Sunday, January 17, 2010

17 January 1956 “Am I a Working Girl Now or a Committee Woman? Welcome to our HOME TOWN!”

woman at typewriter I have, of late, begun to wonder: am I a working girl in 1956 or is it that I now am so busy with my ‘committee work’?committeewomen copy

What really got me thinking about this, was one of our dear reader’s comments:

It seems your role in the 50’s project has changed. Originally, I found your blog entries to be a running journal highlighting how your 1955 self made her way through the day to day life of a 1950’s homemaker. With the creation of your new website (Which is Really Swell!), I think you have become more of a “Working girl” in a Mid-Century context. I see you becoming more of a columnist a kin to Julia Child, Emily Post, or even at times “Dear Abby”. Providing us, your readers, with reflections, how-to’s and advise. I think that in a 50’s context you would be spending part of your time working at your typewriter (computer) providing your daily article for the newspaper (your website and Blog). I guess one of the advantages is that you don’t have an editor breathing down your neck or “revising” your column. keep up the good work!

So, I began to think, in the context of 1956 (which quite honestly is where I seem to be spending most of my time!) would I be a childless homemaker that would, indeed, be doing some secretarial work part time? Of course, I am not actually getting paid and I do not have to leave the house for this work.

EmilyPost julia child While I would love to think myself akin to Julia Child, Emily Post, or “Dear Abby”, it is true I have no ‘editors’(though I sorely need them, I am sure!).

That got me thinking about a woman such as me, at my age, childless, firmly in the middle class in 1956. I most likely would be very ‘busy’ with committee work. Without a child to care for and my house under control (thanks to that entire year in 1955! Though it would have actually been an overall part of my education through my life, but I digress)I would most likely be very busy with unpaid committee work. So, my ramblings here at my ‘typewriter’, even my new site could very will be a ‘newsletter’ for the club or committees upon which I would most definitely sit.

I had wanted this year (1956) to be about community. I had originally seen that as going out into my own community and joining the historical society, garden club, etc (which may still happen) but now I see I am expanding on the community of the digital.

This has made me look again at my project. Though I have started with the premise that I could travel between 1956 and 2010, I have to say my little sojourns into the modern world instantly leave me feeling empty, sad, and rather depressed. No wonder Prozac was invented! And, yes, I know my 1956 is not REALLY 1956, but it is a world where the TV and modern ‘news’ does not exist. Modern books and magazines also are not around and my wardrobe, chores and concerns are rather 1956. Even my study and research, daily, for the site and blog is obviously 1956 and earlier.

One of the reasons I had wanted to include my ‘time machine’ scenario in this year’s project was so that I could see and hopefully show you that we can cherry pick the good from the past and make a better present and therefore affect the future. And, for all intents and purposes, I shall like to use the compare contrast of the two decades to help make points of change and awareness of what is happening in our modern world, but quite honestly 1956 is so much more comfortable.

tashatudor This lead me to think again about Tasha Tudor. ( I know, I am really taking you down a road, but bear with me I do arrive somewhere.) She, disillusioned by her own time, chose to live in the 1840s, the early Victorian really pre-industrial world. She even had children and I don’t know if that was selfish of her. But, she did it. However, did it keep her from experiencing a true whole life? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

However, when she was living this way it was actually the 1950’s. It was probably easier to ‘disconnect’ yourself from the modern world then. For, you merely unplugged the phone, did not buy a refrigerator, and no TV and suddenly you were antiquated. Today, even for me to merely travel to 1955, there are so many things, microwaves, cell phones, computers (which I obviously did not do without!) endless TV channels, so much connected ‘plugged in’ media, it is not as simple a process. If Tasha Tudor went to the local market (which she would have had, we do not and really only have chains) she would not see people walking about with phones in their ears, iPod ear buds, blue tooth etc.

