Saturday, July 3, 2010

Celebrating July 4th Back in the 60's

My Dad would buy the Red Devil boxed assortment of fireworks from the local fireworks stand or Payless Drug Store over on Delaware Street.  I would be really excited about the holiday, putting up the American Flag on the front of the house, barbecuing yummy food and waiting for the sun to go down to set off  fireworks. 

My Dad, being safety minded, would have the old beige rubber bucket filled with water, ready to put out a potential fire.  We would set up our fireworks by the front street curb, the type that were shaped like cones and spewed out wonderful colors of blue, red, green yellow....sometimes they would whistle.  Speaking of whistling, rememember "Piccolo Pete?", which would set off a shrill whistle for about 20 seconds?  How about the silly "Burning Log Cabin?"  It was a cardboard likeness of an old log cabin.  You would put this cyclindrical piece of pyrotechnics in the faux chimney and it would smoke.  DUH.  Oh yes, Smokey Joe...was a stand up piece of cardboard depicting a black man in a suit and hat...he kind of looked like a bum.  There was a slotted hole at his mouth, where once again, you would put the fireworks cigar in his mouth and he would smoke.  Woo hoo!  I loved the spinning fireworks.  We would hang them on a nail on the front yard tree, light it and they would spin and spew out beautiful colors....  As for me, the wimpy one...I was scared of the sister Anne Marie would light a few for me and then I would gingerly hold them as far away from myself as I could.  I grew out of my fears when I was maybe 10 years old?  As my older siblings grew up and moved from home, it was just me to carry on the tradition of fireworks.   The parents weren't really into it anymore.  I would stand out there pretty much alone and set them off.  I do remember one year my Dad came out and lit every one of them off at once, to get it over with.  Shortly after that, I too, moved on to make my own family memories at July 4th. 

Anyway, here's a few photos from the family album.  Kathy, Alan, Anne Marie and myself...and our Boxer dog named Bing.  I cringe now seeing him bite at the sparklers.  I think his whiskers got singed a bit.  We know better now!  Backyards barbecues, home made potato salad, hamburgers and hot dogs and home made pie.  Great times to remember then and now.  I plan on taking the 54 Pontiac out for a spin tomorrow, July 4th, 2010 and displaying the American flag on the rear windows.  After all, I am just a kid at heart!

(Note!  See Kathy bent over....with the scarf on her head?  I bet she had curlers under that scarf!"  I'm the blonde on the left. 

Note the log cabin on the left!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Flying the Friendly Skies in the 60's and 70's

It's summertime and travel time for many,so I thought that this would be a good time to reminisce about flying the airlines back in the 1950's 60's and 70's.  My Dad worked for United Airlines at San Francisco from 1956 to 1994 at the maintenance base at San Francisco as a jet mechanic.  As a perk, employees could travel on "passes" with their family members for a nominal price.  (I seem to remember my Dad paying $8  for each of us to fly to Seattle to see my Grandmother).  Check in was quick...the security measures of today were not needed.  As employees on a pass, we would have to wait to see if there were seats available for us, which 99.9% of the time there were.  The stewardesses were always attractive, thin and very charming.  The "stewies" had very strict standards to follow.  If a stewardess put on a few water weight pounds, she could be grounded until the weight came off.  I'm talking 5 lbs!  The seats and leg-room were comfortable.  Meals and beverages provided were top notch and included in your air fare.  On many a flight from SFO to Seattle, we were offered eggs benedict, coffee, orange juice on heavy china, nice silverware and cloth napkins.  There were little disposable plastic salt and pepper shakers for each passenger.  The stewardesses would push these heavy metal carts up and down the aisles with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, peanuts, or macadamia nuts.  Kids would receive either a Junior Stewardess or Junior Pilot wings (of course the girls received the stewardess pins and the boys received the pilot pins, ha ha).    They were metal in the 50's and 60's, then transitioned to plastic in the 70's.  If you were chilly, they offered a wool blanket with the United Airlines Shield on it.  A complimentary magazine was available in the pocket of the seat in front of you.  On longer flights, movies were available.  United used to offer "red carpet service" where they would actually roll out a red carpet for passengers to board a flight.  In the 1950's, there was a "Men Only" flying club.  Wow.  Here's a few photos that might bring back a few memories...I've included photos of other airline stewardesses too...they look like they could be models or Playboy Bunnies.
Do you remember these commercial jingles, "Fly the Friendly Skies of United!" or "Take me along, if -you- love- a- me?"   These are great memories for me.....I don't think that I will ever enjoy flying like I did back then. 

