Saturday, April 30, 2011

30 April 1957 “Trying Something New: A Vintage Newspaper/Magazine”

reporter I have often felt myself the little reporter. My findings of all things 1950’s since the inception of my project has given me a very investigative aspect to my findings.
Often searching for news or simply recipes, I will uncover old laws or regulations that suddenly make the modern worlds current situation make sense. Much of what we seem to believe of the past is often a skewered view via popular culture. (Read Entire Post)...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

27 April 1957 “Glow little Glow Worm: Some Music from this Year”

I love this song, which was featured this year on the Nat King Cole show. The Mills brothers were at one time the “Four Kings of Harmony” a barbershop quartet formed by their father who, of course, owned a barber shop.
Here is another wonderful song of theirs, “Paper Doll”

This next number is not from this year, but from 1941. I would have been an innocent unmarried gal in 1941. I have always loved this song and it most certainly show up on the radio in 1957. It has the same group tonal sensibilities of many current 1957 ‘groups’.

Though many associate the “Banana Boat Song” with Harry Belafonte’s wonderful rendition, it was actually written and performed by the Tarriers in 1957.

In Dale Hawkins Suzie Q from this year, you can almost hear the sounds of the upcoming 1960’s. The electric guitar riffs and the increased percussion and repetitive guitar riff, this has a very dissonant modern sound that will culminate in the late 60’s and then into the various branches of rock in the 1970s.
I also love when I find videos such as this with a record being played on an actual record player.

Consider, if you will, 10 years hence: 1967. This how vastly great the divide between music shall be. Those electric guitar sounds softly foreboding in Hawkins song have evolved into the likes of Jimmy Hendrix.

Now, for me, this music is too dissonant and loud. Its almost painful to listen to. This, I am sure, is not a view shared by my modern day contemporaries. Perhaps it was because I, myself, was raised by older parents. My parents did not have Rock n Roll as teenagers. So, I grew up listening to their old records of Ella, Billy Holiday, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Teresa Brewer, Andrew Sisters and so on. My first introduction to Rock n Roll was occasionally listening to the bubblegum rock 45’s of my sisters (born in the 50’s teens in the late 60’s). Therefore the petulant sounds of the 90’s and grunge were often hard for me to associate with. And the hair bands and heavy metal of the 1980’s were never my thing. That is perhaps why I tended to like the New Wave music of the 1980’s particularly as many such bands had a very 50’s sound and often sported vintage clothes of petticoats, spiked heels and so on.

It is amazing to me the great divide between two decades as the late 50’s and late 60’s. Music, like art, is both a mirror of society and a blueprint of its notions. The changes and unrest coming in the 1960’s certainly show in its music and social morays.
I think I will close with the smooth, structured and calming tones of the Dinning Sisters. I think their perfect hair, lovely dresses are as much stage art as Lady Gaga, though I am sure that opinion will also not be shared. Enjoy:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

24 April 1957 “Happy Easter”

Of course, in 1957 Easter Sunday was on the 21st.

easterseal I think I have mentioned the Easter Seal before, but here is a quick bit of it’s history:

The organization that would become Easter Seals was founded by Edgar Allen, an Ohio-businessman who lost his son in a streetcar crash. The lack of adequate medical services available to save his son prompted Allen to sell his business and begin a fund-raising campaign to build a hospital in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. That hospital continues to operate today as Elyria Memorial Hospital. After the hospital was built, Allen learned that children with disabilities were often hidden from public view. Inspired by this discovery, in 1919 he founded what would become the National Society for Crippled Children, the first organization of its kind.
     The birth of the Easter Seals seal
In the spring of 1934, the organization launched its first "seals" campaign to raise money for its services after funding declined during the Great Depression. To show support for the program, donors purchased the seals and placed them on envelopes and letters, in addition to normal postage. Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist J.H. Donahey designed the first seal. Donahey based the design on a concept of simplicity because those served by the charity asked "simply for the right to live a normal life." The overwhelming public support for the seals campaign raised $47,000, over twice the annual budget, and triggered a nationwide expansion of the organization and a swell of grassroots efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. In 1944, the organization broadened its mission to help adults and achieved a nationwide reach by 1950.  The "Easter Seals" name emerges.

easter57 Though both men and women often wear hats on a daily basis, Easter certainly is the time to show off that new “bonnet”.

