Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekend Cinema Spotlight: Ball of Fire

Ball of Fire
"Ball of Fire" (1941)

When I think of a fun, sweet, smart, and sassy film-I think immediately about Ball of Fire. It stars Barbara Stanywck, Gary Cooper, and an outstanding ensemble cast of professors. 

Gary Cooper is Professor Bertram Potts, a grammarian who lives with seven other bachelor professors. Each professor is tasked to compile information for a human encyclopedia. Goodness, those were the days before Wikipedia and Google weren't they??!

Professor Potts is the youngest of these professors, who is  researching modern American slang. As While venturing off to do some research at a local night club, Prof. Potts comes across a night club performer named "Sugarpuss" O'Shea. What a name, right?

Mayhem ensues when Sugarpuss realizes she has to hide away from the police because they want to question her about her mobster boyfriend named Joe Lilac played by the wonderful Dana Andrews

Sugarpuss takes refuge with the professors and much to their dismay, she charms them-all of them!  She teaches them how to Congo and teach Prof. Potts how to do "yum yum" (kissing hehe). I just found Cooper to be so charming and sweet and Stanwyck to be so sassy yet sweet-I loved seeing them together. It ends with Sugarpuss falling for the dashing Professors Potts and the professor being the unlikely hero! I found  the supporting cast of the professors were equally as charming as Cooper and Stanwyck were.

Interesting tidbits: 
  • Even though they play two of the "old men" lexicographers, Leonid Kinskey (Prof. Quintana) and Richard Haydn (Prof. Oddly) were both under 40 years old when they made this movie. 
  • Henry Travers who plays one of the most famous angels in cinematic history as Clarence Odbody in It's a Wonderful Life. His role was that of Professor Jerome.
  • The roles of the seven professors (besides Gary Cooper) were inspired by Disney's Seven Dwarfs. There is even a photograph showing the actors sitting in front of a Disney poster, each one in front of his corresponding dwarf: S.Z. Sakall - Dopey; Leonid Kinskey- Sneezy; Richard Haydn - Bashful; Henry Travers - Sleepy; Aubrey Mather - Happy;Tully Marshall - Grumpy, and Oskar Homolka - Doc. 
  • When Cooper is taking notes of the news boy's slang, the marquee on the theater across the street advertises Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, an inside joke that refers to the script's inspiration. 
  • Kathleen Howard (who played Ms. Bragg) was left with a fractured jaw when the punch that Stanwyck threw accidentally made contact. Stanwyck was reportedly mortified by the incident. 

I hope you get the chance to see this film one day! It really is a ball of fun...I! 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor: A Love Story

I hope you all enjoyed yesterday's spotlight on the incredibly talented Barbara Stanwyck and that you may have learned something new about her. One of the things about Stanwyck that always intrigued me was her romance and marriage to Robert Taylor. I love just about everything about Robert Taylor and yes I have a mad crush on  him hehe I even used his photo during a photo shoot once! 

With Taylor's dashing good looks and Stanwyck's urban spunk, I have wondered what their romance may have been like and what was life like being Mrs. Robert Taylor. Fortunately or unfortunately, both kept that part of their lives very private for the most part. And neither spoke ill of the other in public, privacy and respect is something rarely found in Hollywood, don't you think?
They were in many ways an odd couple. Stanwyck was four years older than Taylor, she was tough and streetwise; the Nebraska-bred Taylor gentlemanly and naive - but the romance endured. The couple made another film together, This Is My Affair (1937), and married in 1939. the first photo above was taken on their wedding day. Sweet isn't?

I love these two photos above. I love how she is tending to him and how he is showing his adoration for her...ahhh love.

Stanwyck and Taylor enjoyed time together outdoors during the early years of their marriage, and were the owners of acres of prime West Los Angeles property. Their large ranch and home in the Mandeville Canyon section of Brentwood, Los Angeles is still referred to by the locals as the old "Robert Taylor Ranch".
They often had publicity photos taken of them doing all sorts of things. I think photos like these are fun. I wonder what was going through their minds though-they seem so joyful to be in the presence of the other.
 Although many speculate that she was more in love with him than he was with her, I do believe he adored her and it seemed as though they did have a deep, mutual respect and appreciation for the other.