Lastly, cut and paste this link into your address bar to view a great old  1970's United TV Commercial, stewardesses graduating from school!  Tres cool!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My 1940 Canadian Dodge

I am very fortunate to own my Dad's 1940 Canadian Dodge, which is also from Western Canada.  Most of the car is original.  My Dad restored the engine and it runs like a has the original upholstery and dash paint...and headliner.  Someday when I have the spare cash, I'll have the seats recovered.  But I pretty much want to leave it original.  I love the Dodge Ram hood ornament, when I was a kid I called it the "Billy Goat".  My Dad owned a car just like this when he immigrated from Canada to the U.S. in the mid 1950's.  He would drive us kids around in a car like this.  I love the style...The two tone paint reminds me of an oxford has alot of character.

I'm A Vintage Trailer Kind of Gal

1954 Boles Aero Ensenada
1963 Aristocrat Lil Loafer

I love road trips....especially on Sunday in our vintage car.  But I also love camping vintage style, with a vintage trailer, melmac dishes, vintage decor, pots and pans, and lots of 50's kitsch to decorate the trailer.  Like Lucy and Ricky in the "Long Long Trailer."  Growing up in the 60's, my parents took us for long trips from California up to Canada, Washington, Oregon, south to Death was great.  I love to reminisce about what the old motels along the highway were like, sparkling swimming pools, diners, souvenirs...great's our trailers...
1957 Cardinal

My 1954 Canadian Pontiac Laurentian "Albert"

I wanted to share my unusual 1954 Canadian Pontiac from Alberta, Canada.  I bought this car from my Dad, who brought it down to California years back from Alberta, Canada.  This is what you would call a "barn fresh" car.  It looks like a 1954 American Chevrolet, but dressed up with fender skirts and lots of chrome.  If I need spare parts, I look for Chevrolet parts.  Here's a photo of Albert (on the left) next to a 54 American Chevrolet. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Remember Shopping at Woolworths or JJ Newberry's?

Growing up in San Mateo, CA, we had several five & dime stores locally where my Mom would take us to shop.  There was a Woolworths in downtown San Mateo,  on 4th Avenue.  I have more memories of going to the Hillsdale Mall and shopping at JJ Newberrys, which was a competitor to Woolworths.  They both had a wonderful variety of items for your home, beauty, toys, pet items, the usual drug store fare.  And of course, the famous lunch counters!  How exciting it was when we sat down on the spinning chrome stools and ordered a milkshake or Coke!  There were these cardboard displays of delicious milkshakes, cokes, grilled cheese sandwiches to tantilize your tastebuds.  You could sit at the laminate counter and talk and watch the customers come and go with their packages..little kids trailing behind.  The "ca-ching" sound of the old metal cash registers.  You really had to press down on the buttons on those old monster cash registers!  My Dad would take me to Newberrys to pick out Christmas gifts for my family members.  Alot of their stuff was cheesy, but it was affordable for the blue collar family.  My Grandmother treasured a jam dish that I gave her.  I think it cost $5.  It was a decorative clear glass dish that fit into a metal holder and you would hang a little spoon from the holder frame.  Great memories!  Especially at Christmas time!  Oh yes, there was of course the Ben Franklin store at Parkside Plaza.  And the Shoreview Variety Store.  The owner there in the 60's was a very grouchy old man who scared me...he would ask kids "are you going to buy something?"  If not, get out!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