51easterbonnet Look at the Easter Bonnet spectrum from this 1951 darling cloche to today’s ‘57 version.easterbonnet57 Check out the images from 1950 to 1959 HERE.


Even Elvis is having a grand ole’ time this year at Easter with new girlfriend Yvonne Lime. This year,1957, Yvonne was chosen to co-star with Elvis Presley in Loving You in which she played the role of Sally. Elvis and Yvonne developed more than a professional interest in one another- and they dated some during the filming. On Easter weekend of 1957 she even went to visit him at Graceland, his Memphis home.

Here they are celebrating that fun day:

Here is an interesting performance from this year’s Easter Sunday on the TV show The Ted Mack Amateur Hour. Has anyone ever heard of Rick Pearce? I wonder if he ever made it even in a small way?

Here are two different views of this Easter. The first is Easter ‘down on the farm’. You can see that harvesting needs to be done even on Easter and then many gather to a pot luck or “pot latch” in the lovely Spring lawns of the farm.

Here we see the happy little Suburban Family in their Easter best. Though I notice Father and Son are not wearing ties, suit coats or hats. I wonder if they simply were off by now, as I assume they had them on earlier in the day, what do you think?

Well, have a lovely Easter Sunday. We are off to my MIL today. She is just back from Florida for the beginning of the coming Summer. I am excited to talk Gardening with her and of course hear of their latest boating adventures down south this past winter.

I will be making my chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing. The recipe is HERE on this post.

Happy Easter and may you have a lovely warm day filled with laughter and wonderful memories to come.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

21 April 1957 “It’s Curtains For You!”

villain Though my title today reeks of silent film villainy, it is actually just a way for me to share these fun drapery solutions with you.

These are from a 1954 Better Homes & Gardens article. I always love vintage takes on such things and for those of you interested in recreating mid-century interiors and don’t want just the modern conception of rocket ships and boomerangs, these offer an interesting take on it. Again, featuring much of the Early American look I am often discussing.

 curtain2 One could see Mrs. Cleaver or Lucy in Connecticut choosing an entrance such as this.

curtain3 This must be a wonderful window to have. They have an almost modernist or shaker approach to the simple benches lined up for utility. The curtains are then intended to soften that severity.

curtain4 The ruffled sheer has been a bedroom choice since the 1930’s. They are like a ladies dressing gown.

curtain5 I love this hidden closet as part of the wall and pelmet/cornice piece. If the radiators were not there, you could see window benches working will in this type of lay out.

curtain6 I think open shelves are always a good idea. They force you to keep track of what you have. Don’t you love the ever faithful dog with his children?

curtain7 curtain8 This is clever, too, the curtain hooks built under the trim like this. Again we see a more stream-lined modern approach to a Country air.

I hope these images inspire you or in the least make you laugh in their quaint 20th century way.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

