Advice to Make April Agreeable

Hi there, guys and dolls! Want some advice? Yeah, I didn’t think so. That’s okay, I’ll dole it out anyway. After all, there are two fine ladies who do and maybe you will benefit from my half-wit wisdom after all. No need to thank me, just doing my bit for humanity. And as a message from my two modern real life alter egos Andrea and Heather, stay the *bleep* home for goodness sake and look after each other!

Anyhoo, on with the help.

Dear Barbara Jean,

That thing must look something like this

My mother-in-law bought me the most hideous hat for Easter. The gol-darned thing is made of straw and huge gaudy flowers, even has a spot to put a live animal in it. (I’m not joking. I think she hates me.) She has said that she can’t wait to see me in it on the holiday weekend, all weekend, all Easter. What’s a good daughter-in-law to do?

Appalled Abigail in Arizona

Dear Abigail,

Hmm, in-law relations are a very tricky thing. She may very well hate you (taking away your son from her and all), or she might really be thinking she’s doing something nice for you and just has horrible taste (that hat sounds, um, well, bad). You say it has a spot for a live animal? Well, why not get the chicken, rabbit, goat, whatever you are supposed to wear in it early and leave it alone with that animal for a minute or two. It’s bound to eat or destroy it (I wouldn’t worry about it getting ill, pets get into stuff like that all the time, it’s fiber for them) in record time. Then get yourself something cute and natty – something like a pillbox with a veil, pink or purple pastel, very Eastery and with no room for a critter. Then when you see her, you can explain how this happened all of a sudden and if she’s nice about it, let it go. If she gets pouty and bratty, then give her the chicken, rabbit , goat, whatever as her present for Easter.

Solving your holiday problems, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

My neighbor is this old geezer who always has to comment over our fence whenever I’m out in the yard. He makes these suggestive jokes and leers at me and I don’t like it. It gives me the willies. I told my husband and he doesn’t take it seriously. He laughs it off and tells me I should be flattered. I think the man is just lonely, I don’t think he means anything harmful, but I still don’t like it.

Here he is again…

Perturbed Patty in Pittsburg

Dear Patty,

Oh, I know the type. Don’t those “funny guys” get your goat (see letter above, goats seem to be a theme this week…)? And no, he probably doesn’t mean any harm, but they are annoying. I hate when I have to do that “get along smile and nod” just to keep peace in the neighborhood. How about this? The next time the old timer leers, play it up strong, go up to him, touch his collar, play his bluff and see what he does. Chances are he’ll get all flustered and back down, never to bother you again. Then again, if he gets worse, you’re close enough to give him a good swift knee to the you know where and that’ll move him up an octave and out of his range. Either way he’ll be fixed.

Enjoy playing in your own backyard, Barbara Jean

Keep your letters coming! I love to help or hinder any way I can.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's Fashions, 50's housewife, 50's Husband, advice, advice column, Alter Ego, Americana, Beauty, beauty disasters, Blogs, Communication, creative writing, Creativity, Domestic life, Easter, entertainment, Etiquette, Family, family life, fashion, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, flirting, Historical, historical fiction, Holidays, home life, letters, Marriage, neighbors, Nostalgia, nosy neighbors, opinion, Pop Culture, Relatives, Retro, Social Mores, Socializing, suburbia, Uncategorized, Vintage, vintage fashion, weekend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Good LIFE

Hi there, guys and dolls! Is your life feeling weird these days. Take heart, it will get better. In the meantime, to help you pass the days, I’ve found a real treat for you. Why not take a gander at some old gems? On this week’s Raves n Faves, I’m featuring five issues of LIFE magazine, specializing from my era, the 1950’s. Just click on the date link or cover to be taken to the Google Books digital copies of the listed issues and you can scroll through the entire magazine! You can also click here and be taken to the main LIFE magazine listing where you can read any one of them from 1935 to 1972. That should keep you amusingly busy….

April 6, 1953

April 6, 1953 – Let’s see what’s going on in this issue. Look at Lucy and Desi with their beautiful children! A boy and a girl, how precious. And aren’t you just dying to know what Stalin’s Ghastly Secrets are? How ominous. There’s some great egg recipes for your next luncheon or bridge ‘do. Make sure you check out all the color photos of St. Ursula, too. And oh, the Easter bonnets!

March 29, 1954

March 29, 1954 – Hmm, time to check out the mid-century American Scene. Say, looks like California has a frisky new governor! That should make for a fun read. I always find the letters make an interesting read as well. And for all you crime buffs, there’s a great article on Chicago, too. Why not life the Hollywood life with Pat Crowley? Plus, all the ads make reading these magazine such fun!

