Saturday, November 14, 2009

14 November 1955 “More Vintage Thanksgiving and the Relative Merits of ‘Better’”

This movie is worth the twelve minutes to watch it. I cannot tell if it is made just before we are in WWII or immediately after we are out, but you can tell that part of the sentiment is affected by the reaction to the Fascism of the war torn world.

There are many good things about this short. For one, it shows the blue collar middle class, not always shown in such films. It looks as if Dad is a mechanic. Or, perhaps he worked in an auto factory (something our American Car companies seemed to think more important to move out of our own country. Again, I think it funny that there is a BMW plant now in our country, but most American companies still outsource. Especially after they were bailed out!)

I like that simple things are appreciated such as free library books, safe warm baths for baby, a private home-though it is mortgaged and needs ‘a lick of paint’.

When the neighbor drops by for flour, the mother is ‘allowed’ to talk about whatever she likes, i.e. they are not in fear of their opinions of politics and economy as was the case in Europe before and during the war.

I feel, again, that this shows a time in our country or maybe the world where we were perched on a great place to realize what technology had done for us and could do and yet to still be human. To love and understand our own needs and not feel we NEED more than we can afford. To appreciate that what IS available for us in our various monetary brackets/class could be good enough for happiness and family. The need to want more and more seems not as apparent.

This got me thinking about a comment someone made the other day about the term ‘Better’ being relative. I really have to agree. Certainly, today we have more advances in medicine and even more labor saving devices. There is plenty of food to go around and cheap clothing to be had by all. Yet, there are things missing in today’s ‘better’. I think common courtesy, kindness, community, neighborliness, self-education, fortitude, self-ability, a sense of place, contentment with simplicity.

Somehow we have become a nation reaching for some brass ring that is always dangled and can only be had by spending more than we have. Yet, we don’t look down and see we are merely on a conveyor belt of consumerism or that sometimes we are trampling on others to get that brass ring. That cheap shirt is easy to get, but don’t look to close at those in China and India making it for us. Nor, avert your eyes to the many small business that can’t ever compete. Keep your blinders on to your own neighborhoods and downtowns, as they fall to ruin and the great concrete chain stores mar up and ugly the American landscape. Pine for better things! And, when you wish for the old days, just pretend they are gone forever because it is easier to just go along with things the way they are!

Now, I am not saying ‘The good ole days were better’ because that is not entirely true. And it only pining for the old days or thinking we can recreate them because we buy things and put them on shelves is not the answer either. The actual good things, those ‘BETTER” times were about caring for your neighbor and your neighborhood, your family and your diet and your home and your bank account. The things we pine for from the past CAN be brought back, I know they can. Certainly, it is hard to fight nation-wide against endless reality shows that give fame to spoiled idiots who seem to think the louder you are and the more you are concerned about ME the better you are. We can help to draw these role models away from the young, but we really do need to start at home.

Sometimes just a simple thing can make a difference. Buy something from a local business, farm, store. Sure, you might not like or have a vintage dress, but you have nice clothes, put those on and make yourself 'Thanksgiving day’ pretty and be surprised by the smiles and help you get from strangers and store clerks. Make two of your pizza in front of the TV days a sit down as a family at a table day and see you suddenly have conversation instead of ‘comments on TV shows’.

I am more determined everyday, as the year closes, to try and see how much I feel I can really make 1955 be about today! To try and consciously make decisions that can at least change my sphere of the world into those qualities that I love and admire from the good ole’ days. So, that my Better can be both the equality and technology of today, but also the love, respect, and human quality of Better from those days. There is no reason that modern life can coincide with those attitudes and lifestyle changes of the past. One is not the opposite of the other. Only, as is true with most things worth doing, it will be harder than just ‘going with the flow’. But, at the end of the day and the end of my days, I want to think I lived the best I could for myself and others and the world, not just coasted along easy and uncaring. Anyone else up for the ride?

21 comments:

  1. I'm absolutely up for the ride! And I hope hope hope that you continue your blog next year too, I've been dreading the end of the year for fear of losing your inspiring posts!! You have been such a motivation and inspiration to read this year- I can't even tell you how many little changes I've made in our lifestyle after reading your posts...and our life is better for it. I'm still nowhere near where I hope to be but I'm getting there! And even if I haven't made a change yet, I've been thinking through a lot more things that you've pointed out or pondered on your blog that honestly I hadn't even really stopped to consider. But this blog has been perfect in its timing- we're currently trying to get pregnant and I can't wait to get off this "hampster wheel" of both of us havign to work to afford this lifestyle that is supposed to make us happy, but really just wears both of us out. Points that I've brought up from this blog and other similar blogs that I follow have helped show my husband that homemaking IS a career, and an important one. No sitting on the couch eating bonbons for me if we're lucky enough to have children :-) (not that I planned to do that anyways, but you know what I mean!)

