Sunday, October 11, 2009

I Didn't GO Retro, I AM Retro!

A happy 50's afternoon in the back yard--me, Cookie the poodle, Susie in a chair that was perfect for babies since no one, including adults, could get out of them, another poodle whose name is lost in the mists of time, and Sally.  That pole sticking out of my head was part of a really cool metal swing set.  If your evil little sister swung up too high, though, it would topple over right on top of her.  Then you had to scream for Mom really loud and she would come running out yelling, "Gosh darn it I TOLD you girls not to swing so high" (even though I was standing innocently to the side of the swing set), and then everyone would start crying.  As usual, it was all my fault due to the unfortunate reality of having been born first.  The "you're the oldest and should know better than to let her do that" curse.  This would not, of course, be the last time I heard that.  Remember DISNEYLAND, Sally???

OK, here's the deal.  I was born in Park Forest IL in 1950 and moved to the suburbs of Southern California in 1954.  The house I remember the best was at 9351 Swinton Avenue in Sepulveda and we lived there until moving to Northern California in 1964.  (So yes, I was there for the hippie invasion and the Summer of Love, but that's another blog entirely). 

I've lived in San Francisco, the SF Bay Area, Los Angeles, "The Valley", and Mississippi (currently, and what the EFF for??) in my many years, and am happy to see a new generation embracing the atomic-retro-vintage charm of 50's and 60's style.  Recently I made the decision to concentrate my collecting interests on the things and looks I grew up with and with this blog I'm going to share stuff I find along the way.

Just a note:  as romantic as it might seem, most of our neighbors back in the day did not have the stark atomic look decorating their homes (you know, the kind you see now in Atomic Ranch magazine).  It was sort of a mish-mash of hand-me-downs AND whatever modern stuff was being offered at the local independent furniture stores and department stores like Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward and The May Company.  Most young families aspired to get rid of those hand-me-downs and fill their homes with brand-new furniture and accessories.  That being said, I do love Atomic, Eads, etc. and am slowly building a nice collection of that look, as well.

But what is defined as "kitsch" is what really grabs me, particularly because what's "kitschy" today was "modern" when I was a kid.  If that makes me an oldie but goodie, I'm proud to be one--so let's pile in the station wagon and head on out, boys and girls!


  1. What? Everybody's houses didn't look like George Jetsons back in the 50's? What a disappointment!

    I wish you had been with me last night for a good old country auction. I got a curved gossip bench, a pile of Luray dishes, a couple of Fiesta pieces, 4 trees (2 gingko and 2 curly willow), a wire flower frog like I've never seen before, a pile of aprons, and a pink McCoy planter for $99. Woohoo!

    Funny, I assumed you had been in Mississippi all of your life.

    Welcome to the blogospere Christine!

  2. Ha ha, it's funny how people define mid-century today. I have written a couple + posts about how Colonial style was popular in the 50's, and how few decorating magazines of the time even featured anything "atomic".

    We had a mix of things too. Mom got a barkcloth and bamboo rattan set for the living room because it was inexpensive. Now they sell for thousands.

    We had several of those Hermann Miller fiberglass side chairs, but at the time they were cheap and we tore them up. They weren't anything but regular old chairs at the time.

    The who "atomic" deal was something to be wary of. The Cold War and atomic testing made folks want to make a bomb shelter, not decorate their house that that.

    Oops I guess I'm telling my age too. =)

  3. who=whole. Oops, typo at no extra charge. =)