego, but all the homes in my area were built in the 40's and 50's crafstman style. Presently I rent, but I can't wait to own a home.

    My community is amazing, though quite large. We have some great indipendant markets, which are far cheaper than the supermarkets.

    In my dream I would of course own a home, preferably close to wear I live now. I would plant tons of tropical plants in the backyard, birds of paradise, plumeria, bamboo, banana trees, etc, so that I could have a getaway in my own backyard.

    I would also love to have neighbors that I could get to know better that I could run over and borrow a cup of sugar from, or invite to dinner parties...sigh, I guess I watch too many old movies. Neighbors don't do these things anymore!!

  3. My ideal would be the neighborhood where I grew up, with both sets of grandparents nearby, lots of children in the neighborhood to play with, neighbors who watched out for each other's children, no crime, lots of good smells coming from kitchens and plenty of moms willing to share their homebaked pie or cookies. It was a small middle classed neighborhood with sidewalks and lots of trees for climbing. We didn't lock our doors, ever.

  4. Forest Lady, your idea sounds exactly like mine. LOving families, strong values, looking out for each other, some may even be self sustained. Lovely.

  5. I would like a community small enough to know everyone, but big enough to deserve its own school system and sources for necessities, like groceries.

    The thing I would add to that sweet little IL town where we lived would and art.

    Wouldn't it be great to know that there is a music jam (not even an official concert) happening lots of nights or perhaps poetry readings...and everyone would be invited to participate?

    And one more word...clotheslines!!

    You know, I could survive the most tumble-down area ever if at least the people were friendly and accepting.

    It seems developments have it the other way around nowadays--lets appear "perfect" but the neighbors don't know one another and if someone's grass grows too tall or a dog barks--neighbors are on the phone to code enforcement. I'm am really sick of this style of living!! Where is the compassion and humanity?

    I would like to live in a city where life is actually enjoyed instead of a plastic pretend world where residents are nothing more than 3-D representations of some developer's subdivision sketches.

    Working hard at

  6. I have a fantasy of building a small neighborhood in my town of Manhattan Beach which is based on the old bungalow style so popular in Los Angeles during the 20's-40's. It would consist of bungalow houses that face each other with a large grass park/walkway down the middle. The access to the homes by car would be in the alleys. This way, the kids could play together in front of their homes with no cars to bother them. The mix of people in the homes would be families with children, some single younger couples, and some older retired singles or couples. I think it is nice to have an age mix in a neighborhood. I can imagine sitting on the porch drinking lemonaide, watching my boys play kick the can with the other neighborhood children. *Sigh* Such a happy fantasy.

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

  7. I'm a city girl; I've learned that about myself over the past 4 years. But I'd like to live in neighborhood where my husband and I can go shopping in a suit and a dress and no one looks at us sideways. I want to live amongst nosey neighbors, a milkman, and an old fashioned grocery store. Think there's a big city with any of these things?! LOL.

  8. Wow, all of these sound wonderful and some seem attainable. Amber, I have to say that I feel that Beacon Hill, an old neighborhood in Boston, is sort of like that. It has a very neighborly feel and it is exactly in the center of the city. When we last lived there we lived in the Back Bay and although beautiful architecutually (not that Beacon Hill is not) I found it rather aloof and cold, while Beacon HIll had more community. Though it is fairly wealthy homes mixed in are young couples, college kids and etc. There is a great little grocery, local cleaners and wine merchants etc. There are two starbux, but there is also a great little french creperie and a wonderful little 'run down' pub. You can walk around in fur and diamonds or jeans and tee and probably not get stares. It is the 'city hood' that we plan to one day return to. Luckily, our little village here on cape we are moving to is near the bridges so we are only an hour out of Boston, but someday, (dream of dreams) I want Beacon Hill and our little house here as 'the summer/weekend place'. A gal can dream, right? But, I do feel like I am making the right move towards those goals. Next year, rather it is 1956, 1945, 1900 or 2010 for me the one main goal will be to be more community oriented. I do wish we could all live near one another, but who knows, as things grow and progress, I could always let people know about jobs and houses available. Of course you noticed I didn't suggest myself moving again, no more moving for me! NOW, back to packing.

