Wednesday, October 27, 2010

27 October 1956 “Grey Skies are Gonna Clear Up”

First off, thank you for the lovely ‘cheer up’ comments. It was rather silly of me to post an ‘I’m blue’ post, but I am glad I did. Because it was an almost experiment within the day for me. You see, I was feeling rather blah and blue and not really for any one particular thing. However, the result by the end of the day certainly has shown me that I have made a positive change in my life.
Let me explain: Yesterday I felt rather down, and this made me focus on things, such as my ideas on how to move out of this year into the next, in an odd light. I sat down, and moped a bit. The old me, the pre-1955 me, would have moments like this fairly often and my answer was usually, “I need some shop thereapy, I deserve it”. This would be followed by a mad rush to get ready hop in the car or go out the door (when living in the city) and the adrenalin would kick in. There would be some wasteful shopping for things I didn’t need with money I really didn’t have, followed by the requisite stop at a coffee house for a 5 dollar coffee, a 3 dollar muffin and a moment of ‘rest’. Yet, once home, this was always followed by a new type of sadness and realization that I had just spent more money and wasted more time.
Another pre-1955 option for me was to pop on the Tele or pop in a video. This movie or show will make me feel better. And, off I would go into a dream world for two hours, only then finding myself not having done anything for the day and then feeling bad about that.
Now, one would think living in a ‘dream world’ of make-believe 1950’s could be bad on the psyche,  but quite honestly, all it has done has taught me to be a better person. I feel better in that I deal with my emotions on an entirely different level and often, at the end of my day, look back and feel proud of my accomplishments.
So, yesterday I felt a little blue and made my post. But, I still had to make an apple pie to take for dinner at my MIL. Normally I would have done that the day before or early that morning, but feeling blue. I therefore had to throw myself into it. I went into the kitchen and prepared to make my traditional crust. I sometimes use the easy make in the pan crust I have shared with you before, but for a good old fashioned pie, I make my traditional lard crust. It was an odd sensation. I really take most of my vintage life in stride now, but having been rather blue and than needing to push myself through it, I felt a change. I was happy and actually beaming when I was done. The act of getting my lard and butter from the freezer (keeping it cold is one of the tricks to a flaky crust), measuring, mixing, rolling out, paring apples and so on. I was lost in what I was doing, enjoying it and really forgetting about myself for a moment.
That little lesson learned was so priceless to me at that moment. That shinning pie (I forgot my camera at my MIL but I used her camera and will get a picture for you later)full of apples and ready for the oven, it made me feel good. Here I had made something to be enjoyed by others with my own hands. There  was an artistry to it and a great feeling of accomplishment. And it gave back to me again when we ate it after our dinner of Beef Borgenionne by MIL prepared for us. It was flaky and wonderful and I felt proud of that pie.
keepcalmposter It really just drove home what I have been continually discovering here on my journey. That to not overly focus on ones ‘emotions of the moment’ but to get on with it really makes a difference. I am kept in mind of the UK WWII poster Keep calm and carry on, and really what sound advice. I don’t mean to ignore your emotional state, but when one begins to wallow in them, as I once did, really there is no solution to it, only a revisit of the sadness.
We modern people are given so many opportunities to really wallow in our sadness or blues. It is easy to feel bad for a moment, a normal human reaction and then to immediately go to that place where we say, “Oh, I will just play on the computer, pop on the TV, pop in that video, grab that magazine until I feel better” and sometimes it might help. But, for me at least, Action seems to be the best cure for melancholy. To go about and do things, things which we all know we must do, honestly does help to ‘clear those blues away’.
When I think of my state of mind pre 1955, I am sometimes amazed at how often I was depressed. And, I don't want it to sound phony or seem disingenuous when I say, since starting my project I am less depressed. Because it honestly is true. Sure, I feel blue or have blah days, but usually my dealing with them is to continue on through it and then I find the result of a simple task or chore is actually enjoyed MORE because it has both alleviated the blues AND made me feel all the more proud of having done it. As the song says, “We gotta accentuate the positive”
This is the lesson that I am now trying to apply to my over all lifestyle as I move out of 1956. I am certainly not going to give up the majority of my 1950’s life. I don’t think I nor my husband would want to. It has become such a part of who we really are now, that it would be like unplugging ourselves somehow. I find it interesting that the changes from the modern to the past, though sometimes trying or harder than expected, always seemed to somehow result in a happier symmetry for the pair of us.
Now, as the new year approaches part of my project will surely be, how will I bring in more ‘modern things’ into my life and then how they evolve into our vintage life. I think the aspect of still following along the year with the history of 1957 will be important, though, as I have begun to feel I want to really learn each year through a year. However, with that, I have been learning, as this year is ending, to do more modern things with a website and so on. I have even found that with a thing like Facebook, my approach to it now is much better than it would have been pre 1955. The old me would have spent hours on there updating things, searching about for others and so on. How I approach it now is simply log on, cut and paste my latest post, look who has joined up, maybe give a thumbs up to someone and I am off. Yet, I feel these things, these digital moments are very much a part of the modern world. But, I have learned to not be owned by them.
In fact, my computer use couldn’t be more like office work. I am never spending hours playing games on it, nor endlessly searching for clothes or things to buy, nor even chatting or ‘i-m-ing’ or what have you. In a way, my project has allowed me to face modern technology with a more detached and, I feel, healthier approach. For me at least, it is healthier.
This is the same with TV. I don’t think we will be re-installing modern tv into our lives. Hubby and I are too accustomed to the quiet of the house where one is more inclined to read books, listen to a radio program, write/type, play the piano or simply visit. When friends come to our house, we sit and play cards, laugh and visit. It can be very vintage in that. When we go to others house, if they have the TV on, then I simply adapt to it.
However, with the computer, one could easily use it as a TV. As I said, I recently watched part of a show a fellow Apronite was kind enough to share with us. It is a UK show about a food critic and a comic who spend a week in a time period through food. I thought I would enjoy it more, but found that I really could not. It wasn’t that the actors were necessarily bad, but the way modern TV is edited, so short choppy , I find it hard to follow. I realized this has changed about me in the past two years. Modern TV and media seems to be almost what one would use for a toddler with little attention: Bright colors, loud noise, funny sounds. For someone who, other than the computer and honestly it is a glorified typewriter and set of encyclopedias to me, it is almost annoying. So, TV, I am afraid, may need to stay in the modern out of reach world for me. I am curious about Mad Men, a show I watched before 1955, but now I understand they are even further into the 1960’s so not sure I want to watch it. It might make me sad and then I will have to bake TWO apple pies.
So, again, thank you all. I am glad to have said I was sad, only so I can share how I dealt with it now compared to the ‘old me’. My continual use of this blog and the site will always be vintage inspired. And in fact my forays into the modern world are almost primarily to make it better and more accessible to more people. Because, I honestly feel as if I have discovered the elixir vital, if you will, that drink of life that is secreted away from all. To really look back and then look forward from that vantage point honestly does help you to get a better perspective on your present.
As for next year, it might be fun to do a month of 1940’s say, with clothes and food and so on. As to the 1930’s as well, to better flesh out the life I would have lead in the 1950’s having come from those places. But, the technology and the ability to use it as a tool and not be used by it will also continue to become a process a lesson and part of my project. What better way to share one’s happiness with others than by using the technology available to one at the time.
Thank you for coming along with my on this odd journey. And I hope you continue to do so, as I feel we have so much to learn and share together. 50swomanatcomputer I think this will be as ‘modern’ as I get.
Happy Homemaking.


