Saturday, February 17, 2018

CLOTHING


Male Vanity

            Looking good for the job and or interview, has been a way for decades.  After the war, during the 50’s, jobs were shifting.  No longer was it a work a day job, rather it was becoming a formal job, in offices and clerks in nice department stores.  Serving the public, lots of employers were asking that their workers dress up for the job. 


            Clothes manufacturers began to pander to this vanity in men when they advertised their clothing.  Wearing nice shoes became just as important as having a dress shirt where the collar behaved.  A starched cotton collar has a tendency to curl up at the points after the top button is hooked.  All types of gadgets were tried to keep the collar in place.  Collar stays of all types were made for that distinctive look a man would want. 
            Upscale shirt manufacturers began putting a small plastic tab in the points of the collar to hold it in place when a tie was worn.  This tiny piece of plastic caught the attention of the man who had the starched shirt and tie.  Here was a way the working man could look nice and keep things in their place with little effort. 
            Working in a department store, what the store clerk was wearing would impact the choice of the customer the clerk was helping.  Like today, image is very important with customers.  During the 50’s the work force was predominately male.  Most women left their war jobs and married their homeys to raise a family.  The husband was the primary bread winner and the woman stayed at home taking care of the family. 


            The fabric of American society during the 50’s had their ideals, just like every generation has their way of wanting to live. 
            Clothing makes the man, as the saying went.  Clothing does create an image and for many was it comfortable?  Footwear became just as important to being comfortable.  Large shoe manufacturers, advertised style as much as they did comfort, even the manufacturers of soles for shoes advertised their wares.  The shoe cobbler was still in business back then and repairing shoes was more common then replacing them. 
            In choosing clothes, vanity so often overruled, being practical.  When the garment manufacturer could satisfy both vanity and practical, they had a winner. 





Saturday, February 10, 2018

PHONE CALLS


Telephone


It is amazing to sit back and look at the world of electronics and electricity has taken society.  If ya wanted to talk with someone years ago, hook the horse up and ride over and talk with the neighbor.  Then came the talking machine, ring, ring…. Hi .. is this Alexander?  With some effort and the aid of singing wires, you could talk to your neighbor in the next town.  The isolation of life was coming to an end and soon the singing wires would reach round the world. 

During WWII, communications was critical among the troops and their commanders.  Phone lines were difficult to lay, so radio communications was polished up and information was radioed back to headquarters’ via various relays.  At the end of the war, lots of this new technology became available to the public. 

One could pick up the phone and dial directly without having to call Maggie the operator first to connect ya to Mildred.  With transcontinental cables one could make phone calls from coast to coast.  The singing wires of the telegraph no longer had a monopoly on communications.  The phone allowed people to make phone calls in the comfort of their homes.  News from around the world was almost instantaneous...   

Technology was transforming how society interacted.  The war had created massive machines of destruction but it had also brought machines to change how people lived.  Before the war, a telephone was a luxury item.  After the war, mass production and the stringing of more lines, the phone became available to all at an affordable price. 

This was also the beginning of the computer age.  Look where that has taken us.  Our phone is now personal, wireless, television, video calls and world wide web is available. 

Until the phone came along, letters the primary method of correspondence and dispatches.  Even with the telegraph, one had to write out the message and because of the rates, words were few and very precise.  The pen is still around but writing has lost is glamour.  The art of letter writing is becoming a dim memory.  One can pull out their phone, send a text, e-mail, video call of just a phone call.  Even conversation is less and less, with texting. 


There were dramatic changes after the war but they have not slowed down. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Brewed VS Instant




COFFEE  
         
          Going thru the old magazine ads of the 50’s opens many memory drawers.  A look into the not so distant past, that is kind of fuzzy.  It seems coffee has been forever, yet it is a fairly recent beverage, just a few centuries old.  Well for the old world.  With the discovery of the America’s, came the discovery of coffee.  For many in the old world, coffee did not replace tea.  Tea was so important to the English that they taxed it to any end and it resulted in a Revolutionary war. 
          With the end of the war, resources were now directed to new products.  One of them was instant coffee and a variety of ways to roast the coffee bean.  Brewed coffee was the standard and instant was the upstart.  Instant coffee had an uphill battle with satisfying the taste buds of coffee drinkers but the makers of instant pushed on.  Still today, brewed coffee is the preferred method of making a cup of coffee.


          The makers of instant coffee did not give up.  They reformulated the way they made the instant brand.  Exotic flavors were added, claims of tasting like fresh brewed were plastered across the media extolling the virtues of their instant coffee. 
          This was but one step in America wanting the instant gratification.  It took time to brew a pot of coffee.  The percolator had to be put on the stove after the right amount of water and coffee grounds were added.  Then sit there and wait for the water to boil, not letting it perk over and then turning it off at the right time.  Then to keep it warm or heat it up, took a bit of effort.  There were no nuclear ovens back then, one had to use the stove to heat things.  With all this work in making coffee is where instant coffee got some inroads into the coffee drinkers table.


