Tuesday, March 9, 2010

9 March 1956 “A Rant: Are We Happy With the Way Things Are?”

 

I was thinking the other day of the glaring differences in shopping in 1956 and in 2010.50sshopping buyswalmart

How, on the community scale, we are so affected by our current trend, nay infrastructure, of the huge box stores.

A friend of mine who works in a sort of chain store was telling me about her set up. How they have some new fixtures coming in to be built. I asked if they would hire a local carpenter or how it was going to really happen. She said, “No, it will all come in and be put up by whoever the company sends. It is all uniform and every store will have it the same”.

I knew this to be true for such stores. Rather you go into Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Target, The Gap, you know you are going ot see similar mannequins, displays, signage etc. Then hubby and I were discussing how so much money and effort is put into these decisions at corporate offices set up specifically to better advertise, use the space and to create a BRAND.

I hate that term. BRAND. Everyone uses it and people too. Stars will be proud to expound on how they have created a BRAND of themselves, which sells, perfume, shoes, clothes, whatever. We have actually come to the point where our goal is to make ourselves a Brand.

Someone even said to me the other day, “Oh, you really could make yourself a BRAND of the vintage lifestyle. Have a particular look and packaging.” I just stared, at first in disbelief. I don’t want to be a BRAND?! I don’t want to be a packaged item on a shelf, for what? You sell out, sell yourself and then what happens when you end up in the ‘reduced’ bin? Is this actually a goal people are striving towards? Has the search for money through the overused concept of advertising really become such a siren song that we just throw our personalities out, latch onto some sort of advertising wheel, sew  on some buzzwords and sail happily into the rocks? I know I am mixing metaphors, but is that what IT is really all about?

I began to think how if this store my friend worked at was a locally owned store. They would need this new display/fixture. They would find a local handy man. They would probably know or hear about it from around town. He would do the work and, if it were good, customers would see it and say, “Oh, who did this work. I think I will get them to do a deck or build a cabinet” etc. Then that person gets that work and while there finds out another person needs some work ,but doesn’t have a lot of money, “Oh, I can help, just pay half of your bill in your garden produce or your canned food” Then someone is eating that canned food and thinks, “this would be wonderful to sell at my shop” and the cycle goes around and the community grows WITHIN itself. It mixes and mingles and becomes strong BECASUE of the people in it. Based on WHO they are and WHAT they can do not just HOW MUCH money they have in their pocket at any given time.

Then, I think about the corporate store. I envision these large offices plopped down somewhere, in a state that offers the best tax right offs, deciding what we all will see, like, hold, look at and then, as if in some horror futuristic Sci-Fi movie, they sound out trucks and faceless people to add to all the stores. They come into your town and set up the displays, lay down the mandate of how the product will look and be laid out, what style will be where and how” and then easily glide away. I can almost hear some scary industrial soundtrack as secretive robots come out at night, refill the store and lay out the look and then disappear.

Even when such chains hire local carpenters to do some of the work, they have to do and lay it out the way the store dictates. There is no discussion of ‘Oh, what about this way or you could try that” as the owner and the carpenter share their expertise to make a unique setting. Instead, the people hired by the company, sitting in offices and knowing little about the various towns, are deciding how our towns shops and such will look and be shopped?

And, with this uniformity of shops and stores, are we not also giving up the individuality of our towns? When the landscape becomes dominated by their big ugly hulking shapes lined with acres of blacktop and concrete while the towns and parks go empty and unused, are we not unhappy? Do we like this? And yet, WE are making it happen. We still happily drive out to the parking lots, wander through the stores that are the same no matter what town or city you are in. The homogeneousness of it sickens me. Maybe it is just me, maybe people feel some comfort in the sameness of it.

I never really liked such stores before, but I would still frequent them. The Gap and Old Navy, cheap clothes easy. Target for quick sales. I did it. But, since 1955, and now into 1956, whenever I happen in such a store, I could almost become ill. I honestly sometimes feel as if I am a true Time Traveler and have been plopped down here in 2010 and look around and wonder? Have the Communists won? Why are all the stores and shops huge, cold, unified places? It’s funny, because part of the communist fear of the 50’s was that large government run sameness and cold sci-fi future of long lines, being told what to buy and when to buy it. Yet, how has modern capitalism not become that communism of the 50’s? IN a sense these stores are government run when you consider the government is highly influenced and controlled by the corporations through their lobbyists. Many of the laws passed about even some of the food and safety issues are more about stopping you and me from selling our homemade jam at the local grocery store than all the actual food fears, which is why we get the food fears of tainted Salmonella Tomatoes and such. It all happens on such a large scale, how have we not stumbled into Big Brother. The modern capitalism is merely, to me, a disguise of communism, in that a few decide what is good for all. And we stand in line waiting to hand out our money so we can all wear our ‘company sanctioned uniform, :Jeans, Hoodie, Uggs, Hair Scurnchy, velour workout pants”. To me, as a 1956 time traveler, I would seriously think the country had been taken over by the Russians and we were all being told what to wear and how to shop and only ‘sanctioned’ stores could exist in towns. When I consider it this way, it really scares me. Where are we headed?

The one truth I once heard of Capitalism, is that it has no agenda. It doesn’t wear a black hat. IT is NOT the bad guy in the film. It doesn’t think beyond the financial quarter it is in. It doesn’t PLAN to do this or that with an evil or good bent. It simply exists for the bottom line of profit for that quarter. Which is why sometimes it works against itself, because it doesn't’ think ahead. Case in point, back when the first Betamax video recording machines were invented. They were made as a new device to make a new market to sell to. Not considering, it might affect the markets that already exist, going to the movies and the of course the power to tape and record movies from the tv so you don’t have to buy the movies they will make. It didn’t matter. It needed to make a market in which to sell a product. Sometimes it hurts itself, but it just moves on. It doesn't’ care or feel or think ahead.

In a way, that is scary. At least the cowboy with the black hat is obvious. He is out to get the good guy. We can see him. He is Hitler, of course he is bad, let’s get him. But, when the bad guy is the way of life we have lived and been slowly evolving into something greater than it had originally intended to be used, it is scarier. IT is Frankenstein’s monster. It was made with the intent of good, to grown and make an economy, but it go away from us. It stood up and without thinking marched upon people and crushed them, it doesn’t know or care.

That is what scares me. We care. We are feeling people. Our communities are made up of People. Yet, we seem happy to let the Monster grow and to shop in the homogeneous places. And everyday, another little bit of our community and who we are as INDIVIDUALS within  a community goes away. Even the way we communicate with one another. On the computer on the cell phone, it is a distant second hand version of actual human contact, and yet we take it all in stride.

Now, I am not saying go out and overthrow. Because, we cant’ That is what is most frightening about this type of ‘takeover’ IT was never really done with malicious or intent, it just kept going forward because we kept feeding it. That bear that could kill you and your family isn’t evil and isn’t how to destroy you, but if you keep feeding it and luring it closer to your home and then suddenly decide you don’t want it there and slap it and say ‘get out’ it will turn on you and kill you. It will move to the next house. It doesn’t care about YOU only the FOOD. It doesn’t have an ultimatum, but it also doesn’t care if you are crushed, as it will just move onto the neighbors house. That is how we have allowed our current consumer economy to get hold of us. IT isn’ t evil. We lured it in with our money, and became lulled into it by the ease and cheapness of its products, but all the while not realizing we had let a wild bear into our homes. If we try to stop or move it, there is little we can do by ourselves. But, if we want to try to affect a change, we can use our money to tame it and control it as easily as we did to lure it to our towns in the first place.

If the trend moves towards shopping at unique places and places where you can know the owners and where the product comes from. If we say, we want to buy locally made products and if you are not going to sell them (only Chinese made) then we will just buy old products from individuals which helps them and hurts the big store. The chains don’t care one way or the other. They slowly moved out all the production from the U.S.A. and into china because they could use it to SELL more to you. It wasn’t done to be mean, but it WAS done. Every time one of us goes to a store and buys a product that says China or India on the bottom, we are driving another nail into that ‘vintage old timey’ life style we all claim to miss.

Stores have always used Sales and Low Prices to lure us in, but now the corporate store has made it almost a ‘God Given Right’ that we MUST expect the lowest price possible. But why? If we had to pay more to buy things made and produced and grown locally, so what? We would spend LESS because we would HAVE TO BUDGET and we would not need thousands of books telling us how to organize and contain all of our JUNK because we wouldn't’ have bought it in the first place. Such stores, this type of consumer driven economy HAS to make new things for us to NEED all the time in order to survive. While a small company or store, in the old days, could survive a lean year, by the very nature of it not being too large and being a part of our community (where we might pitch in and help) cannot happen with the big chains, and yet, when they were in need, when they had failed US with lending when they shouldn’t and not competing properly in the auto trade, who bailed them out? We did, only we had no say in it.

