Throwing Down a Challenge

With the new year quickly approaching, I want to throw down a challenge to all members and spouses to introduce a younger person to something of value from your past. Possibly, an old movie, the 1st car you drove, a long forgotten dance or anything that is not currently deemed popular by the masses. A number of years ago, I was standing at a counter waiting for a young lady to take my sandwich order. The news was on; reporting on the life and passing of Elizabeth Taylor. I commented that this was truly a loss. The young lady proceeded to tell me that she had never seen Taylor in her youth or seen her in a movie. I told her that she was only one of the most iconic women in the motion picture industry. How can you go through life without seeing National Velvet or Lassie Come Home filmed in 1943. I have an eleven year old daughter who I continually expose to the best classic Americana has to offer. In our home Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, classic cars, chrome bumpers, big bands, black & white movies and the waltz are not a thing of the past but an every day staple.

The 40s (Part II)

1940s womans suitAmerican designers came to the forefront in the fashion world with the closing of the Parisian fashion houses, boosting such designers as Clare Potter, Claire McCardell and Carolyn Schnurer in sportswear.

Lilli Ann suits were made in San Francisco and Hattie Carnegie designed fine dresses in New York City.

Very fashionable dresses were designed with sweetheart necklines, side zippers and drapery that flowed from side to side. Casual wear consisted of pleated pants, print cotton dresses in patriotic motifs, polka dots, checks and abstract designs in bold colors.

Suits and dresses were worn with platform-soled shoes. Cork wedge was used in place of leather and steel during the war. Suede and fabric platform sandals and mules were fashionable and in Italy, bakelite was used for soles and heels.

The outrageous hats of the previous decade were replaced with turbans, crowned hats, hand knitted caps, and calots worn at the back of the head. Kerchiefs and veils tied under the chin were a chic trend, with hats becoming frivolous again after the war with veiled turbans adorned with fruits and flowers. Hairstyles were rolled or pageboys.

In 1947 Christian Dior’s “New Look” was a totally different design with unpadded soft round shoulders, padded hips and full skirts with pleating at the waist, calf-length skirts with crinolines in rich feminine fabrics. Hats were very small and designed to coordinate with specific dresses.

Men’s clothing also had fabric and design restrictions. No cuffs, pleats or overlapping waistbands. Vests were limited, and the two-piece suit replaced the traditional 3 pieces. Backless vests were used for eveningwear, with narrower trousers and shorter jackets made with rayon, rayon blends and flannel. Battle jackets were popular casual wear.

The “Zoot” suit made a brief appearance, but was considered a waste of too much fabric. It was styled with oversized coats, big shoulders, slash pockets, full knees, cuffs, trousers hiked up with suspenders and oversized bow ties. Does this look similar to what the boys are wearing today?

The Hawaiian shirts picked up by servicemen as souvenirs became casual wear in the late forties. (Original shirts are very expensive and highly collectable today.) The bold post war look contrasted with the somberness of the war years with broad shoulders, wide lapels, wide spread collars, large cufflinks, plaid socks, and colorful ties.

Ties were the mainstay of the forties with patriotic colors during the war. Hand painted designs and photo ties in vivid colors inspired by art deco. After the war luxurious silk ties were manufactured once again.

(Missed Part I? Read it here…)

From the “Cookie” at the Stowe Show – Savory Chicken Pot Pie recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-16 oz. Can chicken broth
  • 1 Medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 Large chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Large russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 Large carrots peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • ½ Cup frozen peas
  • 2 Pie crusts for 10 inch pie (ready made or homemade)

Directions

In large skillet, heat the olive oil till almost smoking then add the onions and sauté them stirring them to coat with olive oil. Then add cubed chicken, cook until onions are translucent and chicken is cooked through, stirring often. Remove to a bowl. Heat the chicken broth to a boil then add the potatoes and carrots to cook them through, simmering about 15 mins. Reserving the broth strain the potatoes and carrots and add them to the chicken. Add the peas as well. In the same sauté pan heat 1 tablespoon butter and add 2 tablespoons flour. Stir continuously over medium heat . Cook until it’s paste like…about 2 mins. Whisk the reserved chicken broth to it and cook until it thickens. Stir in all the vegetables, chicken and parsley. Add salt and pepper as needed. Place crust in bottom of deep-dish 10 inch pie pan. Pour the chicken and veggies over the bottom crust then place top crust on top. Crimp the edges. Cut 3 or 4 small slits in the top, place on cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 40 mins or until the pie is hot and bubbly. The crust should be golden brown. Serves 4.

