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.
The Roaring 20s (which seemed exponentially better than these current less-roaring/more rioting ones) offered these ladies the hedonistic pleasure of mounting a punt on the Thames during the Henley Regatta. To this day, if one is seated in The Stewards’ Enclosure, members must abide by a strict dress code of lounge suits for men and dresses or skirts ( with hemlines below the knee) for women. Culottes are specifically cited as unacceptable. This is a regatta, not a hootenanny! Clearly these gals were less about decorum and more about revelry.
Actually, she looks better than I feel. Two weeks of making hot tea, hoping one day I will smell and taste again, losing a pound daily for the first 10 days, coughing, nauseated. Oh, what fun it is to have the China virus inside your body, when you never leave home, and a year has passed since any interaction with friends or family. But no matter!
Fanny Thorne presumably lived through the pandemic 100 years ago, and here we see here at the age of 88 in 1951, in the English village of Preston Candover, which today has fewer residents than the amount of students in most of your graduating classes. Fanny’s husband fought in the Boer War, then passed during WWI, while she lived a life of “deliberate sameness,” threshing wheat, sorting potatoes, or cutting kale for cattle because gross, why would humans eat it? At age 86, the great-grandmother of 19 “stooked” an eight acre field of barley sans help in just 11.5 hours. Combined with her years of devoted service to agriculture, the King of England himself awarded her the ribboned-and-silver British Empire Medal.