“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair...”

may day::

Thursday, May 1, 2008

being silly with annie being silly take 2
{being silly with annie.}

Today is the beginning of a new month. Not just any month, but May! It's kind of a special month because it speaks of warmer weather, flowers, green grass, a sort of new beginning. When I was little my mom would buy candy like circus peanuts, m&m's and licorice and she'd pop popcorn and make May Baskets by putting the popcorn and candy in red plastic cups with the red licorice in the formation of a basket handle. We kids thought it was pretty swell and would get super excited to drive around our neighborhood sneaking to our friends' houses to drop off a load of baskets. It was fun to run up, ring the doorbell and run as fast as we can to get to the car before they saw us. These are the kind of holidays that my mom always had fun celebrating with us. She was full of great ideas and fun "sweet" projects to do on these occasions. We even celebrated Lincoln's birthday with a Lincoln Log (chocolate jelly roll filled with ice cream...amazing). I hope I can continue this tradition with my kids someday (if I ever have any, that is). ;-)

yummy pumpkin muffins
{pumpkin muffins my brother made.}

Last night I thought I would make some muffins for breakfast, so I thought I'd get out the cookbook and open it up to the recipe so I wouldn't forget. Well I forgot to set my alarm clock and when I got up to go make them, I saw my brother whipping something up. He said he saw the cookbook open and thought muffins sounded good, so he made them! How lovely. I have some pretty nice brothers, at least some of the time. :)

new dress
{cutting out a new dress. trying to avoid the ugly kitchen border print.}

And to really make my day and to continue my obsession for all things 1930s, I happened upon this lovely clip about a woman who practically lives in the 1930s every day, all the time. Isn't it absolutely marvelous? I happened upon her website several years ago and ever since have been a little jealous, but mostly fascinated about her way of life. Hearing about people who are passionate about history makes me light up. It's something I think has sort of gone-out in this day in age. No one really seems to care as much for history and the culture of times past. I just think people knew what they were doing back in those days and it wouldn't hurt us to learn from them.

16 comments :

  1. Wow, I love that clip! I've been a big fan of Joeri ever since you first told me about her work. If only I could do what she's doing -- but I think it would be very difficult to replicate the 1850s. At least she can use electricity!

    Cool.

    Silvana

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  3. lolo, I do NOT romanticize the 1930's.
    Most people have a too negative view of that era, more happened then just the depression!
    Not everybody was poor, out of a job or living out of their cars.
    Besides, I dont live in America, I live in the Netherlands, and although we suffered under the depression as well, it was a different situation.
    I have a job, I dont have children, we dont have a dust bowl... had I lived in the 1930s in that situation, things wouldnt have been such a hell as you seem to think the 1930s were all about.

    Besides, where am I romanticising it?
    Also, the videoclip doesnt show any poverty I may actually have experienced, you cant see how many times the dresses have been repaired, how much the stockings are darned, how often I have eaten just pasta without the sauce during that week, that I dont have a bath, that I wash my clothes by hand...
    Just like many people back then didnt show their poverty.

    I am a historical consultant, have done lots of research and do so every day.
    I know about the dark side of the 1930s, every era has its dark side.
    Even today, or should I say especially the present?
    But not everybody was jobless and living in poverty.
    Life went on, for those with a job these were indeed "golden years", lots of things became cheaper, most families owned a radio, went to the cinema, went dancing, were happy.

    Yes romanticizing the past is something you shouldnt do, but looking at it with glasses that are too dark is also wrong.

    Besides being a consultant for movies, museums and writers, I also take part in Living History.
    Ages ago I was involved in Medieval Living History, it became clear that everybody only has negative ideas about that era, that everyone died young, everyone had the plague, everyone was dirty, nobody had teeth... etc.
    Most modern historians disagree with those opinions.

    Just like in the 1930s not everyone was starving or broke.
    Lots of people had no job, but more people did have a job.

    As I said, most decades have good and bad things, none just one of them.

    If you want to know about the real 1930s here in the Netherlands I could direct you towards a tv documentary.
    It shows lots of unique material, some in colour.
    Yes it shows poverty but also progress, entertainment, fun, normal dialy life.

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  4. thank you so much for posting that clip!!! I remember when you ran across her website and posted that too (ages ago!); I was fascinated by her dedication and how she has made history come alive. I think it is so neat that one can recapture (to some small extent) a previous era and share it with others. so inspiring!

    I have a hard time understanding why people get so upset over others who have meticulously researched and decided to dedicate themselves to understanding what everyday life was like. certainly we don't face the economic, political, class, or race struggles of past decades by recreating (in this case) the 1930s. but to even don someone's clothes, forsake some modern modes and manners, brings us to a greater appreciation of what our grandparents and great-grandparents lived in their everyday life.

    and you are too adorable in those photos, btw! ;)

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  5. I'm so happy that Joeri responded. I really admire what she and her friends are doing because it's obvious that they respect the past -- with all its beautiful and horrible aspects. There's no question that they understand the terrible history of europe in the mid-20th century, as we & our friends try to learn about America in the mid-19th century. We don't romanticize slavery or the bloodshed of warfare, but that doesn't prevent us from studying and trying to learn about our own past.

    I've always been so impressed with the 30-45 people and think what they're doing is astonishing. In fact they have inspired me to work harder on my own impression and the details of the way I live my own life. I think what they're doing is quite honest and realistic.

    I would say that they probably have a more indepth understanding of their own past than those who only read about it in books.

    Anyway, I have a lot of respect for Joeri & her friends & coworkers. In fact I've always hoped we could learn from them as we explore our own special time period (1850s-60s.)

