Tuesday, September 15, 2009

15 September 1955 “Back to the Grind”


1950myhomea Well, here I am settled into my ‘new’ home. It has been seven years since my hubby and I lived in this house, though we had my parents here for two years and that resulted in being guests at Christmas and other holidays. They were good times for the most part, though they ended on a rather sad note. In that ending, the house sat, unloved and infrequently used by various bad tenants. We have returned and I am glad.

Somehow, now, it feels as if I have been working to this end for sometime without my knowledge. I certainly was not planning on the sudden removal of my family nor the dramatic way that played out, but as I have been settling my furnishings and various items these past two weeks it is as if I have been buying and collecting with the eye for this house the whole time. There, that old metal dishtowel rack bought and forgot and stored, now just fits that part of the kitchen. That chair, bought in the city for that apartment then stored away looks and feels right in that spot. The chair my darling mother sat in, which was hauled and used in my makeshift sitting room at the last house, has returned to its rightful place and looks so perfect with that old side table of my hubbies family.

Where the other house and places I have lived have immediately received my paint brush and hammer, the main part of this house just feels right. I think, ‘ Hmmm, that shade of blue I painted the walls four years ago for my family just still fits’.


 early american home 1955 to show that not all 1955 living rooms looked like this 1952 livingroom Not that the second is bad and in fact, most likely due to my inundation with mid-century magazines and design books, there is much I Do love about this second modern room, but in an antique Cape built in 1718, I think it would look rather amiss, don’t you? I wanted to show that traditional as well as the ‘new’ “Early American” style was as prevalant as modern. The white trimmed built-ins, colonial inspired wallpaper and the ‘sandwich glass’ and tin lamps look much as they would today. Although I do have some victorian pieces, the Victorian ladies chair in the first picture is lovely, but I prefer my Wing chairs and of course my french inspired side chair.

Actually, there is much that I could write about this ‘Early American’ movement in decorating that really gets ignored today. Many people think that the 1950’s deco (much as they think the mindset and ideals) are all set in one pattern in the mid-century. I find the Early American probably really took hold in the war years. There is much ‘colonial’ inspired interiors in my 1940’s magazines as opposed to my 1950’s. I think it was a way to hearken back to the ‘good ole days’ the pre-war modern world and certainly had a good breeding ground in 1940’s America.

The picture I ‘borrowed’ for the above image of the ‘colonial’ home was from the same Flickr stream as the one below. I do hope that whomever’s site it is does not mind my using the image. It certainly is only done with the utmost respect and perhaps a sort of sad longing of these pictured.july 55 This one could easily be my hubby. Replace the cigarette with a pipe and that is basically his wardrobe today, maybe he’d have his straw porkpie hat on, since it is summer.  This one below was simply titled Summer 1955.summer 1955 It hit a note with me as it could easily be my yard now with hubby and I and a friend. In fact, I want to build a stone wall around our terrace here, much like they have done in the pictures, and frame it in my roses. I love the casual blue dress with the down turned pocket. The woman in front looks smart in her white piped blue pedal pushers. Relaxed yet put together. There is SO much in the 1950’s style that could be so adaptable to the modern world and in a way that allows us to have control by making it ourselves. There are no tags or labels or odds screen printed logos that are ‘must haves’ here thus making one not able to reproduce a style. 1950s fashion When clothes are fashionable but individual and not mass marketed it gives a thrift, style and personal power back to the wearers. One can look through a magazine for inspiration and then buy a simple pattern and the sky is the limit.

I have been having trouble getting myself back into using the computer again. Being somewhat unconnected and preoccupied with arranging my home, I felt almost as if I was sleeping deeper into 1955. Today, to aid my ability to still hold onto the present so I can return to my blog posts, I went to some large modern stores. This ties in with what I was just saying about clothes.

I was in town and decided to pop into Old Navy, a store I am not that happy with normally, but now it was horrible. In the past which was conversely the future, when I would go to Old Navy to ‘just look’ I would never leave without some “great deal”. Their low prices (of course fueled by cheap product mass produced by low paid child labor) were often irresistible, even though most of these items would end up in drawers and closets unworn. I kid you not, as I was packing to move here I found clothes with tags on unworn, not good.

Today, however, my disgust was filled with sadness. The racks and racks of sweat pant styled pants, everything was soft jersey, shapeless and uninspiring to see rows and rows of them. I thought, maybe I could find some 1950s inspired skirt I could mix in with my wardrobe, I could not find one skirt that was not a short 1980’s ruffled mess that I would not even have worn in the actual 1980s. I have to say I left fired to get a sewing space cleared out soon.

