Saturday, March 28, 2009

27 & 28 March 1955 “Tony Awards, Child Rearing, and more Ranting”


The 9th Annual Tony Awards, presented by the American Theatre Wing, took place at the Plaza Hotel Grand Ballroom on March 27, 1955. It was broadcast on radio by the National Broadcasting Company. The presenter was Helen Hayes .

steeve mcqueenSteve McQueen makes his network debut on CBS.

time cover 28 marchTime cover for March 28 1955. Computers and Automation are starting to change the world.

 spanking cartoonI thought this was an interesting cartoon.

I have never raised children, so I will never presume to give advice. I do know that some of you have asked about information on child rearing during the 1950s. This article which I have scanned for you to see is from a 1951 Better Homes and Gardens. I think as the decade progresses the concept of child rearing begins to change. (Sorry about the poor scan quality, but what do you expect, I am from 1955 who can understand this new modern technology)

article on children 1 article on children 2

These four steps of the ‘situation’ were posed on pg 10 with the results in the back of the magazine, in an almost test-like format. It was given to you, the reader, to put yourself in their shoes and see what you would do. Here is the answer:

article on children 3

I think their reasoning is sound. I think, and again I am speaking from NO experience with children, that today many children seem confused or unsettled by the lack of actual boundaries and rules on how to deal with others as well as their own needs. But, many people today are not really allowed to live in a world that requires us to be ‘true grownups’ so how can we teach children this. I like that they point out that an exact across the board ‘tit for tat’ is unrealistic for the child, which is a great life lesson. The world certainly does not work on the tit for tat method of equality. What do any of you parents think of this article?

cookie and whip cream ad Here are two ads from a 1951 magazine, so this answers my question as to when ‘prepared whip cream’ was available. I detest this type of whip cream and it is SO easy to whip up fresh whipping cream and then you can add any thing you like to it, I love adding Almond extract, mmmmm.

Tonight is my saturday for our ‘vintage dinner’, Recipes and photos will be up on Monday. I am making an apple blueberry pie ( I did not have enough of either in the house and instead of buying more, I thought, ‘heck, combine them!) Chicken Croquettes ( which I have never made, so we shall see. But anything served with a cream sauce can’t be that bad, right?) and stuffed tomato slices. I may do brussel sprouts as my green vegetable.

Now, for today’s rant:

I am almost starting to feel that those of us into the vintage lifestyle owe it to ourselves AND our community and therefore the world, to include in our love and desire for history the importance of social history. I think we may find rather than having to want to wrap ourselves only in a fantasy of better times, it is more fulfilling and more ‘right’ to take what we love and can learn from these times and set out to insert them into the present. Our joy of old things, cooking, enjoying family, helping others, EVEN wonderful clothing, could really help make a better future. The respect you show yourself and that which you receive from others by your clothes is an integral part to self-worth and hope. When the concept of caring for you family and helping others is seen as a job and a valid action, think how we can change the world? One neighbor at a time.

I think also, this responsibility involves helping others who may  seem to be unhappy, as a real quality way to inject your life with meaning and purpose. Through both our example and teaching, as we live with community and care for ourselves and family and our homes etc, we may also find ourselves seeing a friend or associate who turns to you for guidance. If you see a wayward sister, let her know how homemaking (rather it leads to marriage or not) is a means to an end. Sometimes when we are lost and looking out into the world for answers, they are right there in our own hands. I know it sounds cutesy or simplistic, but even a single gal who may feel hopeless or unsatisfied, working, shopping, watching tv and hanging out, should look to your home. Make it a place you feel like an honored guest and have your friends and family over. You’ll save money on food and entertainment and get to know yourself as well as those around you. I know it sounds silly to say,' “Hey make your bed when you get up, iron your clothes, paint and decorate affordably and clear out the clutter (donate all that stuff you don’t use because someone can use it) wear your ‘nice clothes’ just for you, even if you are at home, shut off the t.v. and tadah you feel purpose” I know that can sound odd, or too easy (though it is not easy to learn all the things, but worth doing.) the act of doing it gives you a purpose each day. It makes you focus on making yourself nice for you and your mind, then you will find you want to share this with others.

I just really think our modern society has made us SO self-centered in a bad way that we are intrinsically unhappy. I know, many of you are already much more accomplished than am I at cooking and sewing and homemaking, but perhaps your skills are a great way to show a new batch of women (and men too!) what personal satisfaction comes from living your life in a more controlled manner. Take control and responsibility for the way you look and how you live and what you think and buy, and you will feel better. It is a great aid for the blues to have things we now seem to think are silly, as important tasks you need to do and want to do for yourself, your family and friends.  Even if you are not volunteering at a soup kitchen, if you make homemade food and entertain your friends, or help your family by providing them with clean clothes and a good home cooked meal, you are doing for others and you will feel good about it.

I guess, I just really feel I can say this because it is all new to me. I was one of those unhappy consumers. I had moments that felt like happiness, but in the pit of my stomach or my heart I felt sort of aimless or empty. But, really taking control and action of each day has made a world of difference. I feel like I could do more in my life than I thought I could before. I know I sound like a self-help book, but really and truly, I feel more in control and happier than I have ever before.

