Friday, January 30, 2009

30 January 1955 "Poet, Pulp, and Patterns"

Although I know this is current news, but John Updike died on the 27th of January and I just now found out from my husband (again, no modern news and such for me except what hubby mentions.)
This is a picture of him in 1955, which I was lucky enough to find. Though I would not be too familiar with him this year, some of his poetry and short stories were about in magazines. His famous 'Rabbit' series wouldn't be started until 1960. He was a great poet and writer. This year has really brought me to face with my mortality. It is a good thing, I think, as so many of us just get up and schlub through our days as if they are never ending. Well, really we better do and enjoy what we can, they are not here always. I am glad for this project and know that what I gain this year in knowledge, fun, experience, and yes even the blues and sadness, are going to be important to me as I grow old.

This is from a poem Updike wrote last year (2008)

It came to me the other day:
Were I to die, no one would say,
'Oh, what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise - depths unplumbable!
Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know,
'I thought he died a while ago.'
For life's a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.

This is also a nice poem ( I hope you don't mind my putting these in) and although this Updike poem was not published until 1960 in the new yorker, it was in response to experiments done this year in 1955 by Clyde L. Cowan and Frederick Reines called the Neutrino Experiment. This experiment confirmed the existence of the antineutrino—a neutrally charged subatomic particle with very low mass

Cosmic Gall
Neutrinos they are very small.
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass,
Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
Ignore the most substantial wall,
Cold-shoulder steel and sounding brass,
Insult the stallion in his stall,
And, scorning barriers of class,
Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
And painless guillotines, they fall
Down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
And pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed—you call
It wonderful; I call it crass.

R.I.P. John Updike.
It is funny and interesting how much of the modern world is being made here in 1955. The computer, medicine, tv, advertsing, grocery stores, premade foods, the list goes on. What is so very normal to all of us only began this short while ago.

Here is some interesting pulp, another modern ideal:

I guess this is the equivalent of Maxim magazine in my time. I LOVE that bathing suit however. I think if and when I return to 2010 there will NOT be a return to lowrise pants, skirts, bathing suit bottoms. I love never having to worry about bending over and wondering if my behind is sticking out. I also like displaying the fact that woman have waists!

It looks like if I wanted to read this little deadly, I'd have to keep it hidden. I can see me now, slipping into the pantry with a biscuit in my apron pocket and a cup of tea. I look around and casually saunter over to the tins of extra Flour. With a deft hand, this book slids out, slighty powdered from its hiding place. I lean against the counter, eyes glued to the dog-earred and well worn page, sliding the biscuit from my pocket to my lips. I nibble, wide-eyed, unwary of the abstract pattern the crumbs are making on my apron front.

"Mrs. -" calls out Gussie, "Do you want me to start on the Living room drapes...Mrs.-?"

"Cheese it! It's Gussie!", A quick jerk, spilling tepid tea and biscuit crumbs, my forbidden contraband plops down into the flour bin in an attempt to hide my guilty pleasure. Until another time, my steamy friend. Perhaps a sneek at you while the iron steams away and the washer hides my shame with its dull thud thud thud.

Or something along those lines, anyway! It does look a steamy book.

Speaking of Pulp, my husband (besides collecting vintage typewriters) collects vintage scifi pulp mags. This is intersting for me. He came into my sitting room the other day with these two little mags. One is from December 54 so only a month old and I think the other is from March. It is interesting, as I am sure my husband would have been reading these in 1955 as well as he has read them now. Only, of course, they would have been new.

I was really excited about the art. I am really getting into the modern art of the times, De Kooning, Pollack etc. It is an era of art that I have never bothered to really study other than what I was required to do at university (I studied art history). The contrast between pulp art/advertising art (which is rampant in 1955)/ and High art is quite striking. More future study for me! And more, hopefully not boring, discussions in the future for you. I hope you like art!

Here is breakfast this morning. As you can see, I am really into as much accuracy as I can manage. The milk bottle is authentic old milk bottle. It recieves my milk the second I get it home from the grocery store. It seems normal for me now to see it in the 'icebox' and to feel the weight of it as I am baking or pouring it out for hot cereals. I also love the oj glass container. I have two of these and one always has oj the other keeps tart pink lemonade for whiskey sours (our family version anyway) for cocktail hour with hubby, after work but before dinner. The gold star pattern on it is SO 1950's. I think I may need a vintage 'ice box' for these to live in, what do you think?

Yesterdays hateful errand of car repair (brake job) resulted in a fun day out with my vintage friend. We had a blast. Although she is not doing this project perse, she has been inspired to now dress vintage most of the time. You can often overhear us discussing the differing merits of an open-bottom girdle (which I prefer) to the more 'stay in place' power of a full legged affair (to much bother in the bathroom if u get my drift). It really helps having a kindred soul. It makes those times when I feel 'out of my time' less when I feel I have a fellow time travelor. It is making this project more fun and really chaning our realtionship as friends and coherts in vintage lifestyle.

After the afternoon of car repair we treated ourselves with a trip to Joanne fabrics as Vogue patterns were on sale for 3.99!! They are usually 27.50!! (that is .51 cents and 3.51 respectively in 1955 money) I love the way this pattern looks. It also has the evening gown pattern which could be a runner up for the April Opera Gown, but not sure yet.
Tomorrow I will start putting in bits and bobs of what I am learning from the interior design books of the times. I thought it might be a fun little excerpt every other day with pics and ideas an such. I know I LOVE looking at interiors and such. Do any of you?
Until tomorrow and thank you again for all your lovely comments on my 'blue day'.

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