Posts Tagged ‘Memories from the 1940s’

Frog daysDahlia

I don’t want to let go.  Our summer has been so ineffably sweet, I will hang on to it forever. 

Beautiful weather.  No need to run the AC—except that we occasionally put it on for Baby Dylan when we have to leave him for a few hours in the closed-up home.  Okay there were a couple of times when at home, that we broke the humidity by turning on the AC for very short spells, but always with the doors and windows wide open to the out-of-doors.  And due to the ubiquitous AC in most every indoor place, our favorite summer restaurant has become a local pub with outdoor seating. 

Leisurely early morning strolls around our park.  Visits with friends.  Plenty of summer knitting, which always brings woolly recollections of being 8 years old and learning to knit on the porch of our family cottage at Lake Winnebago.  Bookish naps on our shady afternoon patio.  And best of all, mellow days with the three generations which have resulted from our marriage of 61 years!

Too too sweet

More pool

Leo again again again again again

Mia Mia 2


Recently Joe and I had the (probably once in a lifetime) experience of having our portraits painted by a friend, Janet Roberts, who is a professional artist.  We didn’t have to sit it out, as Janet works from photographs.  You can check out our portraits (“Joe in Winter Hat” and “Margaret in Summer Hat”) on Janet’s website.  Just GOOGLE “Janet Roberts, Brookfield Wisconsin Artist” and click on “Gallery” from the home page menu,  Voilà!

Our portraits have inspired a lot of mulling and musing.  With all the wonderful photos I have today—hundreds in albums and hundreds more in my computer files—a painted portrait is something unique.  I reflect on how for centuries paintings and sculptures were the only way a person’s image could be captured and preserved.  I think of the court painters such as Holbein, sent out by Henry VIII so he could visualize a future wife.  (I’d sure hate to have been one of those!)  And commodious stairwells lined with ancestors in great houses down through history.  Photography is an amazingly wonderful art, yet there is something ALIVE about paint in the hands of an accomplished artist such as our friend, Janet.

Mellow days, and a summer to remember.  A summer of quiet contentment and simply joys.  A summer of plenty in a world that grows more crazy, more sin ridden and tragically brutal every single day.  A summer in which I feel compelled to share at every possible opportunity, the one and only LIVING HOPE—that hope which is more real than this keyboard on which I type. 

In the midst of a world where an American journalist is decapitated against the background of an American president deeply engrossed in golfing and fund-raising, Our Lord Jesus Christ will return!  As He came to earth 2000 plus years ago to die for our sin and rise victorious over evil, He will return—to gather His own to Himself, and finally to reign for 1000 years in Jerusalem:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Margaret L. Been, September 2014 

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Flag of the United States of America

Two highlights made the viewing of the State of the Union Address somewhat entertaining for me:  1)  Obama’s swivel-headed Secret Service Men—the one on the left, bony and bald and the one on the right, a benign appearing and rather rotund version of a traditional Dr. Watson; 2)  Speaker Boehner’s facial expressions, reflecting exactly my thoughts and sentiments.

To his credit, our President actually mentioned Israel and God.  To his credit, and undoubtedly at the behest of his advisors, President Obama stifled his customary demonizing, accusatory tone and demeanor when referring to his opposition—specifically our current U.S. House of Representatives and Republicans in general.  The 2014 State of the Union Address proved that our President can still do the one thing he does well:  Talk.  Talk.  And talk some more.  The full text of the address is available online, for the perusal and evaluation of any and all who desire to do so.

It is my prayer that those who were unable to view the State of the Union Address will avail themselves of the contents of that speech—either online or in a newspaper.  I also pray that countless individuals will measure Obama’s glib and self-laudatory oration against what the President and his cronies really stand for, the damage this administration has already done to our nation (in terms of power grabbing, lawlessness, outright lies, and continual scandal), and what the Obama gang still purports to do.

Meanwhile, it is probably a good thing that I listened to our President’s oratory, as it undoubtedly raised my blood pressure from it’s customary 106 to a more healthy 128.  Admittedly, history has produced some great orators such as the Revolutionary Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty, or give me death!”) and Queen Victoria’s famous Prime Minister, Disraeli whom I love quite simply because he was one of God’s Chosen (whether or not that mattered to him).

But I am eternally suspicious of oratory, ever since my 1940s childhood when I frequently attended our small town theatre.  Back then many movies were prefaced by a newsreel featuring impassioned orations, accompanied by a raised arm and blatantly screamed out over public gatherings in Munich and Berlin.  Although I was too young at the time to comprehend the translated words, the spirit of the oratory was terrifying to a Midwestern American child.

Today we can GOOGLE Hitler’s speeches:  endless diabolical diatribe centered on “the ruthlessness of the capitalist plutocrats” and “Jewish instincts of hatred . . . beclouding the world and inciting it against the present German Reich . . . .”