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  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, I am honored to have inspired you. I will definitely still be blogging come next year, just not sure in what capacity. I don't think the 50's will ever leave me and not sure if I am going to leave them yet, either.

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  3. When I was first married, not only did I take my books with me, but I started to purchase, both used and new, books that I wanted read. When children came along, I started to purchase books for them. The pile of books grew and grew until something had to be done. At first, all of the books happily resided in the "library closet," a closet that held as many books as possible. When we outgrew the closet, we made a home library. As you may have already guessed, many of the books were "vintage" or expressed "vintage" ideas.

    It was one of the best things we could have ever done. Each of the children want a library in their own home. The two married with children have started theirs already. Our home library books were used for school from primary classes through and including one college class for two of my children. (We have a large selection of history and science books.) What do you say to the child who announces to you that their sibling is up late at night reading? We always did flunk bedtime 101.

    It was/is not uncommon for our dinner conversations to include discussing the different books anyone was, or is reading. Some of them have become family favorites. They would discuss a book as they would discuss a movie. My grandchildren, as young as toddlers, want to go up to the library when they come over to have the books read to them. I have put all of the children's trade books on the bottom of one of the bookcases. It helps that this grandmother "collects" children's trade books for herself.

    We all sit down to eat dinner together, dispite the different schedules. If someone must work late at least one of us will sit with that person while he/she eats. We are interested in what each of us do on their job or outside the family.

    There is a life without television. We have also removed newspapers, magazines, and radio that does not have our standards. We have embraced those things that are in line with our standards, and removed those things that are in opposition to our standards. It is not easy, but not impossible, either.

    I guess we have been living the type of life you have described. Without the great housekeeping. :-)

    No Idle Hands

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  4. No Idle Hands-That is wonderful. My husband and I too collect books. I have many antique and vintage books including some I inherited from my grandfather. We have always managed a 'library' everywhere we have lived and this house, too, will have it's own designated library as well. I like a room surronded by our books a nice big table with lamps to read and study at as well as nice side tables to hold larger oversized books or books of old maps or 'scrap books' full of antique letters and post cards. Reading is very important. I am trying to slowly bring my life in line with what I find enticing with the 'ole days' INCLUDING the housekeeping, of coure I don't have children and grandchildren, so that part is probably easier on my end. Keep up the good work and thanks for the inspiration!

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  5. For Sarah- from the other "Sarah".

    When you have kids you'll be too busy to sit around eating bonbons. And when the kids get older they'll want what you're eating so the bonbon budget can get out of hand. LOL. In all seriousness, I'm impressed you're changing your lifestyle now, before you start a family. It's such a life changing event and so much of how we view parenthood is influenced by the media, which isn't always accurate. Better to know the kind of family life you want so you're not swayed by commercialism when you're over tired and vulnerable. My youngest is 5 and I'm just now getting "back" to my ideals. Not that I really left them, just was too willing to try on others.

    50's Gal- I love that video. It's so nice to see a family thankful for the little things, even though they're acting it out. I get what you mean about "better". It's all relative. Being happy and confident in your choices brings a peace of mind a new celebrity endorsed product or lifestyle ever could.

    S

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  6. Yes 50'sgal let's all try to live the 'better' part. Thanks so much for your wonderful writing always providing us with motivation and inspiration. Linda

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  7. Very well put! I am right there with you. However, I have great difficulty finding those that are like-minded. It seems that the "more is better" mindset is cast in stone on so many people's minds or is it that they are just too lazy to want to make the effort. At any rate, sign me up. I trudge on hoping to find one other woman who sees things as you and I do. To not to continue to blog would be a great disservice to me and many others who wait with great anticipation to see what you write next! Love the vintage videos--they are my escape! Keep them coming! Thanks!

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  8. It really does start at home; we must teach by example. Have you ever thought about turning your writings from this last year into a book?

