The diligent ladies here are manning (or womanning) the production line at Wisbech in Cambridgeshire in 1934. In my home, we eat canned green beans about once a week. A couple times a month, I’ll buy the fresh ones and spend an hour snipping the ends and chopping them into reasonable bite sizes, then simmering them in beef broth for several hours. They taste better, but it’s not really worth the labor or the four minutes it takes my men to consume them. We always eat the thicker Italian cut beans, as they are heartier and easier to stab. However, when the holidays roll around, we buy the French Style beans to make green bean casserole because America.
But these British lasses would never have celebrated Thanksgiving and probably never had a green bean casserole in their lives. In Texas, we don’t eat many casseroles; that’s more of a Midwest thang. But I love a good casserole, from spinach to broccoli rice to sweet corn. And I never pass up a side at Thanksgiving. I am an equal opportunity consumer. I don’t even care if the cranberries are cut into a slab of congealed jelly or fresh berries with orange zest and ginger. Either way works.
What about y’all? Are you picky? I’d eat any and all of these sides.
Who’s the most interesting fellow here? The obvious one in dark frames, or the guy taking a pull of his cigarette? It’s quite the crowded counter. Tiny bottles of soda were available for rationing through an entire meal. Honestly, how we did we ever do that? You might also notice that what appears to be a box of Kleenex or napkins is actually a NAB, a square of salty or sugary carbs to compliment your beverage. Of course, NAB is short for Nabisco. And why not indulge? It’s a mere nickel, or as Gary Gulman calls them, “quarter impersonators.” Might I suggest not pairing Oreos with Coke? The sugar crash will be atrocious.
This is quite the hairless couple, trim and athletic and healthy. I have never before witnessed such a sheen on a man’s oiled limbs; usually, they are too furry to reflect light. This delightful artwork reminds me both of Vargas pin-up girls, as well as actress Jean Harlow, who shared the platinum hair and pale skin (although rarely a smile). Swimsuits had made leaps and bounds by 1938, with vastly less fabric and stretchier than those of the generation before. Today’s styles hardly differ from these wisp-o-weight Jantzens so many moons ago.
If you think the world hasn’t made great strides in being “woke” in the 83 years since this ad was printed in LIFE, you’re wrong. Instead of erasing the past, let’s shine a light on it, so that we know how far we’ve come, and continue to go. Let’s also remember to keep everything in contextof its era and keep in mind that not everything that offends people was intended to belittle. As a Hispanic woman who has spent her life in Texas, I can tell you that many people DO speak with poor conjugation in broken sentences, as is par for the course when you are mastering a second language. I have heard sentences very similar to these. Before one jumps to outrage, one should try to see the big picture. Obviously, this wouldn’t fly in today’s advertising. And while I choose to grind my own beans each morning and consequently have never had Sanka, I sadly am forced to drink decaf as well. “I have sleep like the log” after evening coffee, too.
I love old magazines; they don’t mince words. In their retelling of how toddler Peter Jackson came to be the “sensation of the late London season” at the Horse Guards Parade, they made sure to make mention that he was only there because his poor father was jobless and had nowhere else to be, since he wasn’t supporting his family. Was that necessary?
Two-year-old Peter, overcome with emotion, could not simply watch the Mounting of the Guard. He had to be a part of it. It was not a protest at all, but imitation in the highest. Slipping away from the supervision of his father, Peter dashed out onto the grounds, secured his toy rifle (albeit on the wrong shoulder), and marched with military form, to the delight of onlookers. In this image, he is shouting an order, immediately followed by a fearful reaction to his own voice, and flees back to the arms of his papa.
Oh, y’all. How do I tread lightly on this image? My first inclination was to Google the opposite of eye candy, which returned “butt ugly.” Honestly. While I feel that is harsh, my eyes nod in accord with Google. These are skivvies best left unseen. It’s curious that LIFE published this at all, in their 7/11/38 issue, referring to Emmy Andersen (whom you will not find made mention of anywhere else on the interwebs) as a “calisthenist and premier nudist of Denmark.” By the way, if you again Google calisthenics, the example it gives is, “Three women swung Indian clubs while performing calisthenics in unison.” That’s weird, right? It’s not just me?
LIFE went on to explain that Andersen had been a solo nudist on a North Sea island for seven years because Denmark frowned on organized skin culture. Don’t Google that term, because it means something else entirely. She arrived in the USA on June 30th to “ascertain the status of nudism in America.” One wonders what she discovered, or when she returned to her homeland, which declared neutrality the following year, and was quickly occupied by the Germans. I, however, am not a Dane, so I don’t have to be neutral. To the exhibitionist with the nylons rolled down, I give a decided thumbs down.
Today’s image comes from Hoquiam High School’s domestic science department, where the seated teacher is tending to a wooden skirt made of Sitka spruce veneer, at a comfortable 1/80 inch thickness. Washington state was swimming in lumber during the Great Depression, leading to its use in costumes as well as (yes!) bathing suits. Can you imagine the marks that would leave on your upper thigh, or how it would clickety clack when you walk?