Next Up, Nickel Jaw Breakers

Veach Grocery, Marietta, Georgia, 1962

Jimmy may be wearing loafers, but there’s no loafing going on here. He’s making sure he’s got the energy to keep loading boxes of atomic fireballs, Butterfingers, and Baby Ruths. Surely he’s got the metabolism to indulge in chocolate bars each shift. He might even snag a box of Pom Poms on his way out.

My Mother-In-Law Doesn’t Like Fish

I’ve never understood folks who write off an entire category of food. My mother-in-law visited a few days ago and announced that she didn’t like fish because it was too fishy. This was soon after I’d ordered the salmon Caesar salad at Longhorn Steakhouse. I told her it was a gamble, like nuts. Sometimes you get a rotten cashew. Sometimes the fish is fishy. Jim Gaffigan has a whole routine about hating fish.

Then there are sushi snobs who go on and on about bluefin and skipjack. Not me. I ate a Luby’s fried cod platter as a girl. I ate fish tacos as a young adult. I had drum that one time on my honeymoon that we splurged. And I had the salmon Caesar last week on my wedding anniversary, which happened to coincide with her visit. She did say she liked lobster, however. My husband’s allergic, so I don’t even remember what lobster tastes like. If we could afford it, I’d eat fish several times a week. In this economy, I have tin cans of Crown Prince kipper snacks piled in the pantry.

Kipper are actually herring, same as the ones held by the “Scotch lassies” above. These girls numbered among the many Scots who came to work by the hundreds to Whitby, a seaside town in North Yorkshire,¬†England. During the herring season of 1932, folks literally rolled up their sleeves, got their hands dirty, and dug in. Might not be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, but it’s honest work.

Well, maybe not the FINEST

1949

The reputation of Pabst Blue Ribbon in 2022 is more for nostalgia’s sake than for any prestige that it might hold in a world of craft IPAs, ciders, stouts, and porters. Around here, they price It low for hipsters to drink it ironically. But the Tibbetts seem to be enjoying it. And who were they? Well, Lawrence was an opera singer, actor, and radio host. His mustache never suited him, and he evidently drank heavily for years. In fact, he fell in his apartment and hit his head on a table, which proved fatal. I doubt anyone here has ever heard of him. But Laurel and Hardy did.

Fall Hazard

from Portrait of an Era

Young British women stroll through the city streets in the 1930s, wearing swimsuits their mothers would have never dared don. I can tell it’s not near Texas, as wet pavement is as rare a treat as a Yeti sighting–although ladies striding arm in arm in swimwear through a downtown district is rare itself. Actually, I had shoes like that once, in my cousin’s 1998 wedding, where I served as maid of honor. I believe they were satin. I did not wear them after rainstorms.

Perhaps it is my age, but even now, 90 years later, these suits still seem to leave little to the imagination. However, the women seemed pleased with their freedom, evidenced by smiles from ear to ear–and oddly even teeth, considering the source. Cheers to the days of youthful summers.

We’ve Got The Beets

July 1928, Nat’l Geographic

Last night, we dined at a local Mediterranean restaurant, feasting on shawarma, falafel, mixed makaly, tabouli, and pita bread. They keep a container of cold beet juice next to the lemonade, so I had two full glasses. They said the secret ingredient was orange juice. My husband won’t touch it because he says it tastes like dirt. Evidently, it’s the geosmin, an organic compound that you can smell in the air after a rain shower. Yes, that earthy odor. I love it.

In the 1920s, Nebraska met the growing need for sugar with beets, as cane sugar thrived only in warmer climates. Pictured above is a western Nebraska beet sugar mill, with two young men in the foreground. The pile weighed in at 22,000 tons. While Minnesota is the top state producer of sugar beets, Nebraska ranks 6th and has been at it for over 100 years. In fact, a town built solely to process the yearly tons of beets was named Melbeta, which means “sweet beet” in German.

What about you? How do you feel about beets?

Water, Water Everywhere

The ’64-’65 school year in Alexandria, Virginia may have had some rainy days, but the students at Hammond High School made do. Whether it was tromping through puddles on the way to third period…

… or splashing dirty water upon their teammates, they persevered.

Yet even when the sun came out, they still seemed obsessed with water.

Perhaps it was simply cleanliness they craved, like rinsing the grime off the fins of a car.

Perhaps they wanted to watch their garden grow.

It appears the campus was never dry.

Even when they left campus, it was for water.

Class of ’65, don’t fall in!!

Browsing the Antique Mall

A bouffanted, bespectacled lady side-eyed us soon after we entered the Austin Antique Mall. She rocked a sombrero better than a nearby cheetah rocked his cowboy hat.

We perused aisles of knick-knacks, some of which made zero sense, like this limber colonial.

Large, upright sound systems beckoned us, but we hadn’t the cash for them, snazzy as they were–and just my style.

Some rooms we only glanced into, fairly certain we didn’t need such breakable wares.

Toys abounded.

My husband recognized this from his boyhood.

Other finds proved wearable, like this skull dress and peacock boots (perhaps not worn together).

Some items were on the verge of extinction, like this cigarette machine.

We rounded the corner past a Koken barber chair and a disturbing Buster Brown.

The Savior himself seemed to be saying, “Enough shopping already.” His mom stayed silent.

That was good enough for us. Our wallets remained in our back pockets and we left the remaining vendor stalls for another day.

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