Friday, February 10, 2012

10 February 1933 “Singing Telegrams, Ukulele, Deviled Shrimp Pie & Unusual Lima Bean Loaf””

H. Armstrong Roberts / Retrofile / Getty Images Today in 1933, Western Union began offering Singing Telegrams. Prior to this (and of course again in the coming decade with WWII) receiving a telegram usually made one feel apprehensive, as it often was a harbinger of bad news.

Western Union Singing Telegram advertisement, 1955 (Photo: Business Wire)Apparently, their popularity picked back up again after the second World War, as here we see an advert for singing telegrams from none other than, 1955!

I read an article saying that Western Union actually launched this year a website to brink back the telegram. But to do so through the internet, so someone could send a singing telegram today. I won’t give the address, because when I followed the link in the article and the page loaded, I was accosted by the worse LOUD sounding hip/hop rippity rap sound that tortured my ears! I had to close the window immediately and listen to this to bring my ears back to the sensibility of good music. The lovely Ethel Waters singing Miss Otis Regrets

Here is a fun song and clip from the picture “Take a Chance” from this year. The song is called “Blame it on the Ukulele”

By now, the Ukulele is the established instrument of the people.

Flappers with Ukes

Transplanted to America in the 1920’s the ukulele, portable, it was considered the image of the Jazz Age. It was first introduced to the masses in 1926 with one of the earlier sound talkies staring the very talented Roy Smeck. Smeck was a genius of the strings and he could do magic with stringed instruments. Here is a clip from that ‘26 film showing off his talents. He plays the uke later on in the clip.

I found some cans of shrimp very inexpensive at my local market and so picked some up. Much as my Depression era sisters would have done, with food prices rising we must try to find inexpensive ways to make meals.

shrimppie Here is the recipe and I will tell you how it turns out.

unusuallimabeanloaf And from my Hostess Handbook from the 1930’s this fun recipe with a great drawing diagram to accompany it. I love that this recipe book has these little illustrations. It makes me want to get back to drawing again.

limabeanloafillustration Do let me know if any of you try this recipe and cost it out if you can. I shall do the same. We can try and build up an arsenal of inexpensive but interesting foods to supplement our menus. It seemed to me today, as it was my marketing day, that prices seem to have gone up again! It is very frustrating.

Happy Homemaking.


  1. This post is very timely. I just heard on the radio an ad for a singing group (in Atlanta) that is offering singing telegrams for Valentine's Day. While I wouldn't like something like that (I'm to frugal for things like that) others would probably love it.

  2. I will pass the lima bean recipe on my father - he loves them! The Ukulele seems to be popular again here - a friend recently took it up when he turned 40 (his mid life crisis cure he tells me)and attended a Ukulele festival. Thanks for the great clips!

  3. Back in the 30's my grand Father dilvered telegrams for Westerion Union Here in Wichita Falls. He Once Dilvered a message to Guy Lumbardo while he was playing in the "Hamilton Ballroom" High atop the Hamilton Building downtown. Mr. Lumbardo tipped my grandfather with a Half dollar and all these years later My grand Father still keeps it in his wallet!

  4. I have taken to watching at garage sales for non electric appliances. We do use a Hoky which is a non electric sort of carpet sweeper. Course it does not suck up stuff in the rugs and only get the top layer but least it does that and we do not use the electric one as often. I am hoping people are realizing money does not buy happiness...even if you have money. I have been thinking of all the diaries I have read from women through the hers and how they lived and thought about their homes. Your blog has given me much to think about and I am glad to come here and learn more. I love my home too and when growing up we had so many things from he 30s we were still using all around the house up till the 70s. Thanks so much for showing us another way of living and giving us much good thought.... Sarah

  5. Cute hat in your profile photo, but what has happened to your skin tone? Have you been ill? There seems to be an ashen appearance to you skin that just was not present in the past photo. Also, you look so sad, is that supposed to be a commentary on the great depression? Surely some exercise and fresh air would bring some color to your cheeks and do wonders for your form. Get out and enjoy life.

