Wednesday, June 3, 2009

3 June 1955 “Elvis, Marilyn, Bathing Suits, Cleaning Products, and a Busy Wife”

elvis 1955 june This is a shot of Elvis at the Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock TX today in 1955. Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery were there also. Elvis is gaining in popularity, but most likely I am still unaware of who he would be. I wonder, as well, when he does begin to reach fame, would I have listened to him? Not being very young nor having any teen children or any friends with teen children, I would probably have known of his songs, but most likely Rock n Roll would play little in my life. I would most likely happily listen to the more mature popular music of the time and my 30s and 40s standards I grew up on. Of course, there is also classical (Romantic, Baroque etc. as well) and opera, of which I love in modern times and have acquired some albums of such works.

seven year itch I believe I mentioned this movie before, but I found out it premiered on June 1 and then opened today, June 3 1955.

The original 1955 review in Variety was largely positive, but expressed disappointment that Sherman (The male character) remains chaste.  I suppose here is another point in time when the media wants to push the ‘sex envelope’. I am not saying I wish movies to be censored, by any means, but I do think overt sexuality for its own sake is banal and uninventive. Much like many things in the modern world, things for the sake of shock or merely to represent themselves, seems the norm. The subtlety and nuance of old films from the 1930s seems lost in some ways in mainstream American movies. And I think that Seven Year Itch would not have been as sweet had he ‘followed through’ with his fantasy nor would Marilyn’s character been who she was had she ‘done the deed’.

jet 1955 This issue of Jet from June 2 1955 features the ‘covered-up look’ in beachwear 1955. Certainly, this does appear more modest than some 1940s numbers, yet in a very 1950’s way is rather sexy in the way a 1950s small waist full skirted strapless dress is sexy. mcalls beachwear pattern This McCall's pattern from 1955 shows the short short and casual top. I think, this year here on the Cape, I would live and dress a much more casual style than I would in the city or even during the ‘off season’ here. I am not sure if mid-thirties would be too old to wear such an outfit to the beach or lounging. Of course, I think excess pounds may reduce my desire to wear these short shorts!1950s beach fashions Now, aren’t these adorable? I love the second one in as I think the halter and tight fitting mid section with a looser bottom would be rather flattering for my figure. I think the last looks like a darling dress and would make a gal with heavier thighs feel more confident at the beach.1950sjantzen02b It is funny how in the past men’s bathing suits were rather sexy and revealing and somehow they have, here in the USA, grew in length and bagginess to the knees, while women’s suits have become almost strings. I have to say there is nothing I hate more on a man that the American knee length baggy swim trunk. I adore the tight straight across thigh tight trunks especially with the sewn on belt.1950s bathing suit man I definitely think this looks much nicer than this.usa_suit I know in Europe men still wear a more tight brief style and I can imagine it must be more comfortable. These are like swimming in loose pants, I would imagine. I do think it odd how overtly sexualized modern women’s suits are while this is what is normal for men’s suits. Makes one think, does it not.

Still, all in all, my fictional mother would have gone to the beach much like this.1910s_keep_offa And she must have been appalled seeing ads like this from the late 1930’s that I would have been dreaming of wearing one day to the beach as this shot of Carole Lombard in the 1930s. Isn’t it a darling suit, though and I would love one like this today.carole lombard 1930's swimsuit

1940s suit I know this suit is more 1940’s, but isn’t it darling? I love the pattern and the gathering at the breast.

In fact, I have many photos of relatives from this time period and my art  of the time that I lived on the water and we were beach bum sailors were taken from images of these relatives enjoying the beaches in pre WWI days. Here is one of the works I did in that vein. It is painted on board and they are taken from family photos. The house was a home my husbands family owned on Nantucket (an island here off the shores of Cape Cod in Massachusetts for you non American readers).painting 1The fluidity of the figure into basic forms and the bareness of the wood was definitely influenced by my time living on the ocean. I would walk and comb the beach everyday and spend hours in the upstairs of the boathouse thumbing through page after page of old photos from the 1890s-19teens. This is probably the most ‘modern’ my work has ever been and that was in the execution while the subject matter was definitely antiquated.  I have a painting in this same style of relatives in old bathing suits and caps, but I cannot find it, so will post it another day. Although, it is very stylized as is this one so it is not readily apparent they are in bathing costume.  I painted on plywood and wood board, allowing the grain to dictate horizon lines and such. As an example as to why I considered this particular style more ‘modern’ to my earlier works, here are two paintings I did in my mid twenties. dog painting shoe painting You can see I was influenced by Van Gogh and C├ęzanne during this period. The dog is a painting of one of my I.G’s (Italian Greyhounds) and was influenced by a larger painting of Kind Edward’s (the Edwardian kind Edward) dog. Though I have not as yet picked up a paint brush (except for walls and furniture of course!) in 1955, I believe I shall before it ends. I am feeling very inspired as of late and would like to see what happens when I return to the paint pots and canvas. We shall see what we shall see.

 woman cleaning 1955This past week, as I have been so busy, I sort of ‘cheated’ one day. I now use, almost solely, as my house cleaning product pine-sol mixed with water. It takes a little more elbow grease to use it, but it smells good, disinfects and is very cheap. I am not even a 1/4 of the way through my first bottle which was under two dollars!

So, I was rushing around and needed to clean, as usual, and thought, I am just going to by the bleach bathroom spray. I had used it in my kitchen and bath before and I could spray it, walk away, and come back and wipe and go. Fast and easy. It is modern and more expensive, of course. So, I used it on my kitchen, wiped down the stove fridge counters etc. I thought, “wow that really saved me some time, though I am a bad time-traveler using this product”. I came in the kitchen later, after everything was nice and dry and it had left a horrible film on everything. I ended up having to take more time with my pine-sol and a rag to get it all straight. Moral of the story, “haste makes waste” and “ a penny save is a penny earned”. So true.

It seems around this time, in the 1940s and 50s, specialized cleaners for everything are really beginning to show up. However, most homemaking manuals tell you to use simple things in different solutions for cleaning everything from face to clothes to floors.

These ads from my 1899 Woman's Home Journal show their soap products are meant for all things, not specialized. wyandotte sodafairy soapI do have to say using less products on more things is not only cost effective, but less confusing and less ‘stuff’ around, which is really good for overall tidiness.

woman with cake 2Hopefully, this will be me this Saturday! Boy oh boy, do I have to pull out my 1955 homemaker scheduling and ‘superwoman’ powers this week. Besides cooking and baking and throwing a party for my hubby for his birthday (his actual birthday was the 1st of June) this Saturday, I now have to make and decorate a cake for a work party for him. I have to get gussied up as well and go with him to meet his new co-workers and bring a home-made cake. He bragged of my delicious cakes and now I have to prove it.

In addition to that, I am building a side deck before the party, spreading some mulch, putting some sod down and making a full on dinner for our birthday guests. This is going to be a busy week! But, really, being a homemaker/wife with ambition, one does over schedule. I think that if I keep over scheduling my days in my calendar for the rest of this year, I will be happy with what I have achieved at the end of it. Do send me some Homemaking ACTION power, all of you, because I shall really need it this week!

I will share recipes and pictures of my cakes, don’t worry and until later this week, happy homemaking.

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