Last Day of Being 57!
Here is a fine photo of me, enjoying the last day of my year long celebration! I'm wearing my childhood skate key on a cord around my neck, along with a cozy Grinnell College sweatshirt!
I was just a baby in 1957, when my family moved to Grinnell. I was too young to skate. It was probably around 1962 when I first tested my metal skates, on the walk in front of my house. I got a lot of skinned knees from those sidewalks, buckled from Elm tree roots!
Please don't look too carefully, or you'll see I'm only wearing one skate. I recently bought the rusty thing for $1.75, at an antique store. The skate had no strap, so I created my own. I would have looked the part better, had I worn Keds or saddle shoes. But I did find moccasins in my closet. I used my key to tighten the skate onto the soft leather.
As for skating? I wish I could say it all came back, like riding a bike. But with only one skate, it was more like a scooter. Buckled sidewalks? Nope, just a lot of oak blossoms from the Live Oaks... ready to cushion my fall!
Wood Rackets and Broken Strings!
I was dressed as a tennis fan, not a player when I arrived at the neighborhood courts yesterday. I went to watch my old team, that I played with for at least 10 years. I was laughing with Beth and Susan about these old rackets that I'd been toting in my car in hopes of a good opportunity.
They were game, so after the courts cleared, I dragged out the rackets and we had some fun. No serious tennis was played, but I had a good time swinging that heavy old thing and running around in my deck shoes!
Thanks Beth and Susan!
Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Alexander Calder...?
In recent months I've visited a few museums, but found no work from the fifties. Yesterday I arrived at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts knowing I would finally get to spend some time with some of the colorful artists who were at work the year I was born!
It was fun to wander the museum before closing and have the place to myself. I chatted with the guard about how the Calder mobile seemed sort of hypnotic as it slowly twirled above us. I stared at the Pollock's splattered paint and tried not to have annoying thoughts about how "I could have done that!" Then I was drawn to a piece across the room with bright smudged colors. It was painted by Hans Hofmann in the year of my birth! And the title made me smile. Sparks!
I could have had the bored guard snap my photo, but I did something no museum guest did in the fifties. I snapped a selfie. I can be easily creeped out by selfies of myself, so I tried to make it Picasso-style.
Something Else Here
Okay, I'm cheating and adding to this blog entry with another photo from 2 days after my birthday. I made a little visit to Fort Worth's THE MODERN and had a giddy encounter with many more pieces of art from my special decade.
Here I am with a 1957 Rothko. I'm doing a rather lame "presentation pose" in honor of Vanna White, who also was born in 1957! I wonder if she celebrated her Birth Year Birthday!
Writing to Friends
There was a lot more letter writing going on mid century. I obviously didn't start writing letters in the fifties, but I did receive some baby mail when I was 1 and 2! By the 1970's I was in the peak of my letter writing days, after a few childhood moves. To celebrate the grand old days of the personal letter, I decided to write one of those friends I corresponded with in my teens.
First I tried an old typewriter. No good. The tape was dried out. Then I wrote on stationary and found my old sealing wax stamp. Knowing that clumpy things on envelopes probably are against mail regulations, I took the letter to the 48 year old Post Office in Richmond, TX where Jesse "El Cowboy" still hand cancels mail. He wasn't there, so I left my letter with an attached note. The counter was cluttered with boxes and envelopes and lots of notes like mine. Who knows if my friend will ever get her letter, or if it will still have sealing wax. Let me know, Dear Friend!
Love a Clothesline!
Now and then I do actually wash something by hand. And every once in a blue moon, I get out the iron. Today I did both which is a record for me. To make the whole thing more exciting, I took the clothes outside to dry! I had some fun tying up a clothesline using heavy duty yarn.
Then I hung up those drippy clothes, using good old wooden clothespins! Maybe it was just the fact that the sun came out and there was a nice breeze, but there was something incredibly therapeutic about this whole ritual! I should do this more often!
A Good Combination
Once again I dragged my daughter into a little silly celebrating. Even Jamie, Heidi's beau, got in on the fun. Beau? Is that fifties talk?
I knew the comic books would be a hit. The 10-cent books were actually from the fifties, which meant their ads were goofy and fun! If only we could still buy 204 Revolutionary War Toy Soldiers for $1.98! Or a Daisy Model 26 BB gun for $17.98!
I thought adding some real bubble gum to the experience would make it all complete. But I had forgotten what real SUGAR bubble gum is like. It took forever to soften the gritty stuff enough for bubbles. Then we tried to coordinate so that we all had a bubble at the same time and that just caused a lot of laughing. It was a lot of work and I must say, it took away from the enjoyment of the literature!
I've never paid much attention to what I drive. I just don't care much about cars today. But I do love vintage cars and I had hoped that somewhere in this year long celebration I could ride in a 1950's convertible. .. preferably down the Pacific Coast Highway!
So when I saw this one parked in the grocery store parking lot, I thought maybe I should just wait for the owner and ask for a ride. But who does that? Probably the same kind of person who keeps a chiffon scarf and some cat-eye sunglasses in her Honda Element... just in case the opportunity arises! But I was in a hurry and had a husband waiting. "It will only take a second!" I assured Don as I whipped on my scarf and glasses and handed him the camera. I dashed to the other side of the shiny red car so it looked like I was in the car. Don didn't even roll his eyes. He's used to this nonsense.
Luckily I have a good imagination. I jumped back into the car feeling windblown and giddy after my "ride". "Thanks, Don!" I exclaimed as we drove off. "That was fun!"
57 Celebrations of the Fifties!
April 9, 2014
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!