    I know you're planning on creating a new expanded website, which I think is great, but I hope you'll keep your posts from this year archived...such a wealth of practical information as well as thoughtful musings on your journey of discovery. I don't comment a lot, but reading your blog has truly inspired me. Thank you. :)

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  9. Gingerella-Thank you so much for your kind words. That has been the dillema. I will continue blogging, but then the idea of either doing a book with this years experience or trying to do a website to continue to grow with the blog is a tough decision. I would love to write a book, but am not sure if it would be of enough interest to get a publisher. I may try doing it on my own, but not sure. I really need to honestly sit and think upon it and see if it would be worth the while to be in book form and if it would help/inspire others, than I would almost feel I had to do it, but in a good way.
    Thank you, again, for your kind words. I am amazed at how many wonderful people I have met through my blog and am so happy we can have a positive learning sharing space in cyperspace when I hear of all the horrid language and ill treatment others get and about 'trolls' who go about intentionally causing arguments amongst fourms and such. You have to wonder, is it that they, themselves, have nothing worth saying, or are they so comfortable in chaos and ill-manners that they think it the 'right' thing to do? It really does matter how we are raised, as it reaches every facet of our society through the children we turn out into adults. I have realized that this year more than ever before and I don't even have any children.

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  10. 50s Gal, you could self-publish a book through Lulu.com, it won't cost you much, I believe the only thing you have to pay is getting an ISBN, which is around 100$ or so I heard. At least, that's what I heard from a friend of mine who did use it.
    Count me as a vintage housewife, too.
    Greetings from Holland

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  11. That is a fine idea and I could offer it on the website. I would even consider offering it as a free download and then if anyone wanted to give a copy, they could buy one. Although someone did mention sending out some posts to a publisher, but not really sure how to go about it. Either way, I will continue my blog. I can't decide if next year should be 1956 or what?

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  12. I love this little film . I teared up with American pride as i watched it. I hope you will notice the "Cold war " references in this film. Even the eye of the American eagle is the hammer and sickle . The great eagle is looking at the cold Russia, and all their losses. Long food lines, not enough housing, and lack of freedom of thought and religion. Who needs the turkey when we have the American eagle! (Roosevelt wanted the American bird to be the turkey ) Cold war over...Hopefully this film reminded us to be thankful for what we have;in times of recession or times of prosperity , they are all gifts.

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  13. Oh, I would LOVE if next year were 1956! I am sitting here this Sunday afternoon after an exasperating night and morning. I made some soup, which is on the stove cooking, lit my pumpkin candles, and came downstairs to cozy up and read your blog. It is like a warm blanket of comfort to me, as well as a light of hope in a harried existence. Thank you for all you do, 50s gal.

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  14. Mrs. Tailleur-so true. It would be funny if our 'national bird' were the turkey. Of course a wild turkey is actually such a beautiful bird ( I saw some on the side of the road the other day) but the genetically altered large white monstrosities we eat would be a pretty silly bird, although, with our current fat overstuffed consummer world, maybe it would be fitting?!
    Zebu-Thank you for the compliment. To think I can be that which you like to turn to in a harried world makes me fell warm and cozy as well. I love all of our comments, as well, they so add to the elements of this blog.

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  15. Beth from Upstate NYNovember 15, 2009 at 6:40 PM

    Mrs. Tailleur - It was actually Benjamin Franklin who wanted the turkey as our national bird. He wrote a poem about "eagles have lice and are not very nice..."

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  16. I stand corrected , I was told as a child ...Theodore Roosevelt who loved to hunt . Suggested the bird would make a good american symbol.

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  17. I have been reading your blog for a while now and look forward each morning to see whats new. What you have to say is so true in so many ways but I fear the values that are so important to me are lost on my one teenage daughter (just turned 13). The peer pressure is absolutely unbelievable.... i pray everyday some of what I say will somehow sink in..I also hope to see you again in 1956..I am so very happy to find others that feel the same as I do.

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  18. Along for the ride, at first, this Revolution has blown my mind and the world wide open! Changing is so very hard, being a child raised by the television and consumerism of the late 80s, and entirety of the 90s. I must say, though, I don't ever want to go back to the way I was. Mindless shopping, turning my mind off and foregoing the reading or writing of a book or creation of an illustration only to find myself hours later staring blankly, not absorbing anything worthwhile! This year, 1955, has made me a better person, and I want to work, as time passes, toward this camaraderie of community, stewardship of the Earth and Mankind and overall improvement in everyday life for all. Thank you for all you do.

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  19. Thank you again, all of you, for your kind words. I am so happy that my jouney has also been your journey.

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  20. Lovely video - and I've been with you from the very beginning. So let's go worldwide. :)

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  21. Great idea Sanne-world wide Apron Revolution! Onward we march, diligently, but with a quiet dignity of "convincing by doing". No opinion can speak as loudly as that which is first tested, tried and lived by!

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