imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Click HERE to enlarge. A full screen shot will allow you to clearly see the reflections in the window.
Could this window be any more austere? No beeps, bops or whistles; just the product, Ma'am. By our standards today, this would be an empty storefront waiting for a new tenant. However, I love this picture's barren quality. It reminds me of all those great Depression Era photos. Here's a site which features photos from 1930s Arkansas. Click "Virtual Exhibit" and check out the different photographers, especially Russell Lee.
NOT EXACTLY A CHRISTMAS BACCHANALIA
Click HERE to enlarge. The picture can enlarge to full screen which you'll need to see all the toys.
Bresee's window display wasn't the packed Christmas window which caused Ralphie and Randy to drool with anticipation, but it was a great display nevertheless. I have several Christmas windows my father shot for Bresee's Department Store; this is the most elaborate. One window had Santa and an elephant with a sign saying that Santa never forgets.
One year when I was maybe 8 or 9, I got a "walking doll." It cost a whopping $17. She stood about 24," looked like an 8-year-old little girl, and her arms and legs moved. She would walk in a robot-like fashion if you stood behind her, held her hands and moved her forward. My Grandmother B and her friends hand sewed a complete wardrobe for her using leftovers from outfits they had sewn over the years. (My grandmother neverever wasted a single thing. When making alterations, she'd remove the original thread all in one piece and re-use it.) Along with the doll and her clothing, I was given antique doll furniture which my mother had played with as a child. I still have the little chest of drawers, and I still have the doll.
Friday, December 30, 2005
NEXT STOP, LADIES GLOVES, & HANDBAGS
Click HERE to enlarge.
There was a time when women wore gloves and not just to church. Gloves, made from either cotton or leather, were de rigueur when they went out into public. I went shopping for gloves recently and couldn't find any. No one wears them anymore, not even to church.
Btw, here's a picture of Bresee's corset department.
Notice how much of the merchandise is behind counters. You were waited on in those days, and the clerks knew their merchandise, too.
8 Speaking of old photos, Mike left this in a comment: The Federally-funded "Urban Renewal" of the late 1960's completely changed the character of our town and I've created a place where one can get an idea of what it used to be like and how it grew from a sleepy farming village into a bedroom suburb of Detroit.
DO YOU MEAN PANTYHOSE?
Click HERE to enlarge.
My father took quite a few photos of Bresee's Department Store in Oneonta, NY: window displays outdoors and the different departments indoors. It would have been the late 1940s, after WWII and before I was born. As I understand it, by the time I was born he was into tv repairs. Bresee's was the Macy's of Oneonta. Three floors and an escalator. They sold everything: appliances, clothing, cards and books, cosmetics, jewelry, dishes and silverware. I bought all of my records there when I was a teenager. They sold expensive brands -- Pendleton wools and furs -- and they had a bargain basement and everything in between.
This picture was their hosiery department. Hosiery, reminiscent of garter belts and girdles, is such a dated word these days. You never hear it anymore, but I recall my mother buying her Hanes brand stockings in flat boxes in this department. They came in sizes, which were a combination of your shoe size and your height (my mother was tall), and they came in a variety of shades. The hosiery department also sold socks. I am of the L'eggs pantyhose generation. Pantyhose killed off the hosiery department.
Sometime in the 1990s, Bresee's began to downsize their store, eliminating whole departmentss, until they eventually closed completely. The building was put up for sale and props and signs were auctioned off. Ironically, the mechanical elves and reindeer, mainstays of their Christmas window decorations, were sold to a man who now works at the retirement community where my mother lives. He put them on display this year, and we got a chance to see them when we visited my mother on the 24th.
About my mother ...
My mother is one of the reasons I'm in a nostalgic mood. On Wednesday she was transferred to a large medical center in another city where they did a cardiac catheterization. They found three blockages and, as I understand, did nothing. She's 87, almost 88, and not a good candidate for open heart surgery. She said she felt better after the cath, even though they supposedly did nothing beyond a look-see -- no stents. She's off oxygen and can move around, which is a big improvement. I think they're re-evaluating and adjusting her meds. My brother was told that she might be going home today. But we haven't been able to talk with her doctor, so we still don't know for certain what's happening. Thank you all for your concern.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
NOSTALGIA PT. II
Click HERE to enlarge.
Here's another ad photo my father took in the late 1940s: "Murdock's of Bloomville, NY; Exclusive distributors of Wilson Freezers. Where quality tells and service sells. Open evenings & Saturdays for your convenience."
What's amusing, to me at least, is the fact that this tiny farming community in Delaware County, NY, sold freezers back in the 1940s. In fact, the store appears to have specialized in freezers -- in Bloomville, NY? I used to live near there and believe me, to this day it's so small that it's not listed of most maps.
Notice what the people are wearing. I'd forgotten that people used to dress to leave the house. Women and girls wore dresses/skirts and men wore suits and hats.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
START THE DAY OFF RIGHT
Click HERE to enlarge pic.