         
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          Life magazine along with their counterparts, Look and the Saturday Evening Post, chronicled this emerging new American middle class.  Back in the 50’s, the news was not real slanted and the agenda of a few was not apparent.  The advertising set the tone for the changes and reflects life of the transitional decade.  Technology of the day, was the television and the Atomic Bomb, both impacted how people lived during the 50’s. 
          I will be taking ads from the magazines, along with stories and writing my impression of life back then.  I’m old enough to of been a wee lad back then and I remember a few things from way back then. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Weight Loss





Reducing

            The battle of excess weight is never ending battle, by today’s ideals.  Prior to the 1900’s, overweight people were few and far in-between.  For the average person, having enough food to eat was an ongoing struggle and having surplus food was for the rich. 


            With the end of the Great Depression and WWII, the availability of food changed.  No longer were there the rations of the war and the poverty of the depression was over.  During the late 40’s, all types of foods became available.  The returning soldiers brought all types of different foods home with them.  The more interesting one was a thing called a pizza pie.  Snack foods became plentiful and penny candy had all but disappeared to be replaced by chocolate bars. 
            No longer was the table a place of basic sustenance, now there were snacks galore and deserts of all types.   The hard work of the fields, manual labor was now assisted by machines.  Hard work, no longer worked off the extra calories consumed at the table.  Surplus weight was attaching to people and being overweight was upon the population. 
            The enterprising entrepreneurs took up the cause of the overweight and offered weight loss diet plans.  Like today, personalities endorsed the plan or offered the weight loss program.  Were they successful, probably like today, some were and some were not.  Yet this was a new area of society that only the rich could over indulge.  With the coming of the 50’s and the growing prosperity of the America, the average person could now over indulge like the rich. 

            The depression of the 30’s was probably one of Americas’ bleakest decades.  Just to find money for food was a struggle for most.  Even having as place to live was not there for many.   Living in hovels, cars, tents, lean-2’s, was a way of life for many.  With the war, much of this disappeared and a new determination rolled across the land.  After the war, many doors of opportunity were opened and a wave of prosperity rolled out a carpet for many.  Fabric of society was changing, and new ways of life were evolving.  


The vanity of it all 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cleaning

The Cleaner

            The Vacuum cleaner today is pretty much an everyday household item.   The electric gadget called a vacuum cleaner did not get invented until the late 1800’s.  Then it was only a luxury item for the well to do.  Most homes had wood floors and some still had dirt floors so a broom and mop were in the cleaning closet. 
            Rugs were again for the rich and the rest had homemade rugs.  Old material did not get thrown out, instead granny would make something of the old rags.  Hook/latch rag rugs were the wonders of grannies tedious work during the evening.  Much like the quilt, these rugs became a folklore craft.
            To clean these rugs, they would be hung out on the line and beaten, knocking the dirt out.  When the vacuum cleaner came out, there were only a few who could afford the contraption, so outside did the rug hang. 



            Carpet had been developed but only a few could afford this new thing.  The Great Depression forced many new things to sit on the back burner.  Then with the war, manufacturing was in the war effort.  At the end of the war, things changed.  No longer was their rationing and factories could now produce consumer goods.   With new homes being built and suburbia a new phenomena, consumerism began to grow.  Wall to wall carpeting was one of the features the new home builders used to sell their homes in the ‘burbs.
            The vacuum cleaner came to the forefront, for the carpet could not be pulled up and hung on the clothes line, and sweeping it with a broom was not very effective.   To the rescue came the new contraption and with it new factory jobs were created.   Up until the carpet and vacuum, the broom was the queen of house cleaning.  Scattered around the land were small broom corn factories and soon they began to decline and consumerism changed buying habits. 
            The drummer boys had a new gadget to sell and they could be seen trekking down the sidewalk toting their vacuum with them, going door to door pedaling their ware of the day. 
            Something like a little gadget for cleaning had an impact on homelife and how people lived.  It was one of the things that helped bring luxury to the work a day families. 
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               The blog will be shifting focus for a short time.  I found some old Life magazines from the early fifties.  This era, for me, is when the focus of the USA shifted from an agrarian country to a powerhouse industrialized nation.  The country had survived the “The Great Depression,” and transitioned to a powerful war machine. 
          The war and the depression were powerful impacts on the psyche of the American people. 
          With the end of the war, The United States no longer was a second on the stage of world politics, they had become a world leader.  This was reflected in the confidence of the people in the States.  With the rationing of the war over, consumerism was the forefront of life in America. 
          There were jobs in the factories for the returning soldiers, who had their combat pay in hand.  The American dream was approaching, a chicken in every pot and a car in the driveway.  With the jobs in the factories, the Lower Class was shrinking and the Middle class was expanding.  The dream of owning their own home was at hand for most citizens. 
          Housing developments and suburbs were a new phase in the America fabric.  Products were needed to fill these new dream homes and there new automobiles to park in the driveways.
          Life magazine along with their counterparts, Look and the Saturday Evening Post, chronicled this emerging new American middle class.  Back in the 50’s, the news was not real slanted and the agenda of a few was not apparent.  The advertising set the tone for the changes and reflects life of the transitional decade.  Technology of the day, was the television and the Atomic Bomb, both impacted how people lived during the 50’s. 
          I will be taking ads from the magazines, along with stories and writing my impression of life back then.  I’m old enough to of been a wee lad back then and I remember a few things from way back then. 
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Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Inventions

