Saturday, October 29, 2016

Vintage People

Looking through my folders of scanned slides, I thought I'd post some random photos of vintage people. Mint in box, unused! 

This first one is my favorite. Two buddies (brothers, I'd wager) pose in their "Utah Aggies" shirts. Maybe they're about to head on down to the ol' fishin' hole to catch some perch, or a few wily trout. After that they will join their friends Darla, Alfalfa, Porky and Buckwheat, for some quality shenanigans.

This next photo is from 1943, taken in Hartford, Connecticut. The guy on the left is Keith, and his friend is Morris. They look mighty sharp in their uniforms - who can identify which branch they served in? The second World War had a long time to go, and I can't help wondering if both men came home safe and sound.

This one isn't that interesting really... the woman might be a grade school teacher. Let's call her Miss Cole (after my own beloved 2nd grade teacher). While undated, this photo is certainly from the 1950's, and I was interested to see that Miss Cole is sporting an "I Love Lucy" pinback button. This one's for TokyoMagic!, who loves Lucy!


Nanook said...


It's kinda hard to top the first image for a 'perfect slice of life'. (One wonders if the 'lil gent on the left continued to sport trousers with that same "slimming fit" - along with "braces" - for the rest of his life, or if he completely outgrew his childhood shape-?). Clearly his brother was definitely on the cutting edge of fashion when it came to predicting the 'baggy look'.

Behind them on the very far left is either a 1953 or 1954 Buick. Just to its right, facing us is a 1950 Buick. The blue/white two-tone with the open trunk is a 1954 Oldsmobile. And barely visible behind the Oldsmobile [I think] is a 1954 Chevrolet.

There's something so wonderful about that final image. That gal has a rather contagious grim on her face. And that wallpaper-! (Let's just hope she's posing in the childrens' section of a department or toy store, or perhaps a pre-school somewhere. I'm not so sure that button is referencing I Love Lucy - although it certainly could.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Awww, thanks, Major! I do love Lucy in I Love Lucy, but she's a little hard to take in anything else! There, I said it. But I Love Lucy just might be my all-time favorite TV show. I've never seen one of those buttons before. I wonder if she could have worked on the show? Maybe she was Marion Strong?

Funny, I was already thinking Little Rascals for that first pic before I finished reading your commentary about it. I bet they were playing "Fish" Hooky. Hopefully the truant officer didn't catch them and send them to reform school to turn great big rocks into little bitsy ones.

Scott Lane said...

Looks like my dad's old army outfit. Hope they made it back in one piece.

Chuck said...

While both men are enlisted members of the US Army, they are assigned to different branches.

Keith is a member of the Air Corps (the Air Force won't become a separate service until 18 Sept 1947), as evidenced by the "prop & wings" emblem on his left collar brass disk. You can also just make out the edge of the Army Air Force patch on his left shoulder. Since we wears no wings on his chest, we know he's not an aircrewman. We can only see the edge of his rank on his right sleeve, but comparing the thickness of the patch edge to Morris', I'm going to guess he is probably a corporal (two stripes).

Morris is a member of the Corps of Engineers, denoted by the "Corps Castle" emblem on his left collar and the scarlet-and-white piping on his overseas cap. Unfortunately, we can't see his left shoulder, so we don't know what unit he is assigned to, but we can see that he is a private first class (one stripe). He wears an Expert Marksman Badge over his upper left pocket; each of the two bars hanging below it indicate which types of weapon he qualified as an expert.

Both men are wearing the four-pocket, OD-51 wool Class A uniform coat and khaki tie of the period. Keith is wearing a khaki Class C cotton poplin shirt, intended for warmer climates, while Morris is wearing an olive drab Class B gabardine wool shirt more suitable for cooler weather.

Keith is a Giants fan, while Morris obviously prefers the Dodgers. Neither is looking forward to 1958.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’d like to think that those boys are above the whims of fashion. They follow their own trends! Who are they wearing? J.C. Penny! I too wondered about that wallpaper (mural?) behind the lady. Her button is hard to read in the jpeg, but in the full-res photo, it clearly says “I Love Lucy”.

TokyoMagic!, I find ol’ Lucy hard to take just about all the time, but I am clearly in the minority. Any show that has run non-stop for 60 years is pretty popular! It’s hard not to look at those boys with their caps and not think of Spanky!

Scott Lane, ME TOO.

Chuck, thank you for all the info! You picked up on details that I didn’t even notice. I would think that the Corps of Engineers would not be in the thick of battle so much, but perhaps I am mistaken. After all, as you point out, he was an expert marksman. The Air Corps… I remember reading a statistic about the astonishing mortality rate among the boys in the air, especially in those long range bombers. Awful. I wish I had full names in order to do further research, but… no such luck.

Chuck said...

Major, depending on what Morris' specific job within the Engineers was, he could very well have been in the thick of things. Combat engineers do things like clearing roads of destroyed vehicles, building pontoon bridges under fire, and clearing paths through minefields. But in WWII (and I think up into the early '90s), there were also construction engineers who did things like building buildings, trenching sewers, and stringing electric lines at more permanent facilities. His marksmanship badge could have been earned during basic training, so it doesn't really give us a clue as to what he was specifically trained for.

Heavy bomber crews suffered a huge loss rate, particularly in Europe from 1942 up into 1944, when the combination of long-range drop tanks and the establishment Allied airfields in France finally allowed fighters to escort the bombers all the way to their targets and the Luftwaffe couldn't keep up with their own cumulative losses. Part of what made total casualties from the bomber force so high was the large crew size; if a B-17 or B-24 went down, ten men went down with it. Of course, many men did manage to bail out successfully, but they went down deep behind enemy lines and most ended up as POWs. Even those that managed to successfully evade spent a considerably long time trying to return to friendly forces, and some had to go underground until the area was liberated by the Allies.

As an aside (one of my specialties), I used to work with a guy who was shot down twice in B-24s over Yugoslavia. The first time, he hooked up with another member of the crew and it took them nearly a month of evading across Yugoslavia and Albania before they reached the coast and bribed a fisherman to take them back to Italy. The second time, he came down almost on top of a German on a motorcycle and was captured before he could get out of his parachute harness, spending several months as a guest of the Luftwaffe in Bucharest before being liberated. Incredibly, he was shot down again over Vietnam in '68, spending nine hours evading on the ground before a Jolly Green could get in and pull him out (his pilot was captured and wasn't repatriated until 1973).

Back to the main topic...Keith wasn't an aircrewmember, so his chances of survival were considerably better, although, depending on where he served, he still might have been subject to air raids, tropical diseases, or just plain bad luck.