nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘1950s

Tomato Ware

with 24 comments

One of my favorite collections is my odd set of bright orange-red Tomato Ware dishes.

Tomato Ware

They are usually marked ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ or ‘Made in Japan’ and were made in the late 1940s and the 1950s.  Two of my pieces are marked Maruhon Ware (with a K surrounded by a circle).  Maruhon Ware was made from the 1920s to 1950s.  ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ means the piece was made from 1945 to 1952.

maker's mark

The pieces in my collection are shaped like tomatoes (I have one set of salt and peppers shaped like long peppers).  They are glazed pottery, coloured in an over-bright green and an orangy red.  Most have green leaves as decorations, clasping the base of handles or teapot spouts.  My collection is in good shape, the only flaws being a large chip out of the spout of one teapot and a broken handle on one creamer.

Tomato Ware teapots

three Tomato Ware teapots (the green apples and the larger salt and pepper shakers, 2nd and 3rd from right, are modern pieces)

~

I have:

2 jam pots

2 cups/tumblers

3 teapots (one marked with the K surrounded by a circle)

3 pair cream and sugars

1 pair cream and sugar with a tray, and one lone creamer

1 set of salt and peppers

1 set of salt and papers with a tray

1 set of salt and peppers on a tray with a basket handle  (belonged to my mother)

1 lone salt shaker

1 set of pepper-shaped salt and peppers

2 tea cups and saucers (both marked Maruhon Ware)

Mom's salt and pepper shakers

The dishes are very bright and provide an accent color for my very green living room.

Tomato Ware collection a

~

Do you have any pieces of Tomato Ware?

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

from the pages of an old diary – blueberries and other local foods

with 13 comments

My new writing project, ‘growing and gathering’, focuses on local foods and finding food close to home.

A source of information and inspiration for me is the set of my great-aunt’s diaries, written from 1943 to 1972.  From her diaries, I have a very good idea of how they obtained their food, and how they used local foods to supplement their needs.

Most of their food was obtained from the grocery store – in 1957, there was at least one grocery store in the community, and by 1967, they had an IGA.  There is no doubt some goods came from ‘away’.   For example, my great-aunt wrote about making coconut and pineapple squares for a Women’s Missionary Society meeting (Sept. 30, 1957).

Local goods, however. were used whenever possible.  For example, my great-aunt bought eggs from her sister, and chickens from her brother.  She also obtained vegetables and raspberries from her brother’s farm, apples from friends and relatives, deer meat from friends and relatives, and lobsters from Wallace, a near-by community.   By 1967, my great-aunt and great-uncle also kept a garden at her brother’s farm, a few miles away.

Obtaining local foods included picking local berries.  In July and August of 1957, my great-aunt went four times for wild blueberries.  Her gratitude and pleasure at getting these berries comes through in her words:  ‘ got quite a few’ (July 31, 1957) and ‘got a nice lot.’ (Aug. 21, 1957).  She also wrote about picking grapes and currants.

Some of the berries were eaten right away – for example, my great-aunt made a blueberry pie on August 1, 1957.  The rest was preserved for the winter.  On August 16, 1957 my great-aunt put up 5 quarts of blueberries, to supplement the applesauce, pears, peaches, sweet cucumber pickles, and tomato chow she mentions preparing on other days.  Others in the family also made preserves and shared them with her – in 1967, her nephew (my uncle) brought her three bottles of peach, apple and choke cherry jelly he had made.

~

~

an offering of berries

~

she stands on the stoop

offers a box

a brimming pint

of berries

~

I take her hand, we ripple

through the pasture, strew

blue ribbons over bushes, stir

a blueberry jelly sky, dance

with dragonflies

~

she waits on the stoop

her brow a riddle, please

take this gift, blueberries

in a simple

wooden

basket

~

~

 

Warning:
1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.
 