They were interviewed and asked what were the ten things that made their hearts beat faster. It was published in Good Housekeeping Magazine in May, 1956. I love Taylor's number nine and ten!

Unfortunately, they divorced eleven years later. Some say it was because of his infidelity, but we can never really know because neither spoke out publicly about it. When she had a house fire in the early 1980's it was said that she was devastated when we lost the love letters that Taylor has written her. I am a very sentimental person and I cherish the things the people I love have given me or left behind, I can only imagine how devastated she must have felt. To add to that tragedy, when she was robbed in her home in 1981, the thief stole a cigarette case that Taylor had given her with her name set in rubies (her birth name was Ruby).

They co-starred one more time, in The Night Walker (1964). This is a film I want to see badly!! Can you imagine the two of them on screen together after fourteen years apart??!! Taylor's wife was not pleased that he took that role and did not approve of it. I cannot help but wonder after all those years what their conversations with one another were like. Did they still love one another? Did they wish things would have ended differently? 

We will never know. When Taylor passed away in 1969, Stanwyck is said to have broken down at his funeral. She later said, "There will be no other man in my life."

One thing is true, two people from two very different worlds came together and fell in love. The rest we leave it all wondering....


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Classic Film Actor Spotlight: November: Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck
"I couldn't remember my name for weeks. I'd be at the theater and hear them calling 'Miss Stanwyck, Miss Stanwyck,' and I'd think 'Where is that dame? Why doesn't she answer? By crickie, it's me!"

Born Ruby Stevens in 1907 in Brooklyn, New York into a life filled with drama, tragedy, poverty, and deep sadness. Little Ruby lost her mother when she was pushed off a moving streetcar while pregnant. Sometime later he father left and she was in and out of foster homes. By the age of fourteen she dropped out of school and began working in a store. Before her sixteen birthday she auditioned for a spot in the chorus at the Strand Theatre in Times Square (Manhattan) and landed the job. So at age fifteen Ruby was a Ziegfeld girl!!!
 For several years she worked as a chorus girl. She once said of that time in her life, "I just wanted to survive and eat and have a nice coat." She also worked as a dance instructor at a speakeasy for gays and lesbians. By 1926, she was introduced to Willard Mack who was casting his play called The Noose. Mack wanted to hire an authentic chorus girl for the part of a chorus girl in his play and that is where Ruby came in. The play also starred Rex Cherryman with whom she would fall in love with but that ended with Cherryman's untimely death in 1928. Below is a photo of the two of them during the play.

Ruby was asked to change her name at the suggestion of Mack in which she combined her character's first name and the last name of another actress in the play. And that is how Barbara Stanwyck was born. Stanwyck became a huge success on Broadway and by 1928 married one of her co-stars in a play at the time, Frank Fay. After they were married they both moved to Hollywood to pursue their careers.
Stanwyck's first role in a film was in 1929, called The Locked Door. Soon after she starred in a Frank Capra film called Ladies of Leisure which really launched her career in Hollywood. By 1944,  she was the highest paid woman in America! Many of her film roles included strong characters such as in Stella Dallas (1937) and Double Indemnity (1944).

In 1932, while still married to Fay, they adopted a boy and named him Dion (pictured below). Unfortunately by the 1950's her relationship with her son became strained and she never spoke to him again. He was a troubled by but I have read conflicting reports about why she stopped speaking to him. Some have speculated that Stanwyck and Fay were too busy with their careers and were not available parents to him. I can only imagine with Stanwyck's upbringing how she may have felt trying to be a mother herself. I do believe she enjoyed his presence but perhaps when he became an adult they both did not enjoy each other's company. It happens even with biological children. I have found no other information about him, which is a shame really.
Fay and Stanwyck divorced in 1935 and in 1936 she was paired with the handsome, Robert Taylor in a film called "His Brother's Wife" (1936). They were married in 1939 and stayed married until 1950. I will delve more into this iconic romance in tomorrow's post. 