20 April 1957 “HOWL and Obscenity”

ginsberg On the 12th of this month, 1957, Allan Ginsberg’s poem HOWL (which had been written in 1955 but published in England) was seized by customs officials on the grounds of obscenity. One has almost to chuckle at such as this when one compares today’s world and the word obscenity.
It has become such a part of American culture and therefore world culture via advertising, that the thought of words in a poem being obscene can seem almost alien. Yet, with today’s youth, the fear of their reading anything unsavory is increased 10 fold with easy access to the world via their phones which are mini computers.
Today obscenity in the form of words seems hardly a problem. The image is the media message de jour. And one wonders if anyone today is even alive enough to take heed of words, being so numb to violence and sexuality.
When I read the first few lines of Howl, it made me ponder:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angel headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
Today, our ‘hipsters’ are simply actors on the stage of the ever-changing world of consumerism. Those ‘cool kids’ are simply donning the latest version of ‘subversive’ supplied happily by Urban outfitters or other large retailers designed in the boardrooms of Advertising. The idea once behind the difference in the Beatniks is now simply a fashion statement; visuals with no sustenance. And the passive way in which the youth happily murder and destroy with video games, watch endless TV shows, often with parents, of bodies shot, destroyed in TV style murder all slicked back with the cool detachment of their latest ‘look’ bought on credit cards with digital money that, much like their own convictions, are backed by nothing.
Do we not live closer to the razor’s edge today than ever thought possible in 1957? Today’s ‘angel headed hipsters’ aren’t looking to ancient heavenly connections, they are simply, mindlessly, numbly wandering through their days, heads down and fingers punching away the numbness of the modern world: LOL, ;) while images of death and obscenity are so commonplace visually as to be almost laughable.
Sometimes, in my white gloves and hat, skirt and hose, I feel the rebel. The daring notion of individuality amid a myriad of easy ready to wear ‘attitude’. My costume, nay my uniform, sometimes feels my own armor. I need it  just to deal with the irony and base cold consumer world. This might sound extreme, but sometimes when I have had a good day of really researching and studying the past I see how the future turned out and it gives me a bit of a shudder.
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
The scholars of war seems to really touch base today. Though we are currently in various wars, we seem almost numb to that as well. As if it is something just happening by the government that doesn’t concern us, as long as we have access to shopping and interest rates remain low.
I often think if somehow those happy new middle class, the people who just wanted to make a perfect world for their children could have seen that many of the beatniks probably wanted a freedom from the changes in the world not dissimilar to them. Somehow the culture of division began to separate the masses. When really we all wanted the same thing, freedom. Freedom of words and deeds. Today, however, the pendulum has shifted, and what was obscene is now the mainstream and those who choose the old ‘traditional’ ways are often seen almost subversive. Those returning to the land, growing and tending like many American pioneers are ‘hippies’ or ‘green freaks’. One can dress up hatred in any form of clothing but it always boils down to one thing: Control. Someone who has something wants to make sure no one else gets it.
I can’t help but think of our current president Eisenhower’s warning given at the end of his second term (in 1961) against the military industrial complex. We were somehow divided to think those who became the ‘hippies’ and those who thought they were ‘red blooded Americans’ were different. Eisenhower, an Army General who knew war and how to govern, was the epitome of this decade and his message was no different than the feelings of many Beatniks. “Be on guard, pay attention, don’t let ease and subterfuge take over our senses and make us forget what it is to be Americans”.
In 1961, Eisenhower became the first U.S. president to be constitutionally prevented from running for re-election to the office, having served the maximum two terms allowed by the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment was ratified in 1951, during Harry S. Truman's term, but it stipulated that Truman would not be affected by the amendment. Eisenhower would easily have been re-elected. And I wonder, were his ideals against the growing power of the corporate world of America made our land a different place today?
I will close with his words:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

17 April 1957 “We Became The Maid”

servant At the turn of the last century (1900) a homemaker could not really call herself middle class if she did not have at least one domestic servant. Rather live in or a ‘day woman’, one’s social and economic station as having arrived at the “Middle” required it. Of course, pay and work related laws and freedoms were such that a bank clerk with a modest income or the local school teacher could easily afford a female domestic servant.

During the Post WWI years, servants began to be harder to come by and more expensive. The work available in growing factories and sales positions as well as the stigma of the female available to work in public (it was once not as common to have women wait at tables in restaurants as an example). Women who had to work or those who now chose to work were finding themselves places to do so other than in an apron as a domestic.

However, even by the 1940’s when the U.S. was just getting into the war, it was more common for the solid middle class and the upper middle (the professionals such as doctors, lawyers, college professors, and businessmen) to have at least one domestic.

gussie This is portrayed in Mr. Blandings Builds his Dreamhouse, with their much loved domestic Gussie. Before they build their lovely house in the Connecticut countryside, they are living in a two bedroom flat in NYC with, presumably, a small maids room off the kitchen. And even in these tight quarters, Gussie is needed and part of their family. Even in my early days of my 1955 experiment I had my older live in niece take on the roll of Gussie for me. She would help with certain tasks, such as occasional meals or in meal prep and some light housework.