  9. I grew up in a post WWII neighborhood. Most of the people who lived in there were transplants from the city. There were a lot of children in the neighborhood with whom my brother and I played many hours with. My grandmother lived with us. While it was not common, it wasn't unusual, either. We had a milkman who delivered the milk into a lined tin box that for us, sat by the back door. We never saw him as he came in the wee hours of the morning. As I was old enough to remember, it was probably around 1955 when we also had mail delivered twice a day. It stopped shortly thereafter. Sometimes the scissor man would come around as well as the dry cleaner for pick up and delivery. The ice cream truck would make its rounds in the summer. There could have been a few others, but they didn't come on a regular basis.

    When we first moved into the neighborhood, most mothers were at-home, and the father's went to work. Few families had two cars. We were quite a distance to shopping areas, and my mother insisted on having a car. It is almost laughable now, for that area is very congested, and shopping and such is very convenient. Back then, however, it wasn't.

    Alought it was the late twenties and early thirties, my mother was raised in the burbs of NYC, where streets were lined with trees making a canopy for the sidewalks. Public transportation was available. My mother spoke of the neighborhood children and the many games they played together. She also spoke of the fish monger, ice man (they begged for a chunk of ice), rag man and many other peddlers coming on a fixed schedule.

    My mother's house was situated between a Jewish and Italian Catholic street/area. This gave my mother some really great experiences. She didn't speak, but understood Yiddish, got into trouble with her girlfriend for playing with the seltzer (bottles/spray) as water guns, and remembers the funerals with the deceased on a bed of ice and the mourners wailing and following behind the cart. She remembers the great Italian food, grape arbors with the family meals under it, and fresh fish on Fridays. We are all a product of our experiences, coupled of course, with our genetic potential.:-)

    There was a downside to living in a development. During my childhood, "Aunt" Minny would drop over at the most inopportune times, stayed too long, and disrupted my mother's schedule. I, however, hung on all of her chatter, learning about her life growing up in the city. We were in and out of our neighbor's houses, that, upon reflection, and the experience of raising my own children, must have been a real inconvenience for the homemaker. It did, however, allow us to see how others lived. Not all the children got along all the time. Others might feel differently. People lived messed up lives, even then, and although what was supposed to be "hidden," it was apparent to all. Some lived their lives by making everyone in their path miserable, just as today.

    Weighing the pros and cons of a housing development, my husband and I chose not to live in one, and with God's blessings, it worked out that way. We have no regrets, and neither do our children, who are now adults and able to properly assess the situation. For us, the positives far outweighted the negatives. But this is now and that (the 1950's and early 1960's) was then.

    No Idle Hands

  10. We had a milk man and he is in my old home movies. We walked to do our shoppping, then when I went to live at Grandmas she had a car.
    In Fall River, Mass. when my great Aunt lived there was a milk man and he sold eggs and bread too. That company still delivers today!
    In Pennsylvania my neighborhood is still friendly thanks to country folk and the Amish/Mennonite folks. I live in Lancaster county , Pa. not the city.

    My ideal home would be built in 1930's-1940's.
    Were you could walk to the grocier and baker. Where church suppers and church bazars were still summer events. Home cooking was common among everyone and the soda shop was still in the drug store like when I was small. Oh memories.....

  11. Dear 50sGal,

    I can just imagine you packing like the sweet lady in the photo, all pretty and serene; so responsible and grown-up. Remember to take a little time out to nuture, rest and nourish yourself. You must be so pleased with your capable self if you compared how you would have accomplished this move pre-your-1950's year to now. Well done! Thanks for your good example to young and old. Not long now and you'll be really able to relax and gradually set-up home again. All the best, Linda.