Accolades to Stowe Show Organizers

When I met our dedicated Wheel Tracks editor, Gary “Scoop” Fiske, at the Stowe Show, he reminded me that it is “my” month. Uh oh, I’m in Stowe, the computer at home in Milton, ideas, nil. As the show went on, RAIN and shine, I decided that what better topic than to tout the organizers of this event. To most folks, this is a great show that “just happens” in mid August and is greatly enjoyed by casual spectators as well as rabid car enthusiasts. What is probably not generally realized is that it is the culmination of a full year of monthly meetings by the show committee to plan, organize, arrange, and try to anticipate whatever may or may not come up. These organizers have many years of experience to draw upon and are a totally awesome and dedicated group. Then during the week of the show’s opening, the field has to be set up, signs put up, packets prepared, get media coverage, food prepared for workers, sound system setup, parking area ropes and signs for show cars and the public, car corral setup, flea market setup, a plan for weather changes, places for visitors to sit and rest, golf carts ready, contacting and confirming the Stowe Fire Department, EMT and police presence, port-a-pot folks, trash pickup (what a great job they do), constantly being available to solve whatever problems arise on the spot – all that and more! Then comes the inglorious task of taking down and packing up everything, maybe getting a little break, be-fore starting plans for next year’s show. Whew!!! There just are not enough good things that can be said for Bob Chase and Duane Leach’s leadership, but I’ve tried, lest they think no one is aware of all they do, as they, literally, run from one situation to another. We realize that whatever the weather brings, or what problems arise, the Show will go on and will be spectacular. Thank you from the softer side! Marnita, you are awesome as well!!

The 40s (Part I)

Wartime saw many restrictions in fashions and clothing in general. The United States stipulated the amount and types of fabric that also affected European nations. With nylon, wool, and silk in short supply, women were forced to turn to fabrics such as rayon crepe, black faille and velvet chiffon for evening clothes. Rayon gabardine was the replacement for wool.

As a direct result of wartime restrictions standardized button and pocket limitations were introduced. Women’s clothing became much more masculine as boxy suit jackets with large shoulder pads, fitted waists, and dresses sported a peplum with narrow skirts. Later on the A line skirt was shown with suits.

Hollywood still greatly influenced the American fashion world and the forty films were filled with the fashions of the time; Suites, sweaters, skirts, pants, bathing suits, shoulder pads and sweater sets were made famous by Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner.

In the evening beaded sweaters and jackets were the choice as sequins were un-rationed and were widely used along with rhinestone buttons. Costume jewelry was large, consisting mostly of pins and brooches made in sterling silver.

Expensive gloves were replaced with knitted or crocheted ones. Stockings were thick rayon. Pocket books were tremendous in size, elongated, and with the metal shortage, made with wood or plastic closures.

Broadcloth or calfskins were used with many women crocheting their own with gimp or cording. Crocheted bags were manufactured in great numbers along with envelope bags, panier handle bags, pearlized plastic bags and hatbox bags, all designs of the forties.

(Read more in Part II…)

Could this be a dream?

I want to tell you about the perfect car tour I was on recently. We stayed in a hotel that had once been a single family “summer home”. The living areas were plush and cozy. My room was quite spacious and the height of comfort with a lounging area and the most remarkable bathroom, equipped with all the “necessaries” and a large soaking tub with the most fabulous shower you have ever seen! I could go on and on about the accommodations but we are on a car tour aren’t we?

In the morning, we would gather for breakfast and listen to the tour guide tell the days agenda. I must tell you the breakfast was just fabulous, a large assortment of muffins, scones, pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, maple granola and coffee, tea and juice of your choice. The day’s tour was a short ride to the resort’s spa where you could have a pampered day filled with massages, manicures, pedicures and of course, lunch. There is a place provided for anyone (probably the men) to park their cars and walk around them and talk and talk and take a few pictures and I guess I did say talk didn’t I? Then the short ride back for “happy hour” and get in a little more talk before dinner. Dinner and then back to our luxurious rooms for a little TV and a good night’s sleep preparing for day 2.

