Sunday, April 26, 2009

25 April 1955 “Elvis, NAACP, Dieting, Dining Room, and ‘Get to the POINT’”

elivs poster Elvis seems to keep gaining in popularity but is only playing at High School Auditorium. I am not sure if I would have yet heard of him.


Eleven months after its historic proclamation that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," the U.S. Supreme Court last week heard a parade of lawyers suggest ways to enforce its ban on racially segregated schools. The simplest proposal came from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Its representatives wanted the court to set a firm deadline for complete integration, not later than September 1956.

marshallThe N.A.A.C.P.'s hard-hitting Thurgood Marshall disagreed. The Southern states are asking for "either a moratorium on the enforcement of the 14th Amendment or local option . . . There is no place for local option in our Constitution," declared Marshall.

After listening to 13 hours and 40 minutes of argument (spread over four days), the court began wrestling privately with one of the most difficult decisions it has ever confronted. It is almost certain to hand down a decision before recessing in mid-June. [This is why I am beginning to see that the 1950’s were NOT the time of repression and inequality, it WAS the time of the change away from that frame of mind. It is amazing to have come in 50 odd years to a country that can elect an African-American. It makes me proud of our ability to change and evolve. Perhaps, being a young  country with no set ancient rules allows the ability to go forward.]

I thought this was a cute story from today’s (1955) Time magazine:

It was springtime in Sheepshead Bay and the rubber plants were stretching themselves. On this perfect morning, Frank Biondo Jr. decided to pay a call on his grandmother. So he hopped into the family's brand-new, two-toned green Pontiac and started off.

A few blocks from home, Frank's eccentric driving caught the attention of Patrolman Albert Leone, who yelled at him to stop. Frank paid no attention. Officer Leone commandeered a plumber's truck and, followed by a motorcade of honking automobiles, gave chase. When he ordered Frank to pull over, Frank merely increased his speed to 35 m.p.h. The chase continued through Brooklyn's crowded streets, and Frank sailed through six red lights, sideswiped a taxi and an automobile, kept right on going. Finally, after two miles, Frank pulled up in front of Granny's and parked neatly alongside the curb. He was still doggedly pursued by Leone and eight cars.

When Frank stepped out of the car, Patrolman Leone took him in tow on the reasonable ground that no boy of eight should go driving alone. [can’t you just see the little boy, short pants and determination, off to grannies!]

One of my readers was kind enough to send me this book I am really excited about it and will share it with you in coming posts. So far, as I have skimmed it only, there seems to be a lot of good common sense. Things you DON’T hear about today, like Don’t take diet pills, and basically eat less calories if you want to lose weight. The meal plans are wonderful and realistic, not odd things like only eat garlic on every odd Wednesday and no carbs on Thursdays etc. Just good common sense that really says to the reader, It is YOUR responsibility to watch your diet and exercise and here our some guidelines. I think so much of today’s entire diet industry (for it has become a behemoth of an industry) is very typical of our times. “It isn’t your fault, you were lured into this, you just weren’t told that was bad for you…” again, no accountability. Simple fact, if you want to lose weight eat less calories than you currently do and exercise. Now I am not saying it is easy, believe me I need to lose weight, but I like the idea, as I have begun to with other aspects of my life, that you have to be responsible for yourself. Sure, it is going to be hard to do it, but to know that it is in my power to do it, makes me want to do it more. So what if there is fast food and easy to heat up fattening dinners, you have the ability to say no and to merely choose to eat less food per sitting, maybe a few less desserts, but again, a plan to do away with things altogether or to eat weird things will never result in a lasting weight loss. If you learn to cook and count your calories, it is your best bet and then you can still have cake, too!

I have actually lost some weight since I started this project and really I cook all the time and always have desserts around. Yet, I don’t eat chips and drink soda all day and I am so busy in between meals that I think I am probably eating less. I also no longer order large coffee drinks as I used to.doublechoc_frap This double choc chip frappuchino has 670 calories 200 of which are fat! While, 1/8 of a 9” blueberry pie (that is a good size slice) is only 336 calories. I first stopped the drinks just as part of the project, but now as I see the dietary and monetary advantages of not getting these large drinks.  ( a venti flavored latte is almost five dollars!) Now, I am not saying don’t get these drinks, but just know what you are getting. If you know this drink is basically two pieces of pie and you are okay with that, than great, but if you are not, then get a plain coffee and a piece of pie or whichever, but really having the responsibility to know what you are eating and drinking is just another aspect I find to be very 1950s. I feel that the modern diet world really wants you to believe that you don’t have control over the situation so that you WILL buy their meal plans, ideals, energy bars etc. So, the products themselves are not bad, but how you use them and how you are responsible for your own caloric intake are your responsibility. Though that can seem daunting it has a sort of freedom to it. It allows me to not worry about rather I can find the ‘secret’ or how will I afford to buy special diet foods, but just merely count my calories and be cautious of my meals (it is my job to prepare and make them after all!).

