Wednesday, October 20, 2010

20 October 1956 “The Typical American Family 1951, Home-Made Cornbread, and Bathrooms”

UPDATE: I cannot for the life of me get Dreamweaver to allow me to let the images increase on the website, so I will post the blogs in their entirety here and then leave a link at the end to the website to also enjoy. Thanks, this seems my only solution at present.
50swomanwithbookcomputer I hope, with this first post done in my new manner, that my readers will bear with me. I have never claimed to enjoy nor truly understand technology. Don’t think I don’t find it ironic that in my ‘trip to the past’ I have had, in these past two years, to really wrap my head around technology.
As I wished to improve the way I present things to you and for my own needs to want to make it become more organizes, I have had to really study the computer. The amount of time I do spend on the computer, however, is always work. I enjoy it, most times, but if I ever gave into ‘just searching and playing’ on the beast, I’d get little done. And believe you me, this sad little skeleton of a new site is more work than it might appear.
Now, concerning the site, I know some links are connecting. I had an issue with the header or top image and the one I had spent time on designing would not load, so last night I had to go through and manually change every page to the Apron Revolution image you now see. Luckily I had that as a back up. It shall have to do for now.
So, a few explanations for the site.
1. I wanted to make the site one Frame. The multi-frame system is horribly out of date, much like me. So that needed doing.
2. With the old site I was presented with the problem of making new content IN ADDITION to all the work and research I already do for my BLOG. That was when I realized MY BLOG is the SITE and therefore the past two years of work needs to be cataloged into the site. I have quite a bit of information, but it is almost lost in that I have never categorized my posts, as I didn’t know you were suppose to (again, no technology experience).
3.So, now my daily posts will BE the site. I will post it in part on Blogger with a link back here. Then the entire post will be here. Now, when I have posted that, I will add the relevant parts of the post to the various pages, cooking to cooking and so on. I hope this isn’t confusing.
4. I will now have a dedicated no post but website maintenance day so that I can slowly but surely take 1 January 1955 up to today and begin to place it in the site. This will mean, when I finally catch up that finding things here should be easy and to new comers, posts about food will be easy to find.
5.I cannot get a proper search bar to work, so that is still in the making. If anyone knows how to do so, let me know, as I have tried and obviously failed. I do apologize for that.
6.You will notice some things like Apron TV, which is my own Youtube channel. When a friend pointed out to me that you can make your own channel, I realized all the time I had been finding and adding relevant video to posts, I could have also been adding it to my own channel under various headings. When you visit that page you will see I have started with things like full old movies I love, old tv shows (I love Lucy) and so on. Check it out, I am excited to be able to collect together the things relevant in video for the site.
7.Facebook and Twitter. Now, these are things that I have almost no idea what they are actually for. I know people talk about Facebook all the time, and quite honestly I can’t see exactly what it does. It’s like email that you have to do even less work for and needn’t mail to individuals. But, as I wanted this site to feel connected to the modern world as a bridge to the past, one must do one’s best. My Facebook and Twitter will mainly be about this site and updates on blog posts, I believe. But, there it is, I am ‘plugged in there’ as it were.
8.I made an Etsy page, which now has only 4 items mostly to just set it up. Another follower mentioned another site that might work better for vintage items. I am not sure this is something that will stay, as running a full time tag sale and my home and this site may be a bit much, but I will try to list a few things and see if anyone is interested or not. Again, bear with me in these new endeavors. I am learning as I go, as much of the past two years have been.
So, I hope that is not too boring or overwhelming and I shall endeavor to make it easier and more fun for us to be on the site, I hope.
So, now back to some normal posting. Oh, and as a clearer explanation of how I intend to now use my post as my site, today I will be discussing an article on the ‘Typical American Family’ so that will also live in part in the 1950’s history section. And my recipe for cornbread will, of course, go in cooking. And the fun images of Bathrooms will, you guessed it, also be in that section of the Decorating page. So, later on if someone wished to just access images of 50’s bathrooms, they may do so. I know, clear as mud, right?
In my July 1951 issue of American Magazine I have a great article on the “Typical American Family”. I can’t recall if I have shared any of this article with you before, but it is worth a re-visit.
Based on a series of questions, they found the ‘Typical’ Middle class family who happen to live in Terre Haute Indiana. It is a rather long article and so I will just be touching on some of it here. If you enjoy it I will be glad to share it in it’s entirety with you, just let me know.
typicalfamilyarticle1 As always, merely click on image to see it larger. I think this such a sweet picture, the family in their yard enjoying a picnic.
To determine the average American family, people across the nation were asked a series of questions including these here in this image. typicalfamilyarticle2 You can click on image, but I will also relist these questions here. I think it would be fun to answer these ourselves and see how we compare to the worries of 1951, don’t you?
    • What’s your main worry?
    • What would you do with a sudden windfall?
    • Do you believe your children should go to college?
    • What’s your favorite recreation?
    • Are you able to save money?
    • Do you think life is simpler today than it was for your parents?
    • What’s your idea of success?
    • Do you believe your town is the best to live in?
    • Do you operate on a budget?
    • Do you feel a sense of achievement in your job?
    • What’ your favorite food?
    • Do you send your children to Sunday school?
Very interesting, indeed.
Here are some of the answers to the above questions given by the Simmon’s Family.typicalfamilyarticle3 Their candid responses about not having a savings plan, being not too ‘leaning’ on one party, they are Republican but would vote Democrat if the person was better suited (I like the idea of voting with your head and not your party). Their take on college is interesting as well as their idea of freedom of religion. That sad bit about their child being in uniform was most likely true, though it was nothing to do with Russia, but our odd involvement in Vietnam. Even their feelings about impeachment are rather open-minded.
Here are some great photo’s of the Simmon’s family daily life. typicalfamilyarticle4
Now, though I was busy with my site I still found time to make some cornbread for dinner last night. I love homemade cornbread when made with good coarse ground corn meal. We are lucky in our town that we have a very old and working water-wheel driven stone grinding Mill. The Dexter Grist Mill.sandwichmill1 This is a shot of the pond downtown in my town, you can see in the background the little grey shingled mill and behind that our Town Hall. The large Home across the way is a lovely example of our towns Colonial architecture. Here are the inner workings of the mill dextergristmill
The touring of the mill closed for the season last Sunday, but our local farm, Crow farm, where I do some of my weekly marketing, sells the corn flour/meal there as well.
See what darling bags it comes in.cornmealbag Here is the recipe I use, it is from my 1950’s Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School book. cornbreadrecipe It is a very easy recipe and you can see some variations. It is also quite easy to make your own versions from this recipe adding what you like. I always drizzle a little maple syrup along the top before I pop it in the oven to bake.
You can see how wonderfully grainy the texture is when you use a coarse ground meal such as this.cornbreadcloseup This recipe will now, as well, be placed in the COOKING section.
Now, just for fun and also as an exercise for me to post and then immediately place information into my new site: 1950’s Bathrooms!
redyellowbathroom This Red and Yellow bath is almost like living in a comic book. If you can notice, the red and yellow theme has even been carried to the sink faucet handles, which have  a red color. The paper in the room with the toilet is so bold!
This Yellow and Blue number I rather like. And the little boy’s pajama’s would be a lovely fabric to have the shower curtain in, don’t you think?
So, now how I will update daily the site with the content of my posts would be that the above images would be available to view in the Decorating Page under the BATHROOMS section. And these are both full ads so those could be viewed in the VINTAGE ADVERTISING section. I hope this is all making sense. It will now allow me to approach each post as content to build upon.
I hope all have a lovely day and Happy Homemaking.
Sorry to those who commented on this post while it was on the site. I am not sure how to fix the problem, so now it is imbedded into the site.
Please still check out THE NEW SITE HERE --->