So, do I want to unplug myself? Not entirely, as I want to be a part of all of your lives (as long as you want me to be, that is) and to grow my site, which in all honesty is really just this blog expanded into a community with all the layers of living of which I can think. Yet, I don’t want to be OF the modern world. That is to say, I don’t want to watch modern TV. I have tried the first week to see what I could see to discuss here, but I just couldn’t do it. For selfish reasons it made me ill and sad. So, it is literally disconnected. Modern news: I just heard of the Haiti disaster and then hubby told me how all the people and organizations that are donating to help mostly are doing it digitally, obviously, so all those credit card/debit card transactions on line to aid them are giving a HUGE profit to the credit card companies. They could waive the fees in lieu of helping Haiti as well, but why, no one bothers to really understand how the economy or the world works, so they just sit back and take in more profits at the loss of others! (As a former business owner, not sure if any of you know this, but when someone buys something from you with a credit card , visa and MasterCard take a percentage of every sale from the business and American express takes an even higher percentage. So the small business is hurt even more by this as every thing he sells a percentage of it right away goes to the company from your money. Yet large corporations, such as Wal-Mart, have the clout to have almost no percentages and sometimes none, so as to be included in the corporate growth. Another way the middle class and new business is hurt by the corporate sector! So using cash makes another statement that you are HELPING the small business man to keep all the profit from the product and not just give a percentage away to a credit card company. That, in itself, is an entire post!)

Well, back to my original point: I don’t know where I fit, really. I want to stay in 1950’s. In fact, I may continue to make this year more about 1956 with the news and things I am learning, but by adding the ‘extra’ committee work of my website. And really, then it is as if all of you are a part of  my ‘club meetings’ that I am making the newsletter (website) for, or you are my local towns people who are reading my articles (blog) in the daily local newspaper.

That is when I start to feel better. As if, amongst the chaos and overt evil (for I know not how else to describe it!)of the world, to think in some way I am living in my own version of 1950’s with all of you in my ‘digital home town’ where we can meet for coffee, you can read my ramblings in the ‘local paper’ and we can discuss important issues as well as beauty tips and decorating and everything under the sun at our ‘club meetings’ (the website with its forum and now comments on each page so we can share and discuss the subject matter in it instead of it just being a dead page of information.)

This, too, makes me again feel I have some control over my life. I cannot stop Monsanto from owning seeds and living cell structures, nor stopping them from creating ‘Terminator Seeds’ that destroy themselves after the first harvest so local farmers cannot harvest their own seed but MUST buy seed again from them. I cannot walk in front of the construction of yet another Wal-Mart nor stop the hoards as they mindlessly flock to buy plastic cups emblazoned with WWF images or groceries and products that they don’t care why they are so cheap. I cannot go to the corporations that don’t care that they pay third world children 3 cents a shirt, as they work 17 hour days sewing logos of Football teams Or print Britney Spears logos across them. I cannot go down to the headquarters of FOX news and ask them how they can look at the world every day and lie and contort the truth for their own pockets while they watch their own country slowly evolve into one large corporate run dictator ship.

I am but one small little homemaker, here in a small town USA trying to keep her home clean and neat, make her family and friends happy and in the bargain myself. But, if I can, through my small efforts, make a place-this imaginary digital HOME TOWN that we can, all of us, belong to-then I feel like that is a valid life. That is a way to feel I am plugged into the world and yet not only selfishly  fulfilling my own needs to hide away in a time that protects me from the misery of my own present. It can be a way to find solace and comfort in the words and love and communication with all of you dear things in our HOME TOWN here, and know that we are, at least amongst ourselves, keeping some of the truth and beauty of simple life alive. And even if we only influence one or two young people, if they can continue on, as long as the world is free enough to voice our opinion and choose what we buy and how we live, then our little Revolution can live on. And that, I feel ,is a good project indeed.

So, I hope you all are happy enough to continue to follow me along into this crazy journey. I love what we have built thus far and know we can do more. It can be, really, a safe place for all of us to escape to. And, you never know, you may one day look around and see the TV is no longer there, the house is clean and de-cluttered, your family is happily chatting about happy things whilst eating your meal at the dining room table. And you will know, yes, this is life. This is joy and happiness. This is why it is important that I teach my children and care about the world I live in. And the silliness of the newest and latest clothes, what is going to be on the new ‘Fall Schedule’ on TV, and the latest celebrity or reality scandal is will seem a silly dream from which you have awoke.

 downtown3 So, welcome to our TOWN and I hope you get a chance to stop by our committee meetings sometimes, or catch my ‘article’ in the local paper, or just stop by for a chat or drop a line. I am proud and happy, no matter what the date on the calendar says, to be amongst you all in this great town of ours.Gilchrist's1950'stowndancewomenatpicnic copy


  1. The Sunday collection plate is still past around awaitng cash donations. This Sunday morning it was for the Relief services of haiti.
    Some things are still done the old way.