April 2, 1956

April 2, 1956 – Oh, those tireless, talky teenagers, tying up the phone lines again! Some things never change, do they? Ooh, and a visit to exotic Antarctica! Bet you’d never thought you’d go there. Why not? I hear the penguins are nice. Be sure to check out the lovely flower arrangements, too. It’s just what you’ll need after all the April Showers grow your May Flowers. Loving those new necklines I spied. So pretty. Fabulous fashions. Some fun Easter ideas, too.

April 1, 1957

April 1, 1957 – Oh, to be discovered in Paris, sigh! A model girl’s dream. Maybe one day a trip for yours truly will be in the works. And such an international issue, with stories from the Philippines, Bermuda, the Tyrol, the mysteries of Arabia and other far off places. And let’s see what’s got California all shook up. You could say it’s nature’s fault and you’d be right. And my goodness! Miss Brooks and her naughty nighties are a must read. Don’t miss the secret life of teen dating pins, either.

March 30, 1959

March 30, 1959 – Would you just look at little Debbie Reynolds? She’s surely having a blast. Cute as a button, the fancy free busy bee, taking over all the hearts of Spain. What a glamour puss! And how about those Easter sculptures? Striking, aren’t they? Oh, and those crazy college campus kids. What will they think of next? And the article on that old guy skinflint makes me want to go on a spending spree. Be sure to have a good look at those amazing roses. Why, I can almost smell their heavenly aroma from here.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950's California, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's Fashions, 50's Slang, Alter Ego, Americana, art, college, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, Domestic life, entertainment, Historical, historical fiction, Hollywood, magazines, model, movie stars, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, Raves and Faves, Retro, stories, Teens, Vintage, vintage fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

April is No Fool

Hi there, guys and dolls! Another special day is upon us. Yours truly doesn’t believe what anyone says til afternoon. Heck, why bother to get up before noon today? Snore away, dear friends.

April the smartie

Another take no guff gal I know is April. She’s one smart tough cookie. She works in my office. Actually, I think secretly she runs the place. Keeps the boys in acquisitions in line, anyhoo.

How savvy is that gal anyway, you say? Well, she didn’t fall for the spaghetti grows on trees like most of us did. What did we know about the mysteries of fine foreign cuisine? Chef Boyardee and Franco American kept us in the sauce for many a meal. Don’t know what that is? Well, brainiacs with your high falutin computers, look it up.

The great spaghetti caper

That April, she went straight to her source for all knowledge, her Italian Nonna, who got her set straight on all the fine things in life. Now she makes a mean lasagna for us, too, no trees involved.

Not that this doesn’t stop all the manboys in the office from trying to pull a fast one on her, oh no. They see it as a challenge. The one upmanship is fierce. Dave from accounting with be sure to have a whoopie cushion or two that April is sure to locate before she places her fine keester on any seat. Kevin from advertising is bound to place at least one hairy giant spider in at least one of her desk drawers. No dice, big fella. Bob from the mail room has at least one envelope of sneezing powder with her name on it. That one’s easy, she’ll just return to sender, he’s not that bright.

Look what Jim gets to take home

Of course, April’s not one to let the day pass without her own joy. You know that buzzer that Jim the junior exec tried to pass off to her when he asked her out for a dinner date? Well, he’s the one who got the shock when she said yes. But that’s nothing compared to the surprise he’ll get later when he tries a little over the sweater action.

April’s always happy to remove and hand over her falsies to the fresh ones. She’s no fool as she’s laughing the last laugh all the way home.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s business, 1950s food, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 1950s toys, 50's Slang, Adult Contemporary, Alter Ego, Americana, april fools day, Blogs, Characters, city life, cocktail culture, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, Dating, day job, diary, Etiquette, Fictional Characters, flirting, Humor, long read, Office life, Office work, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Social Mores, Socializing, Uncategorized, Vintage, workday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Me, Myself and I

Hi there, guys and dolls! What did you get up to on your weekend? That exciting, huh? Well, sometimes you just have to slow down a little, don’t you? Well, yours truly certainly does. I know, I know, hard to believe but even fictional characters need a rest. What with all my misadventures and misdeeds, every now and then a girl should sling up the kitten heels and give the other gals a chance. Sometimes being on the prowl can be so tiring….