It struck me funny how we sometimes laugh at the 1950s patron at a diner eating a burger and having a piece of pie, yet we guzzle huge Starbucks drinks  that are  more calories than a piece of pie! Even the image of the family eating the red meat and potatoes. There is nothing wrong with that. It is healthy protein and starch and better to use real butter made form milk than some odd spread produced by the petroleum company. It just became apparent how here we have another way in which advertising got us to slowly mistrust eating good healthy home-made food and to need to buy specialty things and second guess just making a steak and eating pie.

Even though I do eat my fair share of bacon and dessert, I am not overeating it. So, now I have an actual plan in my hands and I would like to try the meals for a few weeks and see how they work out. I like that the meals in this book are very realistic, much like I now serve. So, hubby won’t even notice. He will be happy, though, as he said yesterday at breakfast, “I am getting a little pot belly”, so perhaps a slab of homemade cake for lunch everyday is catching up with him!

Here is a sample meal plan:diet plan

I feel bad to have not blogged yesterday, but I am really plugging away at my dining room. I am determined to have it done enough to use this weekend. It is also suppose to be in the 70s and 80s here this weekend, so I want to get out and do more yard work and garden.

Here is a shot of the progression of the mantle I built for the dinning room. I just finished the final coats of paint yesterday. fireplace 1 fireplace2  fireplace3fireplace4 fireplace5 When it is totally finished, the area around where the firebox will sit will be ‘tiled’ in river rock stones. The area with the decorative design in the middle will be ‘tiled’ with seashells. I saw an interesting little ‘villa’ built by two eccentric cousins from the 1920’s who had many collections and they had many seashell mosaics.

So, it may not look like much right now, but it will be nice with some of my dishes in and the walls with the mural. The bricks on the floor will be the base for the firebox to sit on. These are actually antique bricks. I am trying to add as much ‘history’ and ‘quirkiness’ to my design as possible. I am far from a fine carpenter and there are odd angles and something's don’t quite meet and  even my painting is a bit heavy handed in parts, but really it all adds to the spirit of age. It gives everything a look as if it has been settling for a few decades and paint has gone over older paint. In my imaginings of the history for this room, I envisioned it being an old cape and perhaps a quirky pair of unmarried sisters did it over in the teens in the rage of Craftsman style and then, come the 1920s, painted it out white and added the seashell motif.Though neither could agree on a color, there were many subsequent layers of paint until they settled on matching the china. This sort of ‘storytelling’ one can do while redesigning a room or decorating is both entertaining and can really help to guide you in design choices.

This week I will show more pics of the room with furniture rugs and dishes in.

I started to ponder ‘purpose’ the other day. I thought about it. Wondered, “what is the ‘point’?” Not in an angst-ridden way or a ‘woe is me’ way. I merely sat down with my cup of tea after finishing a task and thought, “Hmmm, I seemed to have found a POINT.” Then, I followed that thought further and I’ll explain what I mean.

Not everyone may find happiness in homemaking (though I think for many the skills are important) but THAT is not the point. The point is to find your own PURPOSE. Someone may want to be an astronaut, their point, though not easy, has a formula to it. You go to school, do engineering, etc there is a course you must follow. The same if you are to be a doctor or a nurse. But, for many of us the point is often lost or vague. Or, if it doesn’t follow a specific accepted pattern laid out for us we think, for us, there is none.

I was really thinking how harmful this can be to an individual. This sort of thinking could be dangerous to your happiness and fulfillment. One might think, “ I don’t know what I want to do or how to do it, so there is no point” and then they just fill their days with distraction. When, really, anything can be your POINT. Perhaps you really like cutting out magazine photos and scrapbooking. You collect them. Look and see what it is that you are drawn to and make it your point. Then, find out what MORE there is to that POINT. Don’t just be happy with cutting out the magazine pictures, get a camera and take some of your own, or read the article and write down your own take on what you read, or maybe you are drawn to the clothes, get a sewing machine and teach yourself to use it (or take a class). Or, you might find your real happiness is the simple task of sitting and cutting out and pasting images, then celebrate your POINT and go for it. I guess, I just feel that I sort of started this project with one little idea, “what was 1955 like to live in?” and from that it became my POINT and through discovery and further ACTION I have found myself quite happy learning and doing new things. By following this POINT or line of ACTION I am really finding many skills and very fulfilling moments.

I have said before that jumping out of planes is certainly exciting and is someone's POINT, but not everyone is out for adrenalin. There is as much joy in sitting and admiring your ironed sheets or digging in your garden, setting in that first seedling you coaxed on your windowsill in the cold dark days of January. I have just discovered, that even though many people don’t know what they want to do or what is their POINT, if they take the ACTION to follow one of their likes or joys, they may find it along the way.

I am not sure if any of that made any sense, but it was something I had sort of discovered over a pondered cup of tea and thought I would share.

Now, I have to get outside and enjoy this wonderful day. Gussie and Hubby have agreed to help me work on my little ‘orchard’. There are leaves to rake, holes to dig, and trees to plant.

Until tomorrow, happy homemaking.

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