I have a feeling there were more swings in the 1950's than there are today. More playgrounds had them and people had more time to use them. When I run across a swing today, it always feels like I'm stepping back in time.
This whole "celebrating the fifties" list has inspired me to do things I might not do otherwise. But rarely do I pass up a swing without stopping for a little fun. All 3 of these swings were surprises in the last 6 months. The tire swing was along the banks of Cypress Creek in Comfort, Texas. The white swing was at a pier side restaurant in Aruba. The red swing was hanging from the most lovely tree near the Menil Art Museum in Houston.
When I spot a swing, I feel like it's my lucky day!
Sheet Music From the Fifties
I don't recognize "Melody of Love" but it was written in the fifties, so I snatched it for a buck at an antique store.
The only thing that I loved when I was living the fifties, was Mommy and Daddy and my thumb. But it must have been a pretty good decade to fall in love. In the 1950's, people still gathered around the piano at parties or sat side by side on the piano bench and crooned out some good ones.
So I took that piece of music and allowed myself to sit down at my neglected piano. Not only did this silly blog list motivate me to return to an instrument that I really do love. I took it a step further and I sang along. Corny? Yes. Comical? Very.
A Little Time with Old Albums and a 1950's Viewmaster!
Obviously there were no digital options in the fifties, so that makes these old black and whites, more precious. When groups gathered to smile for a camera, there was usually just one click. And when you finally used up a roll of film and had it developed, you were surprised to find photos taken over a year's time. The photos were then put in shoeboxes or albums, using those dandy black triangles! And sadly, the photos were often blurry and un-cropped. But I enjoyed every minute as I looked over the torn pages of these old family albums. There are memories connected to some old photos, but mostly the images invite you to imagine the stories!
The old Viewmaster was a hoot! But I can only look at 3-D pics of the White House and Capital for so long. Give me a photo album with people any day!
I talked Don into driving 45 minutes to go to a drive-in, to see Disney's Cinderella! What husband of 35 years does that? Thanks, Don!
Luckily I was able to growl, then laugh and then absorb the totally delightful evening. The weather was heavenly and the whole scene was a hoot. The grassy playground was scattered with puddles and giddy kids. There were families gathering with lawn chairs and blankets. There were chatty dog walkers, sloppy ball tossers, and a generous windshield washer, eager to share his Windex. We chatted with the family in the van next to ours. "Grandma" remembered when admission was a dollar. "Mom" laughed and asked if we could help keep an eye on her teen daughter, who had brought her boyfriend for the first time!
Staying awake through the movie was no problem, since we had occasional horns and car lights surprising the crowds. No this was not an attempt to keep the young teens from getting frisky. Today's cars just get a little confused when radios are left on. We found the whole thing pretty amusing and luckily the car did start up when it was time to leave!
Dressing for The Theatre... Back in the Day
What a nice surprise when my friend Margit, invited Sigi and me on a spur of the moment Ballet Outing! It's ridiculous that I haven't gone in years, since I adore any kind of dance!
When I dashed to get dressed last night, I didn't have time to fuss over an outfit. But I did pause to imagine the crowds who would have attended the ballet in the fifties. The lady patrons seated in velvet theatre seats, would have been covered in furs and white gloves and topped with plenty of hats and hairdos. I had no time for such elegance, but I snatched a strand of pearls and tossed them awkwardly over my corduroy collar and then I remembered the vintage "pocketbook" that sits on some old luggage in my guest room. I tossed my keys and cell phone into the dandy purse and gave it a snap! I had 2 intermissions to strut my stuff, with that silly alligator purse dangling on my arm!
Hey, the purse was fun. I've never thought to use it. But the ballet was a total delight! I was mesmerized by one contemporary piece and I smiled and sighed over the traditional pirouettes and tutus.
What a treat, Margit! Can't thank you enough!
A Morning with Friends
I also had some vintage magazines hanging around, since these "ladies" happen to be my book club friends. After all we're used to discussing what we read. Of course we're also used to meeting at night with wine and laughing into the wee hours. We did the laughing part! But our discussion (and laughter) had more to do with the old cigarette and bathing suit ads and the creepy looking recipes and stylish home decorating tips!
Besides... we've discussed fifties classics like Catcher in the Rye and On the Road in past gatherings. Sometimes we need to just let loose with a little daylight and caffeine!
Easter is coming and I must get a hat!
A woman should never need an excuse to go out and buy a hat! But I recall at least one episode when Lucy needed a little "pick me up" and hat shopping with Ethel was the answer.
Well, I don't know about any of that, but I know those women in mid-century movies and TV, got a big kick out of hat shopping. So, I gave it a try (at an antique store) and I did have a heck of a good time. I'm sure a few of the pillbox and veiled hats I tried on were from the fifties. But there were so many doozies from different eras, I just had to try them all!
I heard that the hat market slowed down towards the end of the fifties. Women started spending more time at the hair salon and didn't want to hide or mess their fancy hair-do! But Easter is still a pretty powerful motivation for buying a hat. I didn't find the perfect one yesterday... but I still have a month!!
Is this photo creepy?
At 57 I am wearing a ponytail and playing with dolls! That's like a Hitchcock movie. However, it's not quite as creepy as the time I watched a man, stop in the plaza in front of The Alamo and pull a Barbie out of a briefcase. He seemed dead serious as he photographed her in front of the Texas landmark.
But I have a good excuse. I'm trying to reach my goal of celebrating the 1950's in 57 ways... before April 9! And Barbie was born in 1959, so why not have a little fun. Actually my ponytailed Barbie disappeared over the years, but I was able to find the old suitcase holding my (less glam) Midge Doll. She doesn't have Barbie's sexy pout, but she fits Barbie's swimsuit just fine. I'm glad to say I am also the keeper of my sister's Ken Doll. He may be losing his felt hair, but he still looks fine in his red trunks, terrycloth coverup and green swim flippers!
Mom, thanks for never throwing anything away. I had a mighty fun time!
I love celebrating Chinese New Year's in Houston, because there are so many authentic options for food! Our "Asia Town" as many call it, covers 6 square miles and offers every kind of Asian market, restaurant and business you could imagine.
After a search, Don and I found Chang's Chinese, which offered the safe and boring dishes that our families would have ordered 50+ years ago. We called in a carry out order of Chicken Chow Mein, Shrimp Chop Suey, Pork Lo Mein and Egg Drop Soup. We enjoyed our own tea and tried to ignore the lottery numbers that are now included on fortune cookies. After our meal we sat back and watched a YouTube clip of Rogers and Hammerstein's musical, Flower Drum Song. Holy cow. The song and dance number titled "Chop Suey" is a pretty whacky (and rather unrealistic) peek into the world of San Francisco's Chinatown in the fifites!
CHOP SUEY SONG: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPwiqmv6Xeo
57 Celebrations of the Fifties!
April 9, 2014...My BYB!
I don't remember the 1950's, since they ended when I was 2. But since I turned 57 today and this is my BYB (Birth Year Birthday) I'm going to just appreciate the flavor of 1957! My goal is to celebrate in at least 57 simple ways throughout the year! I will dabble in the fashion, the foods, the music and the culture of those times...just for the fun of it!