  1. I enjoyed the article about the average family. I did not know that the average family was so hard up for cash. So sad about the war bonds being only worth half the value of what they paid for them.
    I love the picture of the pond and the mill in your town. What an idellyc (sp) setting. And I too love corn meal anything. How nice for you to be able to get something so close to the source. I have always used Albers brand cornmeal and the recipes printed on their box. This Fanny Farmer one might be fun to try.
    Julie in WA

  2. Donna, the new site is great! Thanks for making it all so easy to find a post. And the background "wallpaper" is adorable!


  3. hey 50`s Gal, love the new site especially the background very lovely :)

    Loved the typical American family article, I even agreed with many of their point of views.

    I have an off topic question, do you have an easy recipe for blade pork chops or butt pork chops.<<

    I often cook them as my grandmother did in the 50`s with great results and the help of lipton onion soup mix :) They always turn out tender, but I would like another simple way to do them.......I never fry my food, and bake everything in the oven when I cook, as my mom did.<<

    Any extra ideas would be appreciated, I prefer using less ingredients to keep costs down. and these type of pork chops are very cheap on the pocket book, I bought a family package recently regulary 7.00 (with a three dollar coupon off) so I spent only around 4.00 on meat for that family meal, boy did this housewife love that :)

    Mom in Canada

  4. Reading the average family article it's amazing how little has changed since 1951. The average family is still worried about health care costs rising and nationalized health care. The middle class is still eeking by even with a college education. People are still just as apt to vote Republican as Democrat. Still worries about war except its the Muslims instead of the Russians. Really you could find an almost identical family in Terre Haute today the only difference might be that mom works and doesn't wear a dress for a Saturday afternoon lunch.

  5. One thing I've noticed about finance in the 50's is that as far as investing goes their seemed to be much more emphasis on savings bonds and life insurance in the mainstream media. Not much on mutual funds (and I know they had them back then) Maybe it was a product of the times. The rates on bonds couldn't have been high. Maybe they just had whole life insurance back then which is touted more as a financial investment than term life insurance is. Did they have term life insurance back then? With moms not working as much, maybe there was a greater perceived need for life insurance.

    Is the lack of emphasis on mutual funds, stocks, currencies etc back then really a reflection of the growth of the financial services industry over the past 50 years especially with the growth of 401k plans? Personally after Enron and Goldman Sachs etc fiascos I've come to the conclusion that much of the financial services industry the mutual fund companies brokerage houses magazines Jim Cramer tv networks are all a bunch of hooey... They are selling most of the public a bill of goods and most don't take the time to learn about investing. I think you can make more money investing in stocks in the long term than you can keeping it in a savings account. But I think the financial services industry is trying to convince the public they can all become overnight millionaries by doing some $4 trades on etrade. Blah dont get me started.

    I think with regards to investing we were better off in the 50s with defined pension plans savings bonds and life insurance. Most people don't know enough about investing to really grow their accounts in their 401K the way they should. I didn't until recently. I have taken the initiative to learn and my returns have improved significantly. Most people aren't going to take the time to learn the way I have.

  6. WOW! You've done a lot of work. I thought the old site was great but I certainly understand have to learn new skills with the computer. It can be time consuming. I tried your link to facebook and it didn't work for me. I, to my surprise, have found I love facebook. I can go to one place to get messages from friends, deals, coupon info, and now from you!

  7. hotpinksky35-Very well put. Good points and I think I will address these today in blog.
    Mom in canada-I will also address porkchops today, post to come later my time EST.


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