An example of this early war time is this ad from my 1943 House Beautiful magazine.

maiduniformA company still making domestic servant uniforms. What I found interesting is fast forward to 1947, only a few years after the war, and a similiar ad now appears to be aimed at the homemaker herself.wifeuniformBy the way, I love the idea of this housedress, with a simple tie and button. One stays clean and still looks fresh if someone pops by. But, by 1947 we already see the move towards the domestics demise in the middle class. The position or opportunity as a domestic in a simple middle class home seems to be dissapearing. And the growing new middle class, the machinist or even mechanic, who is finding he can afford a home in the suburbs and the growing Levittowns of the 1950’s have little room or understanding of the homemakers helper, the domestic.

Here are some interesting pages from my late 1940’s homemakers manual, “America’s Housekeeping Book” on how to deal with a domestic helper.


Somthing that did strike me from this chapter in the book was the following information.

“They realize that homemakers need helpers and that it is socially important that homes should have competent and reliable workers, as must the office, the store and the factory."


It really made me think, yes the role of Homemaker is an important one. One of importance and certainly deserving of ‘work help’. Part of that idea of having someone help the Homemaker, as she IS an actual executive of her own home, her business if you will, seems to have faded almost overnight post war.

Certainly today the very concept of a maid or live in domestic would seem so alien to many that it would almost seem cruel. Yet, think of all the women, especially older women who have more free time, perhaps they are widows with family far away. Think what a joy they might actually find in being a day helper or even a live in to have the company of the family’s children and the ability to help run a house, like she did when she was younger. And, get paid to boot. As our economy grows worse, I wonder if this could become an area that people who are single or older and more alone and need some extra money might find helpful. And if the pay could be low enough (offset with free room and meals) could become a viable solution for the overworked homemaker who has to work outside the home and would love built in daycare and a hot meal. Or even the help in the kitchen preparing for things. The servant might be dead now, but as the middle class begins to disappear in our country and the future of our economy and financial standing as a country in a vastly changing world, I wonder what is ahead. When we are expected to learn to make more ends meet, perhaps the servant will be a new role to help those hard strapped by helping those even worse off to do something. The amount of money currently spent on aid for the welfare state, were that to dry up or go away due to financial hardship of the government, domestic living could be a viable solution for an entire class of people.

However you look at it, it is an interesting part of our history. And specifically for women’s domestic history, both as a servant or as a happy middle class homemaker who was happy for the help, and glad to have some ‘employee’ in her very important business of the Home.

If a servant were affordable, could you see yourself having one? Would it be a day girl who comes a few times a week to clean, or a happy elderly grandmotherly type with a little room off the kitchen happy to have coffee and breakfast ready for you and your family? Or does the idea completely turn you off?

And for those of you who would like to listen to the radio broadcast done of Mr. Blandings builds his Dream house, I have it on my YouTube channel. It has Cary Grant, who also starred in the wonderful film. HERE is the link to the radio broadcast. It is in three parts and simply click on the next parts on the right to watch the other parts. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

14 April 1957 “Oh, What A Darling Little Home”

Hubby and I are in the middle of our staycation. Today we are building our stonewall in the front of our house and have been busy doing yard work. This actually is quite enjoyable. We have punctuated it with walks and little jaunts, in between the rain of course.

Therefore, with the 1940’s theme, I thought I would share this great little short article about this darling couple. They have a sweet little one story home. The husband is a band musician and enjoys word work in his basement shop. Look at the cute little touches he has made. Also notice the price tag for the home and land was only $4100. That is about $50,000 with today’s inflation.

43house1 43house2

And here are some great magazine looks for what was the latest thing in 1940’s interiors. Simply click the image and it will take you to a great Flickr page of these interiors.

Isn’t it interesting here how the modern is still mixed with a sort of homey antiquity, as the floral wallpaper yet the bold deep almost black green back ground setting off the ice cream mint and pink pain colors.


Have a wonderful day and if you get a chance, do a little house dreaming.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

13 April 1957 “Working Women of the War Years”

 vicotryjobposter Continuing on with my week of 1940’s life, I thought we could discuss the working women of the war. I have an interesting article from a 1943 American magazine to share with you. But, before we read that I thought I would share some history on Women working in the war and how conscription for women had begun to happen in England and Europe by this time.

warwomenThough, as of the writing of this article (1943) American women had no conscription (that is were not legally inducted into war work) their English sisters had been.