That is why a solution to this sort of mad drive off a cliff sort of thinking we all seem currently bent on isn’t even Democrats or Republicans. It is US. WE are the people. Who cares, at this point, about either party? It is just the division of one unit, the different side of the same coin which is the corporate run government. Big business AND Big Government ARE the same thing today by the very nature of the size of corporations and their power over the government through lobbyists AND in political offices. The large agriculture/biotech company MONSANTO, actually has had its high up executives serve in the Food and Drug Administration at various points to allow the current horrible movement of patenting genetic codes of LIVING THINGS! That is why I am so determined, myself, to grow vintage, heritage seeds that are not super hybrid genetically altered plants. TO think a company is actually buying up the patent on living organisms. When one company literally OWNS the blueprint for all the food on the earth and grows seeds that make a plant that will grow a sterile seed so you HAVE to buy more seed from them, is scary. What if those seeds got away from us and took over other natural plants, we could seriously have crops of food grown that would kill itself the next season.

So, how did I get here? You ask. Little ole’ me, 1956 homemaker, transported against her will to 2010? I looked around at what the country WAS in ‘my time’ and what the ‘hopes and dreams’ were of that great ‘war generation’ and was horrified. Confused, saddened and feeling very much that we are all living in a world designed to self destruct.

Even the very need to want all that is new, is alien to my 1950’s mentality. Sure, here we are after the war, happy to look at dishwashers and thankful for washers and dryers, but as a boon to our life to allow us the time to be a Community and to share and care for friends and family. Now, the need for new to HAVE IS the be all and end all.  A new phone or gadget comes out, is shown to us on tv and computers, as if by magic shows up in all the shops in the same displays overnight and it is all so seamless. WE happily walk in hand over our ‘money’ (which has been replaced by magic plastic cards that seem to have No limit) and sell off another piece of our individuality, our community, our humanity.

Standing in a large shop, that looks like a warehouse, with rows and rows of product lined up perfectly, large signs and displays, talking ads, then endless people milling about, mindless throwing things into carts while talking into little objects in their hands, seemingly unaware of one another, but intently animated, talking about the most private things out loud into their hands. Every so often one cart might bump another and they two cart pushers exchange heated looks, all the while continuing their “hand conversations”. Lines and lines of people at endless registers that simply look at a product and know the price. The apparent sad state of peoples clothes, the messy hair, dirty shoes, torn jeans and oversized sweatshirts. “Is this some punishment place for the poor? Is this a sort of factory?” my 1956 self wonders, as she stands confused and feeling so out of place, her hose and pressed dress, her hat and gloves, her little shopping bag, wondering, “WHAT on earth, what in GOD’S name, has happened to this country”.

This is the world the 1950’s time traveler has to look forward to. She can pop back to her own time and think, “Well, my grandchildren will have THIS to inherit”. And, we modern people, all of us living ‘happily’ in it. Are we happy? Is our life better because we can buy that t-shirt that looks live everyone else for 5 dollars on sale at Old Navy? Is it more wonderful that we have filled our kitchen with inexpensive gadgets from Wal-Mart, as we let it sit idle, heat up a frozen pizza and eat off paper plates in front of the TV. Are we happy as we stand amongst our neighbors in stores that are not unlike factories, talking into our cell phones, and handing over our money to buy a plastic cup with the latest football team or Disney character emblazoned upon it. Do we sing ‘Hallelujah’ as we dress our children in little shirts with corporate logos on them, slip on their tiny feet, (which they cannot even yet walk on) expensive shrunken versions of tennis shoes advertised by our favorite basketball star? Are we happy? I don’t know, maybe most are. Am I? No. And, since my sojourn into the past, even more so. Because, I saw what it once was. Saw the hope and dreams of the post war era and see the world their children and grandchildren have actually made.

So much of what I want the Apron Revolution to be is the movement of the individual against the corporation. That doesn’t mean pointless picketing or idiotic news channels that shout propaganda at you from ‘their side’ as they both prove to separate us all from working together. We, are individuals. We are OUR country. We can decide where to shop. It won’t be easy at first, but how much easier do we want life? Are we hoping to one day just be gelatinous blobs connected to our TV/ computer/cell phone with a feeding tube into our bodies, maybe eating the latest Corporate/ celebrity endorsed version of our IV drip that keeps us going so we can buy more, watch more, be MORE entertained?

Doing for ourselves. Cooking, sewing, gardening, THINKING. These things ARE the secret to happiness. They ARE living. The more we separate ourselves from one another and from individuality, the more inhuman become. How much longer before we, the people, begin to think as the corporation. We aren’t evil or good, we just do what we want in that moment to get the most out of it. Who, today, would stand on the deck of the titanic and help the ladies and children and play “Nearer my God to Thee” as the ship sinks slowly closer to death in the cold water? Are we just breeding more and more cold consumers who think with their wallets and not their hearts? We even treat our aged and elderly like so much consumer stuff. They are out of style and out of date, just plop them into that growing big business, the ‘nursing home’.The humanity of our current generation to someone from 1950’s who remembers the war and the fear of Fascism and of Hitler’s wrath wouldn’t care what the Democrats or Republicans say, they would look around them, at the state of the country the power and growth of a few companies not even owned by individuals and wonder, “How do we fight this? Our boys can’t be shipped off to fight this tyranny, for it is in our own back yards. We are feeding it everyday with our dollars and our minds”.

If I could, would I go back to 1950’s? At this point, yes. Though I would know what was coming and would be uneasy. But, it would make me all the more go out and enjoy my community. Be happy to shop at my local shops. To get involved in my town and community. Have a voice, lend a hand, spend my actual dollar bills locally, cook my own, make sure my hat and gloves were on and straight and neat, sew, cook , garden, and live out each moment, for I would know it would end.

And, really, if we could but do that now. If we could but say, “what if I WAS in the before time? What if there were no Wal-Mart, Target, Stop and Shop?” we could begin to live that live we so covet. We could meet our neighbors and have more time to LIVE because there would not be 100’s of channels with shows about nothing to watch. There wouldn’t be hours after hours of checking to see if our old friend from grand school who lives five states away just updated their mood on facebook. We would have the time to give ourselves a manicure, or set our hair, help out at the local place, talk to a neighbor, plant that garden, learn to sew, join the local ladies in that knitting or sewing bee. We would be LIVING and not just existing. We would care about others as well as ourselves and we would have so much to care for and to share with one another. We can, you know, do this even now. Those in 1950 had no choice, we do. But, can we choose humanity over corporate consumerism? Do we want to?

I wish and hope we Apronites could take that torch of change and bring it about in a soft easy revolution of homemade food and clothes. IF someone sees us happy and smiling after they are frustrated with traffic and all those ‘lines at the stores’ we can just say, “Oh, well I don’t shop there.  I go to Joe's shop. Never a line there and it is so small I always have a chat with old Joe”  And I can just imagine the scenario now:

Then they will begin complaining about the price of things or their kids need this or that or never enough time, “Oh,” you reply, “well, my kids only get a few things, they help around the house so it all gets done’ and we don’t have large cell phone bills because we only have one cell phone. I don’t worry about Susie ‘sexting’ because she cannot as she has no phone”.

Our modern visitor looks more perplexed and then takes a bite of the cake you have set down before her, “OH, this is so good, where did you get it?”

“I made it” you reply.

“I don’t have time to make things” replies the visitor, “ I have SO much to do. Oh, did you see what happened last night on Grey’s anatomy, or Desperate housewives and that new show?” 

“no,” you reply, I have so many things I do and with my sewing and the garden coming along I just never have time to watch TV. The visitor stares at you as if you have three heads.

“You will never guess who found me on face book, remember Johnny?”

“The grocers son?” you ask.

“NO, that kid we knew in second grade, he lives in (five states away from you) and he just got divorced and his latest update says he is divorced and horny! Who is the grocer’s son?”

“You know, our local grocer. He lives two doors down from you. His son’s name is Johnny and he is going away to college next year…”

“Wow” says the visitor, shoveling another mouthful of cake into her mouth, crumbs all over her jeans, as her napkin stays folded on the table. “That is creepy, why do you know so much about that guy?”