  12. My ideal neighborhood would be kids playing in the streets, block party, people waviing to you when you pass, families taking walks...
    I guess you could say the ideal for movies and shows, a time long ago when you could do these things without worry.

  13. I just did a post on what my favorite neighborhood is... it's from a movie :) And I LOVE MILKMEN! We always used to get our milk delivered in a glass bottle...not anymore (boo).

  14. I hope the packing is going well, 50'sgal, and you're smiling dreamily like the woman in the picture.

    My neighborhood is a lot like Custom Thread and Needles' ideal. The homes were built in the 1920s thru the 1940's. Most mothers stay home, many fathers take the train into the city for work, and many kids walk to and from school, chatting mothers following a little behind them. It's all very nice. There are grocery stores and pharmacies that deliver, local butcher shops, a local dairy that delivers, and mailmen who wave and say hello to everyone by name. The local gas station still pumps gas, for the same price as self serve, and won't take a tip. (I may have mentioned this all before- sorry if its repetitive. It's sad my town is unique.)

    People are always out and about in the summer- riding bikes and going for walks, picnics at the parks or beach. The community pool is the place to hang out with your kids and run into friends.

    Despite all this I wish my life were simpler. There are so many mothers who want to volunteer at school the whole PTO is so complicated- meetings last forever. It gets heated and political sometimes. People's feelings get hurt, gossip spreads fast. There are lotteries to see which parents can go along to chaperone a field trip, help in the classroom for class parties, etc.

    The worries of modern life enter into our lives more than I'd like. With the poor economy the local paper has reported more burglaries, robberies, and identity thefts than I've ever seen here. My friend down the street had her daughter's bike stolen 2 years ago- it was left out on the front lawn. (Kids toys strewn about the yard/driveway wasn't an uncommon sight, and not tacky either.) Then this summer her son's bike was stolen from their garage. It's turning our trusting community into one of locked cars and homes with closed windows.

    In my ideal neighborhood the perils of the outside world wouldn't exist, in our world or others'. We'd have vintage homes with porches, real farm fresh food (easily attainable for all), happy respectful children...a suburban (or urban) utopia if you will.

    Very interesting to think about.


  15. I am from a small city in Canada, any side street that I walk down with my children, people say good morning, the mail carrier is friendly, and the neighbours wave as they drive past.

    The kids walk to school in relative safety, and most times in the neighbourhood the kid's are out front riding their bikes or playing a good game of scrimmage hockey.

    My ideal would be to have milk delivered everyday and the groceries' delivered like my mother remembers, but otherwise I am pretty fortunate to live where I live, I love the fact that people here take the time to say good morning to you when you pass by.

    But I still dream of a fifties ranch to match my fifties retro chairs in my modern kitchen :)
    And I so want a fifties retro stove in there as well. :)

    Love this website!

    Canuck gal

  16. Just checking in. We are finally all moved but not MOVED IN yet. I have tenents in the main little house, my barn/studio is teeming with our furntiure and hubby, gussie and I are having to share the little cottage on the property until next Tuesday. Still, we made sure we had hot coffee this morning and even amongst our packed boxes, I am glad to be 'back home'. I will try to get a post up soon when my computer is unpacked. I really like our ideas of community and town, we seem to have many common/shared ideas. Maybe one day we could all get together, that would be fun! Thanks for sticking with me through this move and I love the comments they are like little encouraging pats of the back this morning.

  17. Dear 50sGal, I am so pleased to hear that you are at least a huge step closer to being "at home" in your home; and that things are moving along.

    Summer is drawing to a close in my neighborhood and the children returning to school has this momma busy at her cleaning.

    All the best! ~Mrs. J~

  18. 50's Gal,

    I've been following this blog since it's inception and have enjoyed every minute of it :)

    I am primarily a domestic engineer who is raising two little men, I keep thinking I should have been a mom in the fifties.

    My mom was a child of the 1950's and remembers her neighbourhood being just as you describe it in your blog complete with the milkman etc., sigh......wish life could be that simple again.

    Keep up the good work,

    Canuck gal

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