©  Jane Tims  2012

from the pages of an old diary – words and phrases

with 12 comments

My great-aunt’s diaries are very easy to read.  Her handwriting is neat and her words, though brief, clearly convey her meaning.  Occasionally, she uses unfamiliar words.  What do you think these words mean?  My answers, assisted by the Internet, are given below…

~

‘tidies’

‘silence cloth’

‘pizza’

‘layette’

‘snaps’

‘snow pudding’

~

~

April 18, 1957                She washed the curtains and ‘tidies’ from the upstairs rooms.

The Free Online Dictionary defines a ‘tidy’ as ‘a decorative protective covering for the arms or headrest of a chair.’  ‘Tidies’ could also have been her name for the hold-backs on curtains, or the small linen cloths used to cover dressers and other surfaces.

March 12, 1957             She bought a ‘silence cloth’ for the table ($2.00)

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines a ‘silence cloth’ as ‘a pad (as of flannel or felt) used under a tablecloth.’  This cloth would have protected the table from scratches and marks from dishes.

July 31, 1956                She and her husband sat out on the ‘pizza’

This was a frequent entry.  I think it was her word for ‘piazza’ and referred to the front porch or a small sitting area in their side-yard.

Feb. 1, 1957                   Her Red Cross group made a ‘layette’ for a local woman and her baby.

Wikipedia says this is a collection of clothing for a newborn and can include many items, including sleepwear, cloth diapers, wash cloths and receiving blankets.

June 29, 1967               She received ‘snaps’ of their anniversary party.

I know this one, but some in the digital generation may not.  It is short for ‘snapshot’ and refers to processed photographs.

December 18, 1967    She made a ‘snow pudding’ and took it to a neighbour who had a sore tongue.

I am not a cook, so many recipe names are not familiar to me.  I looked at the Internet for a modern recipe and found the following:

Snow Pudding

2 T. unflavored gelatin
1/4 C. cold water
1 C. boiling water
1/2 C. lemon juice
1 C. sugar
3 egg whites

soften the gelatin in cold water;

dissolve the gelatin in boiling water;

add lemon juice and sugar and stir until the mixture thickens;

add stiffly beaten egg whites;

beat until the mixture ‘stacks’ (holds firm peaks).

The finished dessert looks like snow, hence the name.  I don’t know if using raw egg whites is OK today, but the equivalent from a carton of egg whites would be safe to use.

~

©  Jane Tims  2012

 

two of the six diaries my great-aunt wrote from 1944 to 1972 ... the quilt is one she made during the last years of her life

Written by jane tims

March 16, 2012 at 6:54 am

from the pages of an old diary – cost of living

with 6 comments

Some of the most interesting entries in my great-aunt’s diaries concern the cost of living.  She often recorded the prices of food, goods or services they obtained.  I read through her entries for 1954, 1955, 1957 and 1967 and noted some of these.  By comparing the amounts for the same items in the 1950s and 1967, you can see that prices were on the rise!

 Date  Item  Cost
 
 food
 Nov. 22, 1954  chicken  $3.00 per chicken
 Nov. 10, 1967  chicken  haircut (barter system)
 June 30, 1955  eggs  $0.40 per dozen
 Dec. 14, 1957  eggs  $0.50 per dozen
 July 12 and July 14, 1967  strawberries  $0.35 per box
 July 19, 1967  strawberries  $1.40 for 4 boxes
 Oct. 22, 1967  oysters  $2.00 per pint
 Nov. 17, 1967  box of chocolates  $1.29 per box
 
 entertainment
 June 5, 1957  lobster supper at church  $1.00
 June 7, 1967  lobster supper (community function)  $1.50
 November 1, 1957  turkey dinner (community function)  $1.00
 October 25, 1967  turkey dinner (community function)  $1.25
 Feb. 13, 1954  Valentine Tea at church hall  $0.60
 June 22, 1957  tea in church hall  $0.50
 July 9, 1957  show (movie theatre)  $0.50
 
 goods
 May 7, 1957  T.V. from Simpsons  $269.95
 March 12, 1957  ‘silence’ cloth for table  $2.00
 Sept. 10, 1954  new shoes  $6.95
 April 23, 1957  black Oxfords (White Cross)  $9.95
 June 14, 1954  shingles for barn  $50.18
 May 17, 1967  house shingled  $163.00
 May 17, 1954  wood for stove  $40.00 (probably total for year)
 
 services
 July 8, 1954  hair permanent  $4.00
 Dec. 16, 1957  hair permanent  $3.25
 Sept. 20, 1967  hair permanent  $6.00
 March 13, 1957  tailoring – a ‘Black Watch’    skirt  $4.94 for material and sewing
 Sept. 6-10, 1967  vacation accommodation (room in house)  $8.00 per night
 Sept. 6-10, 1967  vacation accommodation (motel)  $14.00 per couple

