Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Day Late

I suppose this one should have been posted yesterday for the Memorial Day holiday.  Oh well, it's only a day late, so why not.  The fact is, these patriotic celebrations make me a bit fearful.  I've noticed most people aren't fond of my rejection of American exceptionalism and all the military trappings that go with it.  I keep expecting that some guy, all decked out in American flags, is going to beat the crap out of me when I question the sense in having the world's largest military, and our growing ease with its use.

Anyway, for what it's worth, I'm not a pacifist.  Give me a good reason to support a war and I'll do it.  I won't be happy about it, but I will.  It's just, that in my life time, there haven't been that many American wars that I thought made a whole lot of sense.  Too, I kind of feel that the European powers, in their colonial period, broke the world, and I'm tired of spending American treasure and American blood to solve problems created by the Brits and French.  Sykes, Picot anyone?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Swim Season

I've been putting up some of my many pictures of women, and while I've still got lots and lots to go, it's time to mix things up again.  With Memorial Day upon us, it becomes swim season.  Although, in this day, the whole idea of a season for things is becoming a thing of the past.  Anyway, it looks like a pool rather than the beach.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

School Days

No, I don't know for sure that this is school photo, but the building has that institutional feel, and there is a bell on the wall that sure looks like the one that made my life miserable at my high school.

What's interesting to me is that this photo includes two black women.  It' true that only the southern states had Jim Crow laws, but it's also true that when this picture was taken, different races didn't hang out a lot, and while things have improved over the years....well, I live in Los Angeles, one of the most diverse cities on the planet, and when I wander around the area, what I see is a world that's still pretty separate.

And for the record, California never had Jim Crow, but it did have restrictive real estate covenants.  In a nut shell, real estate developers had their customers sign agreements that forbade them from selling their new homes to non approved groups.  Blacks, of course, Hispanics, Asians, and Jews were the most frequently targeted groups for exclusion.   Ronald Reagan, when he first ran for governor, had three main issues, lower taxes, ending free higher education, and the preservation of restrictive real estate covenants.  Two successes and one failure.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Women At Sea

I purchased this one here, in southern California, so there's a good chance that this photo was taken on the run to Catalina Island.  There was a time when there was  passenger service between Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Mexico.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'd love to get a coastal steamer to the Bay Area.  Driving, the train, or flying all work fine, but sitting on the deck of a ship would be a great way to get around.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Watching the Boys

I was born in 1955 and finished my education well before Title IX came along.  My high school had football, basketball, track, cross country and gymnastics for the boys, and basketball for the girls.  We had a little league field in town, but back then little league was for boys only.  We had a municipal pool that opened early on weekends for adult lap swimming, but that was for men only.  The local Elks Club had a golf course that any member could use, but the members were all men.  Wives could hit from the ladies tee, but only male guests could play.  In other words, girls spent more time watching their boyfriends play sports than playing themselves.   I've was never in the crowd of girls sitting at court side or the edge of the field, so I have no idea what they talked about.  Their boyfriends, something else,  or how unfair it was that they didn't get to play.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Party In Europe?

This one's printed on Agfa paper, it looks like it's from the late fifties to early sixties, so I'm guessing that this photo is from Europe.  Maybe Germany or the Netherlands.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


It took my best magnifying glass to make it out, a single word on the one ladies paper hat.  "WARD"  It's not a term used much anymore, but there was a time when every person in the United States knew what a ward healer was.  In the days of on the ground machine politics, a ward healer solved peoples problems, found them jobs and medical care in return for party loyalty.  Sure, it was considered corrupt. but it was a hell of a lot better than the machine politics of today, as party leaders bend over backward to do favors for big donors while the rest of us get forgotten.

Monday, May 16, 2016

One Short of Twenty

 I did note that I would be posting photographs of women for awhile, and there are lots of women in this picture.  Nineteen to be exact.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Girls Goofing Around

The name "Marianne Hoover" is written below that arrow.  I don't know why, but when I include white boarders in the scan it seems to make the image a bit more yellow than it actually is, so I don't scan boarders unless I've no choice.  Anyway, I think the saddle shoes make them look like high schoolers, though I could be wrong.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Young Nurse

Or maybe she's a candy striper.   I have no idea. In any case, there's some sort of document on the wall with the Russian Double Eagle, symbol of the Czars.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cleo and Friends