As Stanwyck grew older she may have not been the top billed star of the moment but she was still working well into her late 70's and early 80's. During the 1960's she was one of the main characters of a western show called The Big Valley which also starring Lee Majors and Linda Evans. In 1983, she co-starred in one of my favorite miniseries, Thorn Birds. She won her third Emmy for her performance as Mary Carson. She also made guest appearances on two huge television shows in the 1980's; Dynasty and The Colbys. He performance in "The Colby's" was to be her last.
In her final years she did a great deal of charity work. In 1981, she was robbed and assaulted in her home. She also lost a great deal in a house fire as well. During the filming of "Thorn Birds", it is speculated that she inhaled a great deal of special effects smoke that may have contributed to her getting bronchitis. She had also been a smoker since the age of nine and didn't stop until four years prior to her passing.

Ruby Stevens~aka Barbara Stanwyck passed away at the age of 82 on January 20th, 1990. She had no funeral and her ashes were scattered in Lone Pine, California.

She was a tough gal who survived personal turmoil and the streets of New York. She worked her way up from being a Ziegfeld Girl to a Broadway star to a iconic film star. She has inspired many actors and actresses throughout the years and her life and her roles have inspired me. I am enjoying learning more about her. I remember when I was a young girl seeing her on t.v. and wondering who she was and thinking what an amazing actress she was. She blew me away every time and as I delve into learning more about her and viewing her films, I am blown away even more.

Barbara Stanwyck was one classy broad!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Dress Like Lily Powers from "Baby Face"

I just adore 1930's fashion, don't you? I hope you enjoyed my spotlight on Barbara Stanwyck's 1933 film, Baby Face. Today, inspired by the outfits in the photos I posted in yesterday's post as well as the photo above, I have included some inspirational items from the 1930's found on Etsy as well as some patterns that look very similar to the outfits Stanwyck wore-which were fab-u-lous!

Stanwyck's character Lily Powers dresses like an everyday 1930's girl in the beginning of the film. She wore skirts with blouses that have large collars and cloche hats, by the middle of the film she is working in an office so she wears fancier dresses again with these amazing collars, and by the end Lily is a wealthy woman who relished in dressing the part.

I hope you enjoy some of these pieces. It is not as easy to find 1930's pieces as it is for other decades but you can always purchase patterns and make some yourself. I admire those who can sew, oh the things they can make! Okay now off to view the pieces I selected that were inspired by Lily Powers from Baby Face.

OneTwoThree, and Four

OneTwo, Three, and Four

OneTwo, Three and Four

I can post photos for days! 1930's fashion is like candy to me-super sweet and just delicious to look at! One of my favorite sellers on Etsy is Jill from Adeline's Attic Vintage. She sells clothing and accessories from the 1900's to the 1980's but she specializes in the 1930's. I just love her stuff and you must take a peak at her shop when you can.

I hope you found this post inspirational. Stanwyck's fashion in and out of cinema during the 1930's was outstanding and I will be posting about her fashion this week as well. Tune in tomorrow for a spotlight on the outstanding Miss Barbara Stanwyck!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekend Cinema Spotlight: Baby Face

Baby Face
"Baby Face" (1933)

There is something forbidden about the pre-coded films of yesteryear. It has this gritty and often risque tone, speaking about things that weren't spoken of in public-mainly sex. And Baby Face has it all in spades. 

When I first saw this film, I wasn't really versed in Barbara Stanwyck's films. I remember only having seen her in "Thorn Birds" in the early 1980's but by then she was much older. And I didn't know that this film was pre-coded and really was blown away by all of the sexual innuendo's. Even my husband was!

Stanwyck plays Lily Powers who works in a speakeasy during the prohibition era. Her father has been prostituting her since she was fourteen and when he dies in an explosion she decides with the help of a friend that she should start over, move into the city, and use men to get what she wants. And use is an understatement of what Lily does! She literally sleeps her way to the top of an a company called "Gotham Trust". And one of her many "victims" is a young John Wayne! That was really neat to see him.

I have to be honest, I really was shocked by the underlined theme of sexuality and manipulation. I am not a prude but you expect certain things out of classic films. I didn't get over my shock until after I finished the film and really had a "WOW" moment. "Wow" that Stanwyck played this determined woman who used her body to fight to have a better life for herself. I was so impressed with her performance. She was tough, street smart, and savvy but she was also vulnerable, desperate, and almost child-like in her pursuit to ultimate happiness.