             


            The blog will be shifting focus for a short time.  I found some old Life magazines from the early fifties.  This era, for me, is when the focus of the USA shifted from an agrarian country to a powerhouse industrialized nation.  The country had survived the “The Great Depression,” and transitioned to a powerful war machine. 
          The war and the depression were powerful impacts on the psyche of the American people. 
          With the end of the war, The United States no longer was a second on the stage of world politics, they had become a world leader.  This was reflected in the confidence of the people in the States.  With the rationing of the war over, consumerism was the forefront of life in America. 
          There were jobs in the factories for the returning soldiers, who had their combat pay in hand.  The American dream was approaching, a chicken in every pot and a car in the driveway.  With the jobs in the factories, the Lower Class was shrinking and the Middle class was expanding.  The dream of owning their own home was at hand for most citizens. 
          Housing developments and suburbs were a new phase in the America fabric.  Products were needed to fill these new dream homes and there new automobiles to park in the driveways.
          Life magazine along with their counterparts, Look and the Saturday Evening Post, chronicled this emerging new American middle class.  Back in the 50’s, the news was not real slanted and the agenda of a few was not apparent.  The advertising set the tone for the changes and reflects life of the transitional decade.  Technology of the day, was the television and the Atomic Bomb, both impacted how people lived during the 50’s. 
          I will be taking ads from the magazines, along with stories and writing my impression of life back then.  I’m old enough to of been a wee lad back then and I remember a few things from way back then. 
30 –



                               One of the more profound inventions to come along was the television.  This machine changed the way America viewed the world.  No longer did the listener have to rely on descriptions from the broadcaster, they now could see it in their home.  No longer were the newsreels in the moving picture houses, they were now beaming into the front room.  The theater of the imagination, the radio show, was on the wane.  People could now sit down in the easy chair and watch their favorite characters from the radio come to life in person. 
                              It was a new phenomena, social scientists were watching and the politicians were learning how to massage the tube for their advantage. 


                              Another new contraption that came along after the war was the refrigerator.  It would change how people would buy.  No longer did they have to rely on a block of ice to keep things cool.  They also could have frozen foods stored.  Soon the ice man would disappear from the streets making his rounds delivering ice. 
                              With the end of the war, raw products were freed up from the war effort and things could be mass produced were the war effort had produced goods for the war.  No longer was the refrigerator a luxury item only a few could own.  Appliances like this need production/manufacturing plants to produce the product.  These new factories created mid level semi skilled jobs for workers. 
                              A new chapter was opening for the American worker.  Here at these new factories, the worker could get a job.  It provided enough income, for a house, an automobile and few other amenities in the home.  No longer was the American worker standing on the street corner begging or later being a soldier.  Now he could live the American dream.  Have his own home, own a car and provide for his family. 

                              What had been considered luxuries, were now in reach of the average person.  

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Heartstrong, Colorado

Happyville, Colorado
            Scattered across the plains of Eastern Colorado, were a variety of Post Offices.  Most of the early ones were located in a farmhouse, that served a small community.  A general store would open and the Post Office would move but the town would keep the original name of the Post Office.  So when I saw the name Happyville on the map, all my assumptions went away.  During one of my trips across the prairie, I went looking for this village of happy folks.

            Didn’t find anything that looked like a town, It was more like a spot on the corner.  There was an abandoned church and nearby was a crumbling home and a few foundations.  The happy folks of Happyville had left.
            On a ridge nearby was another abandoned farmhouse where Heartstrong Post Office had been.  This area of southern Yuma County was pretty empty.  On distant horizon could be seen other dwellings.  Here at Happyville was empty building a memory of other times. 
            Heartstrong shows up on some weather maps, so it will be a spot on the map for times a coming. 


            Bouncing along CR 26, the dust boils up behind the pickup and reminders of yesteryear are few and far.  Yet during the early 1900’s, this was the promised land.  Here the settlers could have a piece of the dream and raise their family.  Here they could be happy.