While it would seem curious now to make plans to meet up with friends at your local Walgreens or CVS, time was when drug stores had soda fountains and lunch counters.
These University of Texas students enjoyed coffee with friends, exchanging notes and cramming for tests, with a view of pills and potions behind the glass at Home Drug in 1948. Today, these brown bottles might prove too tempting for thieves, and certainly not appetizing for patrons in the booths. Did y’all ever drink a soda or take in a BLT at the local drugstore?
Seated at the glossy counter is owner Mrs. Clarice DeBack, surrounded by her wares, transistor radio, and packs of smokes, all beneath the Jax beer sign (the mellow brew). The tavern served bar-b-q, sausage, chili, and burgers. I imagine at one time, this tavern ranked among Oldenburg’s “great good places.”
Now, look, before you criticize the style, let me just say that’s pretty dang close to how my hair looks in the morning. It takes a LOT of work to get it tamed, and I imagine that’s why Evelyn Bartkowiak visited Phyllis’ Hair Design in Baltimore every other week. I feel you, Evelyn. Actually, thanks to a quick interwebs search, I was able to see that Evelyn passed in 2016, and not only did her obituary include her work as a welder in airplane cockpits in WWII, but a dazzling smile (thanks to the accompanying 16 minute video included, of all 96 years of her life). Cheers to Evelyn for a life well-lived!
Delta Sigma Theta was founded 99 years ago at Howard University. This chapter of ladies studied as Jayhawks in Kansas. While Greek life itself has never mattered to me, what does matter is pictures. And I love this one. Not just the dresses and the hair and the double strand of something too jagged to be pearls, but I love old people names. Oreta, Betty Lou, Ivor, Cozetta, and even Dymple. Look at them subbing in Y’s 80 years ago, like they do today. (Think Kyndyll instead of Kendall.) And of course, there’s Dorothy Swope. I bet she traded that surname for another in the next five years, but on this day, in that dress, she was a Swope.
Yearbooks offer windows of potential. Young people on the precipice of adulthood, away from home, focusing their career paths, making friends, falling in love. Who knows what these women accomplished, how many people today remember their names? Maybe one reached 100 and still exists. But now they’re on the internet, forever preserved in youth, smiling in a time before Pearl Harbor, not knowing what would come.
… just like Bogie and Bacall. ♪♫♫ While sparking up may have been a turn on for his much younger 4th wife, Bogey’s health would head south soon after this ad. Turns out smoking’s not good for your lungs. But they sure looked cool at the time.
Esophageal cancer was his diagnosis, which led to surgery, and included removal of his esophagus, two lymph nodes, and a rib. Ouch! Bogie wasted down down to 80 lbs and passed away in early ’57. Lauren Bacall smoked for decades and died just shy of 90. Life’s funny that way.
Actually, these students weren’t whistling Dixie at all, because that term doesn’t involve any whistling. Whistling Dixie isn’t even racist, though the word might trigger you. I feel sorry for a former classmate with that name. Nope, whistling Dixie just means laying out your pipe dreams in idle chitchat, sharing your hopes as you’re shooting the breeze, with the connotation that you may not ever actually bring that dream to pass.
One could apply it to teens who forego college in order to, as they put it, “pursue dreams of being influencers.” One could apply it to endless promises of political candidates on either side of the spectrum. As you age, you may become more jaded and skeptical by hearing decades of unfulfilled promises, coming to think that most promises are just folks whistling Dixie, telling you what want to hear, but never making good on it.
However, if I tell my husband I’m doing two loads of laundry, the dishes, mowing the back yard, and fixing up a beef roast today, I’m not whistling Dixie. It’s not balderdash, rubbish, nor hogwash. It’s the real deal, y’all. Or as the kids simply say, “FACTS.”
So just make sure that when you start laying out your strategy, that you’ve got good intentions and a solid path to make it come to pass. Otherwise, folks might be inclined to disbelieve you, as they say. And I ain’t whistling Dixie.
I just had a milestone birthday. I don’t look quite like June and Zelma Harley, both in their 90s when this was taken 20 years ago, but pretty close. I still wash my own hair every other day, rather than go to a salon once a week. I have never had a perm. And I never let the grey grow in more than an inch before grabbing the Loreal. But I do favor that nice snowy white they have. Maybe some day …
The sisters formed the Happy Hearts Club when they were children, with three other girls who lived on their dirt road, and promptly began hosting tea parties. Both are presumably long gone by now, but I like to think they’re up in heaven, coiffed and full of cheer, sipping hot tea from dainty cups of gilded china. Here’s to aging.