~

~

©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

March 12, 2012 at 7:17 am

from the pages of an old diary – holidays

with 7 comments

Among the events recorded in my great-aunt’s diaries were holidays. 

Here are some of the activities she recorded for those special days in 1957:

New Year’s Day (Jan. 1, 1957) – they had her brother’s family to dinner.

Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 1957) – she sent her grand-daughter in Saint John a Valentine.

Easter (April 21, 1957) – they went to the Presbyterian Church in New Glasgow to see the ‘3000 Easter lilies’ on display.  She also sent a box of gifts to her grand-daughter.

Canada Day (called Dominion Day before 1982) July 1, 1957 – not mentioned in her diaries.

Halloween (Oct. 31, 1957) – ‘seven children for Halloween’   Interesting … our modern conversations about Halloween are often to compare the numbers of children who came trick-or-treating!

Thanksgiving – the day before, she ‘did some cooking for Thanksgiving’ (Oct. 12, 1957) and on Sunday, she had her sister (my grandmother) and my uncle for a chicken dinner.

Christmas – my great-aunt belonged to an ‘Xmas Club’.  They had their Christmas Dinner together (Dec. 2 , 1957) and exchanged gifts.  My great-aunt’s gifts in 1957 were a pair of pillow cases and a pair of gloves.

Part of Christmas meant sending parcels to family and friends.  In 1957, my great-aunt mailed Christmas parcels to her son’s family in Saint John on December 14, 1957 and to others on December 11 and 16.

On Christmas Day, they went to her brother’s house for Christmas Dinner. 

On December 29, 1957, they went to see the Christmas pageant. There were also other community events, since on December 24, 1954, they went to see the community Christmas tree.

She makes no mention of Christmas decorations in her own home, but I still have a few of the ornaments from her tree.

~

~

New Year’s Day 1957

                -response to a diary entry for January 1, 1957

~

Tues nice day, quite cold.  C.

D. D. also K. J. here to

N. Years dinner.  had a chicken sponge

cake for dessert.  strawberry vanilla ice cream

we went for a drive after C.s left.   

–          A.M.W.

~

new year, basket in the hall closet

empty, mending and darning

done, seven to dinner, everyone

satisfied, sponge cake and ice-cream

~

no worries about tomorrow, predicted

storms, the need to stay well,

catches in clothing and worn

heels, arm sore from beating eggs

~

my New Year’s resolutions:

                a beater that runs on electricity

                no more blue socks darned with red

the chicken was tasty

colourful with carrots

~

~

©  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

February 27, 2012 at 6:40 am

from the pages of an old diary – making a quilt

with 8 comments

My great-aunt’s diary often records her activities as part of her Red Cross group.  In the years from 1954 to 1957, and beyond, this group of 4 to 9 women met every Friday to work together on a community project.   They worked quickly.  On September 17, 1957 they put on two crib quilts and finished them by October 1, 1957  (three meetings).

Sometimes they worked on a layette for a new mother and her baby (February 8, 1957).  Most often, they worked on a quilt (for example, March 22, 1957), doing the piecing and quilting as a group.  In addition, my great-aunt often took a quilt home ‘to bind’ (for example, March 29, 1957). 

Sometimes the group made money for a local cause by selling quilt ‘squares’.  On April 12, 1957, my great-aunt wrote: ‘…we took a quilt out. we are going to make one to sell. money for hosp [hospital]. to work on its 10¢ a name.’  The next evening, she called at a neighbour’s house and sold 5 squares.  On May 3, 1957, she wrote, ‘…we worked on our quilt blocks – working the names. I took three blocks home.’

