Greetings from 1952. This week, we have some ‘Romantic Fiction’, ‘Vera Lynn’s story’ and ‘Two Gay Summer Jumpers’; goodness only knows what Google Search will make of that last feature. There are going to be some very disappointed visitors to this blog…
“Gone with the wind:
We have all heard of flying saucers, but have you heard of flying nylons? After rinsing through a new pair, I hung them out on the line.
A little later I heard laughter coming from a nearby garden and looked out to see one of my stockings filled with air and, foot uppermost, sailing in the sky like a sausage. It rose to about 300 feet and I watched it going strong for a quarter of a mile.
Alas, I don’t know the end of my poor stocking, but it has taught me to never hang them outdoors again. – Mrs. F. D. (Horsham, Sussex).”
“Making light of it:
Just recently I went to visit a friend who has a small brother. I knew the little boy had two goldfish so I asked how they were.
He smiled brightly and said: “Oh they’re all right, thank you” – and then, quite casually – “One’s dead.” – Miss M. M. D. (Kingston, Surrey)”
If only letters to women’s magazines were like this nowadays. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: reading magazines from a bygone era is not only eye-opening but it has actively encouraged me to not feel like I need or want the latest fashions. When I read anything modern now, I miss the stories, the illustrations, the advice for new mothers and parents, the innocent letters, the problem pages, the poem at the back, the doctor’s advice and everything else that makes these magazines so enthralling to me.
As an English teacher and former linguistics student, one of the many things I find fascinating is how they show a change in language use. Take this story by Claire Wallis, ‘Hat with Seven Roses’. The phrase ‘to make love’ and how it has changed since the 1950s is perfectly illustrated here:
“‘But well, it isn’t that I don’t like you too, Stephen. You’re a darling. But what I mean is, I’ve decided I must marry a different kind of man.’
At the look on his face she said quickly, ‘Oh, there’s nobody else – yet. But I don’t want you to go on hoping. You’ve become so very mathematical, Stephen, since you went into the investment business. You’re like one of those mathematical robots who do everything, multiply, divide and-‘
‘Everything but make love,” Stephen said sourly.
‘Well, you must admit you do calculate everything.'”
Marvellous! Now from what I can deduce, it seems that the phrase was used more in line with how we would say people are ‘in love’ with each other, and when showing their affection for one another (in a non-physical sense), they use the phrase ‘make love’. All very innocent but gives me some jolly good giggles when I’m reading these stories.
Incidentally, go back and look at that picture again. I presume he’s meant to be holding onto something on the bus; not about to cosh the lovely lady over the head! Fancett – perhaps Gerry Fancett? – illustrated this, and it is very striking. Although not immediately in the way in which it was intended.