Day 2 – We gather for the same wonderful breakfast and briefing for the day. Today we take a short drive to the local flea market known for its’ many artists, crafters, and a wonderful food market where we will have lunch. Of course, there is a place to park the cars and let (probably) the men, walk around and talk and meet more men and talk, take a few more pictures and talk a bit more before heading back to our wonderful accommodations and have dinner. A little after dinner talk and by now there are some repairs or tweaks to be made to the cars and some discussion on how to make them. Another day gone and a good night’s sleep needed. We leave everyone today. The goodbyes take time and the next tour is discussed and we say goodbye until next time. You would think this is the “dream” car tour and you would be right! It was just a dream. So boring!!

Ode to Stuff

Okay, this is no ode – poets write loads of odes, and to everything; urns come to mind, but I don’t believe I’ve seen one to “stuff”. When I was trying to think of stuff to write about this month, my erudite husband suggested I write about “stuff”. Now, who was the English Lit major?? Not him! Anyway, we all have our stuff, usually unique to the individual, and very dear to him or her. Beanie babies, Cabbage Patch dolls and pet rocks were a lot of folks’ obsession a few years ago. Then there are thimbles, paperweights, cups and saucers, old bottles, books (yes!), stamps, old coins, chickens, old tools, license plates (1909 dealer plate anyone?), art, CAR PARTS – amazing! Many of us have family heirlooms, but where, oh where, to put all of one’s stuff?

It could be put in a stuffing box, but that is a whole other thing, right, old car guys? An addition could be built, another garage, wall- to- wall shelves, hang stuff from the ceiling? Or hand it off to children – probably not, their interests aren’t necessarily ours, so, I say, enjoy your stuff, even flaunt it. Some of our best “stuff” we dug up in our back yard, apparently considered to be “trash” by an earlier generation. So who’s to say what stuff will be collectible, valued, or found in a flea market, o.k., or on line, in the future? As I was writing, I looked around at some of my stuff. Pictures, old books, bottles, old kitchen utensils, a spinning wheel, books, boom chains, rusty iron tools, bowls and baskets, college mugs, coffee grinder, glass and ceramic cats and birds, pewter tea and coffee pots, did I mention books, wooden boxes, Matchbox cars (none made in China), old clocks, 45 RPM records of the 1950’s, old kid’s toys and dolls and more books. Almost forgot, interesting rocks from interesting places we’ve visited, except from England, as “he” wouldn’t let me put them in our luggage, bird’s nests and sloughed off snake skins. Then I think that when I’m gone, these will be what I’m remembered by? Oh well, flaunt our stuff now!!

Are You Mannerly?

I do a lot of shopping at a small village store known for their meat and deli department. For some reason I have an aversion to buying such at the big grocery stores. Why is this? I guess it’s that I trust the village store to sell me quality and for the 27 years of shopping there they have never had a “recall”. This store also served as employment for our 2 sons when they were in high school and still hire a very young staff. Excuse me, but I could, if not careful, get off the reason for this writing. I want to talk about manners or lack of.

The subject is brought to my attention nearly every time I step out my door. I want to tell you that I don’t go with that thought on my mind or “looking for trouble” but there it is!

On a recent trip to the Derby Store, I parked, got out and almost immediately started gathering stray carts. I can’t tell you why but I feel a need to move them from the random areas they have been left. I guess some of the reason is the parking lot is small and it is hard to park with carts taking up space and I have to admit it annoys me that people won’t take an extra minute to put their carts out of the way of others. On this day, I got to the doors with all the stray carts. I need to tell you that the doors are not automatic open. Well, I was having a bit of trouble pushing the carts through the door, when I noticed two young people behind me. Get the picture – 2 people about 20-25 years old, looking very physically fit waiting for an “older woman” to push carts through the door. Now, “the rest of the story”. They saw the situation and (quick thinkers that they proved to be) went in the exit door which gained them a quick entrance and avoided having to wait or help me! Oh, I’m sure their elderly, sick mother was waiting in the car (with no heat) for them to pick up some chicken soup and get her home to bed! Maybe they weren’t raised by a mother but by wolves. Isn’t there a story about that very thing? By the way, I watched them and they were getting a deli sandwich. Well, that explains their behavior. They were hungry. All is forgiven!!