Unfortunately, her character gets caught up in a horrible and violent scandal, one which George Brent's character, Trenholm finds himself involved in. He just happens to be grandson of the company's founder. She figures out how to seduce him and they eventually marry. When Trenholm gets blamed for the company's mismanagement, he asks her to stay with him and sell her things to help him get through this mess but does she? Will Lily stand by her man and finally stop using them and help him instead? Or will she abandon him when he needs her most and live her life continuously using men for her bidding?

You must see this film. It is now one of my Stanwyck favorites. It will just make go "wow", it really will and in a great way!

Stay tuned this week as I will spotlight Barbara Stanwyck; her life, career, fashion, and my other favorite film of hers, "Ball of Fire".


Saturday, November 24, 2012

4 Affordable Vintage Gift Sites!

Tis the season to start shopping! It is officially the Christmas season and oh how joyful it is! I am sure many of you have started decorating and thinking of what you may gift the ones you love. So I am going to share with you four of my favorite....I mean....Santa's favorite vintage inspired sites where you may find some amazing gifts.

I LOVE Anne Taintor's items! She has magnets, coin purses, cards, bags, notepads, and so much more! Her prices range from 4.99 to 33.99-all very affordable and fantastic pieces that are modern with a beautiful vintage touch!

You may recall that I adore Betty's Attic-they have such a fantastic selection of vintage inspired gifts. They have decades that are pre-1950's, 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, and 80's and beyond. I mean there is something for everyone and prices for all sorts of budgets. The Kewpie Doll is $45.00 from 1949, the Betty Crocker Cookbook is from the 1950's at $29.95, and the Classic Hollywood Paper Dolls are $12.00 each!


The Vermont Country Store has everything! OMG! Vintage inspired Christmas decorations like the ones above, clothing, foods, beauty products, and more. I have been loving this store for years! I even have the two items you see above. They package well and have great customer service-LOVE them! The elves are $19.99 and the light up Santa is $29.95. I highly recommend them!

Retro Planet is new to me. I have yet to shop there but so far I am in love with this site! Oh my! I think I may have to put some things on my "please Santa get this for me list" because this site is overflowing with vintage inspired goodies. Again, this site has all sorts of price ranges-the towel above is $10.99, the "saving for knitting lessons" bank is $7.99, and the Rosie the Riveter tin sign is $11.99-all super affordable! I need to look over this site a few more times because I think I can find a zillion things to buy on this...oh drool...and drool again!

Which site is your favorite? Do you know of any others? I would love to hear what items you loved the most! I seriously need start working on my letter list to NOW!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bunny's Perfect Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I am so grateful for all of you out there-for your support and friendship. Thank you!! 

Today was what I consider the perfect day! We were supposed to head over to my dad's but my boys have been sick and we didn't want to risk them getting worse. They are getting better though, thank goodness. My dad ordered all of this food-lots of Spanish and American foods for Thanksgiving. So instead of cooking, he brought it over to us and saw his grand babies. I really appreciated that because it allowed my husband and I to continue the deep cleaning of the house I began a week ago, plus begin to finish off our Christmas decorating. This year the children helped out in putting together the tree. We finally had the chance to continue a family tradition started in my family of putting the tree up on Thanksgiving day. They were so excited, it was so nice to see them that happy!

What made this day perfect for me was just being able to be productive yet not rush anything. To be able to get things done I normally don't get to do and also just to be home with my husband and children and be in one another's company-perfection!

I also got the chance to do something I have been wanting to do for a while and that's dress up! I wore this really sweet 1940's rayon dress purchased on Etsy for just $35! I also wore this really beautiful brown hat someone special sent me recently. I love it so much especially because it has to little hair combs on the sides! I set my hair with hot rollers and something magical happened. I think I finally got a 1940's look going for myself.

What do you think? I really believe that vintage hair is like 90% of an authentic vintage look. I have never been good at doing my own hair for various reasons but have been practicing when I can different ways to achieve a 1940's hairstyle. I have an appointment soon for a hair cut, although I have been growing out my hair since last December from a "middy" hair cut I got. I really don't think it was a true middy and I love the length my hair is now-I just need more of a cleaner shape. I think it will further help me master some 40's and 50's hairstyles. 