    Silvana

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  6. I'm still hung up on the idea of a chocolate jelly roll filled with ice cream... mmmm...

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  7. Cheers for all those comments ;)

    Don't get me wrong but I do feel that wat Lolo said goes for a lot of people who are into Reenactment or Living History, just not me ;)
    It is practically impossible to show a fully balanced view of the past, theres just so much we cant show or explain.
    Too many people do portray the rich ladies and gentlemen or the elite military forces.
    How many lower class working civilians or ordinary soldiers do you see at events?

    When I was a student (and already into the 1930s) for a while I did live like a poor person, I was one!
    Every winter there was frost on the windows and all the pipes turned into ice.
    The electricity blacked out every few hours because it hadnt been replaced since the early 20th century... when the fuzes blew I could smell the tar melting that kept the wires together...
    The wood in the windows was rotten, there were mice everywhere, etc, etc.
    Heres a video I made in my old house, doesnt look so bad but it was;
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=xo8BHSiKyoA

    But by the late 1930s for many people live wasnt as bad as most history books seem to suggest.
    For instance, EVERY house build in Amsterdam after 1933 had a bathroom, most houses had gas, everyone had electricity, etc, etc.
    I have been collecting images of interiors, how people lived.
    Many didnt have it that bad.
    Besides because of the depression it became much cheaper to buy a house, have it decorated, hire someone to clean it, etc.

    But although im still not rich, I'm not upperclass either.
    My 1930s house is lover-middleclass, the house of a teacher, postman, shopkeeper, office clerk.
    The Dutch middleclass had it much better then ever before back then.

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  10. Okay, had to delete a few comments. This was actually an interesting discussion, but I'm afraid it has turned rather sour. About the 1930s, I love the era mostly because I grew up watching movies from it and I love the clothing and I love a lot of the different aspects of it. But honestly, the point of my blog isn't to talk about all the hardships from that or any era. Doesn't mean I don't realize there were hardships in that time period or any time period. I'm not ignoring them, it's just that there is no point for me to talk about it in this blog. Maybe that will change sometime as my blog evolves into something different, or not. Who knows. But for now I'm keeping it happy. This is where I talk about things I'm inspired by and hope maybe I can inspire others while I'm at it. I just happen to find the past very inspiring. I don't talk about the problems in my life or the struggles I'm going through, because I choose not to share that aspect of my life with any random person who may happen upon my blog. Someday I may choose to talk about poverty, but for now I'm not really going that route. So please, please don't assume that just because I find most aspects of the '30s and '40s pretty flipping cool, don't assume that I think EVERY aspect of that time period was all happy happy joy joy.

    Anyways, thanks for keeping my blogsphere a little more happy. Discussions always welcome, flame wars...not so much. Thanks. :)

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  11. I think that, in order to be a "living historian" of any type, it takes a little romanticizing. No one just decides for a cold and objective reason that such an activity is necessary: there is always some emotional draw to it as well. I would doubt that even the most hardcore living historian would be able to honestly deny that there is not an aesthetic aspect to the activity (or lifestyle, in Joeri's case) and say that there is no connection with human feeling and emotion. Hence, there will always be an element of romanticism when we reinterpret the past through ourselves. Because, when it all comes down to it, reenacting is false, no matter how hard one tries... and one cannot help but realize that. There will always be an air of pretense. If you are recreating history at all, you are romanticizing it on some level.

    In fact, I don't even feel inclined to bash even the most blatant romanticism. I feel like romanticism is the first step that many people take onto the path of historical study and inquiry. Without the interest, that emotional pull and that aesthetic appeal, many people would simply just not ever feel enough about history to be willing to look into it more deeply and realize that it is truly multifaceted. Sure there are always the handfuls of people who get so wrapped up in romanticizing history that the past is nothing but pretty dresses and happiness... but that is none of us here.

    Also, I wanted to add that Anna (who is probably aghast at how long and defensive these comments have become, hehe) never said that the 1930s were better, just that people seemed to know what they were doing back then, and that we could probably learn some things from them. Which is certainly true! We have lots to learn from every era of the past; hence the importance of studying history.

    Thanks to everyone here, for loving history so much! :)

    Ryan

    P.S. Anna, the bottom border print on that fabric is stunningly atrocious, haha. However, can you maybe use the thinner, top border print for some trimming on the dress or some kind of decorative element or something? It seems like it might have some potential. But you know best!! ;)

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  12. Hey, Ryan, just wanted to thank you for your comment. Very well put indeed.

    About the border print. I did think about using the top border for something. Still thinking about it. We shall see.... :)

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  13. I need to say that regardless of whatever people are saying, I just LOVE it and admire you all for at least being passionate about a historical subject.
    These days thats sadly a rare thing ;)

    Perhaps I jumped on Lolo a bit too much but I honestly liked her comments and opinions, she is fierce and emotional about history, so am I.

    Besides how can we not romantisize a bit, we all know everything and everybody at least looked better then then today, even if life sometimes wasnt ;)

    hurrah for history, hurrah for proper old fashion ;)

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  14. Yes, I agree! Discussions about history are always welcome. I can't get enough of it really. All of this has definitely given me something to think about. I appreciate everyone's thoughts.

    Here here for history! :)

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  15. Ladies, ive just found a nice site that easily helps you make your photos look older.
    For me the trick is a bit too extreme because it makes the photos look a century old in stead from the 1930s but its a great trick for you 19th century people ;)

    http://labs.wanokoto.jp/olds?lang=en

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  16. Ooh that's really cool! Thanks for the link! I can see myself playing around with this site for a couple hours. :)

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