In December 1941, the National Service Act (no 2) made the conscription of women legal. At first, only single women aged 20-30 were called up, but by mid-1943, almost 90 per cent of single women and 80 per cent of married women were employed in essential work for the war effort.

Women in England during WWI were not conscripted but many volunteered. When WWII arrived, the country was seen to need the women and so, rather than rely on volunteer alone, began the conscription in 1941. Women worked in everything from munitions factories (very dangerous as these were targets for German bombers) to the Land Girls who took the place of farmers and farm hands. Many Land Girls were city gals that had never milked a cow or planted a seed in their life.

I have put a BBC modern drama called Land Girls on Apron TV. I have not watched it, but it is based on these women. Let me know if you liked it and if I should break my ‘modern tv’ rule to watch it. It can be found HERE on my channel. 

Here is an excerpt from the U.S. war film about work for the war. We were still only expected to work in a voluntary manner and with that knowledge we can now move onto the article.


I found this article interesting because many women and mothers today are working women. In fact it is more expected for a woman to return to work after having a child than she is expected to stay home. With modern TV and computer and other entertainment and media devices, we find we have less ‘time’ to do many things women had to do. Many women today say they were able to do it because they were home all day, yet the women of the war had to keep the family going, make meals, raise children and do work. They, however, knew it was for the period of the war and many happily returned home when the war ended. Of course many continued to work and began the movement towards more women in the work force.

What I find interesting here, is the division of labor of the working woman. Here we see a lady who has her teenage daughter in charge of menu planning and marketing. I wonder of today’s working mothers how much they are simply put upon without help from their children. And honestly it isn’t the children’s fault, for if they were never taught or expected to help, then why should they? Are there scores of teens and tweens texting and playing on the computer in a messy room while mother runs frazzled from work to try and get a meal on for the family? I suppose this might be true. And these untaught children and teens, how will they cope when they, in their turn, will be expected to be working mothers, many of them single mothers?  Why is it we are less organized about our lives when we have been two working parent households since the 1980’s?

I am sure many of the ladies who read my blog, however, are probably the exception to this rule. But, do you think, on the whole, that many working mother’s today are simply run ragged partly due to not even conceiving of the idea that their children can and should be part of the household work force? That in so doing they are preparing to be adults who would benefit from knowing how to cook and clean, organize a home and work, balance a checkbook, the importance of saving and thrift?

Why, do you suppose, we have moved away from organization and learned and shared home labor when we need it all the more in the modern working world?

Here is the article enjoy and share your thoughts. (simply click on each image to read it.)


warmotherarticle3 warmotherarticle4 warmotherarticle5 warmotherarticle2

Monday, April 11, 2011

11 April 1957 “War Years, Nostalgia, and Salted Vegetables”

Since my Anniversary, I have been thinking more and more about my ‘War-Bride’ status. I have been thumbing through my various war time 1940’s magazines this weekend.

From one issue of House Beautiful in 1943 (My fictional wedding year) there are some interesting things. First, in the section on items for sale I came across this odd little item, Soap Capsules:soapcapsules

I wonder how many factory/farm war workers actually had these in their pocket? I wonder if they actually were purchased or most likely considered to dear to spend one’s limited and falling bank balance on. I found it an interesting aspect of the coming ‘future’ though.

In that vein I also found many such juxtapositions of old sage wisdom of coming future ease. Certainly, during this time, even American was facing Rationing. Although we will never compare to what went on in England, we did suddenly find ourselves with less. So, the modern movement from the 20s-30s was suddenly halted and we wanted to know how to make do and mend.

martexadThis ad sums up the dichotomy of the American experience of wanting to use the past’s knowledge to solve a current problem, but prepare us for the coming onslaught of advertising and consumerism.

We see the opening text of this ad for Martex towels accompanied by an old fashioned ‘sewing bee’.

Is grandma chuckling? She’s entitled to when she hears talk about conversation  today. In her day they called it “thrift”. She lived it. She’ll tell you how it developed self-reliance…the use of abilities peculiarly woman’s own.

