Monday, October 11, 2010

11 October 1956 “Why Do Fools Fall in Love, A Moveable House, and The Power of Vinegar”

Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers were a new boy group here in 1956. Here is one of their first tv appearances on the Frankie Laine Show. Little Frankie Lyman is only 13 here, so young.
An interesting and surprising fact about Lyman: He appeared on a new show, “The Big Beat” which predated American Bandstand and used that format of bands and teens dancing. Frankie Lyman, who was black, was seen dancing with a white teenager. The show had to be cancelled because NBC affiliates in the Southern States took offense. Sad, really, when just a few people who care about something so silly and really quite innocent can ruin it for so many. And I am sure there were also people in the South who would not be offended, so in a way that was also unfair to those people as well. I guess it does seem that one bad apple does ruin the whole barrel.
During the 1950’s the RV or Caravan was having a boom. The mobile home is really born out of this era as well, with trailer parks becoming a new option for young families, though not with the ‘poverty cache’’ they have now. The ability to have a home with wheels, rather it was a ‘vacation home’ as in the case of the RV/Caravan or the longer term mobility of a mobile home was becoming attractive to the growing country and its increasing highways. 
What is so interesting about this story from my 50’s magazine is the James G. Mitchell’s solution to this mobility problem: A custom built home that is neither mobile manufactured home nor store-bought RV.
Mr. Mitchell, who works in the construction trade, often has to be moved about for his job. Rather than leave his family or leave the mobility of his job, their family decided to make their home portable.moveablehouse1(all images are larger when clicked upon)
Mr. Mitchell designed his home to be built on Oak skids and to have easy hook ups for utilities. He completely designed the structure and his wife the interior. Read their little article here and enjoy the pictures of the inside of their home.
moveablehouse4 moveablehouse6
moveablehouse5 How adorable is her little kitchen and there is even room for a little ‘homemaker office’ where Mrs. Mitchell sits on the phone.
moveablehouse2 They don’t even let their mobility stop them from music and the bulk of the piano.
moveablehouse3What I love here is you can see how the children, they have three, even have a playroom. Though it is small, it uses every inch of space with lovely colored wall storage and gay little block handles. How is this done? Easy, when the three share one bedroom then the second bedroom is freed up for their play and easy clean up.
I think what great lesson we can take from the Mitchell’s is not only their ingenuity or their desire of family over convenience (the importance of their being together over the ease of a solid foundation home somewhere) is the use of space. Now, they had this home built for the equivalent of around $55,000 in current money. This is quite a bit of house for that price when one considers the extra effort made to allow easy utility hookup. 
The fact that good space and utility can be mingled with style and yet toys, clothes, and even musical instruments are still available. Though they may have much less in comparison to today’s child, they have enough to stimulate and educate and also the lesson of living in well designed economy. A lesson, really, any of us young or old should and could benefit from. I just thought you would like this little story.
I know that there is a movement today for small moveable ‘little houses’. They are even smaller than this house, but really I thought this showed a house with a bit more than just a 400 sq ft cabin. That might be good for some, but this also shows what could be moveable for the family that might like more ‘normal’ home conditions. It also shows how we can, even in a normal foundation build stationary home, really make do and make lovely with less space.
Now, on to cleaning: I know we have discussed homemade cleaning solutions before. And, although many readily available cleaners are at my fingertips in the markets here in 1956, I am an ‘old war wife’ and certainly recall having only water and elbow grease to clean with during the rationing years.
To clean a drain (and make it smell fresh) pour in one cup of dry baking soda and then one hot cup of vinegar (Watch it bubble!). After about 10 minutes run hot water down the drain. Fresh and clean.
If you have glasses that have become cloudy from the dishwasher, vinegar to the rescue! Take a cloth and soak in white vinegar full strength. Now wrap it all around the glass, in and out, and let sit an hour or so. Now when you rinse and wipe clean, they should sparkle like new.
Copper pots or copper bottom pots? Clean these bright and new with a paste made of white vinegar and salt. I wear a ‘cleaning cotton glove’ or use a rag and apply the solution. (mix the two until they are a pasty consistency) To make them shine or to shine copper use 4 Tbs catsup and 2 Tbs vinegar and then rub it on, let it dry and buff off.
To clean metals and metal sinks, make a paste with 1 tbs cream of tartar and enough vinegar to make a good paste. Rub onto the metal and let dry white. Then wash it off and rub dry. As good as Comet  but kinder, in my book.
If you have colored porcelain sinks, use full strength vinegar in a spray bottle to clean them. They sparkle and shine!
Fruit flies? Set out a small dish of straight vinegar and they shall be attracted and perish.
A great cough syrup/expectorant is 1 tsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp honey. Mix and swallow. It really works in lieu of cold or cough syrups (plus no drugs!)
The only bad thing about vinegar is don’t use it on white marble ( I have a small marble counter I use for my pastry) as it is too acidic for it and will ruin/mar it.
There are many uses for the stuff? What is your favorite way to use it? Let’s share, as I love finding new ways to use less things to keep my home clean and in order. And, best of all, any solutions we make and keep, we can decorate the bottles as we like and how lovely to see a cleaning pantry or closet filled with little bottles bearing our own cute vintage images or sayings! “The Smith Family Window Cleaner” “The Jones’ Incredible Carpet Cleaner” and so on. Have fun with it, then it’s not work.
Happy Homemaking.
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