Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 April 1933 “A Long Think, Changing Times 1912-2012, a New Goal, and some Rice Pudding”

I have been away from the computer for one week now. It was in some part due to out of town guests and messing about in my garden. But, mainly, it was my own little escape from it all. To contemplate and decide and consider.

Since 1955, my journey began innocently enough. I discovered fun cooking ways, learned a lifetime’s worth of homemaking and adult responsibility. And along the way the politics and history of our country and the world simply unfolded with it all. I would casually stumble upon a story or an old recording concerning things I would not have considered pertinent to the time. Only to find out that they were discussed and concerned with, but simply we were left to believe one washed over idea of what the 1950’s was. All poodle skirts, steak, butter and martinis. That Eisenhower was a hard and fast Capitalist loving flag waver. Then, as I watched his farewell speech and saw the fear and sadness in his eyes as he warned the country of the “Military Industrial Complex” I saw a glimmer of what was happening.

Now, in 1933, there is no TV nor even half the magazines and advertising available to distract one. The concept today of everyone selling apples in the street and riding out of dustbowl farms is what we are sold. The Grapes of Wrath version of the Depression. Yet, there is much going on here that today would also look odd to what we think America used to be.

Here protestors march for the rights of the increased wages they were already getting in the auto industry and growing industries with the majority of American’s behind them. The banks are seen as predators causing a crash that affects all but made a few rich. There is a solidarity of people behind the marching soldiers of WWI looking to get their promised money for fighting early to feed their children and families while a few American’s continue luxurious living in the depth of a Depression.

There is no squawking box telling us it is all fine and that unemployment is getting better. When in the 1930’s the way they counted unemployment included those who have been out of work for awhile and those only taking part time lower paying jobs. Today the numbers seem to be cooked, but we are easily distracted by the latest iPhone ap or new version of Angry Birds and the accompanying stuffed toys or key chains we have to have.

100 years ago today, 10 April 1912, many passengers boarded the HMS Titanic. The world in 1912 and before will soon become like an imagined dream when 1913 rolls in. Down with that ship, in its very representative way of the end of the age of Decadence, also went three very powerful men who opposed a new way of banking. Guggenheim, Isador Strauss, and John Jacob Astor were all three quite powerful men. They were currently opposing this new concept of the Federal Reserve Bank which had been planned since 1910. How much more symbolic, then, is it that with the sinking of that majestic ship, not only did the Golden Age die, but the hope against the changes which to this day are still affecting our economy were begun. The fates were against us then.

In 1913 we shall have the formation of the Federal Reserve Bank, which to this day prints our money and yet is simply a privately owned bank run by but a few people. And we will soon be into the Great War, the war to end all wars, and the world will never be the same again. Income Taxes, property taxes, taxes that affect the smaller business were all to begin now. Inflation of the new dollar (printed by the Federal Reserve), drafts, these were now to be ushered in. Drastic changes in Farming and buying up and destroying of the new public rail systems that made getting about cheaper and available to all. The electric car pushed out and the internal combustion engine pushed in. Oil and Gas and Greed were now to drive our New Society.

So, with all the realities and bad luck of the past weighing ever heavier on me, it has been hard to even approach the computer. The idea of writing or even the love of it was like a bad taste in my mouth.

But, one must move forward. I am but a simple little person in a vast and heavily controlled world. I needed the time to really consider my future and my own desires. I have come to see that to simply continue on in 1933 is too painful for me. It might sound rather silly, but in all honesty the more I uncover about the simple facts of history from just this year alone, the more I become disillusioned.

My joy in sticking to one year and really focusing on that has been a good project. I am forever changed because of that both good and bad. I am glad to have done it but now feel I need to focus on the good. I don’t want to seem to be ignoring the sad plight of our current world, but I also no longer have the energy to try and defend simple facts that I find. We are all going to believe what it is we need to believe, it seems, so to that I am done.

I love the past. I find much in the modern world that is hard to fathom or to even wish to embrace. So now my continued project for this year is to make as much of the past still a part of my life. And to take what is out there now, in the modern world, that is really bits and bobs of the old ways. Even in my clothing I want to see what modern ‘fashions’ really just recall the past and see that one can dress ‘modern’ in a very historical way. Cooking and keeping the home still, to me, seem easier with the old ways. And in that I shall continue but perhaps try and see the best modern ways to bring it all in. I realize not everyone has the time or facilities to find and get old antique things, so maybe trying to make a more accessible version of the old days with simple new day things will make it nicer for my readers, those that stick around of course.

And, I really miss art. I miss the joy of drawing and painting and I think the positive and good things the past has shown me can be put to use that way. And that sharing recipes, gardening, sewing and home keeping in general was always of more interest to all of you.

I suppose I want to see if I can sort of live in a timelessness with pulling towards me all the good bits from the past. I can reference the past, news as well, but from anytime to share with you. And maybe even each post will be labeled with a date to give you a nod to what I will be talking about that day.

maxidress1 Fashion today, though mainly jeans and T’s, can actually have some historical vintage reality. Things, such as the Maxi Dress, are readily available and actually rather simple to make. One can see the similarity here from 1912 to 2012.

valentino Valentino Spring 2012 holds a lovely ladylike influence of the 1912 lace gown.

jodphurs The 1890’s cycling bloomers and the 1930’s pattern for the jodhpurs are happily trotting down the Ralph Lauren runway for fall/winter 2013. The hats are also very late 20’s early 1930’s.

dior2012 There are endless examples, as well, of very 1950’s looking dresses today, including these 2012 Dior dresses. The top on the far right would be adorable in cotton over pedal pushers in summer. The outside stitching detail on the black suit top would also be an easy to make and wearable top with any simple skirt or trousers.

 I think this past week has left me thinking on 1912 and earlier. Really finding how much the modern world began after that year has left me yearning for the long dresses and sweeping majesty of fashion then. I find I want to design my own daily clothes. I am sewing my fashions, so why not take the chance to build and create my dresses how I like them to be? A 1912 length in a 1950s fabric with a 1930s hat. Why not? I do know that dressing nicely has become a part of me and even simple walks or biking still feels more important when I am dressed for it. Rather it will be a summery dress and hat, like last year, or in the cooler weather jodhpurs, wool jacket and tie, it will not be jeans and trainers/tennis shoes for me. The small things we can control in our daily lives, like what we wear, can make our lives feel special and the moment fine. Our homes, our food, our selves, these can be the vintage haven of “good ole’ days” and an escape we can take with us about our day.

ricepudding1 I love the texture and creaminess of rice pudding. It is easy to make and so good cold or served warm with warmed cream. I used the following recipe, which was similar to an older money saving version I found. ricepudding2 I added cinnamon to mine and served it with warmed cream. This packs nicely in lunches and for picnics as well.

  • 3/4 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; stir rice into boiling water. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. In a clean saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg, and raisins; cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

I hope all had a lovely Easter holiday and are enjoying the coming Spring. How do any of you feel about trying on new versions of the old ways as a normal part of your daily life? If it was more accessible or easy to incorporate step by step, would you like such a change? Do you think my wanting to float through the past and to incorporate various decades into my life and blog would be interesting?

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