“Well,” you say, wiping her mouth before sipping at your pretty china tea cup, “I do my marketing there every week. We get to talking…”

“WEIRD” says your visitor. “I’d watch out, don’t get to chummy with him, you don’t know who he is!” another mouthful of cake, she notices the crumbs. “Do you have a paper towel or something”

“Well,”you reply, “You have a napkin right there”.

Your visitor eyes the cloth napkin as if it is plate of monkey brains or some odd item she has never seen before. “I don’t want to mess up your nice things”

“well,” you reply, “I launder them each week, it’s not a big deal. I just don’t like to waste the paper or spend the money on paper towel”.

“WEIRD” says your guest, spraying you with cake crumbs. “Speaking of not wasting, we have really been trying to recycle all our water bottles. They have the BEST new Vitamin water, it is like regular water but it has vitamins added.” Upon which your visitor spies her water glass. “What kind of water is this?” she asks.

“Oh, just tap water.”

“Oh, god!” says your guest,”you don’t know what might be in that water! Oh, I had the best cream filled cupcakes the other day at Starbucks, SO good. I bought some to take home and they lasted like a month! Can you believe that, so good. Well, I have to be going, I have so much to do tonight.  My shows are on and I have to pick up Sally from soccer and the dry cleaning. I don’t know why I never have enough time in the day to do everything. How do you have time to bake and dress up?”

“well,” you begin, “It isn’t any harder to put on a dress than a pair of jeans and I don’t watch a lot….”

“Hello” says your guest as you are in mid-sentence. “WHAT?!” she yells into her cell phone as she holds up her ‘wait a minute finger’ in your face. “No, I am not going to do that! I have to stop and pick up the pizza and Sally and get home. NO, I forgot to set the TIVO. Well, you could have done it. I have to get my ointment for my yeast infection!” she says, still holding her finger in your face. “FINE” and hangs up. “Well, I have to go. Some people are so rude, as if I have time to do that” she says and stands up, sending crumbs all over you floor. “Thanks we will catch up again later,” and as she heads for the door, begins texting on her phone.

So, if any of us truly want the ‘good ole days’ we can have them. No one is forcing our arms to NOT shop local, to not try and make and do more for ourselves nor stopping us from just looking at the world and thinking, ‘Does it have to be this way?” We have more control over our own lives than we want to believe, because once we realize we are responsible for our happiness and our community, we have to be RESPONSIBLE. It is hard to grow up but the result is a happy and fulfilling life without out NEEDING all the things we can or cannot afford. Some say God is in the details, I Say LIVING is in the Details. We rush through all the bits between the TV and the Computer and Cell phone to get to those diversions. That bit we are rushing through and trying to make easier with frozen food, cheap clothes, and fast and cheap big box stores, that is where our lives reside. We should not hurry them along but begin to stop and see what can I do with those ‘in between’ bits to make my LIFE.

Well, thanks for listening to my rant. I can only keep them in so long. I do fell we, the Apron Revolution, really can make a difference. And the more we learn and become more self sufficient and better at LIVING the more it is our responsibility to make sure others can see the beauty of it. Sure it is faster to cook frozen, to go to the big homogeneous box store and just buy whatever off the shelf, but is it fun? Are we really living? And are we real people are just boxed and packaged versions of everyone else with all the same products and clothes and ideas?

Until another day, keep your apron strings tied and Happy Homemaking. We CAN make a difference. I will leave you with these images.

50sstore walmart1

busy50sdowntown abandoneddowntown abandoneddowntown2

55 comments:

  1. I think your assessment of "modern" people might be just a little harsh and closed minded. I am not trying to live in the 1950s but I am not so crass as you seem to think so many people are.
    While I don't watch TV, I do wear jeans almost daily and I don't think that means I am not "living." I do garden and grow some of my own food but also appreciate the convenience of the local chain store.
    I stay at home with my kids because family values are important to me but I try not to pass judgment on people who do not do things the way I do.
    I think you are very judgmental towards people who don't choose to live the same way you have.
    And lets not forget that the 1950s was a time of little tolerance towards large groups of people, a time of closed mindedness and extreme racism.

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  2. How i love your blog! I feel the same way as you do, especially when i go to the mall. How i wish i could go back to the 1950s*sigh*.

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  3. Anon-this is why I LOVE allowing any comment to appear without my 'Deciding' if it can be shown. I love to hear different views.
    Certainly, what I said could be seen as me thinking "I am better than you" mentality, but it really wasn't. The 'silly' conversation between the two people were suppose to be between a hypothetical 1950s person and a crass one of today, not ALL people. I hope I am not closed minded and in fact I am always saying I want the GOOD of the past, not to plunge ourselves back into the ideals of such severe bigotry and such. I certainly DON"T expect everyone to wear vintage or not jeans, but I KNOW there are people (by my comments, letters emails and forum) that there are many women out there who do but only becasue they think it is all, they want they CRAVE some fun and individuality in their lives, but the modern world of over produced cheaply made clothes have not only hurt our economy, the small business and small manufacture in this country, but also our overall view of how we feel about money, one antoher and YES fashion. I have NEVER said I want today to be 1950. I only use that reference point, as it is the one I am studying currently. But I DO Feel that much of the modern world robs many people the right to experience a more 'communal' feeling within our smaller society and also in self-expression.
    And, also, especially as you have chosen to give your comment ANONOMOUSLY, how can I say I am judging you, I don't even know you. Unless, somehow, you found yourself as the person talking on the cell phone and interrupting a friend, if that is the case, perhaps I might be judging you. Who knows. Why, though, do you suppose you chose to be ANON with your comment? I have given my view and my opinion and really my observation, now why don't you stand up and be counted. IF you do disagree and want to let others now why you think I am close minded, then please do. Let us know WHO you are and then we can discuss and maybe better understand one another. I find it funny, however, that you even bother to read my blog if you think me closeminded? I mean I have said nothing here today that I have not said many times before during my project, and yet you are still here. Why? Just a question is all.
    2nd anon-Thank you for loving my blog. You dont' think I am coming off close minded do you? I am only trying to point out that which I think might be hurtful. SOmetimes I find that those who lash out against something often do so becasue they fell attacked by something they imagine, becasue in their own mind, they have thought it of themselves and would rather blame others.
    But, to all, let me point out AGAIN. I have NEVER said I want today to be 1950's. NOr do I want everyone to dress like me, in fact the very point of the WHOLE post was that today many of us are EXPECTED to dress like one another (jeans, gap hoody, uggs) or WE are seen as odd. I think the modern world does much to hurt and help. I just want us to see the good and the bad and to look back further than the day before and wonder. 'are there some good things to revive?". Please anyone wear what you want, spend where and how you want. My blog was asking the question, do you like it the way it is, I was not passing judement, but I cannot write a blog from any point of view other than my own.

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  4. Well said! I think it's time for me to get and DO something! *~_^* Thanks again for another eye opener.

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  5. Very well said!

    You're not being close-minded at all. That's a catch-phrase these days for people who don't agree with the "majority". We're accused of being bigoted, close-minded and hateful for wanting something that everyone else doesn't. Makes me sad for the person saying it because they're usually the ones with the problem...

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  6. I do support capitalism, just not how it's done today. I support local community capitalism, not big business capitalism. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that our country became strong being built upon local community type of capitalism, and our country seems to have increasingly gone down hill as local community capitalism gave way to big business capitalism. But, this IS where we can make a difference. We can help to bring back the healthy form of capitalism that made us a strong country by buying local as much as possible. Where we spend our money does matter. This everyday type of "voting" with our money has just as much of an impact on how we decide what we want for our country as does the voting booth votes. I think people just need to realize that how they spend their money does matter. Our spending does decide what type of country we have. I, for one, prefer how it used to be, in regards to captialism, of course, not the bad stuff that should not exist in any society.

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  7. Ok I wasn't able to finish reading it all but i just want to say...I LOVE YOU!!!!
    thank you for saying it! We are so driven by bargains that we don't stop to realize the actual cost!
    I'll be back later!
    xxx

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  8. Say it louder, sister! I have a friend who will drive all over the place for a bargain, never stopping to consider the cost in fuel, wear and tear on the car and where the item came from....And often it's not something she needs right now.

    Owning a small business, I am a capitalist. But, we have large corporations for competitors and our product is the only one on the market made in America. Our sales are UP in this bad economy and we make products that are completely discretionary spending items. My take is folks are spending more for a product that's American made by a guy with a first name whom you can talk to on the phone if you need something. So in some small way, I think there is a movement of people out there who are acting with thier money....