A girl can get tired of this now and then…

So there I was, Sunday morning, waking up to the birdsongs, bright and cheery on a day off. Well, goodness. What should I do? Well, I took a good long half hour solely devoted to all the chores I could choose to do. You know – laundry, washing the kitchen floor, vacuuming, relining the cupboards, go in for that great deep house spring clean. That’s right, be gung ho!

Um, no. By time I thought it through, I was so bored and exhausted by it, I wanted a nap. Nope. After a quick mental prowl about my place, I realized that I had enough leftovers from some of my swanky midweek dates (chicken cacciatore, beef chop suey, duck a l’orange, baked alaska, chocolate mousse, anyone – I could go on) and I always keep a well-stocked bar (thanks, Biff – wonder how he’s doing…haven’t swiveled on a barstool with him for a while, not since we competed against each other for the local body builder champ – Biff won, by the way….), with plenty to read and keep me entertained, so home I stay…

Golly gee, what to do with my day

Off the hook goes the phone. Let’s see, breakfast – how about that chicken chow mein? That looks promising. A cup of coffee? Sure, or better yet – a mimosa. Sans the orange juice. That’s it! A bubbly day starts with the bubbles, I always say (no, I don’t, I just made that up, but who cares, I’m on my own…)!

And a morning reading the funny papers! Yes, that old Dagwood and Blondie always make me glad to be on my own, and of course, who could not have a chuckle over Li’l Abner and Beetle Bailey, swoon over the dashing Prince Valiant or share the angst of Mary Worth, sigh!

A quick look at Life, Look and Vogue magazines and I’m all caught up with how the world works. And a refresher of “Cherries in the Snow” nail polish and I’m glammed up for the the week.

That leftover Italian chicken and pasta washed down with the last of the straw bottled Chianti made for a perfect lunch, by the way. Even broke out the checkered tablecloth and Mario Lanza record, too.

But of course, this needs doing

And what’s more decadent than a mid-afternoon nap? Why, a mid-afternoon bubble bath, of course. And what did I find to go with that? Why, the leftover box of Valentine’s chocolates (who was that admirer, anyway…) and a copy of “Peyton Place.” One more glass of bubbly and I’m just tickled pink.

Anyhoo, the next thing I knew it was time for the Ed Sullivan on the Sylvania with the duck leftovers on the TV tray.

Well, that day was just wunnerful, as Ed used to say…

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's television, Alter Ego, Americana, Beauty, Beauty Treatments, Blogs, books, Characters, Classic Television, cocktail culture, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, day off, De-stressing, diary, Domestic life, entertainment, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, Food, home life, household chores, Humor, indulgence, Italian, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, postaday, Relaxation, Retro, Self Esteem, Uncategorized, Vintage, weekend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Advice may be a Help or Hindrance

Hi there, guys and dolls! Friday’s upon us again. Rumor has it that plenty of you are stuck at home with your, er, loved ones. And how would that be going? I’ve got a couple of letters from some rather perturbed individuals. Let’s see how I can improve or interfere on the issues.

Dear Barbara Jean,

Time for Vera to stick it to her husband

My husband is now spending plenty of time at home and quite frankly, he’s getting underfoot. Literally. He is following me around, making what he thinks are friendly, loving ‘suggestions’ (the man does not know what he is talking about). He has an idea about how I can do practically everything better, including darning his socks. What’s a wife to do?

Vexed Vera in Vail

Dear Vera,

Get him to put his so-called ‘expertise’ to work. Give him a long list of all the things you do on a daily basis (even if you have to make up a few, as if he would know the difference) and leave him to do them. Now go out, grab a girlfriend and make a day of it lunching and shopping. Be prepared to see the mess he has made of your well run house, but at least you’ve had a reprieve.

Good luck straightening what he’s screwed up, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

I am shocked and aghast to find out that my children have been running a gambling marble game in the back yard for money! I did not raise them to behave in such a manner. How do I handle this?

Embarrassed Edna in Ellensburg

Dear Edna,

Edna’s little extortionists look a little like this

Well, I have to admit that I would be admiring your enterprising children if what they were doing wasn’t illegal extortion. First of all, I guess get them to stop and then if they can figure out who they took money from, get them to give it back to their patrons. If they can’t figure it out, buy all the kids in the neighborhood ice creams except your own little fleecers. If there’s any left, use it to pay for a club house for the neighborhood, and make your kids unpaid janitors of the facility.