One of the fond memories I had growing up was how the laundry smelled when it just came off the clothesline in the back yard.  We had one of those umbrella type clotheslines most of my childhood, and also the nylon covered cord suspended between two posts in our first house.  The infamous pink plastic clothes basket that my mother hauled was in.  I recently asked my Dad where it went.  It seemed like it has always been kept in his garage on top of one of the vintage cars.  When I finally thought about it, I realized it was gone, and he didn't remember what happened to it.  I do remember that the pink plastic color had faded to a very light pink, probably from being left out in the yard while the laundry dried.  Remember how crisp and light your sheets were when you crawled into bed at night, and they were out on the clothes line that day?  We only had plain white sheets...and my parents didn't own a dryer until the mid 1970's.  They were frugal..brought up during the depression.  The only drawback was winter time, when at times we took our clothes to the local laundromat to dry our clothes...or we hung our clothes in the house on a wooden clothes rack that my grandfather made.  Here's a great photo out of our family album of my Mom Shirley hanging out the wash...note she is wearing a skirt and sweater...I never saw her in a pair of jeans. 

I love this photo...

Here's a few laundry items that I own...they bring back some good memories.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ever Wish You Could Have Your First Car Back?

My first car was a 1957 Plymouth Suburban Station Wagon.  My Dad bought it from a guy at his work when I was 15 years old.  Initially, I was kind of embarressed driving it.  I remember one day picking up a friend to go to high school.  When we drove past our classmates waiting at the bus stop, she ducked down, not wanting to be seen in my station wagon.  I starting inviting friends to go along for rides in the "Mean Machine" to the local drive thru at lunch time, and pretty soon, everybody loved the car.  I remember that it had alot of power under the hood, but the carburator would make the car buck and stall when it was cold.  So I had to keep one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake pedal to keep it from dying before it warmed up.  Back in the 70's, it would cost me 5 bucks to fill it up.  It squeaked like an old bed...but I loved that car.  When I bought a 74 Chrysler Windsor, I let my Dad sell the wagon.  Man, I wish I had that car back again. 

The Mean Machine

Back in the early 1980's, I found this 1957 Chrysler Windsor at an estate sale in Redwood City.  I paid $400 for it.  My dear Dad always worked on my cars for me...which I still appreciate to this day.  The underside of the car had alot of rust because it was originally from Chicago and they would salt the roads in the winter.  But it was a neat, nice condition car otherwise.  Another car that I wish I owned again!

Checked Out Vintage LP Album Covers Lately?

I went to our local Hospice Thrift Store yesterday and they had just got in a bunch of vintage lps.  They were selling them for $1 a piece.  Going through them, I was amazed at how cool the covers were...forget the music, look at the covers!  They're great.  When I get the chance, I'll fire up the record player and give them a's a sampling of covers...

Gotta love the Dad with the newspaper and smoking jacket...what?  No slippers?  Mom looks like she's going prematurely grey...must be all that housework.
I would PAY BIG BUCKS for that kool lounge chair, dress and shoes in my size!  Forget about the guy!

Are her feet that flat???

He's definitely got Brylcream action going on!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Some Kitschy Stuff

I love kitschy stuff, so I thought I'd post a few photos of some fun stuff from the past....

Everyone needs a fish with big lips and mermaids in their bathroom, right?

50's mannequin named Shirley

Lucite purse, pink shaver, chrome hair dryer
Home perm curlers in 50's pink, and yep, my Mom kept spare garter snaps in the bathroom drawer...and bobby pins were a must have....

Evening in Paris was on many a ladie's dresser top. 

A late 50's Shirley Temple doll sporting a plastic red plaid rain coat and hat...gotta love that vintage plaid that was so popular back then!
Wish I had this outfit in big girl size!

How do you like the atomic lamp and fiberglass shade?

Bakelite radio with turquoise Swedish Erikson telephone.  The dial is in the base.  Tres Kool!