    Debknits in Wisconsin

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  9. Another great thinking women's blog entry 50sGal. Thank you for not 'holding it in any longer.' The conversation with the Modern Visitor was hilarious and very instructional. We can make a difference in many small ways which really do add up. Thanks again for inspiring us to DO in so many areas. This homemaking business is fun, fulfilling, delightful... Linda

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  10. I live in australia and we have 2 major super markets and then there are the rest that are the low "brand" and in fact my husband works for one of the major ones and is close to being a manager or as I like to put it Man Ager(little snicker to myself). does that mean that I like the way big business is so uniform across the board? let me just say NO.... I think you are right in your little rant and you are not being closed minded infact to me you are being open minded to the Idea of another way, I have lived in a small town where their shops are personalised and you get that service wher you are treated special and they know the customers and you talk (even in the big ones) but the really aren't that big, but now living in a city there are alot more businesses but the down side is there is alot more businesses so there is no importence on customer service and many of the small shopping strips are vacant now. I find there is no sence of community just everyone for themselves.... The good thing about today is you can express yourself anyway you like (just as long as it conforms to society) do we become judgemental? I say yes because that is a part of free thinking and I am not ashamed of this, I find it vulgar when a girl bends over and her butt is in view for the world to see... I quite loudly say omg when a young boy can't walk right because his legs are so far apart to keep his pants from falling down around his ankles ( whats the point son you might as well because I can see your underwear) and have pulled up my nethews quite a few times. or when some person lets go with some foul language ( even to the point if they do it in front of my kids they appolligise). we all do it, it is apart of all of us so feel free to keep writing in "your blog" what ever is on your mind because we want to hear it. and while our hearts are in the 1950s doesn't mean we are racist or bigoted, I am certainly not and have friends from all nationalities and religons and I love the sence of 1950s and even earlier times

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  11. Oh, thank you all! I have been out all afternoon with the 'girls' at our local tea shop. I came home to find so many good comments that made me glad I did hit the "Publish" button.
    PL_I like the principals of capitalism as well, but as you say, the way it used to be. I think, as with anything really eating, spending whatever, we need to keep it in perspective and to take care of it, watch what is happening and NOT let it happen. We should be glad that we can have a free market but then say, "Wait, it's NOT fair if that company is now so big it just took out a whole town of shops that have been in the same family for generations" and if we cannot say that with a vote then we can say it with our dollars. And really having community helps becuase if we ty to live that way with those around us, then they may think before they shop as well and it will be contagious. As I said, captialism has no agenda, no heart and doesn't care, it exists soley to make money, so we just need to treat it like a wild animal that only can act as it is 'meant to act' and be sure to keep it on a leash and pay attention to what we are feeding it, not just throw all our food at it and let it do 'what it wants'.
    What a lovely community we have and I hope if that anon follower is still around that he or she realizes I was not saying "YOU DO THIS" but rather it seems to me this is how we do it now and how we used to do it DO YOU like it this way? I mean it is alright for someone to say they are happy wiht it the way it is, it is a free country. I used to hate that type of store but shopped that way anyway, not THINKING. It was my project that made me evaluate my life and I found out also that I don't need to spend the way I used to and that my happiness and life isn't in a bag of 'mark downs' that I don't need, but in fact in many things I can do for myself or in the joy of helping out local business with my dollar, or as PL is doing (donating her recipes and time to help a local shop get off the ground) that is the way community is good for all, I feel ,that is MY opinion. Thank you all,and even thank you Anon for thinking me small minded, because it did force me to look at myself further and to dissect my own words and actions and that can't ever be bad.
    I love our Revolution.

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  12. Oh how I loved this post. You are so amazing in your analogies! I know that some anon. person wrote to you, but I wanted to tell you how much I understood this post before I read the comments any further. LOVED the whole thing.

    rue

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  13. I read this post and was, as usual, inspired to go get busy! Thanks for reminding us of why we do what we do. Now about that chicken waiting to be picked off the bone......

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  14. Okay... I have to say that your comment back to anon. was beautiful. I wish I had the voice and thought process to react the way you do to negative comments.

    Also, I want you to know that because of you I have stopped shopping at all large chains unless there is something I have to have that the small stores don't carry. That has only happened twice (Once for make up and once for a certain cheese) and both times I was miserable while there.

    The small grocer I go to is wonderful and I had no idea until I started shopping there how much I would love it. Everyone is so sweet and helpful. Even the customers smile! I have YOU to thank for opening my eyes. THIS is what I was looking for all this time, but had no idea how to go about it. Thank you once again 50sgal.

    rue

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  15. As someone who was really a housewife in the 1950s, I take offense to the condescending tone of your post. Women in the 1950s were not brain washed by advertisers, we embraced consumerism, as were were finally able to purchase goods and services that we had not ever had access to before. We moved with the times, and relished the mall, the department store and the big box stores, that not only provided less expensive goods, but also employed far more employees than Mom & Pop stores ever could. When TVs became available we bought them and started watching them, and still do. You have been making your own clothing, whereas, as soon as ready made dresses were available at a price we could afford, we bought them and gave up our sewing machines. You seem to look down on modern progress, and lack the true understanding of the 1950s woman; your revisionist view of the 1950s through rose-colored glasses seems to portray the decade more like an episode of a 1950 sitcom, than of the progressive, modern, forward-thinking decade that it was. We looked to the future not to the 1940s, we gave up gardening and home canning, and embraced such things as Welch's grape jelly and birds eye frozen vegtrbles. You seem to be angry and bitter. If those who live around you seem to be all decked out in uggs and hooded sweat shirts, perhaps you should visit somewhere out of your town. I live in Boston and most people I see out and about are fashionably dressed in tailored clothes. You seem to feel that those who do not agree with your social/political views are communists. Big box stores are the success stories of free-trade capitalism; what is communism is the proposed healthcare bill, which in my day was called Socialized Medicine.

    A true 1950s homemaker

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  16. The big box stores are not "taking out" the small stores. It is the small stores that are not able to handle the demand and the inventory that people want. In a capitalist system, the stronger business survive/thrive and the weaker/unsuccessful ones close. A communistic system would have them all equal in term of success and that is not the American way. You seem to be confused between the basic principle of Communism vs. Capitalism.

    The library is a wonderful place to go to educate yourself.

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  17. True 1950's homemaker-I am actually rather familiar with Boston. My husband and I lived there for some time in the Back Bay.I walked in the gardens parks and Newbury street and the hill that make up real Boston and often saw sloppy clothing,uggs and such. Though there were many well dressed there were also many uggs, including my own! I write about the changes that have come about to me through my own research and discovery. Also, my mother was also a TRUE 1950 housewife and she did NOT stop gardening, buy Welch's grape jelly (thank goodness for my little palette) IN fact I often contrast what was actually happening (the increase in tv, the real beginning of the large stores and malls) to what I have come to care about because of the contrast.
    Also, the demand we now 'expect' was such because of the increased supply. Capitalism, as I have said in this post, is not bad. But it is bad when we, the consumer, put our own needs above that of our neighbors and community. They should be considered together not separate. Also, I do hate to say this, but we actually DO have socialized medicine in this country today both in the Medicaid and also in programs for the very poor. It is just the middle class that are often put upon for the tax burden and the health care costs. I have known of people who found they had serious illness and did not discover it in time because of medical costs. Though I do not even discuss medicine in the this post.
    I am proud to say that I am the offsrping of a TRUE 1950's housewife who taught me always to be polite AND to question the way things are. One could be forward thinking and STILL learn from the past. Things may have come easier, but not ALL 50's housewives bought up cheap mass produced bread and gallons of grape 'jelly' or 'tv dinners' so they would have more time to watch TV. My mother hated tv and watched it very little . I remember when she told my in the 1940's when she first saw it, everyone was so excited and asked her to view it. She looked at the little picture with the people huddled about and said, "I was not very impressed, all those people staring at a little screen?" I also feel the American way is based on both free trade AND the right to think differently AND to also care for the common good for all. I also am aware of the definitions of Com and Cap. but was saying the what Cap used to mean was different than it currently does. Even the very laws that define the corporation are not the same as they once were, I know this from research, study, and talking to people IN finance. And it is true what you say, the big box stores are NOT taking out the small stores, WE ARE, by choosing to spend less on ill made products NOT made in our country in a COMMUNIST country in lieu of supporting our neighbors and to provide future jobs for people in our own country.
    I am glad, also, that my TRUE 1950's mother taught me that new does not always mean better.
    I have one question for you? This rant is hardly new to my style of 'revisionist history' why is it, then, that you even deign to read nor even bother to comment on my blog? Why is it you have come? To only chastise?
    I am very familiar with the library, I visit it at least twice a week. When we lived in Boston I was always at the BPL, but thank you for the tip and the nod to education.