Fixing one little red wagon at a time, Barbara Jean

Keep your letters coming! I love to help or hinder any way I can.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s toys, 50's housewife, 50's Husband, advice, advice column, Alter Ego, Americana, Characters, childrearing, Communication, Creativity, daily blog, De-stressing, Domestic life, Etiquette, Family, family life, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Games, home life, household chores, Humor, letters, Love, Marriage, neighbors, Nostalgia, opinion, parenting, Perspective, Pop Culture, Relatives, Retro, Social Mores, Socializing, suburbia, toys, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time for Some Delightfully Gentle Reading

Hi there, guys and dolls! Are you all hanging in there? Good, I know you can. Now yours truly is quite comfortable in my lovely nifty fifties world, but I understand that in your modern day life there is a little turmoil happening. Sigh. Might I suggest some gentle, sweet reads for this week’s Raves n Faves? Let’s have a look at Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. Now for some of you, these are probably old hat, but maybe it’s time to pay Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi a return visit. And for those of you who have never visited their Botswana, maybe now’s the time. I can guarantee at least 97% happiness (read the books, you’ll get it…). Just click on the book covers or titles to be taken to the Book Depository listing.

Book One

THE NO.1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY – This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.

Book Two

TEARS OF THE GIRAFFE – Precious Ramotswe is the eminently sensible and cunning proprietor of the only ladies’ detective agency in Botswana. In Tears of the Giraffe she tracks a wayward wife, uncovers an unscrupulous maid, and searches for an American man who disappeared into the plains many years ago. In the midst of resolving uncertainties, pondering her impending marriage to a good, kind man, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, and the promotion of her talented secretary (a graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College, with a mark of 97 per cent), she also finds her family suddenly and unexpectedly increased by two.

Book Three

MORALITY FOR BEAUTIFUL GIRLS – In Morality for Beautiful Girls, Precious Ramotswe, founder and owner of the only detective agency for the concerns of both ladies and others, investigates the alleged poisoning of the brother of an important “Government Man,” and the moral character of the four finalists of the Miss Beauty and Integrity Contest, the winner of which will almost certainly be a contestant for the title of Miss Botswana. Yet her business is having money problems, and when other difficulties arise at her fianc ‘s Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, she discovers the reliable Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is more complicated then he seems.

Book Four

THE KALAHARI TYPING SCHOOL FOR MEN – Now that The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (the only detective agency for ladies and others in Botswana) is established, its founder, Precious Ramotswe, can look upon her life with pride: she’s reached her late thirties (“the finest age to be”), has a house, two children, a good fiancé — Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni — and many satisfied customers. But life is never without its problems. It turns out that her adopted son is responsible for the dead hoopoe bird in the garden; her assistant, Mma Makutsi, wants a husband and needs help with her idea to open the Kalahari Typing School for Men; yet Mma Ramotswe’s sexist rival has no trouble opening his Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency across town. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Follow the continuing story of Botswana’s first lady detective in the irresistible The Kalahari Typing School for Men.

Book Five

THE FULL CUPBOARD OF LIFE – Still engaged to the estimable Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, Mma Ramotswe understands that she should not put too much pressure on him, as he has other concerns, especially a hair-raising request from the ever persuasive Mma Potokwane, matron of the orphan farm. Besides Mma Ramotswe herself has weighty matters on her mind. She has been approached by a wealthy lady to check up on several suitors. Are these men interested in the lady or just her money? This may be a difficult case, but it’s just the kind of problem Mma Ramotswe likes and she is, as we know, a very intuitive lady.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in Adult Contemporary, Africa, blogaday, book series, books, Botswana, Characters, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, daily blog, detectives, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Humor, Mysteries, novels, postaday, Raves and Faves, Readers, Reading, reading, Romance, Social Mores, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Barbara Jean, Take a Letter

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, another Workday Wednesday is upon us, and let me tell you, I’ve had better. Or, let me tell you about it and I’ll feel better….

Take a letter, Barbara Jean

Anyhoo, I went in to work as per usual, just squeaking in at the last 9 am bell, expecting another day of doing, well, nothing (heck, it’s worked so far…). Then I got called into one of the corner offices. Now that’s never good. It quite often means I have to do something, or I got in trouble for something I did, when really, we all know nobody does anything around here. Half of us are still trying to figure out what the company actually produces, while the other half is pretending they know. Confusing? Yes. Lucrative? Also yes. This is why we stay. That, and for the afternoons the mail clerks turn the cart into a portable bar, but that’s for another day.