More often they made a quilt for someone in the community.  On February 8, 1957, she wrote, ‘I took a quilt up to Mrs. C. from R. Cross.’ 

In 1954, the group worked on a ‘flower garden quilt’, and the story of the quilt can be followed in the diary. 

The first step was to piece the quilt.  My great-aunt worked on this stage at home, from March 15, 1954 to March 23, 1954, sometimes with a friend.  On March 19, she even missed the Red Cross meeting to work on the quilt.  On March 23, she wrote, ‘I worked on R.C. flower garden quilt all day.  J.B. here in eve. we finished it.  ready to be quilted. very pretty quilt…’  

'flower garden quilt' made by my grandmother, my great-aunt's sister

The group began quilting the flower garden quilt on June 4, and finished it at a meeting three weeks later (June 25, 1954). My great-aunt brought the quilted quilt home to bind and had help with the binding from another woman (June 28, 1954).  On July 12, 1954, she wrote, ‘J. [and] M.D. called to see the flower garden quilt.’  Unfortunately, there is no record of who received the finished quilt. 

The ‘flower garden’ is a well-known heritage quilt pattern.  It is made up of many hexagonal pieces, laid out in a pattern of concentric circles.  I have two quilts made by my grandmother (my great-aunt’s sister) and one of these is a flower garden quilt.  The quilt is well-named since the final pattern resembles a garden full of bright and colourful flowers.  The individual pieces in my grandmother’s quilt are from diverse fabrics, likely recycled from remnants and old clothes. 

In 1957, the women made another flower garden quilt.  My great-aunt must have loved working on it, since on March 27, she records going down to the Red Cross rooms after a funeral and working on the quilt by herself.  On March 29, 1957, she wrote, ‘…I went to R.C. brought home the hosp. [hospital] flower garden quilt to bind.’   She finished the binding on April 3.

 Women still make quilts today, of course, either alone or as a group.  I have made lots of lap-sized quilts, best for me due to my short interest span! 

Have you ever made a quilt and did you work alone or with others?

my grandmother’s flower garden quilt – I love the variety of fabrics used

©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

February 24, 2012 at 6:47 am

from the pages of an old diary – writing letters

with 4 comments

Letter writing has become an orphan communication in our world of emails and Facebook and Tweets.  But in the past, when these forms of communication did not yet exist, and long-distance phone calls were so expensive they were only used for emergencies, people kept in touch by letter.

My Mom and I wrote to one another regularly for 30 years, even after I had my ‘family calling telephone plan’.  I still have all her letters and looking at her handwriting makes me feel near to her.  Her words, the beautiful way she formed her letters, and the stories they tell, are concrete evidence of her life and interests and her love for her family.

My great-aunt’s diaries show she also considered letters to be an important part of her daily life.  In her diaries, letters received and written were an activity she recorded regularly.  The mail arrived twice per day in the community where she lived and her diaries tell they went for the mail daily.

post cards were part of the mail... this funny post card was sent to my great-aunt in 1908 when she attended nursing school

Letters from her son or daughter-in-law were recorded with tangible joy.  She wrote to them regularly, approximately three times per month, and they wrote as regularly to her.   She records her letters as, ‘I wrote to St. John today’   (she is referring to the place where they lived, Saint John, New Brunswick).

During World War II, letters from her son had taken on a particular importance since they signalled he was alive and well.

In 1957, perhaps the favourite letter received was from her little grand-daughter: on November 26, 1957, she wrote, ‘had a letter from b. a.’ 

The poem below was inspired by that letter, although I do not have the letter itself and the account is from my head.

