In Douglass Crockwell’s “Winter Evening At Home,” we see that Dad has just finished popping popcorn over the coals of the fire, and Mary has offered a pan of it to be salted by her beau. Everyone is enjoying a chilled glass of ale. What a fun after-dinner treat while they watch Arthur Godfrey. But what’s got Dad so forlorn? Is it because Mary is growing up so fast, and this is her last winter at home before she moves to Michigan to attend university? Is it because his right arm is sore from holding the pan off the ground, and he doesn’t have the energy to pour it into the bowl? He ought to be proud, since he clearly didn’t burn even one kernel. Quite a feat, Dad! Maybe he’s rethinking that low profile carpet and wishing they’d gone with a plush.
Or is it because Doris isn’t here to witness any of it, and she so loved popcorn? Why, that was her chair, only 14 inches off the ground because she was so petite. She even sewed the seat cover. But what a firecracker, that Doris! Remember how Dad was so reluctant to wear the vest she gave him for Father’s Day because he said yellow was too “showy”? Now he regrets his words. Goldenrod isn’t showy; it’s just right. It’s the color of popcorn and beer and wintertime cheer. And Mary’s hair color! So let’s all raise a glass to yellow!
Ah, the crisp air of autumn–not yet arrived here in muggy, dank … dare I say, sultry, Texas. Leaves are still green on many of the trees, and my hair is still frizzy with humidity. But Halloween, she comes. And with that, an obligation for children to trick or treat from home to home, virus be damned at this point. While I am not the sort of adult who dons costumes anymore, it is always fun to travel back in time to mid-century university life and revisit the apparel of yore. The couple above were captioned as “night-shirted mambo dancers.” They take it quite seriously.
But not as seriously as young love.
Next we have a gaggle of hoboes (also acceptable: hobos. Reminds me of the buffalo conundrum.) Yes, this is when it was acceptable to make fun of the homeless, before many of them were traumatized Vietnam vets. Back then, they were lovable tramps who hopped the trains–and evidently never left home (well, camp) sans hat.
Up next, a Li’l Abner couple, although little is the last word that comes to mind.
Finally, we have a prone mummy, an Indian brave and his maiden, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and others.
Do recall that Ann and Andy were siblings, so let’s hope this didn’t get weird at the end of the night. Did you know that the Raggedy siblings are over 100 years old now? Methinks we should bring the term “raggedy” back into play. It means shabby, so perhaps we could start calling interior design “raggedy chic”? Shabby chic with a hint of red yarn?
Sometimes when infatuation spills out of you so effusively that you can’t hold your dimples in, you just need your bestie to have your back, and go tell it on the mountain–or go tell the bestie of your crush that you think he’s the most.
Then he can relay the information. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Then it’s up to him to make the next move. Or bring his buddies with him as wingmen.
What is going on here? No one is rushing the stage. Folks are in their seats. No Zippos in the air. No bra straps showing. Petticoats are full, waists cinched nicely. It’s a remarkable expression of containment and decorum, when you know full well those girls are about to. lose. their. minds.
And there is Elvis, prostrate, barely legal to drink, full of chills that are multiplying and sending electric shocks up the spines of the mostly female audience. I would say he’s all shook up, but that won’t come out till next year, the year he buys Graceland and is drafted into the military.
Fortunately, Elvis lives to tour again and continues the theme of lying down during set lists, even as his age doubles from 21 to 42. Yes, the sideburns and jumpsuits (and karate moves) are new. But some things never change.
While one student pours cola down his gullet, one pours soap powder into a machine at Northwestern University in 1957. No doubt those argyle socks will be at the bottom of next week’s hamper. Have you ever used powdered soap?
The ladies below operate a more outdated model of washer, back in 1947. However, the flat lid seems helpful in removing items. One dame appears to be posting rules, although it seems difficult to lean all the way over the washer just to read them. A boy and a pram stand at the outer edge of the shot.
Once laundry is done drying, it must be folded and put away.
No, you mustn’t leave it in there to cool.
No, you mustn’t drape it over a chair in procrastination.
Just dump it on the couch and fold it as you watch TV. Then put it away in drawers, as these Texas ladies did in 1948.
Blindfolded college student Pat Mann bravely jumps from a floor plank to a pan of ice water during a tropical party. Her lei is made of carnations, while the skirt is not grass, but rather nylon and “shrouds of parachute.” Have you any parachute shroud clothing in your closet?
Mona, that’s all well and good, but before you get to the weight loss secret, please explain why your child appears to be both barefoot and topless in a nationwide ad-VERR-tiz-mint. Surely a Hollywood A-lister such as yourself could spring for a blouse and sandals, unless you spent all your money on Ayds.
Now, see here, we’d usually end this post at this point. But I fear you’ll go Googling Ms. Freeman, and you might wind up at WikiFeet by accident, as I did, a site for freaks who enjoy celebrity feet. So to spare you such heathenism, I’ll share this shot of Mona and Tony Curtis learning sign language on the set of the movie “Flesh and Fury,” wherein Curtis played a deaf-mute prizefighter.
And here she is with Roy and Dale, wearing a belted gingham dress that shows off her Ayds waist.
In this shot, she and Jane Russell talk smack about the peons at Paramount.
And finally, a shot of her with leading man, William Holden, while filming “The Streets of Laredo,” incidentally also the name of a New Zealand folk band.
Sure, now we can Zoom or FaceTime or simply just text our elders. But there’s a whole generation of folks who’ve never even heard of long distance. What’s long distance? Who cares how far Grandma lives or what time we call her? I’ll just hit up her DM. But y’all remember. Y’all had folks you only called at certain times of the day. Y’all had folks you weren’t going to waste a long distance call on at all. Those were the ones you called collect. But that’s a subject for a different post.