The First Jeans

We had to fight for our first pair of blue jeans. In the opinion of many 1960’s mothers, including mine, they were still “dungarees” and not appropriate attire for young ladies.

They were meant for farmers, cowboys, factory workers, men.

So I saved my babysitting money, and bought my first pair of Levi’s at an Army Navy Store. One problem… they were far too blue.

I remember taking them out to the back alley behind our house, and asking my younger siblings to run over them with their bicycles to distress the denim. There was no way to explain this to my parents.

It worked. It helped achieve the more worn “hippie look” that was becoming popular .

School dress codes did not permit jeans, or even pants, for female students at the time. It was truly a different era.

But beyond high school, my jeans got a proper workout. Along with T shirts, they became affordable, fashionable, practical, and pretty much everyday wear on the college campus.

Bell bottoms, straight leg, boot cut, designer jeans were all on the way. Brooke Shields was waiting in the wings with her Calvin Klein’s.

For me, that first pair from the Army Navy Store will always be the most special.

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Levi Strauss and Co. just released info on what they believe are the oldest women’s jeans in existence. Dated to the 1930’s, they were developed at a local level, long before they became a necessity for the factory-working women of the WWII era.

They call them “Viola” after the owner.

http://www.levistrauss.com/unzipped-blog/2017/08/meet-viola-oldest-pair-womens-levis-jeans/

 

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Location, Location, Location

The iconic New York City Plaza Hotel is up for sale. Built in 1907,  registered as a national historic landmark, the property is valued at $ 560 million.

Photo credit. Sotheby’s International.

Apartments are currently available, at a range of $1.3 to $39.8 million for a 3 bedroom suite, if you are house-hunting.

With its opulent interiors,world-class service, park view location, it has been the choice of the rich and famous for decades, photographed and featured in so many films.

My favorite guest might have been the fictional Kevin McCallister, from 1992’s Home Alone 2.

It inspired a trip to NYC for my family that included so many of the places featured around that Central Park location.

The clip included here features the not-yet political Donald Trump, who was the owner of record from 1988-1992.

The Sahara Group, an India-based conglomerate and current owners, announced the sale this week, according to Forbes.

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Buddy

Just when we’d given up on pet adoption, this little guy arrived at a local shelter.

Meet Buddy, a 3 year old terrier mix who rescued us back in April.

He is, for sure, a very special new “laptop”.

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Summer Camp ?

For $2300, you can send your kids to a 10 day session designed to improve their social media skills.

Offered in London, Melbourne and here in California, the program includes instruction in lighting and camera work, writing, blogging, self-promotion, marketing, etc.

“Every kid’s dream is to be a Youtube star”, according to Michael Buckley, host of the camp in Claremont, Ca.

There is no doubt that a select few teens have achieved fame and fortune with a highly successful social media account.

Followers in the millions will generate advertising revenue in the area of 6 figures, an income to be taken seriously.

That kind of popularity doesn’t seem to follow a formula, there is no telling what will attract and sustain viewers. It’s a bit of random magic. Or is it ?

I wasn’t surprised to hear of this version of summer camp. Most traditional camps are still designed to allow our youth to unplug for a few weeks.

My family had our own version of affordable summer camp.

Send the kids out in the morning to play in the yards, woods and streams nearby and have them return, unharmed, before the street lamps were lit.

It was a different time, a different kind of adventure, and it seemed to work.

We survived.

And of course, Allan Sherman’s 1963 classic camp refrain.

 

 

 

 

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Crayola

8 colors

Original package. 1903

We all started out with the basic 8 colors. That’s all we needed.

Introduced by Binney and Smith in 1903, they sold for a nickel, and no doubt had the same fragrance we all remember on opening the box…the smell of wax and joy.

Early on, I obeyed the rules, kept within a neat pattern, never mixing the colors or straying beyond the edges. Those who did not scared me a little.

That all changed.

With time and life experience, the mantra was different. Always color outside the lines. Also known as “think outside the box”, it was a metaphor for creativity, a different approach to life.

Color has always been a reflection of state of mind for me. If you look at photographs, or even into my closet, it is so clear.

There was a lot of black and grey in darker times, beige and brown for when I was trying to disappear. The bold primary colors of yellow, blue and orange were for the happiest times, pastels for the calmest, and red for when I felt powerful and unafraid. White was reserved for summer, giving the illusion of tan on a mostly freckled face. Purple came later, reflecting the royal sentiment of the more mature me.

Working in a professional world dominated by men, I avoided pink at all costs. Then my daughter was born; and I embraced pink for the first time in decades. I hope I have thanked her for that.

A tribute to another kind of color. From the mind of Cyndi Lauper. 1986.

Beautiful, like a rainbow.

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This is a re-post from 2014. It was inspired by a comment about recent wardrobe choices that seem to be mostly black and white. Life has not always been so monochromatic.

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Driving Lessons

I wrecked the family car when I was 16 years old, just a few months after getting my first driver’s license.

It was a 1960’s version of the “Woodie”, a beautiful and massive Ford station wagon with wood panel trim, the Country Squire.

It was the car on which I was trained.

My father’s strategy was to navigate the winding, hilly country roads outside of town.

There was no parking lot practice, we went straight to the paved roller-coaster streets of rural Pennsylvania. Road regulations, city traffic, even the dreaded parallel parking presented no issues for me. I was ready.

I proudly passed the first license exam, was quickly entrusted to handle all family driving challenges. My older sister was away at school, my mother never drove, the 4 younger siblings were depending on me.

My dad was able to walk to work, so he left the wagon at home for us.

On a rainy Friday afternoon, I sat in the local police station while my parents were contacted. The brakes had failed, I started a four car chain reaction at a stop light.

I couldn’t have been going more than 20 mph, but the car was totaled.

I remember every detail of that day. I was alone, driving to my weekly piano lesson that was 2 miles from home, not the first time I’d made the trip.

When they collected me from the police station, I was sure I wanted to tear up my driver’s license, never drive again. There was clearly a mechanical failure at fault, but I blamed myself, for a very long time.

My parents understood, and were very supportive. I was told that the younger kids were warned not to tease me, or make me feel bad about the accident.

That was my job, and I was good at it.

They quickly replaced the car, with a huge Dodge sedan that would accommodate our family of 8. I resumed chauffeur duties for the rest of my high school years and went on to be a confident driver.

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Post inspired by a recent car show of American “muscle cars”, which included the V8 Country Squire wagon.

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Tomato Sandwich

It’s the perfect summer sandwich, with the simplest of ingredients.

Garden-fresh tomatoes, mayo, store-bought white bread.

Photo courtesy. Food.com

I had the first of many this week.

You might be tempted to modify it, toast the bread, add ingredients like cheese, bacon, avocado, onion, etc.

But please do not. It is a culinary sacrilege.

Salt and pepper are acceptable, lettuce is not. It just gets in the way of those juices that absorb into the first layer of soft white bread.

Those healthier, whole grain breads just do not work here. Home-made or sourdough ? No thank you.

It was the lunch preferred by Louise Fitzhugh’s beloved childhood character Harriet the Spy. She would accept no substitute.

She understood the beauty of tomato as a main ingredient.

So do I.

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