Friday, March 14, 2014

The Sharing of the Green

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are a couple of vintage St. Patrick's Day cards I found at an estate sale.

The estate was that of Edward, who had served in World War II and later lived with his mother Elizabeth, taking care of her till she passed away.  

This card was sent by Elizabeth to her sister:

Notice the old microphone on a stand, with the call letters "SP" on top, and the Mary Jane shoes on the Irish lassie.  

Inside, the humor is true to the period, probably sometime in the 1930s or 1940s:

It's a "Pat and Mike" joke, of sorts.

The inside of the card is addressed "To my little sissie Mad"  (Madeleine was the sister's name).  "XXX" is Elizabeth, and "Ed." was her son.

In the same stack of cards at the estate sale was one sent by a friend to Elizabeth.  It probably dates to the late 1960s-1970s.

Here's hoping you are thinking of your friends and loved ones on St. Patrick's Day, too. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Plans for a Plywood Santa Claus

Almost every home has a "junk drawer" in the kitchen -- the place where things that seem to have no other logical place, are stored.  At an estate sale, the junk drawer is often a place where interesting and unusual items have been stored, sometimes for decades.

Like this Popular Mechanics full-size pattern for a plywood Santa Claus, to decorate the family front yard at Christmastime.  I believe it dates to the 1960s.

Popular Mechanics readers could often find scale drawings of woodworking designs inside the magazines themselves, but I haven't seen too many of the full-size patterns that could be ordered.  This one came inside an envelope that also served as an advertisement for other New Full Size Patterns. 

You could make everything from kids' toys to furniture to a rowboat, a cupola or wooden valances,using one of their handy patterns.

But whoever ordered this Santa pattern apparently never got around to using it.  Old Saint Nick appears never to have been unfolded from the packaging.  The best-laid plans....

I didn't have the heart (or nerve) to unfold him all the way out.  I'll put the pattern on eBay and let someone who collects mid-century Christmas items have the honor.  And that way they'll have about nine months to get out to the workshop to get Santa ready for his appearance next December.

The blog Family Christmas Online has some great information on outdoor Christmas decorations from the 1960s:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Little Shaver

Vintage personal care items often show up at estate sales.  I found this one a few days ago in the estate of a family that lived through World War II.  

It's interesting that whoever owned this little safety razor kept the box, too.  All the components of the razor fit neatly inside.

The sticker on the box says:

OPA Retail Ceiling Price 49 cents.  Do not remove or obliterate.

The federal Office of Price Administration (OPA) regulated prices on non-agricultural products and rationed essential consumer goods during World War II.   That appears to mean that this razor was sold to someone on the "home front" during a time of metal shortages and "black market" retail operations.

A description of the O.P.A. is here:

The National World War II Museum's website is here.  It has lots of interesting resources for teachers and students: