Thursday, August 6, 2009

5 August 1955 “Dianne’s Day, Teen Fashion, and Art”

After receiving a wonderful comment (which follows) from one of my readers, Dianne, I had to reprint it here. I hope that she does not mind, but her recounting of a day in 1955 was so perfect, I felt it needed to be addressed.
I was so inspired by her glimpse into her past that I felt I had to add these photos I found. They are NOT Dianne's, but they had a feeling, to me, of her day recounted. I hope you enjoy it.
    To 50's gal and all: I will be very glad to tell you why 1955 was my favorite year. I was in high school in 1955 and it seemed liked a period of time when everything was exactly as it should be. Have you ever experienced that? While 1955 actually straddled two school years, they were both great. I loved my teachers, my classes, and had some wonderful times with my friends. I had my favorite teacher for homeroom and English class. We were studying Chaucer, lots of Shakespeare, the Globe theater, and English poets and their poems.50s girls studying I loved every minute of it. Perhaps if I share a favorite weekend it will help you understand. My girlfriend and I had planned a special weekend with me spending Friday and Saturday night there. I always loved being at her home and to this day it remains one of my favorite houses. It was a large two story house with a lot craftsman style. The living room was dark green with a great deal of crisp white woodwork,a white mantel, and white craftsman style build in bookcases with glass doors.craftsman living room The comfortable sofa and chairs were slipcovered in a softly muted large floral print. It was our plan to take the bus downtown on Saturday morning to buy matching outfits.50s knee highs We had each saved $2.98 to buy gray corduroy bermuda shorts and pink knee socks (probably about $.59). It was one of those beautiful October days when the sky was a perfect blue with fluffy (cumulus) clouds. We got home and changed into our matching outfits: pink sweaters, gray corduroy bermuda shorts (they had a very different cut than shorts today), pink knee socks, and penny loafers. After lunch, we headed off (walking) to the neighbor soda fountain for dessert.annette1 Two happy teenaagers getting a strawberry ice cream cone and a vanilla fountain Pepsi. When we got home her father was finished with his Saturday chores and offered to teach us how to waltz. He was a distinguished looking man, silver hair and also a silver gray mustache. He had a beautiful speaking voice. A record was put on and we took many turns waltzing around that attractive living room with this gentle man. Of course we were so pleased we had gotten these special outfits to wear on this beautiful October day. That night we attended a party (we did not wear our great outfits, we were dressed up) and that gallant man escorted us to the family car to drop us off at the party. teen dance This October 2009, it will be 54 years ago that two excited high school girls spent an absolutely perfect Saturday afternoon waltzing around a living room with a distinguished gentleman. By 1965 that world didn't exist any more; it was as obselete as the dinasaur. I do not mean any disrespect to those who love the 1960's and the bright,happy colors of that time. Most likely teenagers today wouldn't have a clue how to understand that day, and might even ridicule it. But for me, my heart belongs in 1955 when I wore full skirts with crinolines that rustled and swished when I walked and could enjoy a day like that October Saturday. That day is firmly fixed in my Happy Place Memories. Best wishes to all and thank you for reading about one of my favorite days and hope it helps you understand why I love 1955. Dianne
This made me, again, think of a 1950’s teens wardrobe. How I honestly feel that a teen girl then was really given the opportunity to dress for fun and for herself, not to be ‘sexy for boys’.teens-soda teens-3-clothes teen-petticoat teen-player teen-balloon teens-swing Compare that with these modern fashions leather teen attends the A Time for Heroes Celebrity Carnival Sponsored by Disney, benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, held at Wadsworth Theater on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Again, I am not a prude and in fact I am only getting to realize that the 1950’s really was not restrictive except in the way that it restricted what men could stare at. There really is a truth to being treated the way you represent yourself. One of my friends told me she watched some tv show about modern teens in abusive (as in beating and broken limbs) relationships increasing. I am not saying, put on a puffy dress and you get respected, but there is an element in the way one feels and represents oneself in their clothes. Then, the fashion allowed one to be ‘cool’ in the latest style while still having fun with fashion in a way that skimpy sexy clothes that aren’t ‘situation specific’ can be. I don’t know, maybe I am just rambling or overheated from all my packing, what do any of you think?

Portrait of Father, 1955 hockney David Hockney was born on July 9, 1937, in Bradford, England. This is a painting of his father. Somehow I thought it fit with our dear friend Diane’s story, as this was painted in 1955 and it is of a distinguished father. I find I am struck by the color and style of this Hockney. I have been tempted and drawn, of late, to return to my paint pots and canvas. I have not, as yet, done so. But, somehow deep inside is boiling up ideas that I can take to the canvas from this year. The ideas and ideals, the skills and respect that has been growing for this lost generation needs expressing somehow.mark rothko I have mentioned Mark Rothko in the past and this painting is from 1955. I have to say it has come to mean to me, somehow, all that I loathe of what is to become in the art world. The over painted expression of the “I” over the viewer. The importance of the artist’s ‘feeling and moment’ over the response required from the viewer. To me it has come to represent the laziness and unaccountability of the modern world. “Why should I work hard to represent an emotion or object or time” the artist might be seeming to say. “I don’t have to worry about how the viewer responds, let them figure out what THEY see”. Just my opinion.conspiracy This painting, also made in 1955, has much allegory and yet can be viewed in its beauty of color, form and composition. He was part of a time when industrilzation was seen as the god and beacon of new man. He often chose to view the changing world much the way I have come to see it. The corporation and greed over human dignity. His beliefs were to get him into trouble in the post WWII era time of the “Red Scare”. His brother, blacklisted screenwriter and movie director Herbert Biberman, was one of the Hollywood 10, jailed for contempt in refusing to answer congressional inquiries about his socialist political affiliations. I feel, in this case, I can see and feel now much more of that world in an image such as this than I would ever take away from a Rothko. In a sense, Rothko and later, I feel, Warhol, represented that very thing they may have meant to poke fun at:over-produced un-indvidualized art and craft. Mass produced images and non-specific almost machine done productions. There is much of the mirror in art, don’t you think?
Well, no recipes or cleaning tips this time around. I do have a funny story (though it wasn’t at the time) of an incident I had with a cake, a hot humid night, and preparing for baked goods for my hubby to take to work. I shall recount that. I also promised to talk about 1950’s beauty tips and products, I too will get to that, don’t think I forgot.
Well, until later then, have a great day and keep homemaking!
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