Tuesday, September 15, 2009

15 September 1955 “Back to the Grind”


1950myhomea Well, here I am settled into my ‘new’ home. It has been seven years since my hubby and I lived in this house, though we had my parents here for two years and that resulted in being guests at Christmas and other holidays. They were good times for the most part, though they ended on a rather sad note. In that ending, the house sat, unloved and infrequently used by various bad tenants. We have returned and I am glad.

Somehow, now, it feels as if I have been working to this end for sometime without my knowledge. I certainly was not planning on the sudden removal of my family nor the dramatic way that played out, but as I have been settling my furnishings and various items these past two weeks it is as if I have been buying and collecting with the eye for this house the whole time. There, that old metal dishtowel rack bought and forgot and stored, now just fits that part of the kitchen. That chair, bought in the city for that apartment then stored away looks and feels right in that spot. The chair my darling mother sat in, which was hauled and used in my makeshift sitting room at the last house, has returned to its rightful place and looks so perfect with that old side table of my hubbies family.

Where the other house and places I have lived have immediately received my paint brush and hammer, the main part of this house just feels right. I think, ‘ Hmmm, that shade of blue I painted the walls four years ago for my family just still fits’.


 early american home 1955 to show that not all 1955 living rooms looked like this 1952 livingroom Not that the second is bad and in fact, most likely due to my inundation with mid-century magazines and design books, there is much I Do love about this second modern room, but in an antique Cape built in 1718, I think it would look rather amiss, don’t you? I wanted to show that traditional as well as the ‘new’ “Early American” style was as prevalant as modern. The white trimmed built-ins, colonial inspired wallpaper and the ‘sandwich glass’ and tin lamps look much as they would today. Although I do have some victorian pieces, the Victorian ladies chair in the first picture is lovely, but I prefer my Wing chairs and of course my french inspired side chair.

Actually, there is much that I could write about this ‘Early American’ movement in decorating that really gets ignored today. Many people think that the 1950’s deco (much as they think the mindset and ideals) are all set in one pattern in the mid-century. I find the Early American probably really took hold in the war years. There is much ‘colonial’ inspired interiors in my 1940’s magazines as opposed to my 1950’s. I think it was a way to hearken back to the ‘good ole days’ the pre-war modern world and certainly had a good breeding ground in 1940’s America.

The picture I ‘borrowed’ for the above image of the ‘colonial’ home was from the same Flickr stream as the one below. I do hope that whomever’s site it is does not mind my using the image. It certainly is only done with the utmost respect and perhaps a sort of sad longing of these pictured.july 55 This one could easily be my hubby. Replace the cigarette with a pipe and that is basically his wardrobe today, maybe he’d have his straw porkpie hat on, since it is summer.  This one below was simply titled Summer 1955.summer 1955 It hit a note with me as it could easily be my yard now with hubby and I and a friend. In fact, I want to build a stone wall around our terrace here, much like they have done in the pictures, and frame it in my roses. I love the casual blue dress with the down turned pocket. The woman in front looks smart in her white piped blue pedal pushers. Relaxed yet put together. There is SO much in the 1950’s style that could be so adaptable to the modern world and in a way that allows us to have control by making it ourselves. There are no tags or labels or odds screen printed logos that are ‘must haves’ here thus making one not able to reproduce a style. 1950s fashion When clothes are fashionable but individual and not mass marketed it gives a thrift, style and personal power back to the wearers. One can look through a magazine for inspiration and then buy a simple pattern and the sky is the limit.

I have been having trouble getting myself back into using the computer again. Being somewhat unconnected and preoccupied with arranging my home, I felt almost as if I was sleeping deeper into 1955. Today, to aid my ability to still hold onto the present so I can return to my blog posts, I went to some large modern stores. This ties in with what I was just saying about clothes.

I was in town and decided to pop into Old Navy, a store I am not that happy with normally, but now it was horrible. In the past which was conversely the future, when I would go to Old Navy to ‘just look’ I would never leave without some “great deal”. Their low prices (of course fueled by cheap product mass produced by low paid child labor) were often irresistible, even though most of these items would end up in drawers and closets unworn. I kid you not, as I was packing to move here I found clothes with tags on unworn, not good.

Today, however, my disgust was filled with sadness. The racks and racks of sweat pant styled pants, everything was soft jersey, shapeless and uninspiring to see rows and rows of them. I thought, maybe I could find some 1950s inspired skirt I could mix in with my wardrobe, I could not find one skirt that was not a short 1980’s ruffled mess that I would not even have worn in the actual 1980s. I have to say I left fired to get a sewing space cleared out soon.

Now, back to the house. I have just been so busy and into setting up house, that I have barely touched my computer. One can see how a homemaker of the past would not be bored, it is as if WITH the modern computer and TV, we become bored as we can think of nothing except these two tasks to fill our free time. But, I am slowly easing my way back into a sense of the modern world. I cannot, after all, live in 1955 forever. I could certainly try, but I really feel an almost calling to bring modern and mid-century to some interesting mix in the coming year. That means eventually with a website and also with my art. Perhaps, then, I will also finally feel ready to do a podcast to include, as the idea of talking, “radio program style”, about various topics does seem enticing. Although I could easily drift away into my safe 1955 world, I would miss all of you and all the potential people I have yet to get to know and meet out there.

Well, tomorrow I will get some pictures of various vignettes of the ‘new’ house, maybe a recipe or two and some more discussion about what it might mean to emerge, come January 1, from my cocoon of 1955.  The vintage chrysalis am I.

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