Written on the back, "Cleo, Marion, Betty, Judy  Oct. 21,1945."  Yesterday's post dated from January 1942, just a month or so after America's entry into World War 2.  Today's post just a few months after the war's end.   Whenever I see pictures of civilians from the war era, I'm always reminded that they almost certainly knew someone who was killed or wounded.  It's not like that anymore.  We've been involved, militarily on some level, in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade, and I don't know a single person who has been killed or wounded in those conflicts, nor do I know any person who has family that has died.   We could have small numbers of troops, in combat, for another twenty years, and it would still be possible to never know any actual casualties or their families.  I guess that's why it's so easy to tolerate our involvement.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Baby It's Cold Inside

  As I've noted in other posts, I sometimes buy envelopes of photos.  If the price is low enough, I'm willing to purchase an envelope for one or two prints.  As the price goes up, I have to want at least half of the images.  As such, I do end up with a lot of snapshots that aren't necessarily bad, but are far less interesting than I'd like.  In a nut shell, I've got a lot of photos, sitting on my desk, that have been there awhile, and it's time to publish some of them.  For the next few posts I'm going to concentrate on the largest single category, women in singles and groups.

This one's dated, "Jan 22, 1942" and it reminds me of home.  No, I didn't grow up in a house with three girls, but I did grow up in a house that was cold during the winter.  When I was born, in 1955, our home was heated by coal, but by the time I was four, we had transitioned to natural gas.  A year latter, my parents split up, the household was a lot poorer, and in order to save money, my mother turned down the winter heat to 50 degrees.  Anything lower than that, and the pipes in the basement would burst.  To keep warm, I'd sit on the floor register, and let the warmish air blow over me.

In 1942, the war had started, and rationing had become the new normal.  Coal was a strategic material, and since most homes were heated by coal, winter became a chilly time for Americans.  Since this photo has the classic steam register, I suspect it was taken in a big city apartment.  The poor super would have to get up in the middle of the night to shovel more coal into the boiler, while his chilled tenants would huddle near the register to stay warm.  Oh for the end of the war so the "sup" could shovel on the cold and make things nice and toasty.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Bob Welker In the Desert

It looks like Bob is moving, and there's a good chance that it wasn't voluntary.  You might have to click on the image to bring it up in a bigger window, but the hood's up and there's a tire pump in the back seat.  How many more miles to the big city?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tired Feet, A Convenient Seat

You take a walk, you're feet get tired,  you need a rest, you use the seat that's available.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Civilian Army

This one has a processors stamp on the back dating this print from the "Week of August 29, 1955", putting it somewhere in between Korea and Vietnam.  Since it's almost impossible to put a date on the beginning of the Vietnam War-did it start before U.S. involvement, the arrival of trainers, the first troops in the field, the Gulf of Tonkin incident-we'll just say a lot closer to Korea.

So, here's a fun fact about the U.S. Army in the 1950's.  After the end of World War 2, it was assumed by many Americans that the draft would come to an end, and everyone could go on with their lives with no fear of being called up.  But that wasn't to be.  Fear of Soviet aggression, the perceived need to keep an occupying force in Europe and Japan, kept the military in need of fresh troops, so the draft continued apace.  Never popular, it didn't take long for the whole issue of deferments to come up.  In 1950, with the backing of many in the academic community, the army decided that college students, based on their grade point average, could avoid conscription.  Needless to say, the A students could stay at home, while those with a sold C risked  a quick trip to basic training.

One of the few academics to argue against a deferment system of any kind was Harvard President James B. Conant.  He thought universal service for all 18 year olds was preferable.  In his writings he made a whole host of points, but what it all got down to was that if we were to have a military and if it was necessary to defend the country, than it was undemocratic that that burden should fall on some, and not on everyone.  Conant lost the argument.  By the time Vietnam came along, there were so many deferments that we had effectively divided the country into two categories: those who were worth saving and those who were disposable.

I was from a small coal mining town in western Pennsylvania, and I was in the disposable pool of Americans.  I got lucky. January 23, 1973, my 18th birthday, the Paris Peace Accords were signed, ending American involvement in Vietnam.  (There were no Americans in combat when Saigon fell in 1975.) The draft ended not long after that, and my assumption that I'd get swept up and sent to southeast Asia was proved wrong.

This is the last of the photographs from the military memorabilia envelope.  Sort of.  I do have a couple of press clippings, one with a picture, but if I decide to post it, it will be on my Fair Use blog.  I've already published a couple of documents from this collection, but I haven't felt the obligation to put them all on line.  Maybe they'll show up some day, maybe not.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

At Attention

This one's an 8x10, and I suspect it's an official photograph for release to the press.  I had hoped that I'd be able to get an ID from the patch on the sleeve, but that was a no go.