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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Retro Reviews - Searching for the Kitchen Sink

On a rare trip to a Walmart store, I ran smack into a $1.00 DVD Sale - as luck would have it, the selection was a Retro's treasure! I snagged Episodes of Dragnet, the Dick Van Dyke show and my old favorite Groucho Marx as host of the show "You Bet Your Life".

If you happen upon any of these oldies and have a few extra dollars, these old shows are fascinating to watch, and far more entertaining than you might think. One observation we had while watching; people were a lot smarter back then. They used a vocabulary that is far more sophisticated than most of what you see on TV today. The same thought had occurred to me as I read old newspapers, but I thought it was my imagination. Has anyone else noticed similar?

Another thing that I have been noticing is that this whole idea of the repressed woman seems to be somewhat of a myth. Everywhere I look, I find women who were doing fabulous and wonderful things, and were not chained to the kitchen sink.

One guest on "You Bet Your Life" was a 62 year old woman named "Tiny". Tiny was her professional name, you see. What was her profession? Tiny was a parachute jumper. She started jumping in 1908, before there were even airplanes mind you. Back then they jumped out of hot air balloons. By the time she retired in 1928, she had made about 1,100 jumps and not one of them with a kitchen sink chained to her ankle.

Another example is Anne Fogarty, author of the newly re-released fashion tome titled "Wife Dressing".1 Here is how Mrs. Fogarty described herself:
"I have been married for sixteen years and despite having worked at a career all that time, I still think of myself first and foremost as a wife. My career as a designer has perhaps made me more aware of clothes and their subtleties of meaning than women with other professional interests. "
So...fashion designer, author and foremost... wife, but also no mention of kitchen sinks and being chained thereto. "Wife Dressing" was first published in the 1950s. I suspect there are many, many more such stories out there...of women who were fabulous wives and mothers and also had a fabulous "other".

RH

1
Wife Dressing: The Fine Art of Being a Well-dressed Wife
(I highly recommend getting this book, it is a wonderful course on fashion dos and don'ts, is witty and just downright practical. Nobody would dare write this book today, yet it contains wisdom that we all need!)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

and i agree. in homeschooling, i have discovered how we have dumbed down school curriculum in this country. 200 and 100 years ago, it was not uncommon for young boys to start college at the age of 15 or younger. even martin luther king a generation ago started school at 15 or 16. they learned so much more at such a younger age than we do now. it's scary how dingy we've become. i saw a clip on tv the other day promoting a new book called "are americans getting dumber" and a contestant (kelly pickler) was shown on a game show (are you smarter than a 5th grader) and she said "ahh, europe ISN'T a country?" then she said "ahh, france IS a country?"
God help us.

Kimberly Ann said...

You Bet Your Life is one of my favorite shows. And I absolutely agree that our nation has become "dumber" as time has gone on. I love looking at different aspects of the stereotypical 50s housewife. Nothing ever truly is as it seems.