 I adore rayon! I love how it feels on me and the softness of it all. I felt so good being able to get dressed up today. I could tell I am getting better at my styling because my husband beamed from ear to ear. He loved the look and I am so happy he did. I am so grateful he gets why I love what I am doing. My daughter joined me outside and modeled a little as well. I think we should model together as a mother/daughter team! hehe
This is the hat my friend sent me-isn't it so pretty!!! LOVE!! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and for those of you who do not celebrate this holiday, I hope you have had a wonderful week.

xox Bunny

Saturday, November 17, 2012

What makes us vintage girls?

What defines a "vintage girl" (or guy)? I have been reading numerous vintage blogs for some time now and getting to know a many women who define themselves as a "vintage girl". So what makes someone a vintage person???

Let's take a closer look at this....does one call themselves a vintage person if they have a massive collection of vintage clothing? Does it take owning two hundred dresses and a trunk full of gloves, hats, and snoods? Many of the most known vintage gals out there do any amazing collections of vintage clothing. Some of the gals collections have made many green with envy. But many of these gals really devote themselves to collecting and some even have had others hand down clothing to them through the years.

Does wearing the perfect victory rolls or knowing how to knit or sew make someone a vintage gal? Or how about knowing how to swing dance or make an homemade apple pie? Does that make someone a vintage dame?

I think these are all very good and important questions one can ask themselves.

I do believe it does help to have a few outfits from the era you love because it helps you get into character so to speak. It may also help you to feel prettier, perhaps more lady-like, and truly in tune to the decades past. Do I think you need to have closets full of these clothes-the answer is NO. And I don't feel especially with this tough economy that one should feel the pressure to have all of that. Is it nice to have? Um, heck yeah. Come on ladies-who doesn't want to have a complete wardrobe of the era they adore?

I know my vintage gal friends all have their wardrobes as a work in progress. Continuing to grow, learn, and know their tastes in what looks best on them. Having all that stuff is great but you don't have to have a lot to grasp the look of a decade-especially the 1940's as I am learning. During wartime women didn't have a closet full of clothes-they had many separates and a few dresses and made things work. How they did it and still managed to look fabulous-I am still figuring out for myself.

Knowing how to sew, cook, craft, knit, crochet, garden, and canning are all amazing things to learn how to do. I commend the people I know who do them. Most of them learned from their mothers and grandmothers. Sometimes I feel very lost because I don't have either with me so I am not normally surrounded by women in my day to day life. But reading about all these amazing vintage women from today has inspired me to want to try to do more of these things or learn how to do them. Its great to know but it doesn't necessarily make you a vintage gal-just a very savvy, creative, and talented gal.

Did you  know that there are more classic film fans out in the world than they are people who dress in a specific decade or take swing dance lessons or know how to do a victory roll? They aren't considered vintage guys/gals. And why not? I think people are very visual creatures and if they see someone dressed the part they assume they are that part. I also think most women find it important to look good, dress well, etc because it all a part of feeling good. For women, if we feel good on the outside, it helps us feel good on the inside.

So what I am saying at the end of this long ramble? A "vintage girl" is someone who embraces many aspects of an era(s) and who attempts to express that passion or love either through clothes, makeup, hair, music, writing, photos, etc. And at the end of the day, you really need to sit down with yourself and ask yourself-what makes me a "vintage girl"? And if you don't feel like one yet ask yourself, "what do I need to do for myself to feel more authentically vintage?" For some people its wearing vintage 24/7, for some its knitting 1940's patterns or making 1950's dresses, and for some its modeling and trying to emulate the starlets of years gone by.

I am on this journey for many reasons and one is to become and feel like a true vintage girl. Of course I have my own requirements for myself and I am a work in progress. What no one can deny is that I am full of passion for times gone by. That I have in spades!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Romance Films Through the Ages

I know it isn't Valentine's Day and it isn't my Wedding Anniversary, so why am I being so sappy and posting about romantic films? Oh because, once in a while I get a craving for them. Some of them I can watch over and over again, while some are so hard to watch that they become a rare but sacred event for me. Yes, I love films that much. Like a good book, films can transport you to another time and place and for a moment you can be with these characters and feel what they feel with them. I think a really good film and a really exceptional story can do that. 