~

~ 

letter from her grand-daughter

~

she watches for your

letter, your definite

hand, the dog-eared page

of a book begun, unfinished

creases in paper once folded

~

as if an envelope could

revive the creak in the upstairs hall

re-clatter the spoon in an empty

jar of jam, jangle the telephone

~

the trouble is, of course,

you grew, learned numbers

the difference between

‘b’ and ‘d’,developed your signature

went to war

~

of course, all that

made possible this envelope, addressed

to Grabma, the stamp

licked on sideways, sweet stick-men

and baby words in pencil

pressed, float

from the page

~

~

©  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

February 22, 2012 at 6:46 am

from the pages of an old diary – entertainment

with 6 comments

One of the themes included in my great-aunt’s diaries is entertainment, to balance all the housework and community work.

T.V. was a new source of amusement.  Before my great-aunt and great-uncle got their first T.V. on May 7, 1957, her diary includes many visits to friend’s houses to watch their televisions.  For example on March 10, 1957, she watched a program at a friend’s home on the famous Anna Swan (Anna Haining Swan, 1846 – 1888, was born in Nova Scotia and grew to a height of 8 feet).  

After they bought their own T.V. , my great-aunt recorded the names of friends and family who came in to watch T.V., often to see the fights (Sept. 28, 1957) or wrestling (Sept. 21, 1957) with her husband.

Other at-home entertainment, especially during winter, included playing cards (Feb. 28, 1957), bridge (March 2, 1957), or Chinese Checkers (Feb. 4, 1954).

Another pass-time was watching ‘slides’.  These were 35 mm slides, taken with a camera, mounted in cardboard, and projected on a screen or on the wall.  In our first house in Medicine Hat, my Dad installed a pull-down screen so we could project our vacation slides.  I still have a rickety slide projector which invariably ‘sticks’ during each use, making for an annoying experience.

Several times a year, they went to the ‘show’.  She records seeing “Anne of Green Gables” [various versions were available by 1955] on January 1, 1955, “High Society” [1956] with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong on May 28, 1957, and a “A Man Called Peter” [1955] on June 25, 1956.  On July 2, 1956, she stayed home all day to read Catherine Marshall’s book A Man Called Peter (1951)!  Other shows they saw included “Gone With the Wind”  [1939]  with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh on March 22, 1955  ( ‘…was 55 [cents]  beautiful scenery.’) and “White Christmas” (1954) with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen on March 6, 1956. 

They also attended live shows from time to time.  On June 25, 1957 she wrote about Don Messer and the Islanders giving their last performance before the summer.  Don Messer was a band leader and fiddler with a popular television show called Don Messer’s Jubilee. The show was broadcast from CBC in Halifax, Nova Scotia from August 1957 to 1969.

They also attended community-based events: graduations, funerals, weddings, and baby showers. There were events on the ‘Festival grounds’ and ‘entertainment at church by the Men’s Club’. 

The other form of entertainment was the ‘drive’.   My great-aunt loved to go for drives and recorded trips to various communities in the region, to New Glasgow or Truro for shopping, or to River John (Aug. 28, 1957) or Wallace (Aug. 25, 1957).  Sometimes, they bought lobster on these drives.  Two or three times a year there would be a longer, over-night trip, to Saint John in New Brunswick to see her son’s family, or to Annapolis in Nova Scotia.

~

~

slide show

~

the fan whirrs

the bulb blares

and fingers burn

~

a turn, a click and a push 

and there they are

three kids on a beach at Advocate

~

pull, turn, push and click

grandmother

and grandson

him in a Shear Tip

apple crate

~

pull, turn, push and click

and the cardboard sticks

and sticks

and sticks

~

~

© Jane Tims  2012

 

Written by jane tims

February 20, 2012 at 7:07 am

from the pages of an old diary – visiting

with 6 comments

One of the most obvious activities in my great-aunt’s diaries is ‘visiting’.  Almost every day brought visitors and visits to family or friends. 

In 1957, there are only 30 days when my great-aunt did not either visit or receive visitors and several of these were when extremely stormy weather kept everyone inside.

Visits often involved food.  On February 6, 1957, my great-aunt wrote the following: ‘I had I. and M. to tea. pot [potato] scallop, cold ham, tomatoes, pickles and jelly. coffee rolls. dough-nuts, lemon sq.  [squares] and fruit.’  Wow!

