When You Not Only Want To See His Armpit Sweat, But You Want To Feel The Moist Warmth Upon You

This 1947 Blueprint yearbook referred to one of these fellows as “Lonesome Polecat,” and I immediately thought that that might be the best name for an indie folk band ever, until I Googled it, and DARNED if it isn’t a song from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It includes the lyrics, “a man can’t sleep when he sleeps with sheep.” Goodness!

Not The Best Way To Land A Man

Del Masters 1940s

This Del Masters pinup opens itself up to many questions. Firstly, we all know that hitchhiking is frowned upon, especially once serial killers came into vogue. Who knows what kind of person might rescue her? Secondly, there is no way that seaplane could spot her thumb from so high above. Even supposing it is a seaplane that had the capability of landing Sully-style near her, the waves would topple her raft, especially if she insists on standing astride it. The last thing a pilot wants to see is a distraught young woman in a wet, white shirt.

Thirdly, both she and her luggage would be better off sitting down. Surely she’s not wearing stilettos, or the raft will be sunk in no time. Why is she on a raft in the first place? Did her boat overturn on a three hour tour? Did everyone else perish? Did one oar float away? It’s a good thing she’s decked out in her best seafaring ensemble, garters, and flimsy blouse. Let’s just hope that pilot isn’t on his phone, or he may just miss her.

Kick Your Heels Up

Paul Martin, London, 1896

Girls dancing to the music of the “mouth organ” (let’s call it a harmonica) to celebrate the August Bank Holiday on Hampstead Heath. Despite the layers of heavy clothing, they seem to be enjoying the moment just fine.

Textbook Time

Le Mirage 1969

As the new semester starts, students in the fall of 1968 rush the cashier with textbooks and other school supplies. Then it’s back to the dorms for a change of clothes because the Methodist Student Center is hosting a back-to-school party tonight.

Later on, it’s going to get groovy, man. Lose your shoes and let your hair down.

Don’t overdo it because you’ll have to be up early in the morning. Isn’t campus lovely this time of year?

Linda is delighted that the University Complex South just got the new typewriters in. They’re super intuitive.

Lily is excited to use the dictaphone in shorthand class, the wave of the future.

Don’t worry; teachers are always willing to help students with vocabulary words.

And students are willing to point out where professors may have spilled potato salad on their ties.

You can catch up with your old friends and talk Aqua Net. No boys will ever run their fingers through your hair again.

Go wild and take a modern dance class.

But before long, those term papers will be due.

So be sure to put on that thinking cap and make it another great year of academics!

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.

When She Hairsprays Your Lips Instead

America 24/7, shot by Jim Burger, 2004

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!

Swope Is A Real Last Name

University of Kansas, 1941

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.

We Had It All (We Had It All)

1954

… 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.

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