It is interesting to me that even then, the War years, the young would look at Grandma’s “thrifty ways” as quaint. Particularly in this country. As after WWI, which was also fought in Europe never reaching the American Shores, we simply had an increase in productivity. In fact, since the Industrial Revolution around the 1900’s we were on a fast pace to the consumer country we have become. Yet, the two wars both speeded up the process yet also provided two intermittent times when we were suddenly plunged into the past. The Great Depression had many return to old ways, some as old as Hunter Gatherers when families were literally without homes and had to travel with their things, place to place hunting and gathering what they could.

Now, in the second War, we find ourselves looking to Granny to tell us how to stretch that dollar, preserve that food and make that dress. Ready to wear clothing was becoming more affordable and normal to the pre WWII American middle class. Yet, the war quickly put us all into pre World War years ideas of thrift and homemaking without the ease of store0bought.

This, however, is always being told in our American magazines of the time, that it is simply what we must do NOW, but after the war, look out, it’s going to be great!

hotpointadThis ad, in the same issue, shows the kitchen many are dreaming of when they buy those War Bonds. The bright new shiny metal and plastic world after the war.

nostalgiaarticle1This article, based on the popular radio actors of “Life with Father” are avid antique collectors. The article starts out with this interesting concept some American’s felt:

“In all the talk about how everything is going to be different after the war, there is an untrue over-optimistic ring. For life was never thus.

In their overwhelming admiration for the great surge ahead in American technology, due to the war, people are talking over-time about the shape of things to come. Radical changes are predicted for the American scene by planners and designers. A cross-section of the current press would lead one to believe that we are about to scrap the past.”

Yet, in many ways, have we not done so? Have we not scrapped the past?

Continuing on with Grannies ideas, we also see in this same issue adverts such as this for an oven dehydrator.dehydratorThis mentions how one can preserve the labor of one’s Victory Garden with the aide of the stove.

saltvegetablesI also found this article quite interesting in that it talks of the surplus of the garden (certainly something not really happening too much in Europe) and how to preserve it. This goes on to mention how one might simply run out of glassware in which to can and preserve  your food. So, they discuss the ancient act of preservation in salt. This really intrigued me. Though, the article says one must write to get the ‘How-To’, I was able to find it as a download HERE. When you click it  you will get the download to refer to or you can print it up if you like. It is a .doc document.

We seem then to have this unique American War experience where in our own shores and production are not in any real danger and so have a combination of thrift with the expectation of a consumers bounty. And this did indeed come to pass. The 1950’s in America was that unique time of plenty where in one was the happy homemaker with the knowledge of the past but the ever increasing luxury of the modern world at her finger tips. Her dominion was the Home and there was money enough for her to choose to stay in it, raise her family, and make her own haven. This, as we now know, was short lived. What lessons could we have learned from that war time thrift? Could we not have held on to ‘grannies ways’ a bit more than we did. Yet, the baby and the bathwater were quickly thrown out the door. I hope it is not too late to get them back.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

7 April 1957 “The Pajama Game and Minimum Wage”

pajamagame  I watched the 1957 Musical “The Pajama Game” the other day. It was a film adaption of the 1954 Broadway hit and that was adapted from the Richard Bissell Novel, 7 1/2 Cents. Bissell novel was based on his experiences in the garment industry. And he wrote it while he was the vice-president of his family's pajama factory located in Dubuque, Iowa.

The film version kept the principle actors from the Broadway production except they replaced Janis Paige with Doris Day. I love Doris Day and her films, so this was fine by me.

The song, 7 1/2 cents, really hit me in this film. The main plot is concerning the love interest between the new superintendent and Doris Day, a worker. The Management/worker relationship is explored here in a fun way.

Yet, this song really got me thinking about minimum wages. I recalled when back in 1955 I mentioned that the federal minimum wage had been raised to $1 in 1955 and that equaled $7.50 in 2009 money, some told me their states still don’t pay $7.50 today. I was rather shocked by that.

Have a listen to this fun song:

For fun I thought I would list the minimum wages in the times they speak of (the 10 year increments). What they hope they can buy is also entertaining to consider in this song.