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  18. Also, just to point out what I suppose you already know, the library is a government run and funded institution. Perhaps if we can trust such for learning we could benefit from its service in Health care.

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  19. 50sgal
    i have been on your forum for quite some time, but have never posted on a blog before. i just could not help myself this time. WONDERFUL! if i had the ability to take the jumbled mess that is my brain, and make a cohesive thought, i would have been thinking just this. please do not make your comments have to be approved before posting, as reading your perfectly phrased responses to some of the "less then lovely" comments, opens entire new aspects of each post are so wonderful, and often add to the original posts intended message. once again, you have put my mind into over drive, and i love it!

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  20. Oh, thank you simple sarah. I do love how we all help one another. I was actually just considering, after my last comment, why don't I just click on "moderation" buttons on blogger. It would be so easy. But, it is silly for me to worry and is not that old nursery rhyme true, 'sticks and stones...'. And I do know it is just other's opinions, but it does make me sad when I see a comment is merely forming an 'opinion' of 'what side of the fence' I must be on based on what I happen to be saying at any one point. I won't be corralled or labeled. Thank you, your comment could not have come at a better moment.

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  21. someone seems to have a reading comprehension problem. either that, or they are scanning for the buzz words and hitting 'respond' without addressing the true content of your posts.

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  22. for some reason there are quite a few bitter women from this time.... when I told my mum what i was doing she tried her hardest to talk me around to what she was thinking which was, being a 1950s housewife was not all roses,we as women didn't have rights and what our husbands controled their wives and if they didn't obey then the man could hit..... funny though she was born in 1952 and wasn't married until 1970..... I think anon. had a very bad time in the 1950s first time around and is so against it she will try to bring you down, there is nothing wrong for someone writing her opinion... you weren't attacking anyone personally and this is where I think Anon. needs to work on.

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  23. While I basically scanned your post the first time around, I was IN LOVE with your points!!! My hubby's family owns 2 small local groceries in our once rural area, and while we don't/can't carry items of convenience that our "local" big boxes do, I somehow manage to live w/out them. HMMMM.
    I thank you for your opinion, and agree wholeheartedly! Thank you for such a wonderful "rant"!!!
    september

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  24. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that a couple of anon posters were calling you a communist? In the space of just a few days you've gone from being a communist to thinking everyone else is a communist apparently. I do enjoy random anonymous rants ;-) It would be nice if these people would go back and look at some of your old posts like the ones where you acknowledge that the 50's weren't perfect and admit there are significant differences between being a real 50's housewife and your life today. I think some people expect you to be a true historical reenactment rather than a woman learning from the lessons of the past.

    It's funny you should bring up Old Navy because I was just in there last week. The boy needed some new jeans and that's one thing I'm not up to sewing myself. I decided to take a look at clothes for me too. Oddly enough I didn't find a thing to buy. I found one dress that I did quite like which I tried on but I would have needed to take the hem up a little. Then I decided the shoulders weren't quite right and started tucking with my fingers to figure out how to fix them. Then I decided the color and print weren't quite right. Within the space of a couple of minutes I couldn't think of a single reason why I'd buy that dress when I could make one myself in not much time (it was a simple sleeveless wrap dress) and have it be exactly what I wanted. I also came to the conclusion that it would look much better if I slapped on a girdle. Clearly you're exerting entirely too much influence over my mind.

    I do wish I could shop more at local stores but I honestly can't find any around here. There are a couple of small specialty ones like an Indian one, an Asian one, and a couple of small health food stores. I do some of my shopping there but the veggie selection is pretty limited and they're missing some things I really do want like canned tomatoes (or fresh for that matter) or dry pasta. There's one that does sell some basics but they were taken over last year but a family who turned it in to a halal butcher and I really don't want to support them as a vegetarian. I do most of my shopping at Market Basket which is big business but I believe it is at least still family owned. I mostly just buy the basics anyway so they get about $40-50 a week from me. Veggie burgers and such are crazy expensive. My favorite commercial brand of sausages cost almost $5 for a 4 pack but I can make a batch of 12 sausages at home for less.

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  25. Rhonda-contemplating the girdle? I have influenced you!
    It is HARD to shop local, which of course highlights the very problme and the PROOF that rather we want to blame the big stores (though they are but brick and morter) or ourselves for supporting them while the small business slowly faded, it is happening. Much of that growth really occured in the 80's and we, as a nation, were still very unaware of the potential. The lure of low low prices also lured us into a form of shopping that did NOT exist in the 1950's which was buying tons of things we don't really need but think we do. Even the subtlety of advertising today is much more luring than the old radio jingle or sponsered show of the past.
    I am lucky in a few local places. I have a very small but wonderful little grocery store that has fruit and veg and some meat and products such as canned tomatoes as well as olive oil station (where you fill your own bottle) we also have a 'natural food store' of somesort privately owned in almost every town on the Cape and they are good places to get flours and such in bulk without packaging, but as far as shoes and dresses, we have a few places which are local, but they are very expensive. In Boston there are more small dress type shops where I would be willing to pay more for a handcrafted prodcut. But, really, my sewing is my new 'dress shop'. Things like stockings and such, however, I do have to order online and I do try to do so from places that seem small business. I, too, still have to go to chains for some things like batteries, perscriptions etc. How I long for a 'corner drug store' with a soda fountain. There is one old fashionied one on the cape but it is open sporadically and is only a tourist destination with all the old soda fountain equipment to make the old drinks but no more is it an actual store to get odds and ends. We do have a store about 30 mins away on cape that is a wonderful antique '5 adn dime' but I only make it there once a month but can get things such as nail files, measuring cups, fels naptha, that sort of thing. I wish there was some way we could, especially in your case, find a way to encourage a coop grocery store, with various people going in to sell various parts that make up a grocery store, someone doing meats and cheese, a baker, green grocer etc.

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  26. Donna, I've said this before but I'll repeat it as it's important to the subject. Shopping local is wonderful but if the local shops can only sell the same junk made in China that the big boxes do we have a much larger problem.

    So in shopping local I'd like to remind those who do so to please take a quick look and see where your merchandise is coming from. Talk to your local shop owners and tell them you don't want to buy these products but want to support them and their store. The owners may feel like they have to carry the same merchandise to compete with their big box neighbors. If customers tell them otherwise they can carry exclusive products the big boxes can't afford to sell and meet their large margins. Thus the little guys (and us) win!!

    Sarah

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  27. Sarah-I always forget to point that out! Thank you for reminding us. It is really easy, just see where the prodcut is made and where it is coming from, if it says china or india, than, as you say, speak with the owner. I can say as an ex-small business owner, customer input is always wanted and appreciated, because you WANT to know what people want and to be pliable so they buy your wares.
    It is the same with food. Ask, if it does not say, 'where do these tomatoes come from? Is this local beef if not where?"
    I am lucky as my little grocery/fruit/veg shop realizes this and many signs will read "florida organic tomatoes" or "Local Cheese" (when it is in season).
    The more we talk and get to know the owners (if they are not there ask for their name and when they are normally in) and get to know them as THAT is part of the community. You may even find you have something you make you want to sell there and they would be happy to do so. So, win win for the pair of you and your community can buy 'hand knit socks' from the 'lady down the street'. How lovely is that?
    I do wish there was some way to find out for those of you in the rural areas they may only have walmart, if your local town has any gov funding available per year for town owned 'co-op' because you and your neighbors can get together and MAKE the store you all want to go to . Does someone grow veg and fruit and would be willing to pay wholesale to get it in off season to sell. Do you make jams and baked goods? You sweaters and socks. Etc. Many times there are monies allocated to various towns or you can find out how to get the money by a certain number of signatures and an available empty business etc (heaven knows many small towns are trying to allocate money to 'revujinate' their down towns but it alwasy just ends up being tourist shops with things 'from china' made to look cutsey and local".
    We really need to investigate this more nationwide. Any of you willing to start 'researching' get back with me and we can do a page on the site with forms or offices to call or procedures if you want to start a Co Op in your town. Let's do it, Apronites, WE CAN change the face of our towns and communities and it will get us involved and we will have fun and maybe make a little pin money in the bargain. Maybe then some of the youth's will want to return to small towns after university to put back into a growing place that they see promise in!

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  28. Also we should bear in mind that we can buy locally made products even when we do need to go to a bigger chain. I believe the tofu I buy is made just down the road for example. I have a couple of Trader Joes shopping bags which were made within walking distance of my house. Many supermarkets have a local produce section now although of course it's usually just in the growing season and you can probably get better prices at a farmers market.