  2. Wonderful, Mrs. Tailleur. That is nice to know. I was rather saddened when hubby told me of the article about the immense profit made by the credit card companies due to online donations to relief efforts of any kind. Wouldn't you think they could waive if for one day or something, to show support? But, honestly, most people seem not to even realize it is there, so they have a good thing going in our general ignorance.
    Good joy you!

  3. Gee, I didn't know the credit card companies made a profit off of this. How crass.

  4. You know the one thing that really stood out with me through your 1955 year was shopping locally at smaller stores and helping the small business mom & pop type places. Every time I need to buy something it makes me think twice about where to get it and I always choose the smaller place, the closer to my house the better. Just wanted you to know it made a lasting impression on me. Thanks!

  5. Hurray, 50sgal! I really don't think we need to apologize for leaving behind the "real world". I don't think Tasha Tudor did anything selfish by raising her children the way she did.

    I am a Mennonite and one of the things I value the most about my religious background is the notion that it is perfectly acceptable, even necessary, to look crazy to the rest of the world.


  6. I am so glad that you have decided to keep your blog and your website as two separate entities. I follow you blog religiously - to me, it is a blog of someone "living" in the 1950s. To me your website, though interesting in its own right, is a website devoted to all things 1950, but does not have the daily "experience" of "living in the 1950s" that your blog has. I do not know if this makes sense, but to me one is a "how it is" (blog) and the other is a "how to" (website). You should be lauded on all fronts - you are truly an inspiration ...

  7. Anon-thank you for making it clear to me, as well. I suppose I hadn't thought of it in that way before. That is why, indeed, community is so important. Sometimes we cannot see the forest for the trees and we need someon on the edge of the woods to point it out to us. I rather like that idea, this follows my actions, while the other helps to lead and be involved. Though, the Forum and now the pages on the website will have a more 'interactive' aspect to them. But, I do see now how they really do need to run tandem and that, in some way, they have become two parts of the same thing, much the way I feel in my 1950's living in the modern world. You may also have noticed my date today did not include 2010. I am afraid, though I may still incorporate or sometimes refer to 2010 to make a point, I do need, at this point, to reside more 'completely' in 1956. The 1950's have become like a relaxing warm pool and to step out into the 21st century, it is cold and there is no warm blanket, so I happily slip back into it's comforting warmth, yet I can still see it there, on the shore.

  8. I must say once again, I just LOVE this forum. It is wholesome…Does my heart good.

  9. And...What a beautiful post. I had wanted to ask before if, when you heard of some world disaster such as Haiti, you turned on the TV to learn about it. And, if not, how did you keep yourself from doing so. I would find that part hard.

    Anonymous Mennonite,

    I admire your beliefs and agree with you.

  10. Hi 50's Gal,

    I have been reading for a while now, but had to comment on this post. I LOVE the way you have been able to put my feelings into words.

    I love to 'switch off the world' and have been doing so for about 18 months (since leaving my job and blogging about it)

    Please keep up your 'committee' work. I am an avid reader of your 'articles' lol

    best wishes,

    Michelle in Australia

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  12. 50sGal, We'd be thoroughly happy to follow you (as we have been) in our 'home town' and delight to have you lead in 'committee meetings'. You're such an inspiration as usual; a real treasure. Thank you. Linda

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I have not had a chance to tell you how much I enjoy the extras we get, along with your blog this year. Keep up the good work. It is as if you are editor and cheif of a womens magazine. Also president of the neighborhood assoc. I have introduced the MR. to your husbands spot . Hubby likes the writers he does. My hubby smokes a pipe too. My Father smoked a pipe. I remember one day hubby was sitting out on the patio smoking a pipe and deeply asorbed in a book. It clicked in my head ... I married a man like dear old dad. At first i wondered what was up with that, but I came to terms with it , I have Never heard any one say anything bad about my dad ,only great things. So far only the same with hubby too (20 years of married life) so life can't be to bad. oh sorry for rambling.
    I really do enjoy the extras thanks again.

