1950s, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Travel, Vintage

Escaping 2020

LIFE 4/12/54

Summer ends next week, and Halloween will follow, and the next day begins the holiday season. We all know it will pass quickly, as it does each year, and soon we will complain of ice and frigid temps. In any event, most of us will be itching to disembark the burning ship of 2020, whether or not we have life vests like the fellow above.

This particular image was taken from a lifeboat by one of the 1500 passengers aboard the British troopship Empire Windrush. On the last leg of her voyage from Japan, steaming past Algiers, an engine room explosion sent flames and smoke throughout the ship. Lifeboats carried away all women and children, and 750 men were left to crawl down (or in some cases, jump) into the water. Rescue ships soon arrived and picked up every single crew man, save the four who were killed by the actual explosion. No other lives were lost, and it became one of the most successful sea rescues of all time.

The ship did sink after all, but here we see her in better days, in June of 1948, arriving at Tilbury Docks from Jamaica, with 482 Jamaicans on board, emigrating to Britain.

https://metro.co.uk/    (Picture: Keystone/Getty Images)
1920s, Culture, Fun, Funny, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Texas, Travel, Vintage

Air Planking

Houston Public Library, 1920s

During the Roaring 20s (as opposed to this current 20s, whose moniker remains to be seen, but I vote for Recovering) flying circuses and wing walkers were all the rage. I find it curious that they simply couldn’t paint in smaller font and thereby include all of the letters in TRANSPORT, but no matter. Although, technically, it could abbreviate TRANSPLANT as well. I would not volunteer for an aerial transplant.

1920s, Culture, Fashion, Fun, Funny, History, Nature, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Style, Texas, Travel, Vintage

Only Godless Heathens Don’t Wear Hats

Houston Metropolitan Research Center

1920 is most remembered as the year women got the vote, and perhaps these very women DID vote that year. However, this was a day of leisure, a pleasant afternoon of watching boats shuttle visitors to and from the San Jacinto battlegrounds in Houston. Most Texans know the battle happened in 1836, the year Texas won its independence from Mexico, in a fight that lasted 18 minutes and wound up with Santa Anna getting his boo-tay handed to him by Sam Houston.

And while this image seems so very long ago, and none of us was alive, let’s remember that John McCain’s mom was already EIGHT years old when this photo was taken, tackling third grade and cursive. Just throwing that out there for some perspective. And she’s STILL alive.

1900s, Culture, Fashion, Funny, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Style, Travel, Vintage

Hot British Mechanic Rocks Double Safety Pins

It’s 1911 in Antartica, and British engineer Bernard C. Day returns to base camp after driving one of the first motor sledges used in Polar exploration, during the South Polar Expedition aka the Terra Nova Expedition aka the British Antarctic Expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott (photo by Herbert G. Ponting from Then & Now). While Scott perished the following year, trying to be the first to reach the South Pole, Day lived till 1934.

What do you think? Hat or no hat?

https://returntoantarctica.com/
1970s, Culture, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Texas, Travel, Vintage

Delta Tests New Space-Age Coffee Holder

Houston Chronicle Archives

What’s going on here? Sideburns and Leisure Suit are actually showing astronaut Story Musgrave (yes, Story!) a fancy new shuttle vehicle at the Johnson Space Center in 1976. Chemist Robert Clarke and physiologist Charles Sawin assess Story’s reaction, hoping he doesn’t spill his morning coffee. Story will turn 85 next month, still the most formally educated astronaut with six academic degrees.

quotesgram.com
Art, Nature, Nostalgia, Pics, Texas, Travel, Vintage

Souvenirs of Boca Chica on Padre Island

I recently came into possession of narcotics a book of paintings by EM “Buck” Schiwetz, an artist who painted the Texas landscape for decades. In the future, I imagine I will share more of his images, but I just wanted to focus on this one today and get your take. What do you think of the seagulls, the seaside shanties, the brown sky?

1980s, Culture, Fun, Funny, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Travel

Vaquero And Mini-Me Passing Banana Lady

Nat Geo, Nov 1983, Comayagüela’s San Isidro Market

Nothing warms the heart like a little buckaroo, even if he doesn’t have boots to match. His shoes seem much more sensible.

Modern San Isidro shops offer smaller baskets, should you so desire to transport bananas on your head.

flickr

If you prefer a platter, that’s always an option as well.

wikimedia commons, Ghana woman
1930s, Culture, Fun, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Travel, Vintage

Rowing Away From The Crazy

by Jacob Gayer

I love vintage National Geographics. They didn’t mince words in describing these “shanty-boat folk” in May of 1932, which, though in the Depression, was STILL probably a better May than ours, as they weren’t consumed by thoughts of invisible germs killing them. Shanty-boat folk don’t care about no germs. SBF don’t care about paying property taxes, since their “crude craft of clapboards and tin” drifted along the Ohio River and down the Mississippi as they saw fit, stealing food from cornfields and berry patches, or snatching an unfortunate stray chicken. These water gypsies had been “the bane of steamboat skippers,” who tried to maneuver around them in days of yore, and continued to incite derision as the decades passed.

For more information on shanty boat people and cool images like this even-more-mobile mobile home, check out: https://peoplesriverhistory.us/project/history/.

1960s, Culture, History, Photography, Pics, Travel, Vintage

All The King’s Horses And All The King’s Men Couldn’t Put The Economy Back Together Again

Houston Chronicle

Looking at this image of debris washed up along Galveston’s seawall as Hurricane Carla battered the coastline in September of 1961 made me reflect on the powerful beating our economy has taken in a period of only five weeks. Yesterday, my childhood restaurant closed, one where I have fond memories of eating gingerbread pancakes and broccoli sour cream omelets, washed down with iced hibiscus tea at the dawn of the 80s. It had an hour wait nearly every weekend for 40 years, and now it has no wait. Another trendy Austin hotspot folded this morning. So much for their lemon shrimp linguine. How can everything tumble so quickly?

photo by Flip Schulke

Our favorite haunts are pummeled, as we stand helplessly by. So much for the Pleasure Pier.

all images from the Houston Chronicle

The water keeps rising. The Mobil is inoperable, but we don’t need the gas because we can’t go anywhere. The Motor Hotel is flooded, but we’re not allowed to travel from home, so it barely registers.

Down is up, and up is down. Small businesses fold; delivery services soar. Horses stand on patios.

Boats prop tilted on the highway.

In the aftermath, we try to salvage what we can. Sift through the rubble.

What do we do now? We have no income. We have no idea if our jobs will exist when we return to them. How will we pay our bills? We don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. This stimulus check will barely get us through the next month on essentials.

So we cry and comfort each other.

We wonder if the lives saved by isolation outnumbers the lives lost by suicide, outnumbers the families left unfed and unsheltered, down to their last double digits in their savings accounts. And still it goes on.

But we can see the light. We can walk toward it. The world will once again re-open, battered and bruised, but hopefully more united, more focused on true priorities and aware of invisible dangers. Together, we will wade out.