  1. I don't blame you for having a bad impression of a British TV show. British TV, IMO as a Southern American, has become too vulgar, too choppy and too weird. In the last twenty years or so Britain has lost much of their moral compass and it shows most in their TV programs.

    TV would be of better quality I think if it weren't for all the commercials! A 30 minute sitcom is only 21 minutes once you take out all the commercials. There's only one sitcom that I even watch, the others are too vulgar and flat with old, worn out jokes.

  2. Thanks for sharing about the short period of your feeling melancholy. I'm glad you didn't keep it to yourself. What a teaching experience your example has been and how grown-up your recovery was. Thanks for allowing us to accompany you on this intriguing journey and inspiring us by your life/living. Linda

  3. I would love to do want you did and for me, especially with the recession, it would be 1930 onwards.
    Unfortunately I couldn't immerse like you did as my family are a bit 'modern'.Some good lessons to be learned though.
    I especially liked this post as it sums up my recent feelings.Time to make up my 1929 floor polish recipe and do my hardwood floors I think.

  4. Rachel-I actually always preferred British tv to our own, but as I said, being two years out with not modern tv, to go from Father knows Best to a modern show with its editing techniques, it felt rather alien. Even now when I watch something vintage, I get antsy. I find it hard to sit through too much, as I am always thinking of what else I would like to do. That seems to be a main change in my life not only being able to do more, but wanting to be doing, as fun, more than passively being entertained.
    Linda-thank you, I am glad you found my little 'moment' inspiring. I love those learning lessons and am glad that my response is more healthy and really more 'adult' than it once was.
    Starz-You might have to share your '29 floor polish with us, sounds lovely. I do feel bad when I hear that some ladies would like to turn back the clock, but their families are so used to modern living it would be hard. Maybe you could offer up a 1930's night once a week and no cell phones, tv and read together, listen to old 30's radio programs, play old music and 30's boardgames and visit. You could even eventually coax others to 'dress for the night'. You never know, it might be a fun weekly game, especially if the kids can return to their Texting and Computers the next day. Just a thought.

  5. Hey 50`s Gal, you mentioned above about living in the dream world of the 50`s, actually you are living the life you were meant to live.

    You have found your groove girl, for most it takes a lifetime to find this level of acceptance and happiness no matter what station you are living in at the moment.

