Friday, February 5, 2010
"Home is Fun"
I found this book in the basement of an estate sale-- the room was relatively clean, but the book itself looked like it might have come out of the cave in The Hills Have Eyes. EVERY PAGE is ripped-- every one! How does a kid (or kids) even do that? I was always taught to treat books like a carton of eggs.
Formerly a holding of the Dickson (Tenn) Public Library, this book was published in 1939 and is kind of a Home Training Manual for primary school students (it's labeled "social studies", but again, is more "cultural indoctrination"). I didn't think about it until after I'd read the whole thing, but in Depression years, these kind of books, the movies, and the Sears and Roebuck catalog might be the only places a lot of people would see what a "normal" family and household looks like. Let's take a look at the illustrations I scanned (the ones that weren't exed out in lead pencil by some errant schoolchild seventy years ago). Handtinted photographs of REAL PEOPLE. Does it get neater than that?
"These are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood...." Note the color of the awnings.
Marbley backsplash, red venetian curtains, red step stool. Roddy, the boy on the left, has the gaudiest socks in every picture, I love them. As to Ann, the girl on the right-- why were little girl's dresses so short back then? Seems wrong.
Look at that beautiful avacado green tile! I love how some of these still photos look like art prints. The composition of the second one is nice.
I'm pretty sure those curtains are yellow clipper ships on a forest green background. Want. This is the room for all three kids. ["This room looks like a garden in summer," said Ann.]
Mother and Father's room. ["Mother will powder her face here," said Ann. "Father will brush his hair in front of the looking glass," said Roddy.] Note the way the curtains are hung, and the fact that each room has chenille rugs with matching bedspreads, on hardwood floor. From old movies I just assumed all houses were carpeted. News to me.
The Living Room. ["Why is this room so big?" said Ann. Because we will use it the most, " said Mother.] Blue carpet, chocolate brown furniture. I realize that due to a black and white education, I also have little to no idea what colors things were in people's houses in the late 30's.
Bring that chair to my house! BRING IT TO MY HOUSE!
The company room ["Now it is time to do the company room," said Mother. "We want our friends to visit us. We need a nice room for them."] I thought it was nutty that the house had three bedrooms and shook down like this: one room for Mother and Father, one room for all THREE kids, and one room for "company".
["How clean the clothes look!" said Ann. "See them dance in the wind!" "They dance because they are glad to be clean," said Mother. The clothes danced and jumped on the line.] Isn't that just beautiful?
And last, but not least, PINTO, the real star of the book:
["It's your turn now, Pinto," said Roddy. He put Pinto on the swing. "But Pinto jumped off. "No thank you," he barked. "I like the ground better"]
I'm ready to move in, how about you? Home IS fun.