  6. anon-I know the photo is not very good. I do intend to do a better one with my finger waves, but it was what I had. I am not sure why it turned out like that, rather washed out, most likely just bad shot from flash. It was taken at night so flash washes you out and I tried adjusting it in Photoshop. But, I figure it works for now until I can change it. I rather hate having photo of myself anyway, but feel it is important to have one for bio. And I am not sad in it surprisingly, in fact just going out for the evening and rather did enjoy my life that night, as I do most every day. Thank you for the concern, though and as far as how wretched I look, C'est la vie!

  7. I am so envious of your life. You get to live in what ever decade/time period that you like, get to change home decor, cooking, and clothing styles. Not have to worry about caring for children or working outside of your home and get to blog as much as you like about what ever whim comes your way. I wish that I had the luxury that you have to indulge in what ever whim of the day I feel like. Such a carefree me-centered life, wow!

  8. anon-yeah, I am lucky. I am very grateful for my opportunity. Having a loving husband who understands AND appreciates that what I do do at home is a job. It is true that I get to structure my day, though I still have to work around a schedule ruled by meals as to when hubby goes off to work and returns.
    Though, I must say that it isn't as glamorous as it might sound all the time. Blogging all the time is rather hard work. Especially as I spend quite a bit of time studying, researching and just endless going through dry boring bits of knowledge mixed in with the fun stuff. It is very much like being at university and writing your papers or being a journalist. I give myself deadlines, have to try and check facts.
    Though, of course, we all live ME centered lives, how can we not? I do still have others to consider. My family, though I have no children, still exist and I do have to and often consider and plan for them as well. I wish, sometimes, that we were blessed with a child. But, with the economy as it is and our continuing look at the coming future mixed with the devaluing of the dollar, and the increase in food costs and university, were we to have a child I would alas have to leave the poor thing to others care. And, to us at least, that just isn't what we would want as parents.
    Now, I am not saying that is bad for those who have chosen that role, good for them and they are far stronger and possibly much more clever than I. But, for us, a child would benefit from my being home to teach and love and care and provide stability. In our current climate that is not a viable solution in our income bracket. It rather makes me sad, really, that in many ways the US has changed so drastically that that joy of a child, in the way it once was, has been taken from many of we middle class folks. But, what can one do? I cannot change the whole world and many of the things that lead to it continue to happen. And even the changes those they are happening to could do to try and change it refuse to see it, so we are at the whims of the few and the actions of the masses.
    But, yes, overall I am very lucky. And I am very appreciative of my life. There isn't a day that I send hubby off that I don't stop and think, "I am lucky".

  9. How can you claim that you have choosen to be child-free due to the economy. Thant is one of the most selfish cop-outs I have ever heard. if you choose not to have a child that is your right, but do not blame it on the economy. Think of how many families with a lot of children survived during the depression, and without government handouts. I think that your biggest challenge to mother hood would be giving up your "you" time and unplugging and really doing something productive and meaningful.

  10. First off, I wasn't aware we were not allowed to have any reason we choose to not have a child. A family should make sure they feel comfortable with the choice, I feel. But, I am afraid anon, that for our reasons I do , indeed, blame the economy. Now, we certainly could go ahead and have one. Many do and, as I said, I applaud them. They are made of stronger stuff than I. I am, perhaps, far too selfish in that way and thus, by that very admission, might make a wretched mother anyway, don't you think. Certainly if you think me incapable of my not being selfish you should be quite glad I have chosen not to be a mother. For what a mess of it I shall have made. No, I shall let other better mother's do their job and be happy and proud for them. But, for my own criteria for Me personally for having a child, I do and will blame the economy. Only because those are part of the set of criteria we, as a family, have set down. Were we more certain of the future, were it say actually 1955, I would, without a doubt, have a child! But, it is not and I am, as you say, self interested. So, there you are and her am I , childless. Yet, I don't think I have less purpose or am less a productive member of society. We cannot all be mothers, can we? It is one of the hardest jobs and requires the best of women and they deserve much praise. And believe you me, I happily give it. But, alas, I could not for myself have a child and then go off to work because I AM selfish and would WANT all the time with the child. I am just sad that we do not live in an economy that would allow me more opportunity to make that very choice, but c'est la vie, what can one do.


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