Many of the visits were between family members.  I love to see entries about visits with my grandmother and my uncle and aunt.  They lived in Dartmouth but often came to ‘the old home place’ for weekends.  My great-aunt had a definite opinion about their tendency to stay at the old home instead of with her.  On April 19, 1957, she writes ‘K. and J.  came this p.m. up to their own house and stayed all night.  was too cold and damp to stay in’.

Other visits she recorded were from my own family.  We lived in Alberta and almost every summer we came to Nova Scotia to visit Mom’s and Dad’s families (see posts under the category ‘on my grandfather’s farm’).  In 1957, she records our leaving for Medicine Hat, when I was three years old (August 25, 1957).  Once, when I was a teenager, we visited her and she gave me the bracelet shown in the drawing below.  It has a motif of oak leaves and acorns and I cherish it still.

Other visits were with friends.  Some of the visits had to do with watching T.V. at other people’s houses. After May 7, 1957, when my great-aunt and great-uncle got their own T.V., people would come to her house to watch! 

~

~

curtains, freshly pressed

                -response to a diary entry for October 2, 1957

~

Wed  nice fine. I did a big wash.

washed – my kitchen curtains did them up.

Katie M. here all p.m

–          A.M.W.

~

~

               fine day says Katie hard to say goodbye to September.

I rock and nod, beyond

her shoulder, curtains, freshly pressed

hung this morning

               cold, yesterday. more like November.

light plaits shadow

green window glass, re-imagined

               last May seems a minute ago.  at the Festival.  that girl with the blue dress

               should have won.

first autumn days

and an open casement

breeze busy at the curtain’s edge

               time flies. almost four years now since he died.

the white fabric looks well

against varnished wood

               we missed you at Red Cross. numbers are down.

blue sky and oak trees, bare of leaves

twigs slash rectangles of window

~

I rock and ask her

did you know?

last evening, L. had a son

8 pounds, 3 ounces

~

~

© Jane Tims  2012

Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

February 17, 2012 at 6:53 am

from the pages of an old diary – technology

with 12 comments

The 1950’s were changing times.  Families in North America were experiencing a post-war boom and the first influx of new technology.  My great-aunt records some of this change in her diary. 

Here are some of the entries for 1957:

Jan. 3              ‘car wouldn’t start’

Feb. 23           ‘I got my electric egg beater to-day’

March 10        ‘went over to A.J. in evening to see T.V.’  

                          (her diary has several references to going to friend’s homes to watch T.V.)

May 1             ‘Electric men here from Pictou grounding the telephone. 

                          will be safe from lightning.’

May 7           ‘… our T.V. came to Drug store through Simpson’s. $269.95′

May 11           ‘ B. [and] A. set the T.V. up.  K., J. [and] I went to Forbes [a store] 

                           they stayed til after 11 to see T.V.’   –  after this, friends come regularly to watch

                          ‘the fights’ (Aug. 3, 1957) or ‘wrestling’ (Sept. 21, 1957)

Aug 31           ‘…car not working…’

Sept. 3             ‘…took the car to a garage.’

Sept. 4              ‘…car not working…’

Sept.5             ‘…Dad [her husband] took car up to L.S. to fix…’

Oct. 13           ‘…Our T.V. went on the blink’  ( after this she has several entries where her nephew,

                           my uncle, drops in to fix the T.V., for example Oct. 20, 1957)

Oct. 27           ‘…were home alone all eve. listening to T.V.’  

                            (note the used of the word ‘listening’ – they had listened to the radio)

~

A couple of entries for 1954 caught my eye:

Jan 4.                ‘…lights were out a lot in eve.’

Aug. 16             ‘Did a big wash. wringer not working right…’

Sept. 27            ‘… did a small wash by hand…’

Oct. 4                 ‘… S.M. came in eve [and] put new roller in washer.’

~

Today, our innovations come fast and furious.  I sometimes wonder what the next really ‘new’ technology will be and how my great-aunt would have recorded it in her diary.

What are your technology milestones?

~

Copyright  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

February 13, 2012 at 6:37 am

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