My father was a professional photographer long before I was ever a gleam in his eye. When I was born, he switched to tv repairs and then became an electrician. (Zappa is the spittin' image of his grandfather and is also an electrician. My father died long before Zappa was born.) I was sitting here this morning trying to find a picture to post, when I began to paw through a box of old photos. Some my father took and some were of him. I hadn't looked through this box in years and, consequently, had forgotten what a treasure trove I had.
I found pictures of my father in Europe during WWII, pictures of him playing trumpet in the military dance band, and numerous pictures he had taken after the war for advertising.
I think it's safe to surmise that the picture above was done for Meridale Dairy. Families used to sit down to breakfast. Notice the place settings and the table cloth, which had to be ironed because it was not made from a wrinkle-free cotton. They drank from cups on saucers, not mugs. They ate real butter on their toast and used heavy cream in their fully-caffeinated coffee. And, of course, what breakfast would be complete without a cigarette. They even displayed them in a special container. God, those were the days!
UPDATE: I've been looking at that picture wondering why it seems so familiar, and I just realized that it was taken in my grandparents' home! That was their breakfast nook and those were their dishes and silverware, and I'll bet that that's my mother pouring the milk. My brother and his family live there now, and they still use those same dishes and silverware today. The toaster was probably tossed years ago.
Cybersurfing tidbits ...
8 Following the nostalgia theme, Young Teacher Was Tested: During his first year as a teacher, he lived in a Nebraska home without running water or electricity. … Most school mornings we spent huddled around the wood-burning stove as I tried to teach the lessons for all six grades. The school had no insulation, and the space under the floor was open to the howling wind.
8 AggravatedDoc has written a great analogy of the DC pork machine in his Glass Half Full: Imagine you are a new father, with bills to pay, a baby to feed, and diapers to buy. Your wife sends you out to the grocery store to pick up those few items that you [a] need and [b] can afford. If you act like a US Senator …
8 Whose Economy Is It Anyway?: Not coincidentally, in my opinion, the term "Bush Economy," which had been fairly prevalent in 2002 and 2003, has gone AWOL, especially in the three weeks since the President's December 5 North Carolina speech praising the economy's performance.
8 THIRDWAVE Dave highlights a great cause: SHIELDING THE FAMILIES
8 In the y'gotta-be-kidding dept.
1) LIP implants?!?
2) Does Anyone Ever "Need" A Boobjob?
3) Sean Lennon’s pathetic request for a girlfriend
Monday, December 26, 2005
A SWING SET, 2 KING KONGS & A HEART ATTACK
My mother had a heart attack last Thursday. A mild one with no residual heart damage, which are blessings, but still ...
She actually suffered the attack right before my brother and sister-in-law picked her up for dinner. A short while later in the restaurant, my sister-in-law Nurse M knew something was wrong when my mother appeared "glazed, out of it."
My mother called me collect from the hospital on Friday, and Saturday Nurse G, Zappa and I went to visit her. She'll probably be going home in a day or two. Nurse M said that had my mother been alone that evening she would have died because she never would have had the chance to push her "alert button" when she collapsed. Thank God she was with Nurse M at the time.
Nothing like a heart attack scare to kickoff Christmas, heh? Did I mention I was sick last week? A nasty stomach bug. Oh yes, last week was interesting.
I have another reason that this Christmas will be especially memorable: Little H. He's 4+, and this was the first year that he was truly involved with Christmas and believing in Santa. He wrote Santa asking for a swing set, and Santa replied ... ;-) ... telling him he would see what he could do. Nurse G said that he immediately saw the boxed swing set on their back porch and announced to the entire neighborhood, "MOM! MOM! SANTA BROUGHT ME A SWING SET!"
Later that day he told everyone that he never heard Santa during the night. "I didn't even wake up when he came into my room and put candy in my shoes!"
His 3-yr-old cousin Little M (Zappa's youngest) was totally excited because he received TWO different kinds of King Kong: one that moves and roars and the other is a stuffed toy.
There is nothing like experiencing Christmas through the eyes of a child.
Speaking of Christmas ...
8 AnkleBiters wants to know, What Was Your Favorite Christmas Present?: Note that we're asking about your favorite "material" present, because we all know the real gift of Christmas is spending time with family and friends, seeing your kids eyes light up when they see that Santa left that one special present they wanted, and the religious observances. But we want to know what was the best of the "stuff" you got.
8 From Polly P.I., Ho Ho Ho!: I got a jug of egg nog. Although I kinda wish he'd stuck it in the fridge instead of under the tree because now it's kinda chunky. Not that I'm complaining, Santa...chunky nog is better than no nog at all.
8 Talk about giving! The munificent Miss Snark has fired up the crapometer and will be critiquing 106 synopsis written by writers who followed directions correctly. Tsk tsk tsk on those who didn’t. She's already posted quite a few.