At first I thought that the lack of manners was only in some young people but sadly it seems to cover all the age groups. All this said there are some very mannerly people out there and if you are one, I personally thank you and ask that you pass it on to your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, friends, neighbors, and car enthusiasts. We can win this. For me, I’ve got carts to gather and maybe I’ll review my copy of Emily Post.

Before I sign off, thank you Gary for printing this, thank you members for reading it and a big Thank You VAE members for pushing in your chairs, picking up your empty cups and plates and finding the recycling bin!

A Thanks to Our “VAE Family” and…

The first thing I want to say this month is a heartfelt “Thank You” for the caring condolence cards sent us by VAE members after Wendell’s mother passed away in December. She was 107 years old, which was amazing, but she truly was an amazing lady and gave a whole new meaning to “Mother-in-law”. She was “Mom” to me as well as Wendell. Makes me glad all over again to be part of the VAE family! Our VAE Christmas party seemed like a family get-together as do most of our meetings. How often do we actually look forward to a “meeting”?? Now for something completely different.

I was recycling the other day and noticed, once again, how many people don’t bother to read what is accepted as recyclable. I grant that most, at least, aren’t tossing it out their car windows, but that’s another story. Apparently our legislators aren’t doing a very good job either, according to an article in the Burlington Free Press recently. Which brings me to mention throwing trash in with recyclables, tossing plastic silverware and glasses away when they can be washed and reused. It really doesn’t take much time to rinse out cartons, jars and cans, fold out cardboard boxes, remove small lids. And then there’s soda cans and bottles that are returnable for money – they should be rinsed out as well. Our son, in his younger days, worked in a bottle return center and I always think of the yucky smell, especially beer cans and bottles, and particularly in the summer. So I’m a little fanatical about this subject. Of course, there is also my wanting to ‘clear up’ after a meal or a meeting, which goes back to my waitressing days. It drives Wendell a little crazy, but I just feel I have to help “neaten” up, clustering the cups and glasses, etc., for easier removal by our server. My fellow writer, Nancy Olney, and I are on the same page with this “neatening up”, should I say, hang-up!? Anyone who has been to our home probably wonders why I don’t practice what I preach – my answer is, too busy baking!

How to Keep Your Mate Interested! (in old cars of course!!!)

The following will be some do’s and don’ts regarding, what for many a woman, is the 5th season of the year the dreaded “car show” season. If you are just starting out and introducing her to the car show, this will prove to be the easiest time to cultivate a love or at least a liking for such things (if done right!) If you are a veteran of such, it will be harder but certainly with the right attitude, can be achieved. I will start with the don’ts:

  1. DON’T spring it on her the morning of the show! ASK her about the date at least 2 weeks before.
  2. DON’T expect her to pack the lunch, get the cooler ready, pack all the things needed for children (if there are any) and then wash the car!
  3. DON’T arrive at the show and disappear after shouting over your shoulder, “ Get me a hot dog (light on the mustard) and 2 drinks at 12:30.”
  4. DON’T offer to walk around with her and then pause at each car, for no less than a hour, and talk to the owner (which when done- it brings at least 3-6 other men who want to talk and so you end up seeing about 8 cars in the 12 hours you are there!)
  5. DON’T forget that while most “car guys” don’t need food, drink or a restroom, the rest of us do!!
  6. DON’T think that you get any trophy for being the last one to leave the show!
  7. DON’T forget that if children are involved, everything is much harder!
  8. DON’T give her a crash course in what the car is and has (unless she asks you to!) I have found that most “car guys” will believe anything you tell them!

Now some do’s:

  1. DO introduce “car shows” in small doses. Be sensitive to how much fun everyone is having.
  2. DO offer to take the children while she strolls through the flea market.
  3. DO make sure she has a chair, food, drink and a good book, if she is to be left alone at the car. (and only if she wants to be left alone at the car- I have found that is MUCH preferable!)
  4. DO try and introduce your mate and curtail almost all lengthy conversations and do your best to “move along”!
  5. DO take pictures but don’t feel you have to wait for every spectator to leave the field, besides, I’ll bet you already have a picture of the car back home, somewhere!
  6. DO return to the car from time to time so you can ask if she needs anything and she can be sure that it wasn’t you being taken away in the ambulance that left the field earlier!

Now, go and have a good time but remember in almost all cases, everything is easier to do at HOME!!