Friday, June 1, 2012

Photo Friday: "Expliquez" Edition

Good morning! I have to hit the aforementioned estate sales shortly (the forever-cry of my Friday mornings...there are worse things than having my schedule!), but I thought I would show you some more photos from the giant boxes of Doris and Ray pictures I told you about last weekend. From what I can tell, all of these predate Doris and Ray's association, and in most parts it looks like Doris and Ray, individually, themselves! It was weird the number of family photos that excluded the two principal was kind of like seeing portions of a movie without the main actors in it, and plus-you-have-no-idea-what-is-going-on-with-them. So! On to the pictures! Draw your own conclusions:

There's a teeny bit of backstory on this photo as I believe it's a teenage picture of Doris's first husband, Sonny's father. I was looking at this going, "Aw, how cute. Look how much he resembles a blonder Donald O'Connor." It was THEN that I noticed the sweater's innocuous pattern is not so innocuous...

Nazi Party Foul!!!!!!!!
Um, where the floating eyes in the middle of the Hopi Indian design isn't disturbing, danged if those swastikas don't give you a second thought on this picture! Luckily for Sonny, Sr. (I still can't find his name!), there's some 'splainin' bein' done by Wikipedia here:

The [swastika] symbol appeared in many popular, non-political Western designs from the 1880s to the 1920s, with occasional use continuing into the 1930s. Because this was a popular symbol with the Navajo people, the Arizona Department of Transportation marked its state highways with signs featuring a right-facing swastika superimposed on an arrowhead. In 1942, after the United States entered WWII, the department replaced the signs. The swastika's use by the Navajo and other tribes made it a popular symbol for the Southwestern United States. Until the 1930s, blankets, metalwork, and other Southwestern souvenirs were often made with swastikas.

SO! I was right in thinking of this more as a Indian print sweater than an emblem of Nazi Youth enrollment. Still, it is kind of disturbing, right? It's funny how something so simple could be turned so very forever-wrong with the right historical context.

At least it's an American flag?
Normal picture of a flagpole...wait, what is that guy doing on the top of it?! Wikipedia, I hope you can explain this. Aaaaand, no surprise, it can:

Flagpole-sitting was a fad in the early 20th century. The fad was begun by stunt actor and former sailor Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly or as a publicity stunt. Shipwreck's initial 1924 sit lasted 13 hours and 13 minutes. It soon became a fad with other contestants setting records of 12, 17 and 21 days. In 1929, Shipwreck decided to reclaim the title. He sat on a flagpole for 49 days in Atlantic City, New Jersey, setting a new record. The following year, 1930, his record was broken by Bill Penfield in Strawberry Point, Iowa who sat on a flag pole for 51 days and 20 hours, until a thunderstorm forced him down. From 1933 to 1963 Richard "Dixie" Blandy claimed various records as champion at 77, 78 and 125 days until he died in 1974 when his pole was snapped in half at the Dixie Square Mall For the most part, pole sitting died out after 1929, with the onset of the Depression.

Guys, new plan for what we're doing this beautiful, temperate afternoon. Where's the nearest flagpole? After that, we can cram people in phonebooths and swallow goldfish. It's every vintage-o-phile faddist for themselves! :)

Last but not least, this completely-out-of-place picture was in the bunch. It depicts a soda fountain/eaterie in what I can only guess is the 1920's, like the rest of these pictures:

Things you're missing by this picture not being nearly as big as I would like it to be:

Things I wonder about include: The "Chow Mein" sign, the "Chatterbox" sign, and what's-with-those-mirrored-doors. The effect is so terrifying! Chow Mein came with the Chinese immigrants to California in the mid 1800's, and I remember being surprised to see a Chinese restaurant menu in a girl's commencement annual from 1918 Minnesota (the whole of which is one of my most prized possessions...maybe I'll share it with you someday!), so it was around in major cities throughout the U.S. even that far back. Still! What are the handsome Italian stallion soda jerks you see in the following photo doing serving up Asian fare? Furthermore, what-would-they-know-about-making-it, exactly?

The above close-up is just rife with "I wonders". I wonder if the three guys are brothers and if they're Italian or another similarly dark complected ethnicity. I wonder if all those bottle drinks are Coca-Colas or other contemporary cold drinks! I wonder what color (or multi-colors) the Life Savers display was! I wonder why there's an anchor over this light fixture, what beer is advertised in the washed out ad above the Ale sign, how the ceiling got burned. What is the Chatterbox and why is there no smoking in there? It's 1925, there's smoking everywhere! And what's in that jar on the counter? Oh, the mysteries!

I hope you find some pictures-with-stories-to-tell at your estate and thrift store adventures this weekend. I hope I do, too! What's your favorite old-time fad you would've liked to/would've liked to seen somebody else participate in? What do you think of the possibly Italian guys and their 1920's fine dining joint? Have you seen a swastika in its non-intended-Nazi-party-purpose before? Tell, tell!

Have fun this weekend, and I'll see you guys on Monday!


  1. I love these photos and all the still unanswered questions. Soda fountain/Chow Mein? Who are the Italian looking dudes?

    What Lola Wants

  2. It never ceases to amaze me the little details you pick up!

  3. It looks like jar on the counter contains pickled eggs? They were, and in some locations still, popular in bars. I have a friend that creates pickled eggs for Christmas presents. Of course, she has learned to only give them to those which appreciate their unique flavor. In her early days, these picked eggs were a must for the college keg parties.

  4. oh goodness! i can't decide if i like the flag pole or the cools guys behind the counter better! how did a guy sit up a pole for 51 days! All i can think about is how did he go to the bathroom? do i really want to know?

    i kind of hate that vintage photos are so small! the teeny details are the best part.

  5. I got a bridge tablecloth once in a lot of linens that I got at an auction that had swastikas in the corners.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...