    I found this level of fulfillment in being a housewife and mother, sure there are days I want to run for the hills but I LOVE the fact that I am able to go on field trips with my youngest or pick up my boys for lunch.

    Just yesterday a teacher at Kyle`s school was surprised that he had never eaten lunch at school ``ever`` before, my little monkey is in senior kindergarten and 5 years old.<<

    She told me that the kids learn to eat fast mom, my reason for picking up my boys from school is that they only have 20 minutes to each their lunch, I do not wish for them growing up to think it`s normal to rush and eat.

    Schools should not have the mentality of McDonald`s where rush, rush is the norm, half an hour is and should be the time they are allowed to eat, guaranteed the teachers do not eat in that little amount of time.

    I quietly informed this teacher that all I am allowed is a 15 minute break, and my stomach feels horrible if I rush to eat.

    Needess to say, she did not have much to say.

    There is a disconnect in modern society where we push children to fit into the rush, rush of the culture.

    In Ontario we have junior kindergarten where children as young as 3.8 years starts kindergarten, and soon it will be full day every day kindergarten by 2015, half day programming for this age is plenty, whilst full day is exhausting.....

    I just wish more people had the foresight and wisdom you learned, sure you may enter the modern world but the knowledge you gained will continue.

    Have a great day :)

    Mom in Canada

  6. Bear in mine, my dear, that not all people have the luxury of disconnecting from society, and devoting their time to fantasy-play, in a different decade. Sometimes, your condescending attitude and harsh criticism of contemporary society can be hurtful to those who live in 2010. Your role-playing is amusing, but please try to be kinder toward your audience.

  7. Anon 6:21, Donna isn't fantasy-playing, she lives her life in the way she likes it. It's entirely her business and her right.

    If you dislike her attitude so much, why do you keep reading?

  8. anon-that is rather hurtful. You must also remember, that in order for me to 'stay at home' we make some big sacrifices. It isn't as if I am swilling about in my lovely dresses all day smelling roses. I scrimp and save so that I can provide good meals affordably for by husband and myself. We take NO vacations nor spend money foolishly. My hubby literally gets 40 dollars a week cash and that is it.
    I have been in the work force before and have spent foolishly. When I 'condescend' it is because I have been on both sides of the fence and for anyone who would like to try a 'stay at home' lifestyle, one must realize it is IN FACT viable no matter your income. What many people, modern people for I was once one of them, simply will not be responsible for their spending or where their money is going. So, therefore we have the 'need' to be working always with two incomes. I find it rather arrogant of you to make such a blanket idea of what or who I am. And, as the other reader pointed out, why bother reading me. It isn't as if someone is holding a gun to your head. Simply press down on the little mouse button and my 'criticism of contemporary society and hurtful ways' shall vanish in a flash, never to bother you again. There, modern society explained simply: You don't like it=press a button, after a few harsh words, and it is gone.

  9. I recently found your site, and love it. I love all vintage. I especially love the time frame of the 40's and 50's. I love the scripture from the bible that states, "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 6:16. I have been reading and getting caught up. One post from about Feb.12, 2009, you talked about a site that had 50s recipe cards. Would you be willing to share that site?

  10. Donna, as far as Anon's comment about disconnecting from society...

    I,too, am unable to quit my job, yet I find it even more of a blessing that once I go home, my world is my own (1940ish) oyster.

    You have made me feel less alone in my rejection of the modern for a more civilized time. I revel in the fact that you and others share in this, or special neighbourhood!

  11. I wish more people would look to the past and emulate the good manners of my grandparents generation, it was a time of caring for one`s family and neighbour, a time where we took care of each other rather than bringing someone else down.

    To each his or her own, if someone is able to stay at home and find contentment in taking care of the homefront that is as commendable as any hardworking career gal.

    I am fortunate to stay home, as my mother did and raise my children by hand, I used to work in the day care field and have witnessed first hand the pros and cons of it.

    Even if someone is unable to be a homemaker there is nothing wrong with showing good oldfashioned manners especially with regard to those who post on this blog.

    Mom in Canada

  12. Thank you for this post, Donna.

    This morning I was feeling blue, not in the mood for anything, then I rembered your post: keep calm and carry on and started vacuuming. Several hours later, I have accomplished a lot and feel great.

    It really works!

    Greetings from the Netherlands

  13. Great advice as always,as i've mentioned before i love reading your perspective on life ,it's always so thought provoking & uplifting.I always resort to housework when i'm upset or down,keeping busy really takes your mind off it & if your feeling angry well the housework gets done faster lol:)
    Don't worry about the negative comment,it's not worth wasting your energy over.I just don't understand why people take the time to read a blog & then leave a comment complaining about it when they don't like what they are reading.If you don't like it or agree with it stop reading!!Leave us in peace to enjoy this wonderful blog & take your negativity elsewhere!
    Sorry for reacting to that comment but i felt the need to defend,hope you don't mind .Your apple pie sounds delicious!


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