Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The EHHS Social Order - 2 - Parents

Our Class of 1963 parents were from a mix of adults having substantially different backgrounds.  Some of them served in the WWII military services and some didn’t.  I am of the opinion that the parenting each of us got varied significantly from one another depending on the group from which they came.  Generally, our parents were born between 1910 and 1925.  Essentially all of them grew up during the Depression and ranged in age from 38 to 53 when we graduated in 1963; mine, at 40, were among the youngest of them. 

Those of our parents born roughly between 1917 and 1925 almost certainly volunteered or were called into the military service during WWII.  When this group left the service they took with them an important additional experience, our older parents (b. 1910-1916) did not have; that being, they were conditioned to the regimentation imposed on them by the military services.  And although, according to general averages, not more than 15% actually saw combat duty, nearly all of them could have.

The remainder of our parents most likely stayed at home, tending to critical jobs in support of the war effort.  They worked in the war production plants at Consolidated (later Convair) and Chance-Vaught (later LTV), worked for the railroads moving people and material, and any number of other jobs supporting the war effort.  As they matured into adulthood in the early 1940s, that older portion of our parents contended with war rationing at home and while not under control of the military, their ability to live an unfettered life was subject to limitations beyond simple economics.

For a few years after WWII, our parents, then age 20-35, had to contend with one another, and with themselves as they sought ways to get engaged or re-engaged with life in peacetime.  The William Wyler film, The Best Years of Our Lives, a 1946 American film classic is without doubt the very best film ever made that depicts this period and conveys some of the challenges our parents faced when we were toddlers just after the war.

With little doubt, our own social order evolved from our parents’ notions of class and community standing as they began to establish their own lives as young adults.  Also without much doubt, we weren’t paying much attention to what they were doing as we matured through our early 1950s years, until perhaps the 6th grade, or thereabouts….and the onset of puberty!  


Monday, April 22, 2013

The EHHS Social Order - 1

Growing up sure took a long time, a long time ago.  Or, so it seemed.  Our own toddlers were with us, then gone in a flash.  But, we were awfully lucky to have had that time with them.  

The picture is of my c.1945 Bunnykins bowl.  Mom cherished it; I didn't recall it...I was a toddler then.  There are 2 or 3 more pieces; a cup, another bowl, and a sandwich plate.  They were packed away for decades after I outgrew them, then unpacked to see the light once again when we brought our own toddler to see Mom and Dad.  The presentation of the Bunnykins set to our next generation was an emotional moment.

We never packed them away.  After our own toddler outgrew them, we put them on display in a cabinet so we can enjoy an occasional glance at them.  They never fail to bring a smile.

The spoons are of no personal significance, just something to add context to a few fleeting thoughts.  They are old souvenir spoons, featuring travel and historical subjects that I find interesting.  These are of the San Francisco Bay area and I doubt either of them ever saw any service as spoons.  

Mom picked up a few when we traveled about during my childhood but, hers were the kind of tacky ones you used to see in roadside gift shops along the highways...you know, the biggest ball of string in the world and alligators, and stuff like that.

But, these sterling spoons are different than Mom's, much older, and much more finely crafted.  The souvenir spoon fad started about 1890 and flourished among travelers until about WWI.  Travel was by rail and ship then so, it behooved folks in those days to select their souvenirs to be light and portable...like a spoon.  In our time, some of our Dads loaded up the windows and bumpers of the family buggy with travel stickers.  We've long liked to brag about or at least mark our worldly travels. 

San Francisco was so remote then, that getting there was quite a journey.... a 5 or 6 day train trip from Chicago or, before the Panama Canal opened in 1914, 2-months by ship.  So, the people making that kind of journey then tended to be either on business or well-heeled.  The view through the Golden Gate to the open Pacific was the most common feature struck in the bowls and can be seen in both examples shown here.

The upper one is the newer of the two, dating to sometime after 1937 when the Golden Gate Bridge opened.  Much older is the lower one.  Engraved on the reverse of the bowl is an inscription marking a GAR convention...the Grand Army of the Republic; the Union Army of the 1861-65 War Between the States,  It is dated, 1903.  The bowl shows the Golden Gate view before the bridge was built.

Summing up the stuff...and how does this fit in with some thoughts about our old EHHS social order?  I'm not too sure at this point, but if you choose to stay with me in this series, you're in for a bit of a meandering journey.  The newest thing in the picture is my age, 68; the oldest is 110.  The stuff looks new...I don't.  Hmm....110-years.  That old spoon was made when my Confederate great grandfather was still living and his son, my grandfather was 17.  Wonder what they were doing in 1903?

Well, one thing I've been doing in the past couple of decades has been to have some of my coffee and rolls on newer Bunnykins china that I picked up just for the purpose.  Eccentric?  Guess so...kinda like it that way.

Adios....next?  Dunno, maybe Br'er Rabbit

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Girls Gain Grace

Lord knows, they tried to teach you girls how to be graceful; tried from a very young age, too.  P.E. teachers, Miriam Moore and Betty Taylor, did more than coach volleyball at EHHS as is illustrated in the pictures that follow.

Wonder if that book on the head ordeal had something to do with the onset of the women's movement?  Pretty certain I would have been worn out with that damned book on my head all those years.

O.K., I think I know what's going on here.  Didn't know it was part of the curriculum, though.

1941 - Ziegfeld Girl


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Date Doin's (circa 1939)

Joined a Dallas history group this evening to see if I could learn anything about the Dallas my grandparents inhabited from about 1890 - 1955.  Should be enlightening.  First thing I found of interest are these pages from a booklet printed about 1939-40 which were found in a parent's scrapbook.  Apparently a product of clubs from a couple Dallas High Schools, they present a fascinating glimpse of the social etiquette suggested to teenagers of that day.

A lot of the terminology sounds familiar to the advice I was given by my mother during my formative years just before trying it out on you Meadowbrook and Eastern Hills girls.  Note the advice involving streetcars and cigarettes--priceless.

No wonder some of us were up tight...look at all the advice to remember when all you really wanted to do is ....well, find some good fries, a coke and maybe some laughs.