There were so many things I wanted to do and I would always say, “I need 10 lives to do half of the things I want to try in my life”, but now I am finding, I may do much more than I thought. By taking control of my days and spending habits and my environment, I actually know I can add another item to my day and be able to handle it all. Again, I am not saying being a time Nazi is the answer, but by scheduling my days I find I get more done than before and soon do things faster as my skill level increases. Before,  I thought things like a clean organized kitchen or making my bed was silly or a waste of time keeping me from doing what I want, now I  see it as a means to disciplining myself to be ABLE to do what I want. If I cannot take 10 minutes to make my bed so it is nice for me at the end of a long day, or spend 15 minutes at my vanity, doing my hair, or checking my pearls, than how am I going to have the discipline to learn an instrument, or write a book, or hike 20 miles? The importance of daily living seems to always get a bad rap and yet people won’t mind spending two hours on a day off watching some t.v. program. I know, I used to do it. But, you know what, going out and raking my leaves may not be the most fun, but by doing it I get to then have a beautiful garden or the reward of going to the local greenhouse and picking out those roses I have always wanted to try. I think one of the main points I seem to have come across that we have in the modern world is that we want result with no prep work. We want to have a perfect home and life, but don’t want to do any of the work to get it. We want to be thin and beautiful but don’t want to bother to try. Even someone overweight and not model beautiful will be lovely if she is happy with herself and if she is wearing a nice dress, accessories, hose etc, you will be surprised how nice you feel and in so doing, people will see how beautiful you are. Not because you had to hide your true form in all that, but because you took the time to look nice for the people you encounter, they respond to that and see you looking beautiful.

I do realize a lot of what I am saying sound like tired old self-help rules, but I know I didn’t follow these norms before and am happier now for doing so. And I am not saying “Just feel good about yourself and your life will be better” because you know what; IT WON’T! You need to work hard at learning to care for yourself and your home and get a skill-set that makes you feel happy, then you WILL feel good about yourself and you will have every right to do so. Because, you are a good, cook , or your home is clean and welcoming, or you have a beautiful garden people love to sit in or eat from. I just want we (the 21 century gals) to feel we can take control of our lives and make a change for ourselves and in so, we will make a generation that others will look back on and think, “Wow, those early 21st century gals were amazing. One day they just turned away from commercialism and became super women” Because, were we to slowly acquire the skill-set of those women in 1955 we would probably be considered super woman by today’s standards.

Many people think, “Oh, well they got to stay home while their man took care of them. Or things were cheaper than, so one person could stay home” When, really, I am finding comparatively prices were similar and actually food is much cheaper today, and yet they managed, because their core desires were to care for their children or entertain themselves in ways that did not involve being on an endless revolving spending spree. The concept of ‘spending on yourself into your savings account’ is often a foreign concept. And, really, those of you who are in a relationship who think you have to work two jobs, maybe look at what and where you spend and you might be surprised. Now, I am not saying that is true for everyone, but again, how many cars and phones do you need. Do you need cable and tivo.  Do you have to eat out x amount of times a month. Do you have to spend x amount of junk food etc.

It is amazing to me that there are more big stores with great ‘bargains’ and yet we are all more in debt that any previous generations and no one can save. It is because we have been trained into being bargain shoppers instead of just not being shoppers at all. Obviously we need to go shopping to get food, but when we go where they have everything else too, we buy those things. Those stores that have everything in them aren’t really doing it to make your life easier, they are doing it to make you buy more and spend. They don’t honestly care if you save money, if you save it, you are not spending it on their products. When you have to go to various shops to buy various things you will buy less as you will be thinking in between your purchases. Malls and Chain stores that carry ‘all you need’ are there solely to make money. Don’t be their victim. I know you may think, “Oh, I can just hop in and buy this I don’t HAVE to buy other things” but even if you don’t you are still giving them your money and not the local guy. And if it costs more locally, than don’t buy as much. I know that sounds glib, but I really believe it. Now, don’t get me wrong I know it is hard, but for me, when I do go into a place that has everything you bet I come out with things I would not have bought. I do it all the time. The hardest part for me, and again I sort of tried it originally for  my project to stick to 1955, was not going to HomeGoods and Christmas Tree Shops (any of you from this area will know the lure of Christmas Tree Shops). I would go there as they had house ware cheaper.  Yet, now as I am doing over my house I am finding all this stuff that I have no idea why I ever bought it? Just to buy it? I mean I would just purchase things, as if I were a zombie, I’d walk in the store, fill the cart and handover the money. It is a sort of zombie like existence, but it is so ingrained into our culture you think nothing of it. SO, now instead of an afternoon shopping with the girls, I’d rather stay at home with them and have tea and food I have prepared and we can talk about how we want to decorate or do things with what we have or inexpensively. I still get that same rush (as I love interiors and design) but I am not just aimlessly buying things.

So, anyway, just more of the same thing I guess. And, again, I don’t want to feel as if I am telling people what to do, only what I have discovered and how it has made me feel better and more empowered. Hopefully, even if you think I am a crackpot, you can enjoy my enjoying it!

Well, have a good weekend, and I will see you all on Monday. I have a dinner to prepare and tomorrow, if the weather holds, I will get back to my garden.

Happy Homemaking.

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