So, here are my choices for super romantic films set throughout most of the 20th Century.

Both beautiful and talented, the late Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour as lovers across time and space. Set primarily in 1912, there is both romance and a sci-fi element in this film-it's right up  my alley!

Enchanted April (1992)
Set in the 1920's, a group of women rent out a house in Italy. It is there that some discover self-love, rekindled love, friendship love, and romantic love. This film is marvelous!!

 The Great Gatsby (1974)
This film version is the second remake of the film, first brought to light in 1926 and then again in 1949. An adaption of a novel by the same name written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is set in the 1930's beautiful to watch but if you have ever loved someone who couldn't or wouldn't be with you for whatever reason, you can then relate to Gatsby's pain and borderline obsession with Daisy. Honestly, I find this film painfully tragic but you will have to watch it to see what I mean.

This is actually a short film (28 minutes) that I found on Netflix recently. It is set in the 1940's during wartime and all I have to say is let yourself be taken away by the story. It is simple but so very powerful.

 The Notebook (2004)
Set in the 1940's and based by a novel written by Nicholas Sparks, we follow Noah and Allie through their personal ups and downs and through many years of love and devotion to one another. The novel is amazing and the film is as well. Get your hankies out ladies (and gentlemen)! If you have ever known true love, then your hear will sore and ache with the ending.

 I realize this film isn't exactly set in the 1950's but the novel (another by Nicholas Sparks) is set in the 1950's. I feel that the film although set in 1998 really has an old fashioned feel to it. Even the way the main character Jamie dresses very preppy and gives a feel of a 1950's girl. This film is a tear jerker, I won't lie, but it does teach you that if you open yourself to love that it can change the direction of your life forever.

Down with Love (2003)
What happens when a 1960's feminist meets a notorious ladies man? Hilarity ensues of course and a slow but charming romance. I adore Ewan McGregor so of course that makes me adore this film even more. And a big plus is that the fashion is to die for dahling!

Til We Meet Again (1989)
I have two BIG favorite romantic films that just happen to be miniseries and also they span throughout many decades. Judith Krantz's "Til We Meet Again" is the first one. It spans from 1913 to 1956 and we learn about each character; their flaws and their loves. Its epic!! And then there is Hugh Grant in it playing a real bad boy which you don't often seen him in those types of roles. It's fascinating and I really adore this film. I think I may just have to read the book one day too!

The Thorn Birds (1983)
"Thorn Birds" is also a miniseries that was adapted from a novel by Colleen McCullough. My mother actually owned this book, so when I was little I used to thumb through it. I don't particularly like the format in how it was written and do prefer the miniseries over the book but it is worth reading for sure!

This film spans from 1920 to 1962. I own the dvd of course and I have watched it many times including when it first aired in 1983 (along with another miniseries from 80's "North and South" and  "V"-gosh I miss that kind of show!). It stars the stunning Richard Chamberlain and equally stunning Rachel Ward as lovers who are forced to live their lives without each other in the conventional sense.

It is a painful, beautiful, and romantic tale of two people whose love for one another spans across over forty years. It reminds us that we shouldn't live our lives partially but fully, that we need to make choices for ourselves if not life will make them for you. I always end up in a puddle of tears at the end of it. I always wonder what happens to Meggie after her daughter leaves and I imagine in my mind that Justine's own chlid returning back to Drogheda to learn from her Grandma Meggie the epic tale of her love for Father Ralph DeBricassart. Again, that's in my imagination.

And I shall leave you with that...sigh..."Oh L'amour, L'amour, how it can let you down. How it can pick you up again." (quoted from "The Women" 1939)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Truth About The 1950's

My neighbor Mary comes to every birthday party of my children's. You may remember me mentioning her before on other posts. Mary and her husband John were the nicest people to us when we first moved into our house.  John was a WWII war hero, having fought as a Marine in the Pacific. We lost John in 2009, but I have created a new friendship with Mary through the years. My children adore her and so do I!

