Ike Dresses All The Rage For The Holidays

by Carl Mydans

Before IKE meant “I know, eh?” which sounds soooooo Canadian, Ike meant Dwight Eisenhower, as in the former president. All the boys in his family were called Ike; he was “Little Ike” as the youngest. And who could have imagined one day women would be sitting on a hardwood floor, clapping for him, wearing his nickname all over their flouncy dresses?

This Iron Band Doesn’t Shine For Me Anymore

Fotoli for Nat Geo 3/37

In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia, tipping off the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. To bolster gold reserves, the Italian government, under Mussolini, made a plea to its citizens to exchange all of their wedding rings and jewelry and even false teeth for these stacks of iron bands. Fascist officers in Rome supervised the exchange.

But what’s crazier than that is that Italian-Americans helped with the effort as well. Per shoeleatherhistoryproject.com, Mussolini proponent Father Andrew J. Kelly, pastor of St. Anthony’s Church in Hartford’s Italian east end in Connecticut, convinced 500 Hartford women to give up their gold bands at a blessing ceremony on Sunday, May 24, 1936. “The substitution of iron for gold wedding rings by Italian wives,” the priest said, “symbolizes… the unanimity of Italian sentiment in favor of its government.”

“Gold for Country”

Watch Your Back, Subversives

I’m glad I wasn’t a student at Berkeley in the 1960’s. Being chased by cops during student protests looks fairly terrifying.

Berkeley pioneered the Free Speech Movement (FSM), a long-lasting student protest which took place during the 1964–65 academic year.

These days when we see students running for their lives, it’s for a different reason. But either way, it’s still frightening.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For Constitutional Rights

Illustrated History of the US, Getty Images

Panic and fear of a Japanese invasion led to the rounding up and internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII per Executive Order 9066. This woman’s body language in Redondo Beach seems to show some panic and fear as well. Both Canada and Mexico followed suit shortly thereafter.

This shot of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Dillon S. Myer, director of the War Relocation Authority, seems to imply no resentment on the part of those who were relocated to Gila River Relocation Center in Rivers, Arizona. Can we leave soon please?

Per http://www.history.com, about 117,000 people were affected by relocation, with a total of 10 housing camps. Two were located on Indian reservations, despite the protests of tribal councils, who were overruled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Snap.

Army-directed evacuations began on March 24. People had six days notice to dispose of their belongings other than what they could carry.

Anyone who was at least 1/16th Japanese was evacuated, including 17,000 children under 10, as well as several thousand elderly and handicapped.

These folks are smiling at Santa Anita, but the crowded conditions betray them. Although they were not met with the horror and atrocity of concentration camps, a cage is still a cage is still a cage, especially since most of the people were American citizens.

Getty Images

The last Japanese internment camp closed in March 1946.

Granddad’s Monthly Test #1

My granddad Bill was born in 1920. Wasn’t he a happy toddler? As a child of The Depression, he tended to hoard things–things others might toss without batting an eye. Much of it was unnecessarily saved, but among his piles of things salvaged were monthly tests. Today I share one that he took in 1930, just after he turned 10 years old.

I hope that you have found this interesting. You can see how children only 9 and 10 were already learning about Fascism before they ever learned about Hitler. One wonders if children nowadays are so aware of their political system. Actually, one is certain they are not. They are busy playing Fortnite. Perhaps I will share more of these in the future, as a testament to the lives of those in The Greatest Generation.