I came across a post the other day of a book of old soap ads for Ivory soap. Oh my word some of these are hilarious. I posted some of my favorites, but you can see them all here: “What a Cake of Soap Will Do.” I think I love the old ads so much because they just show a completely different mentality of how people were targeted in advertizements, but at the same time many of the techniques are the same as in ads today (just less wordy ha!)
Some of you know I make and sell handmade soap. Don’t get me started about store bought soap! (Unless you have a good half hour to spare). I fought joining Pinterest for a long time (I know you’re wondering where the heck those two idea connect! Bear with me.) Well I finally gave into Pinterest. I discovered (for me) it was a good way to book mark webpages I wanted to come back to. In the process I’ve started pinning my soaps and others as well. And today I came across a pin from another person for a couple vintage soap ads from the 1940s. You have to read these! They’re too fun not to share.
Vintage Ad 1: http://file.vintageadbrowser.com/l-27s6sk8u4j6d4r.jpg (Not sure who to give the credit to as this is the only link I have to them).
Vintage Ad 2: http://file.vintageadbrowser.com/3i3dzoa1ynpmhk.jpg
I admit it. I’ve read very few novels set in the 1960s or 70s. Typically they just don’t quite live up to my expectations for that time period. Most of the books are centered around segregation, and I find they’re either too preachy or lack enough seriousness on the topic. I’d heard so many good things about Glory Be though, that I was excited to read it. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it definitely exceeded my expectations!
Glory Be takes place during the summer of 1964 in a small town in Mississippi. Gloriana, affectionately known as Glory, is looking forward to a summer of swimming in the public pool and impatiently awaiting her twelfth birthday. Things start to go downhill fast though! It all starts with the pool closing, because of supposed needed repairs. Glory doesn’t understand the real reason behind the closing and is worried that she won’t be able to hold her birthday party there, like she does every year. Her strong headedness and unrelenting need to understand why the pool has “really” been closed pulls her into the troubling issues of segregation.
As she watches adults, deals with her ex-best friend Frankie, and spies on her sister Jesslyn, Glory’s understanding of segregation and how it is wrong grows. She takes action, in her own way, trying to make her voice heard.
What I really liked about the book is it wasn’t just about discrimination. Glory also struggles with her older sister Jesslyn, who suddenly has a new boyfriend and doesn’t have the time of day for her. Being an older sister and having gone through the same thing, their relationship really rang true to me and added to the story. Glory has difficulties with her best friend and she also meets new people and learns from them. The heart of the story does deal with a difficult topic, but the story is also about sisters, love, friendship, understanding, courage, and forgiveness.
On a side note, take a moment to check out Scholastic’s Mother Daughter Book Club. Glory Be is Scholastic’s first book! They’re offering a free Skype visit with the author! And there are some great discussion questions and a recipe that was adapted from the book!
I spent Easter at my parents. After dinner I was sitting in the living room with my mom and I notice this little magazine on the floor. The back side was up and it caught my attention for two reasons. First, it was yellow with age. Second, the ad on the back paged seemed really out of date. I had to investigate. Turns out it was a magazine from 1982! The R & R Mixer ’82: Your Guide To the Latest Party Drinks and Snacks.
I asked my mom about it and she said it was some magazine they got in Germany (when they were first stationed there, that note, they’ve kept for over thirty years!). It got filed away somewhere long ago. Recently my mom has been on a cleaning kick going through old files and boxes of stuff. I promptly confiscated the magazine. The R&R Mixer ’82 was published and circulated to the America Forces stationed in Europe. Their editorial and administrative offices were located at 17 Bismarchkstrasse in Heidelberg, West Germany. (I love that little detail! In 1982 Germany was still divided!). It was a private firm that wasn’t connected with NATO.
The magazine contains articles and recipes on making drinks. The first page opens with “…the R&R Mixer, a magic elixir your guide to notions and party potions…” to be followed up a couple pages later with “…Wine, Wine–how divine; Champagne, Champagne–creme de la creme…” They might be cheesy but they make me laugh! The whole magazine is full of titles like these.
But that’s not the best part! Nope, the best part are the advertizements in the magazine! Oh my word. I was cracking up at some of them and they all brought back memories! So without further ado here are my top three favorite ads.
Third Place goes to…Dual-Standard Trinitron Sony TV. This amazing TV allowed us to watch TV not only in America, but in Europe! A compatible TV! Technology was progressing!