1957 Minimum wage: $1.00 Adjusted for inflation for Today: $7.88

1967 Minimum wage: $ 1.40 Adjusted for inflation for Today:$9.28

1977 Minimum wage: $2.30 Adjusted for inflation for Today $8.40

Today many groceries are cheaper by comparison to the 1950’s when one considers inflation, but the cost of housing and healthcare/doctor/hospital and college is much higher. Yet, our cheaper costs on clothes and food is tied to our oil prices (as many things travel thousands of miles from other countries to get to our stores), so it is scary to think of the increased cost of things with a lower standard of living than 1950’s.

Gas was .24 cents a gallon in 1957 which is $1.89 today. In 1967 it was .36 cents or $2.39 a gallon today and in 1977 it was .65 cents which would be around $2.37. It is amazing how cheap gas got in the 1990s. It was cheaper, by comparison, to the 1950’!

Well, I am off to my sewing bee. I hope all have a lovely day and if you want you can buy the DVD in the CORNER STORE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

6 April 1957 “Computers, India, and Modern Worries”

This year we see computers advancing to the point that they are able to have radar displays. In this short film we see how the computer receiver is placed in the nose of war ships. Technology is going hand in hand with defense. And, sadly, this defense can also be used in offensive positions as well as defensive. A move we seem to be taking here in the 21st century.

fortranmanual This year we also see IBM’s Fortran programming language. This computer language dominated for over 50 years (through successive fortran I, II and so on). It aided in everything from Numerical weather prediction to computational physics and chemistry. The mind of man was now being greatly aided by the machine. We are moving from the Industrial Revolutions machine, which helped to replace the ox and cart, to the technological machine, which is aiding and often replacing man’s need for calculations and innovation. This decade truly is an almost intensified kernal of pre and post modern living.

india Yesterday, 5 April, the Communist Party in India won its elections in Kerala, the southern most state on the west coast. This state was just created last year, 1956,  when India  reorganized its boundaries along linguistic lines. This was the first time that an opposition party won control over an Indian state.

What often happens when I am researching history for the year (1957 now) I often find an interesting line from it to the future. In this case I found that on 8 July 2008 the communist party withdrew its support over a decision with our country.

bushsingh This withdrawal was due to the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act. The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singhand  and George W. Bush signed the contract which India agreed to separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and place all its civil nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and, in exchange, the United States agreed to work toward full civil nuclear cooperation with India.

At first I thought, well this is good as the IAEA is set in place to try and keep Nuclear power/energy towards peaceful purposes. However, this act partially ammeded the U.S. domestic law, in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

eisenhower54 Now, stay with me here, this act signed by Eisenhower in 1954 was changing the same Atomic Energy Act of 1946. The changes made in ‘54 with Eisenhower allowed:

increased support for the possibility of a civilian nuclear industry. Notably it made it possible for the government to allow private companies to gain technical information (Restricted Data) about nuclear energy production and the production of fissile materials, allowed for greater exchange of information with foreign nations as part of Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program.

Now what is interesting to me about Bush reversing this part of the contract is it takes away the possibility of individuals (that is you and me or any business0 which might want to address this energy as a clean source of future power.

But, regardless of that, the main thing I found interesting in the 2008 agreement was this: On 1 August of 2008, the IAEA approved safeguards with India then the USA allowed a grant  waiver to India to commence civilian nuclear trade. What this then means is that now India is the only known country with nuclear weapons which is not a party to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but is still allowed to carry out nuclear commerce with the rest of the world. 

Therefore we look at the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty). This is a treaty to limit the spread (proliferation) of nuclear weapons. So, we now have allowed India, a producer of Nuclear power/weapons, to not be held accountable to a treaty in which Nuclear weaponry is prohibitive or controlled.

Why this scares me: In our current political climate we are set to be a great competitor to China for control and use of power. This is oil, resources and so on. China is vastly becoming in a strange way a version of the USA around 1900 when Industrialization began to change the face of the country and also an odd mix of 1950’s when the production of cars and the build up of a middle class is beginning. India is a main area to want to control in an offset to China. We, through our connections with India, are now saying to the world, we can (and not have to tell you) make and create nuclear weapons.