    As for the girdle, I think that was just seeing my bum in the mirror. It could do with a little shrinking and sucking it in with spandex is easier than hitting the gym. ;-)

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  29. 50sgal,

    This comment belongs probably better in another post, but here it is anyway. You spoke of your computer as work and taking you away from really living (I am truly paraphrasing here, so correct me if I am wrong). I can so relate—yesterday was especially hard. WORK takes me away from life…so much so that I wonder what it’s all for. While I would rather be cleaning, cooking, enjoying my home, and making it a comfortable place for all to be, I am WORKING. I am away from my home…I am out in traffic, which to me seems like an absolute rat race…I am fighting the computer that won’t cooperate even though I have deadlines….I am fighting the fight. I yearn to be home but must trudge on.

    When finally home after work and then visiting with an out-of-town visiting family member, it is now 9:00 p.m. Then, the housework begins. I am worn out, sad, and actually…frustrated that it is this way. No wonder we die early. It used to be that men died younger; well, I see a change in the trend. With women having to be out in it, we too will age faster and die younger. There is no peace. There is no nice home to come to for the husband. There is only work to come home to for the woman. Something is wrong here.

    So, while a fully realize that this is a negative post, I agree with you that living and creating in our homes is so much more fulfilling than working out. I appreciate
    your strengths. We must all help each other to keep on keeping on.

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  30. Another thought provoking post, just the other day I was taking a walk with my youngest little man (he was riding his trike), down a very well manicured sidestreet, dotted with little homes from the fifties......I met so many people on this little side walk , pushing strollers walking dogs, and each one said hello to me, or commented on my son's trike "I love your trike."

    That's what I LOVE about living in my little corner of this city, being able to walk down the street and having a perfect stranger wish me "Good morning." Or as in the old days, if there is a funeral procession, people pull over thier cars, take off their caps etc.

    I think I told you before I work in a grocery store, it's not a big one, but not a mom/pop operation either, the workers have been there for thirty years, and the customers just as long, I've been there about ten years. I know many by name, and it's very much like an oldfashioned grocer's store :)

    I think life is what you make, I do not choose to seclude myself from the modern world, but I treat my shopping experiences like the 1950's and people respond well to it.

    I also love shopping at a local children's thrift store, locally owned and operated :)
    The staff is friendly, and the owner has been around for the past thirty years (my mom shopped there.)

    Where and how you choose to spend your money is the secret to limiting one's ability to be sucked into the materialistic big box world around us :)

    Mom in Canada

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  31. I am sorry but I have to chime in here....

    You rant and rave about the "small" business being destroyd by big business and then you whip off a comment like this:

    "Also, my mother was also a TRUE 1950 housewife and she did NOT stop gardening, buy Welch's grape jelly (thank goodness for my little palette)"

    Shame on you! Welch's purchases their grapes (and Motts their apples) from SMALL LOCAL FARMERS. The Tiefke's, Totzke's, Eichler's, Ott's and MANY others I know personally are not large corporation farmers. They are small "mom & pop" farms that couldn't survive without Welch's or Mott's.

    PLEASE stop and think before you sling mud.

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  32. Well, in all honesty, I did sling rather quickly on that one, but it was because I felt the outrage of the woman's statement, as if she found ME small minded and yet felt SHE knew what ALL 1950's housewives did. I merely wanted to point out that some 1950's housewives DID can their own jams and tend their own gardens. I have nothing against welches, though I can see how it may sound that way. But, with that said, with how I live now, I would not buy that product because of the preservatives and such. As I CHOOSE to make my own, but I hardly mean that others should not buy it! In fact I used to buy their strawberry jam all the time ( I have just never liked grape jelly much) but one must remember, I can get sensitive when I feel attacked, it is just human nature. In fact, that you felt that way about Welche's shows you too, were affected by it and felt the need to respond, so see we really are ALL ALIKE, we ladies. So, no harm meant. By all means, ladies, buy up as much welch's grape jelly as you like, only you would not have been served it at tea time at my mother's table nor will you at mine.
    So hope that is cleared up. I suppose we all get a little 'dirt' on us we we fling mud, non ladies?

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  33. Also, I just wanted to point out that I buy from my local farms. Here on the cape it is hard as there is not much land as in the midwest, so the farmers really do struggle. I buy my Apple juice and Juice FROM my farm stand which grows and buys from local farms that make their own juice. Not through a corporation. That doesn't mean that it is necesarrily bad, but I wonder if those farmers that have to now sell to the larger firms, would actually be able to make more if we DID work to make our areas more locally supported. Would their crops yeild a greater result if a local company or even the farmers themselves could make the juice knowing it could be sold by local shops and grocers? The very way in which we now think and buy and that are food all travels such long distances I think is a problem for the little guy, because what if one year that corporation decides not to USE that farmers crop? What will he do with it? he can't sell it locally because we can just go down the store and buy some Mott's juice where they bought the apples from soemone else? So, really when I 'fling mud' it is often just my thinking about the way things are and wondering if maybe there could be a better way AND of course, this is just a blog. I am just a simple little homemaker in New England typing my thoughts for the day. I am not a reporter. I have now real clout to affect the markets, though it would be nice if the little person did have more say on the overall market and how their town were run, I'd at least (if if others disagree with me) would be happy.

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  34. The problem is, the money they get from Welch's or Mott's is normally their YEARLY income. We are talking several tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yes, they could 'scale back' and all. But there are barely 100,000 people in my entire county. We couldn't support those farms should Welch's go out of business. And then, what about all the people who work for Welch's themselves?

    I AGREE with you deeply and profoundly that we need to kck Wally world and such in the rear, but in doing so, we should make them by AMERICAN! We keep losing manufacturing jobs to Mexico and China, eventually, no one will have jobs but in stores. But there wont be customers, for people cannot afford these things made so cheaply.

    You put people out of work to make your product cheaper someplace else, you also cut your customer base.

    I will NEVER buy a Whirlpool appliance again. They are headquarter here in my county, and they are building a NEW plant in Mexico and taking manufacturing jobs away from AMerican workers. BOO HISS on them. They should be building HERE, and employing the people HERE. We are the ones who can buy it, we should have the honor of making it.

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  35. The sad thing is, that the whole 'everything comes from China' started in brute force with Pres. Clinton granting them favored trade nation status in 2000 (along with the elder Bush's work towards it). Prior to that, they had been sanctioned because of their abuses to the environment and their people. Now, it is no holds barred.

    Along with NAFTA, which allowed companies to move to Mexico easily, it is amazing that there are nay jobs left in the USA. We can thank the elder Bush and Clinton for that one as well. They are both issues like Communism...looks great on paper, but the reality of them stinks!

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  36. Exactly. And I am not saying bad on the farmer, anyway, but I just feel that all of us ME INCLUDED have somehow been duped into buying chinese products and such because we are told things are cheaper and easier to do so and somehow we are waking up to find that NOTHING is even being made in our own country! Our production is just going away. Yet we think, somehow, that Captialism is somehow set in stone, but it is NOT. It is a system WE (human beings) invented. In IS elastic. It is organic it can change and, in fact, it has changed. The current practices of modern Capitalism is not the same as it once was, so we need to stop just saying, "Oh, well capitalism, it's better than communisim" When WE made up Capitalism, so why cant we HAVE CAPITALISM but with a conscience? Why can't we form it that way? We, little people, can only do so with our dollars and as you said you will not buy whirlpool because of that. If we can just be aware of it.
    And, anyway, I don't know anything about Welch's as a company and I wasn't saying don't buy it or anything against it. I merely spoke in anger to the other commenter (which I should have had the grace and sense to count to 10 before I started typing) and said that about the Grape jelly in anger. I still don't like grape jelly, but you know what I mean.
    I only, myself, am expressing things I am discovering. Far be it from me to tell ANYONE how to live shop dress. I never intend that to be my message and I am not sure why others think I am. I have never solicted people to come to my site. I have not set up some platform so I can preach and hope people will 'Do what I say'. I can only express things I am discovering, so if and when I offend, it is out of my own ignorance. But, I hardly am in any place to tell someone how to live, where to shop, what to eat. BUT, I do have the right to express how I now choose to do those things and why. I do dare anyone to just go through their house and see how many things they have that are made in china or india. you might be surprised.
    I am glad you are not leaving us, though, lori B, you are a true Apronite and I would hate to have offended you.