She is now 85 years old and ironically celebrates her birthday the same day my grandmother did~May 1st. I have been sharing with her little by little my passion for the 1940's and what I do. Although it is hard to explain blogging to her generation, my dad is more than twenty years younger than her and he doesn't understand blogging either LOL

So, the other day at my son's second birthday party, Mary and I started talking about the 1940's and 1950's. I asked her something that I have been wondering for sometime now. After women were in the workforce and becoming more independent in the 1940's because of the war, why does the 1950's depict women as the perfect housewife and hostess? Why does it seem like women happily took a step backwards?

The answer was simple, at least for Mary. She explained to me that after the war people just wanted to get back to "normal". They knew that so many of the boys suffered greatly and missed out on a great deal of everyday life such as, attending college, dating, etc. She also told me that because the boys basically grew up while at war, people back home, especially the women, wanted to cater to them and make them feel good. It was also their way of saying "thank you".

All this time I thought women were forced back into the kitchen when it was women who put themselves back. Not out of feeling pressured to do so but they naturally felt inclined to continue to do their part. Mary told me that it wasn't a conscious thing that people spoke about openly but rather an unconscious understanding and need to want to help the boys get back to their lives.

She made me feel even prouder of being a women. By golly, we are capable of such sacrifices and such heroism, even in the simple confines of our own homes!

Oh and I have to throw in this bit that she shared with me about the 1950's-she told me that no one she knew had the same hairstyle. Mary still pin curls her hair and we were talking about how difficult of a time I have been having trying to learn how to figure out my full head of wavy hair. Hers is pin straight but I would have never known because it is always curly! LOL She also told me that women matched everything-their hats with their gloves with their dresses with their shoes. I love that! I have always been one to match my clothing from the inside out and I dress my children in the same fashion. Matching is fun!

I hope you enjoyed a little peak into the past through my friend Mary's eyes. It is always a pleasure to be able to talk to her and share with her my thoughts and ask her questions. I am so grateful that she is willing to share with me. It was like talking to a friend I have known forever-I was in bliss!

What are your thoughts about women in the 1950's? Did you ever wonder why society attempted to depict itself in such an ideal manner? Let me know your thoughts!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Pictorial of Women's Wartime Efforts

I believe we can often find inspiration simply by looking at photos. I put together for your viewing a few inspirational photos about the efforts women were encouraged to and did make during WWII.  The first photo below is of a woman working the drill in a factory in 1942, a simple task but she was doing her part.

An artist named J. Howard Miller was commissioned to create morale boosting posters for the war effort. Little did he or a young girl named Geraldine Hoff Doyle realize that the image they both took part in playing would become an iconic symbol for women everywhere!

Doyle was just seventeen years old when she took a job at a factory. When she graduated from High School many of her schoolmates had gone off to war and she wanted to do her part. She was working at a metal-stamping machine when a photographer took a photo of her wearing a red bandanna with white polka dot. And the rest is history....

Women we asked to conserve food on the home front because the more we saved meant the more the boys abroad would eat. So they were asked to can foods, grow victory gardens, make their own clothes, and mend their clothes to have them last for as long as possible. All in all, women were asked to be savvy and creative. Like a lot of women today during this harsh economy, we must do what we can to conserve and not waste perhaps not for the sake of winning a war or for freedom, but for the livelihood of our family, household, and home.

This was by far my favorite find (photo below). I really want to get a copy of this and frame it in my kitchen. To be honest with you I live out my life daily according to this chart so when I found it and read it, you can imagine my shock and surprise that yet again I find myself living a 1940's life.

For those of you who grew up on a less money than most, you most likely grew up in a household that conserved their food, water, clothing, and much more. Nothing was wasted and each meal was carefully planned out. Again, I think during this time we can look at this chart and do one of two things; feel good that you are not alone in your situation-that many people in the past and present had to and have to live their daily lives on a careful budget OR learn from those who have lived harder lives and appreciate what you do have a little bit more.

Looking at all of these images makes me feel proud and good to be a woman. It also makes me feel proud to be a housewife/homemaker/stay at home mom. I feel good knowing that there were so many women before me who sacrificed not only for their families but for the end of such a horrific war. That by canning, working, gardening, or even mending-that although it may not seem like much to some today, it meant for them that they were doing something to help others and to help our brave men and women who fought for freedom across the globe.


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