Second Place goes to… Toshiba’s 50/60Hz microprocessor-controlled microwave oven! Which also “plugs in on both sides of the Atlantic.” You might have to have lived in Europe (as an American with your American appliances) to really get a chuckle out of this. But, I remember having to buy “new” appliances because we couldn’t use the ones we’d bought in America in Europe. And just a side note, that microwave looks like it should be in a museum! And yet I remember using one just like it. (That makes me feel really old!)
and First Place: The Quintet – JVC’s new portable component system. Now come on, raise your hand if you remember carrying your boombox around with you. Heck I remember when I got a walkman and thought it was the greatest invention ever! How the times have changed!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these ads as much as I have. They gave me a good laugh and brought me down memory lane.
Primary sources for a writer can be really exciting! I’m sure we all know the difference between primary source and secondary sources but humor me as my English Composition Instructor instincts take over for a moment and I explain the two.
Primary sources are those which include firsthand accounts of events such as diaries, interviews, court records, and letters.
Secondary sources are those which interpret, comment on, critique, explain or evaluate events of primary sources.
As a historical writer research is my best friend. I’ve spent (never wasted, no, not me!) endless hours researching. As an 1830s fanatic most of my sources have been secondary. Occasionally I find a diary entry or two, but in general primary sources are limited (at least until I discover a way to time travel!). I think every writer hopes to find an endless supply of primary sources in their research that would help them paint a picture that makes that time period come alive in a way that all the secondary sources could never do. That unfortunately will most likely never happen for most of us, so when we do stumble across a primary source it excites us.
Over Christmas, while visiting the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber (pronounced Roe-ten-burg), I stumbled across a firsthand account of the surrender of Rothenburg to American soldiers during World War 2.
Rothenburg is a well-preserved small medieval walled town in Germany. In German Rothenburg means “red fortress above the Tauber” and is named so because the town is located on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River. For the most part the town has been wonderfully preserved, though during World War 2 the town did suffer some damage. In March of 1945, Hitler had Germans stationed in Rothenburg with orders to fight to the end. On March 31, Americans dropped bombs over Rothenburg killing 39 people and destroying 306 houses, six public buildings, nine watch towers, and over 2,000 feet of the wall. The bombing was stopped by U.S. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy who knew about the historic importance of the town. He ordered US Army General Jacob L. Devers to not use artillery in taking the town. On April 17, 1945 American troops occupied Rothenburg.
The above description is what you will find on most sites and books that talk about the surrender of Rothenburg.
While in Rothenburg we stayed at the Hotel Spitzweg. The owner, who was the sweetest old man, has lived in Rothenburg his entire life. He was a young boy during World War 2 and he remembers the surrender of the town and tells a vastly different story from the above account. I’ve tried to recount it as accurately as possible here, without adding my own thoughts and opinions.
Account by Herr Hocher as related to Jennifer Hofmann on December 29, 2011:
Americans came to the gates to negotiate a surrender. However, there was only one person who knew English in town. The German officials sent for him to translate. It took him over an hour to arrive. He was bathing and getting “dressed” up so that he would be presentable to the Americans. In the meantime the tensions were rising between the two armies. When the interpreter was finally found and brought forward the town was surrendered and a catastrophe was avoided.
Herr Hocher, who was just a young boy, was running one of the empty shops. At this point at the end of the war the supplies were so few that all the shops were bare. When the American army started marching through town he went to stand outside his shop with all the other town’s people to welcome the Americans marching through town. (My interpretation on this, though he didn’t say so in so many words, but strongly implied it, was that the town’s people were happy about this surrender and thought that things would be better for them now because of it.) The shop owner next to Herr Hocher’s had forgotten to take down a large Nazi poster in his window that Hitler required every citizen to have. He realized it as the Army was marching by and quickly ran into his shop to tear it down.
This account is so different from what the history books tell. This just reminds me of how much information is left out of second hand accounts. You won’t find Herr Hocher’s telling of the surrender of Rothenburg in any book or article. And it makes me appreciate firsthand accounts so much more. Hopefully his story and the many others like his still out there will get recounted and live on for future generations to read and be enthralled by.
Even though I’m a Valentine’s Day Scrooge, I decided to post photos of cards from the past. I had fun looking at old cards, many of which were geared toward children. (Does anyone else remember the embarrassment of passing out Valentine’s cards in your elementary school class?) There were also some cards that were so incredibly racist that I wouldn’t even think of posting them here. Times have definitely changed, thank goodness!
Anyway, hope your Valentine’s Day is everything you want it to be. 😀