  15. First off-thank you ladies and I rather like the idea of the website as a 'ladies magazine' and myself as the 'editor'. What fun! I do, truly, feel that way sometimes. Always finding things and thinking, "Oh, the ladies will love this" or "I wonder how the ladies would respond to this" that sort of thing.
    Mrs. Tailleur-there is just something about a man who smokes a pipe. For me, in my husband, it is more that I 'married my grandfather', for he was the pipesmoker. Though, he and my grandmother were also avid and amazing gardeners and my hubby doesn't know a Hydrangea from a Heliatrope! We can't have it all.(I think this is where I would put a winking face, but alas ladies, I refuse)
    Zebu-actually, I had not heard of Haiti. That sort of made me consider myself and thus one of the reasons for this post. It wasn't until a friend mentioned something about Haiti and I said, "What are you talking about?" and the later Hubby told me about the credit cards. You have to understand, here, for me, it is SO easy to slip into 1956, for we have no tv (well we have one but it is for 'going to the movies' occasionaly, usualy a friday or saturday night with popcorn)Most of the day, even when I am out and about, I am dressed vintage (which is completely normal for me at this point)I am thinking about things from magazines and books I am reading from the 50's or earlier and always contemplating what I can add or what I need to do for the 'magazine' (site) or a blog. So, that was why I felt I could easily slip into a happy oblivion, but I also now, to be a 1950's woman, I need to be of the world in some way. As that generation, especially if they were wives during the war as well, were all about feeling responsibility for others, their community, and the world at large. There was no 'it's all about me' and if you were that way, you were seen as odd or selfish. SO, I don't want to only live for the joy of what I have made but also feel that with all of you willing to listen to me and participate in my 'magazine' I have a civic responsibility to also discuss or be concerned with the world at large for its betterment.
    I sometimes even have pipe dreams of our doing some function to raise money for a 'scholarship for a future homemaker' where we provide tuition for a girl to go to a school for home ec studies, that sort of thing. And though that seems a bit grandiose at this stage, I do feel I need to, while safe in my cocoon, to not waste away there but to feel the push to share and make as much a change as little of me can do. Not sure if that makes any sense. So, it is easy for me to not 'hear' of such things as haiti. And quite honestly, when I did hear of it, the LAST thing I wanted to do was to turn on the tv. I DEPLORE what stands for NEWS these days. It is all over emotional over sensationalized drivel. Rather than facts we are given random hypothesis and arbitrary opinions of people I would not cross the street to ask the price of a pound of sugar! SO, no worries there. In fact, I would rather turn to the internet for news source, but in fact, I turned to hubby, who reads everyday various news online and things like the ecnomist etc, the more 'literary,educated' places for news, so I feel confident in his information.

  16. My son is collecting coins for Haiti, I would never use a credit card or twitter(tweet) my donation either, we never use the credit card as it is.

    I love this community you created here, in our own homes and lives we have the ability to live a simple life, even with the modern conveniences around us. I chose to live a simple life; a uncluttered life is easier on children, our schedules are relaxed and our boys are thriving.

    Sure we do the hockey thing as they are both into the sport, but that is it, dinner is promptly at 5 o'clock, bedtimes are promptly by 8:30 on a school night, and the greatest thrill I have is picking my boys up at lunchtime as they cry out "Mommy" and give me a hug.

    I only take in from 2010 what I want, I am very aware of what is out there, but there is no allure for this Canadian girl :)

    I am proud of my simple life, of providing a clean home for my family, and stability for my children. I certainly do not envy the chaotic life of my friend, whose children are overscheduled and never home.

    Mom in Canada

  17. 50’s Gal,
    What a surprise to see that part of my comments made it to a topic on your blog. I really like your committee concept in our “Virtual Hometown”. I think that is a better fit than my thought of you being a columnist and as you stated, you aren’t being paid for this and neither would the head of a committee. I catch up with your blog every few days to see how you are doing and what topics are on the agenda for our committee meeting. Sorry my comments are a couple days late, there are many days when I do not even turn on my computer.
    I enjoy reading your website as I also enjoy reading vintage “Better homes and Gardens” and “Popular Mechanics”. I find many of my home repair and improvement projects in these magazines from the 1950’s and early 1960’s. As an aside, for anyone interested, you can view many of the old magazines online on
    I too have tried to start shopping more locally. Unfortunately, my own small town of 17,458 is/was the location of the twelfth Walmart even opened and also the hometown of Mrs. Sam Walton. Our Walmart has been in operation for almost 40 years. As is the case with most small towns where Walmart has invaded, almost all of the locally owned stores have long since closed down. Walmart is ALWAYS my last resort. For example, my old percolator coffee pot literally blew its top last week and I spent most of the week trying to find a replacement. Neither of my town’s thrift stores had an old percolator coffee pot. I even went to Walmart last week. They wanted $45 for a similar pot, I passed. Luckily, I went after work one night to a favorite thrift store in Tulsa and found the perfect replacement for $2.42. I am back to brewing a perfect cup of coffee once again.
    Keep up the good work!