Now, back to the house. I have just been so busy and into setting up house, that I have barely touched my computer. One can see how a homemaker of the past would not be bored, it is as if WITH the modern computer and TV, we become bored as we can think of nothing except these two tasks to fill our free time. But, I am slowly easing my way back into a sense of the modern world. I cannot, after all, live in 1955 forever. I could certainly try, but I really feel an almost calling to bring modern and mid-century to some interesting mix in the coming year. That means eventually with a website and also with my art. Perhaps, then, I will also finally feel ready to do a podcast to include, as the idea of talking, “radio program style”, about various topics does seem enticing. Although I could easily drift away into my safe 1955 world, I would miss all of you and all the potential people I have yet to get to know and meet out there.

Well, tomorrow I will get some pictures of various vignettes of the ‘new’ house, maybe a recipe or two and some more discussion about what it might mean to emerge, come January 1, from my cocoon of 1955.  The vintage chrysalis am I.


  1. ALERTA!

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  2. I am glad that you are getting settled in. It is so funny, but I have so very much missed your blog, and the comment/chat that we have here. I check off and on every day waiting for a new post.

    I have a something I thought you might want to check out. It is called "Bobby Pin Blog". It is on blogspot. The woman is writing about the history of beauty and make-up. She had some VERY interesting posts about hair and beauty. I love the pics she has as well. It is mostly pre-1955 stuff, but bear with it. There are a couple of things from the "future". Check it out.

    School has started here, and as I see my kids mixed up with the other children, I am noticing how more and more I am becoming disenchanted with the modern "look". I see little girls (7 years old!) dressing in fashions I find entirely too revealing and tacky. I find myself thinking of this blog and smiling. It is so wonderful to have some friends who love what I love and want things similar to my own desires.

    I look forward to more posts about the new household and how you have pulled it together. Please try and post pics as you can. I would love to see some more stuff about cooking and sewing as well, I so loved those posts.

    Apron Revolution!

  3. Glad you're back! The blue dress is a "house dress" which women wore at home (without girdles, garter belts, or stockings) to do housework or just hang out. Then they'd get dressed up to go do the marketing or errands. I know you've mentioned wearing the full regalia underneath while working at home especially canning, but I don't think very many women did that, certainly not my mother or the women in our neighborhood.

  4. Hello! I, too have missed you so much! I am so pleased to hear that the house you have returned to is a HOME and all that entails. Selfishly, I have always hoped that perhaps 1955 would melt seamlessly into 1956 :-) but that is a purely indulgent thought on my part.

    I hope and pray that things continue to run smoothly in your new home!

  5. Lori-it is very hard to see modern young childrens fashions. Then, I see their mothers and don't wonder! I never thought I was a prude, but now I really think it is more about sadness rather than shock that the young girls can't have the joy of dressing up and being frilly or that the mothers feel the need to appear hip and recieve approval from teens. When you are 40 and shopping in forever 21 something seems amiss or broken in our society. We could just say, "oh, it's just clothes' but that is like saying, "oh, they are just words", they both speak volumes.
    Lynn-funny you should mention the 'housedress' I have a favorite one I now wear and without girdle and hose. I think the heat of summer made me, on my own, come to that realizatioin and it also makes me feel good that I was merely doing what the genuine articles did. I have to say, though, that a house dress without the underpinnings is SO comfortable for work and I even moved boxes and furniture sometimes in mine, as it was less constrictive than dungarees and a shirt!
    Mrs J-I will take some pics today, though now that I am back in my old house, there are very few 'mod 1950s' things, but that is why I posted that other picture of a home in 1955 decorated with antiques and 'colonial' inspiration. It did seem, more than once, that I would unwrap something I had actually had in storage or not thought of and think, "Hmmm, well, this goes here of course" as if the things I kept and cherised were waiting all along to return here. Well, really on some level, it most likely will be more 1956 than 2010 next year, but I really do want to go forward with the things I am learnging and discovering and make them somehow more available to people, does that make sense? I am not giving up my fashions nor girdle nor shoes nor gloves and hats. In fact, I am planning on trying to sew more, especially after trying to find anything new that would seem vintage in modern stores. There are some nice high fashions right not, but the fashion for the masses, which is what most of us can afford, is driven by profit margin of what is cheap and easy to have sewn up, so loose baggy jersy gathered here and there, mass produced synthetic sweaters and of course, the ever present jean!
    What do any of you think, do you think I should try to grow in a sense of having a site where we can have chat and discuss more that might be more available and interactive, or are we better staying small here? I do want to know honestly.