It seems whenever I try to innocently spend a day here in the 1950’s it is becoming harder and harder to keep out the 21st century. This is increasingly becoming true here in 1957. As the 1950’s close, I see more and more the writing on the wall for our country and our world. In many ways I feel I would be better served to be doing the wartime years of the 1940’s as it seems large countries are now gearing towards a global world and the means of that end might be war.

After a morning like this, I think I need to go into my kitchen and do some baking. Tomorrow I will be having a sewing bee with some friends, so I shall try to close out our world for a few days. But, I know I must keep my eyes open and keep looking around me. I wonder if this was how the ladies in the war years felt, when the news and the impending feeling of bad times were coming? Did their abilities in home knowledge help them to ‘get to work’ to keep their minds of it all. Yet, have the smarts to make sure they still listened to the wireless enough to keep abreast of situations, to know the best plan for their families? I think they must have.

We are living in vastly changing times. So, today,learn more about your countries policies and the history that lead to them, then go bake a cake. It seems the best equation to use for we modern homemakers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

4 April 1957 “Happy Anniversary To Me: Remembering 1943”

anniv card1 Today is my 14th wedding anniversary.  I thought I would share this vintage 50’s card I found in my 1955 year with you again. It is very sweet, I think, and I love the graphics.

anniv card2

anniv card3

One of my cookbooks has this lovely cake for an Anniversary that I think I will try this year. I adore citrus filling with cake and lemon is one of my favorite.

annivcake1 lemonorangefilling snowyboiledfrosting

I was considering today that if Hubby and I were married for  14 years and this is 1957, we would have been wed in 1943. What a time that would have been.

Since the U.S. was officially in the war as of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on the 7 December 1941, there is a good chance hubby would be in the military at that point. wwiiweddingPerhaps making our wedding something along the lines of this. Though I have a feeling we might have been more along the lines of this couple:43wedding 

1943 would have been a very tough year. The war had been raging in Europe since 1939. Now that we were in the thick of it, Rosie the riveter was born.roserockwell43 In fact this painting by Norman Rockwell of Rosie the Riveter was painted in 1943, our wedding year.

The world changed vastly in a short period of time. Here is a film I would have seen in the theatre here in the US about the Rationing in UK and know very well we would be here soon ourselves.

This would also be a film I would most likely view when I was at the ‘pictures’.

I am not sure if I would have taken work in a factory to help, or simply rolled bandages and done that sort of at home war work. There would have been a Victory Garden for sure. But, if my hubby were overseas, I have a feeling I would want to help and I could see myself wanting to volunteer to train in nursing or something to be overseas as well. It would be a hard decision to make to stay here and prepare the world for when our boys returned and also to provide for those overseas or to be over there to help in the thick of it. How do you think you would decide? If you had children, that would make a great difference I am sure.

When I consider what my early married life would have been and now the vast luxury and ease of my 1957 home life, I wonder  how I would have ever truly felt all of this was ‘normal’. We would be so happy to have the world back and to have plenty after all that we had to do with out and all the dirt and muck and grim and death of war. The plastic bright world of the 1950’s would seem a dream, almost. And, really, in many ways it was. It was such a unique time that seemed only able to sustain itself for the short period of time. I think, however, in the back of my mind, I would have always recalled the hardships of the war and the vastly changing world, how could I not?

Now, hubby and I are not celebrating today. He has a 10 day vacation coming up next week and we have decided to have our ‘celebration’ be a great ‘staycation’ where in we work on the yard and take little trips here on the Cape. We are also hoping to use that week to really consider and think about our own future. We have begun to wonder what the reality of our true future, here in the USA and the increasing global world of wars in the middle east and rising oil prices, where are we headed? We are beginning to see we need to possibly make a vast change in our lives, even more so than I have done living here in the 1950’s.

I do know that my love of history and how fortunate we are to have such a vast array of past knowledge to draw upon, we certainly can consider and decide on a better future for ourselves.

I’ll close with this lovely rendition of Stormy Weather (from the movie of the same name from 1943) sung by Lena Horn. It is stormy weather up ahead and I hope we can all make it better together.

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