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  37. The clintons, too, before office also were on the board of Walmart and recieved alot of support and money from them. It just goes to show it doesnt' matter Rep or DEM we have to pay attention and realize that we need to think of one another and the country before we just buy into a party. It is silly to think one party is right and the other wrong, they are both peopled by humans who have flaws as we all do. We need to THINK and vote with what is good for the country and all of us not just blindly fall into the rehtoric. I know, however, that they are ALL good at what they do which is double speak and dangling the keys in front of our faces like a baby, to keep us amused, as they do what they like for the bottom line behind our backs. Very sad indeed.

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  38. Regarding Chinese imports: If I remember correctly, it was Nixon who opened the door to trade with China. I can tell you ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY that I bought some hand embroidered,and appliqued cotton, and or linen, guest towels, pillow cases and some other small pieces imported from China in a store in West Palm Beach near the end of 1972, and beginning of 1973. It was a small linen store, and I often visited when I was in the area and always had pleasant conversations with the owner. She related to me information about all the handmade linens she was now able to import from China. We had quite a conversation about it. There were hand embroidered pieces, hand appliqued, and Battenburg lace items. Again, in the 1980's a neighbor who collected vintage handmade (mostly American) quilts, was very upset about the cheap handmade quilts from China that were starting to appear causing the value of her vintage quilts to fall. There doesn't appear to be an easy answer to all of this; we are certainly drowning in cheap junk that is disgusting. Always Best Wishes to All..........Dianne

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  39. you are right about Nixon. Whenever it began, I wish it could stop, but I am afraid we are so many generations in that I am not sure. It seems normal to so many to just have big stores with cheap stuff they dont care or even KNOW to be concerned. It I do know, is how long can it go on? We increasingly are getting LESS prodcution in the usa not more. Even the tech and 'brain' power jobs are now all going to India. So, if we cannot MAKE anything nor answer the phones or handle the comuters, but we are all working FOR, in some capacity, all the big corporations, what is going to happen. What if they ever start moving more of that out. China, for example, is beginning to become a market for places like walmart etc. They are starting to get a middle class and when those places can spend, will the jobs to run the walmart even begin to go away? Our economy is frigtenly based on digital money and an odd hope that it will just 'go on forever'. Yet, the more we get distanced from where our food is made, grown, our clothes are made and the cloth made, all our products everything! And, after we had to give so much money to the failing auto industry, have they started to produce more here? No. I have heard of no new plants opening in the usa, has anyone? I am just scared. I WISH I had the answer. All we can do is TRY and to try and look and evaluate each thing and not just spend and not care or even vote just because it might be a party we feel 'connected' to. I do wonder where we shall all be in another even 20 years. The more I think of things like this the more I am sort of glad I don't have children, because what sort of world are we making for the new generations? Sad, so sad.

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  40. i'm going to tell you now--these things have never been 'better' than ours, only cheaper.

    it seems to me that there are many items and household goods that one could have gotten in the 'old' pre-globalized world. just recently, i was searching for a kitchen paper dispenser. you know, the kind that holds the foil and waxed paper and has a little cutter on each so one can tear off what they need? at any rate, everything on offer in the store is plastic, does NOT work well, and usually does not have the same functionality. i find this to be the case with almost ALL of the items i would wish to purchase--i want quality, dependability, and features that make an item truly useful. not a plastic 'rack' that simply holds a box against the wall. no luck.

    as in most things of this nature, one must resort to Ebay and buying the 'vintage', American made products that actually seemed to work, all of which are well over 30 years old. this is a dastardly plot, as these things still work but if we all had them and bought them, then we would never need buy a new plastic 'dispenser' in our lifetimes, and that is the real evil. the market forces us to have only two choices in goods, clothes, furniture, and everything--the poorly made, sweatshop Southeast Asian (i don't resent them at all for trying to survive and earn a living, truly) plastic or laminate item that will never work properly and break within a few years, or the overpriced, 'upscale' pottery barn type of thing that still doesn't work very well but looks nice when company comes over.

    this situation, to me, exposes the fact that any pretension to having a true 'middle class' in this society was done away with nigh on 30 years ago. it coincides timewise with all of the things on discussion here, too.

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  41. Oh, you are dead on about Nixon...but what I was saying was that it really developed a head of steam after they were granted favored trade nation status. That is when the floodgates opened.

    As far as wal-mart...well, Sam Walton is most likely spinning in his grave. He devoted himself to making a store of AMERICAN MADE where possible, while employing American people for our benefit. Now it is a huge corporation, controlled by a board, who doesn't give a rat's behind WHERE the stuff comes from as long as it is CHEAP ad they can make a big profit.

    I don't have the answers, either, Donna. I wish I did. I do know that alot of the problems we have comes from apathy in the voters. People many times either don't vote ("I don't like politics, it is boring") or don't know anything about it ("I vote *insert party here* because my family has always voted that way"), or worst of all..."I voted for so and so because *insert favorite star* likes them and says they would be great." (and yes, I had someone tell me that was how they chose whom to vote for *shuddering*)

    We need news stations that tell the truth about what is going on in DC, not their version that suits their political veiwpoint. We need websites that give information to voters about canidates that is clear, concise and factual. We need history teachers who make it interesting so people learn WHY we are America and what it took to make us this way. ALOT can be learned from the mistakes in the past.

    And futhermore....I don't care who 'OPRAH' likes, I want to know if the guy can spell 'knife' and understands what the various first 10 Amendments of the constution are and why they were written as such. I don't care if the guy is a cheating drunk. Winston Churchill was a lush, Hitler was a vegan teetotaler. Those things don't really say what type of LEADER a man will be. And that is what we have not had in so very long...a LEADER.

    *sigh*

    I am scared of alot of things as well. As far as my kids go...all I can do is raise them to be the most decent people I can and pray.

    By the way...I found this on the web and thought it was a VERY interesting read...

    http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=685

    NOTE: I am not saying Ron Paul is the one, but is article is very interesting.....makes alot of sense....


    Lastly - I am sorry, but I live in a farming community and it is such a stuggle all the time around here, and then to have someone seem to 'attack' one of the big companies that keep this area going...rubs you wrong. I realize what you said was off the cuff in anger, all is good.

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  42. I had a similar discussion with someone about pizza once. I mentioned on a forum that I don't buy pizza from Domino's because of their charitable donations and I purchase from local pizza shops instead. One woman started laying in to me and saying that I was only punishing the franchisee who is after all a member of my community too.

    When it comes down to it we will always be punishing someone by purchasing from someone else. I know that someone has to grow the grapes for Welch's but I'm still going to buy my jam locally from local farmers. Apart from anything else it tastes way better :-)

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  43. Texas Accent In SydneyMarch 11, 2010 at 7:00 PM

    50s Gal ... when and if you're ever looking for a second career, you might consider being a diplomat ... you respond in such a ladylike manner when people insult you ... several times I've seen you thank a heckler for giving you another viewpoint to consider ... not every time, but oftimes these folks post under "Anonymous", don't they? ... keep your chin up and remember you have many more followers than detractors.

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  44. Texas Accent In SydneyMarch 11, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    50s Gal, I'll long be replaying in my mind the conversation over the teacups between yourself and Modern Visitor ... warning you to beware the grocer, that you don't know that much about him and then sharing that the boy you went to 2nd grade with was divorced and "looking for company" (if I may say it in a nicer way) ... how she loved the cupcakes from the large coffee chain and they lasted a month ... a month?, that's a lot of preservatives ... the oatmeal cookies I baked today are delightful but need to be eaten within three days for best flavor ... she has to swing by the drugstore for ointment for a yeast infection? ... that's more information than you need, but I hear people out and about on their cell phones saying things like that in a loud voice ... yes, your tale was both sad and funny at the same time and I thank you for putting it in.

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  45. Hold on...I have to go add your blog to my favorites. There. :) I just found you today, and I LOVED your rant.

    I have actually had conversations with people like that one over tea, although perhaps your version was slightly exaggerated. But I have had the EXACT comments on cloth napkins, and I despise it when people answer their phone (that I didn't even hear ring and keep talking to them like an idiot) without so much as an 'excuse me.'

    I don't even HAVE a local grocery store. The nearest grocery store is 30 minutes away, and it's a Walmart. I despise shopping there, but my only other option is to drive an hour.

    My husband works for Walmart, and I can assure you that it's just as bad as you always hear. It is the worst employer ever.

    I'm 26 years old, and I always feel like I was born in the wrong time.