    The grumpy guy that lives on 13th street

  18. 50s gal,

    I really enjoy your outlook on not HAVING to turn on the TV for the new. I hardly ever watch the news, and days go by without reading the newspaper, so I too, rely on Hubby for the details.

    I definitely do not feel that you have “slipped into happy oblivion”; On the contrary. You are helping so many people bring back a much more peaceful and product way of life. So, I don’t see a need here (unless you do) at all to discuss the world today in its own context. We get enough of it as it is in our daily lives.

    Canadian Mom in Canada, good for you! When I home-schooled my children, at one point, we were in eight different activities a week. I always heard from nearly everyone, “Home-schooled children don’t get enough socialization.” Well, we were on the overdoing-it side during that period of time. There is something to be said for the simple life.

  19. This was a wonderful post until this:

    I cannot go down to the headquarters of FOX news and ask them how they can look at the world every day and lie and contort the truth for their own pockets while they watch their own country slowly evolve into one large corporate run dictator ship.

    Are you kidding me?!?! Fox News is the only news outlet that is telling the truth. You certainly aren't going to get the truth from CNN, MSNBC or any of the other so-called 'news' channels.

  20. Actually I feel we will not get the truth from any of those inclduing Fox. I just feel a coprorate run cable station is first and foremost a business meant to bring in revenue. As there is not enough news 24 hours a day, most of the time is spend talking about 'opinion' which is not 'news' I wish walter kronkite were still here where he would announce the 'facts' of a situation and not have endless guests 'specualte' on this or that. And I also feel, for all those cable news programs, that things such as rather a movie star did this or that in his bedroom is NOT news and only promotes the very activity they pretend to deplore in commercializing it and bringing it up before children who may be watching as well. But, I have decided to leave such opinion on the way side for awhile and return, a little saddend, to the kitchen where I can lift my spirits with old recipes, sewing, cleaning and the like. But, at least we can have a fourm to discuss our differences, right? I never choose what comments to appear here on the blog.

  21. 50's Gal,

    I appreciate your responding to my comment, and just so you know I am NOT the same 'anonymous' from your January 18th post. I know it can be difficult to keep all of the 'anonymous' comments sorted out so I will sign mine as 'Happy Homemaker' from here on out.

    It may surprise you to know that I agree with most of what you just said. I guess if you had just said 'cable news' instead of singling out Fox News--as in conservative news--then I would not have been offended by your comment.

    I, too, would rather just have news read without opinions given (and I could DEFINITELY do without the celebrity scandals being reported as news--really, who cares?!) but for the most part, I feel that Fox News does a good job of keeping the news reporting separated from the opinion-giving. And I am thankful that people with a conservative world-view finally have a voice in the news world. Before Fox it was pretty one-sided.

    Anyway I appreciate being able to be heard on your blog and I'm sorry to have made you sad. That was not my intention. Perhaps we understand each other a little better now. :o)

    Happy Homemaker

  22. I think that is very true, Happy Homemaker. For, really, sometimes ones misunderstandings or even differences of opinions might stand in the way of the very base fact that we are all fellow human beings.
    I am glad that you feel you have representative news. I suppose I am just so anti-tv that I am not the person to ask about any specific facts on it! So, there is part of my problem.
    I would rather we disagree and be friends and kind to one another and in that friendship, most likely find that we want the same things in the end. That is what I hope our world CAN get back to: calm and consideration of others as well as themselves. Perhaps there is hope for us after all.

  23. I am so glad that you have decided to keep your blog and your website as two separate entities. " it is a blog of someone "living" in the 1950s. To me your website, though interesting in its own right, is a website devoted to all things 1950, but does not have the daily "experience" of "living in the 1950s" that your blog has. I do not know if this makes sense, but to me one is a "how it is" (blog) and the other is a "how to" (website)."

    Yes! Finally an understandable way to categorize 50sgal's writings and her websites. I was having a little problem wrapping my mind around it. I love it all, but was afraid of missing the "daily" part of the blog in the website. Now I can use the website as a tool and continue in our little Koffee Klatch here, as we did in 1955.

    Mrs. D (50sgal) would you like some magazines dated in the 1950s, written by an Iowan homemaker and radio hostess? They might give you an idea of what small-town/rural home-makers were thinking in the 1950s.
    You may email me with your answer.


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