It is tremendously significant to recall that before he rose to power, like some in our government today Hitler also focused on the need to nationalize the lives of the people.  His early “platform” included a plethora of noble sounding social reforms.  As his hold over the people increased, he pursued his goal of exterminating the “physically unfit”, any unborn children who would not conform to his maniacal racial ideology, many sick and elderly whom he deemed unprofitable to the state—as well as the millions of Jews plus a great number of Roman Catholics, Evangelicals, and political dissidents:  whomever would not bow to his God-usurping authority and tyranny.

I find oratory not only suspect but potentially terrifying—especially when coming from an arrogant national leader whose policies seek to control the details of people’s lives.  My soul responds only to quiet, reasonable rationale within the freeing, life-affirming framework of the Judeo-Christian Worldview—the one and only Universal Truth.

Margaret L. Been—January 29, 2014

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One of my favorite “reads” is Ingrid Schlueter’s Hope Blog—listed in my blog role.  Some entries are whimiscal, many are touching, and all are filled with wisdom gleaned from living and loving.

Recently, Ingrid listed some of her favorite scents and the memories they evoke.  What fun!  The comments were enjoyable too, as readers contributed some of their most loved fragrances, and of course I added my proverbial few cents (scents!) worth to the comments. 

While reflecting on the nostalgia of fragrance, I thought of Julie Andrews alias Maria—running around slamming windows shut in the thunder storm while singing about her “Favorite Things”, those little things that make each day rich and memorable. 

I have a lifetime of countless Favorite Things.  Some of them date me, and perhaps only a few readers can recall them.  Indeed, it seems that most folks who might be old enough to remember whatever I recall are probably not computer friendly.  Yet I’m going to take a chance, and play “Do you remember?”

1)  Do you remember the leg makeup worn during World War II when ladies’ stockings (then silk!) were not available due to wartime shortages?  I was too young for dress up stockings in the early 1940s, but my older sister assiduously painted her legs with leg makeup, and even painted an amazingly straight line down the back for a “seam”. 

Julie, maybe you are reading this.  Did you know that your mom did that?  🙂 

2)  Do you remember living in a town where cats and dogs roamed randomly—with impunity?  No one thought anything of pets at large.  Cross breed canines were the norm and a puppy’s paternal parentage was frequently unknown.  Many homes sported FREE KITTEN signs, and our family tended to acquire a lot of free kittens. 

3)  Do you remember band concerts at the community park?  Some places in our county still have them on occasion. 

4)  Do you remember playing on your screened porch on a rainy summer day—tipping the wicker furniture upside down and draping sheets on top, to create houses?

5)  Do you remember those yummy, crunchy potato baskets which Mom filled with chicken salad and served at fancy luncheons—along with petits fours for dessert?

6)  Do you remember napkin rings and cloth napkins?  Vintage folks that we are in our home, we still use them.  I love to iron pretty linens!

7)  Do you remember delicate glass ice tea straws with a tiny spoon at the bottom for stirring the sugar in the tea?  I have never run into these at antique or resale shops, probably because they were so fragile and breakable that they’re all gone.

8)  Do you remember a murder mystery game called MR. REE?  Kind of like our present day CLUE, as I recall.

9)  Do you remember the original Nancy Drew with the yellow roadster, and the maid (Hannah Gruen) who produced fantastic desserts?

10)  Do you remember when a boy’s really naughty prank was to tip over an outhouse? 

11)  Do you remember hanging out at a soda fountain and drinking fountain cherry cokes, or ice cream sodas?  These hangouts were still around during the TV series HAPPY DAYS era—but I doubt that there are many left today.  Life is not so simple as it used to be, and I don’t think teenagers have as much fun!

12)  Do you remember spending an afternoon at WOOLWORTH’S or KRESGE’S, playing the breakable phonograph records on a record player (equipped with a needle) in a booth?  People were allowed to play as many as they liked, and then return the records to their jackets and bins if they didn’t want to buy them. 

Those were the years of the “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, a young Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and the romantic “Hit Parade” ballads.

13)  Do you remember the BURMA SHAVE signs along the highway?

14)  And speaking of road travel, do you remember making poddy stops along the roadside behind trees?  One could not find pit stops and “rest areas” at every bend of the road back then, and we had to improvise. 

My mother was a total lady, always poised and dressed up, but she knew very well how to teach a kid to go behind trees.  The fresh air “restrooms” were probably much more sanitary than many gas station bathrooms today!  🙂 

I could go on forever, so I guess I’ll just quit?  But I welcome your nostalgic input.  It’s such fun to remember!

Margaret L. Been—All Rights Reserved

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