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  46. Texas Accent In SydneyMarch 12, 2010 at 12:13 AM

    50s Gal, me again ... I'm also laughing about Modern Visitor taking pride in not wasting because she recycles her "vitamin water" bottles ... that's awful on so many levels ... I admit sometimes I buy bottled water when I'm out and about, but quite often I take my pretty cobalt blue bottle with me ... it's Brita, I fill it with filtered water from home, which started off as free tap water ... it has a filter so I can refill it during the day ... it and the filters are made in Germany ... Santa Claus also brought us two new smallish thermoses and I found a big vintage thermos last year ... my little girl and I looked very stylish having a picnic at the zoo the last school break, with a wicker picnic basket, red gingham tablecloth, vintage thermos, free yummy food ... vitamin water? ... what if I just take my vitamins with water?

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  47. My hubby bought me a cupcake from Starbucks as a treat the other week. It was basically inedible. The frosting was a really weird consistency and the cake seemed to spring back in my mouth when I tried to chew it. I had a couple of bites then decided just to eat the chocolate sprinkles off the top because those were at least real food. Probably cost about as much as baking a whole batch of cupcakes at home too. The packaging was utterly ridiculous too, huge box with tons of extra card inside designed to hold the cupcake exactly in place.

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  48. So many wonderful commnets!
    lori-I am glad we are still friends. I think, too, how many times people end up on opposing sides because of rash comments made out of anger or hurt pride. When really we all want the same thing! Silly, reall, but human nature I suppose.
    Texas Accent-A diplomat, I'm not sure my skin is thick enough for that! I'd probably have to take many trips to the ladies room, dispel my upset, and then return to try my best. I always at first either feel sad, mad etc but then as I begin to try and see the other view point, often end up feeling rather the cad myself! Again, Human nature, I suppose.
    Rhonda-so true about Starbucks muffins! And the packaging! I know exactly what you mean, that big square white box with the special hole manufactured specifically to hold a wretched muffin from tipping! Speaking of the 'springy ness' of such foods. Last week, while marketing, They had a sale at my local market on 'box chocolate cake' for a good price and I thought, "Well, why not. In a pinch I could whip them up if I have had a particularly busy day. So, I did use it and was impressed at how fluffy it was compared to my homemade. Now,when I frist started making homemade I was aware of how dense it seemed and at first the texture was almost odd. But, then the taste so good. Now, this texure and taste is normal, so when I made this cake, all big and fluffy, I almost felt deflated in my own cakes. Until I tried it. Much like many modern things, it was all puffed up for show, A big glossy ad almost, but the taste was almost plastic to the dense moistness of my homemade. And the subtleties of flavor in homemade were not there. It actully made me sad as I thought, "How many people have to settle for this horrid plastic taste when it is so easy to just make it yourself. You can even make your own 'mix' to mix up when you want to save time and it is better than this"

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  49. Texas Accent-Yes, I hope you will indulge my bad language in the 'conversation' but I have heard WORSE than what I spoke from people. The other day when hubby and I were riding our old bone shakers to the beach, it was a lovely sunny day, people out for a stroll on the jetty and the beach and paths, birds singing, water lapping, just a wonderful day. And really, with my hubby and my outfits, our bikes, it could have been 1956, but then this loud talking broke the serenity. An older couple were walking talking on their cell phone on speaker and they had to shout everything twice so the person could hear. And they just went on as if they were sat down at home in their living rooms for a chat, but they weren't they were in public. How quickly we succumb to 'new gadgets' without so much as a questioning of it. Even 10 years ago (certainly in all our living memories) it was not even this prevalent. I mean, when we didnt' have cell phones, how did we go 10 minutes without rambling on about nothing to other people and the phrase, "Can you hear me?" as if we are all edisons waiting for our new invention to work! Oh, well. We still have our cell phones because it is half the cost of having a house phone. I hate that, but we only use them to call one another as we would a house phone.

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  50. I only have a pay-as-you-go cell phone for emergencies. I actually went to use it today and it informed me that I couldn't make a call because I hadn't topped it up in 90 days. I think I currently have something like $70 credit on it because I need to add $20 every 90 days and I never come close to using it all. It was really annoying because of course there are no pay phones anywhere anymore. I think there's still one in the plaza we were shopping in but way down at the other end and next to a Burger King with an indoor play area so a fairly major excursion with a 4 year old in hand!

    If you have broadband you might consider a company like Vonage for home phone if you want rid of the cells. It's much cheaper than having a cell or traditional land line, I think we pay about $25 a month and that includes a virtual number in the UK so my family there can call me in the US for pennies.

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  51. I was old enough to remember stores in 1956. Some stores, such as stores like Macy’s, did have departments that looked like the first picture. Stores that were a cheaper version of Wal-Mart were always quite crowded–even Woolworth’s. The layout and displays were different. Woolworth’s and Grants used separate table like islands, with the were products separated by glass dividers. Most of the “Mom and Pop” stores were small and crowded. It was a financial decision. Items were stored from the floor to the ceiling and the owner’s would get your items. They were old and sometimes dingy from age. I always enjoyed going into, the fabric stores, hardware stores, deli/soda shoppes, delis, and general merchandise stores. It was always a mixture of old stock and new. I delighted in finding the old stock. I loved the hand-cranked cashiers! They were no-nonsense, but helpful. The general population, did of course, dressed better, except when I went with my father to the second hand lumber store and the auto store. They were no frills, but the owner knew his stock and his products.

    While advertising is currently over-the-top, it isn’t something new. My mother told me of the campaign to ditch coth hankies for “Kleenex” tissues, by telling them not to “Carry and cold in their pockets.” Most of the old radio shows that I have heard were sponsored by companies for the sole purpose of selling their products. It was always about brand names.

    When I was younger, the bargain discount stores sold cheap items. Today, with modern technology the cheap items are much more sophisticated and classier looking. Cheap items were cheap.

    Laws, and government are not friendly to the small business owner. I do not think this is circumstantial or has anything to do with the natural course of things.

    There were many good things about the 1950's and I remember those years fondly. Those years of innocence had the underpinnings of indoctrination, through education, and all forms of media . When a society loses it’s moral/spiritual/religious moorings, there is a fall out in all areas. People do not want to believe this to be true, especially the younger generations. Blame is usually put on other areas, but they are only the symptoms. This is what we are seeing now. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes. While I firmly believe that to take away the rights of others, you take away your own rights, and I have even had lawyers agree with this statement, in practice this is not what is happening.

    During my tenure, we were in small groups for an “in-service.” It was a slight of hand discussion, that naturally gravitated toward the students’ dress code. A male teacher was lamenting the fact that it was difficult for the men to enforce the dress code of the school. Other teachers mentioned that, in reality there really wasn’t a dress code. Dress is directly related to behavior, but absolutely no one actually said it. It was only implied. A special service young women then blurted out, “I will not work for a district that makes the women wear skirts!” No one mentioned skirts, or what anyone thought the students should be wearing to school! A lot has changed since 1956.

    Poodle Skirts

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  52. I certainly can see your point of view. I love a mixture of times, 30's through the 50's and today. But I do think we are forgetting the simplest things. Today, my very intelligent husband who knows many things had no idea what a needle threader was. He's almost 50 so it's not just a recent thing. I have done things and stopped watching TV and have gotten to know my neighbors so that we have a dinner party every month just to connect to human beings on a face to face level. However I find myself without the skills needed to continue a working friendship that needs a weekly commitment outside of my family. It's HARD work to REALLY connect with people and I am in my early 40's. Not exactly a young thing and have lived with the computer all my life. We do lose these skills, those I thought would come naturally.
    I also wonder about the drug problem with the 1950's housewife. Meth and other amphetimes were " Mother's little helpers" so it wasn't as rosy as we like to remember. I wonder what we misremember about those times.

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  53. You wrote:
    “Standing in a large shop, that looks like a warehouse, with rows and rows of product lined up perfectly, large signs and displays, talking ads, then endless people milling about, mindless throwing things into carts while talking into little objects in their hands, seemingly unaware of one another, but intently animated, talking about the most private things out loud into their hands. Every so often one cart might bump another and they two cart pushers exchange heated looks, all the while continuing their “hand conversations”. Lines and lines of people at endless registers that simply look at a product and know the price. The apparent sad state of peoples clothes, the messy hair, dirty shoes, torn jeans and oversized sweatshirts. “Is this some punishment place for the poor? Is this a sort of factory?” my 1956 self wonders, as she stands confused and feeling so out of place, her hose and pressed dress, her hat and gloves, her little shopping bag, wondering, “WHAT on earth, what in GOD’S name, has happened to this country”.”

    This SO great! I truly love it, it really puts everything in contrast.

    I also loved the story about the visitor, you are SO good at creating pictures in my head.

    Apronites Unite!!! :D

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  55. LOVE THIS!!! My husband and I read this post and shouted AMEN at the end of each paragraph. (Hallelujah!)

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