    Apron Revolution.

  6. Over the past 9&1/2 months I have read your adventures as you discovered the truth about a life career of homemaking and the quality of life it produces. My life experience has been that much about the "1955 time and place" is classic and timeless, and translates to enhancing the human life no matter what the year. It is easy to "drown" in modern culture because to want something more or different often means you have to swim upstream or against the current. However, to give up what you know to have validity, is far worse. The knowledge, insight, and understanding you have gained in your 1955 year should put you on the right path to your future, even if it takes a little sorting out. How I envy you having that special old house; I suspect it is another "timeless place". Best Wishes in your new home Dianne

  7. Hello
    I have only recently found your site and have enjoyed your year in 1955. You have alot of good information and are very good at communicating those ideals that you have found then into the present.
    I began to write a comment and it became more of a missive, so I posted it on my blog! I agree with you wholeheartedly about the fashions of today and I do have a thought about your wanting to make this more interactive. I do hope you will stop by my site and read your comment there....it's just my two cents worth!

  8. Congrats on coming back to a special place. Good luck on your decorating endeavors, we will all be anxious to see!

    I have to agree about current fashions. As a thick, curvy girl, older fashions suit me to a T, but the shapeless lumps that get passed off as "Fashion" just make me look like a fatty. I'll take pencil skirts and waistlines any day!

  9. Glad to see you're posting again! Can't wait to see pictures of the new house. I saved a few of the ones you posted today. Apparently I'm going to have to stop by Flickr and check out some of these photo montages. I'm trying to find good examples of 1940 bedrooms since we're trying to finish ours and I want something inspired. Happy settling!

  10. Diane-I do KNOW I am blessed with this house, belive me I will not take it for granted. I will post some vignettes today of various bits of the house. I do feel like making this year into a book, as some have suggested, but not sure if anyone would want to read it or if it feels right.
    Mrs. Bee-thank you for finding us and I just stopped by and made a comment. Darling songs on your blog.
    Gabriel Girl-I too look fatter in 'modern' fashions. I will NEVER will lwo rise skirts/troussers again! UGH!
    Amber-Oooh-good luck with your bedroom. I need to add to my own flickr site, but like everything else, priority list, it's near the bottom. There are some wonderful images on there, though. I have a few 1940s house beautiful magazines, perhaps I will see if there are any particular articles on bedrooms and if so, put some up later this week. Are you going for the modern 'hollywood' 1940s or the 'colonial early american' 1940's?

  11. Glad that you are back and getting settled in! Your blog is so positive, proactive and inspiring. I have missed your posts!

    I think that finding the strength needed to walk your own path in life has endless value.

  12. If you write a book please let us know. I would rush right out to get it!
    BJM from CNY

  13. hooray!! you're back!! i, too, have missed the posts! can't wait to see pictures!
    i totally agree about skirts being more comfortable to do housework in~my problem is in winter i get sooo bloomin cold!! then i resort back to my jeans and wish i had electric tights!!
    i will be checking out the Bobby Pin Blog for sure! that sounds like fun.
    have fun making your house a home....

  14. Thanks everyone for welcoming me back. I am just out to the market to get some more canning jars, as I want to start my jams today or tomorrow.

  15. Well, hey there! I've missed you. Glad the move went well and you feel at home already.


  16. Thanks again 50sgal. You've been missed! I don't mind either way if you decide to have another site more interactive. So long as I get to hear from you.:) The more the merrier. Whatever would get your wonderful insights to the largest audience would benefit the Apron Revolution. Love, Linda

  17. I agree to some extent with your comment of technology essentially creating the boredom. However, I think that it fuels our tendency to procrastination more so.

  18. True, boredome, procrastination, then the guilt for not doing, so the need to 'feel better' then back to the tv. It is a bad cycle.

  19. 50sgal,

    What do any of you think, do you think I should try to grow in a sense of having a site where we can have chat and discuss more that might be more available and interactive, or are we better staying small here? I do want to know honestly.

    Of course, my thoughts are probably all selfish, and you must do what feels right to you. That said, however, I like very much the idea of staying small right here where we are. I don’t really see it staying small, however, as more and more women are finding you all the time. I am sure that you miss the present; in fact I don’t know how you have stuck to this all year and am quite impressed that you did. Would that you should stay in the 50s, and as someone said “melt seamlessly in 1956” is probably the dream of all of us. I will be quite sad come january 1. Nonetheless, this is your journey, and I so appreciate you inviting us all along.

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