Right, back to today. So there I am, taking the long walk to the almost head honcho’s office. His secretary gives me an efficient once over while handing me a fresh steno pad, telling me she’ too busy and I’ll have to take a letter. “You know shorthand, don’t you?” she asks as she looks down her nose at me through her severe black cat-eye glasses. Frightened the bejesus out of me, so I numbly nodded and took the paper and pencil.

Shorthand, yep. No idea what it says.

In I go and immediately the big guy prattles on about something, so fast, yet so boring I didn’t bother to retain it. I look bright-eyed and busy, scrawling something. As he chomps on his cigar, he gutters, “Got that? Good.” and waves me off.

Keener Lorna, not me.

Now I have no idea what it says. I just put down a whole bunch of swirls and goopy symbols really, really quickly. So now what? Fortunately I see Lorna, such a keener. Always wanting to make a good impression (that is, not yet reached her highest pay ladder rung, unlike the rest of us who are just dangling at the top, flailing in the pay scale of life), I pass it off to the youngster, telling her this has to go out pronto. She nods, then starts reading it, wide-eyed and blushing, asking me if I’m sure. “Of course!” I say and flounce off to lunch with Eric, the new payroll clerk.

By the time I make it back by three-ish, that corner office is cleared and his secretary is demoted to coffee girl. That’s one way I’ll never get asked to do dictation again.

Wonder what was in that letter, anyway?

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s business, 1950s fun, Alter Ego, Americana, big business, Blogs, Careers, Characters, city life, collaboration, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, Dating, day job, diary, Etiquette, Fiction, Fictional Characters, flash fiction, Historical, historical fiction, Humor, journal, letters, long read, Nostalgia, Office life, Office work, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Uncategorized, Vintage, workday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Entangled Instructor

Hi there, guys and dolls! Are you all socially distancing yourself? I should hope so. Now yours truly comes from a slightly earlier time (ahem, I’m not telling my age, but if I was at my supreme freshness in the 50’s, well, you figure it out, brainiac…), and this blog tells all about that golden time in my life, and hopefully brings a little smile to your face, a lilt in your step, floats your boat and all that other stuff.

How hard can this be?

Anyhoo, this weekend I figured it was time to learn something new. As I flipped through the phone book, I came across “Dance Instructors.” Gasp! How romantic. The Tango! I will learn the tango, that’s what I’ll do.

Oh, the glamour!

By two o’clock, I had an instructor lined up at the ready. Would he be a dreamboat, or would he be sailing at half-mast? Oh, the anticipation! Would his afternoon lesson of footwork turn into my nighttime lesson of footsie work? A girl can dream, can’t she?

All started fine. That is, until we actually started dancing. Who knew I would actually have two left feet? Well, the instructor did, who unfortunately pointed it out oh, a few times. God love him, but he did keep trying, sigh. And much to the chagrin of the others in the class, as they went down in a heap over one not so swift move.

It sort of ended up like this…

The flipside? (Yes, at one point we did get so twisted up someone ended up rolled up and over, landing on a keester, not telling who, okay, fine, it was me… and then him, and then me…again…). I think I discovered a new game. Maybe I’ll call it Twister….

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, Alter Ego, Americana, blogaday, board games, city life, cocktail culture, creative writing, Creativity, daily blog, dance, dance instructor, diary, Fiction, flash fiction, flirting, Historical, historical fiction, Humor, journal, Love, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, postaday, Retro, Romance, Socializing, Uncategorized, Vintage, weekend | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh, if Only All of Our Problems were so Small

Hi there, guys and dolls! How’s everyone doing? My wish for you is to have such trite problems as my two questioning ladies do today (of course, we won’t tell them their problems are just small potatoes, will we). Let’s get right to our free advice Friday letters.

The pageant of the car parts…

Dear Barbara Jean,

My boyfriend’s a mechanic and he and his car buddies held a beauty pageant. To my surprise, I did not win (I ran as Miss Fan Belt). I later found out (much to my dismay) that he had cast the deciding vote to Miss Body and Fender (personally, I’d like to know how she got that vote….). What should I do? Should I look the other way, or should I tell him to make tracks and burn rubber?

Disgusted Deirdre in Detroit

Dear Deirdre,

Well, I’m not surprised that Miss Body and Fender took the honors. With a name like that, obviously referring not only to the “auto” body, but also her own chassis, I quite frankly think she worked those mechanics over. My suggestion? Ditch the greaser and get a doctor. Maybe use your “Fan Belt” to snap one like him into line.

Enjoy the richer pastures, Barbara Jean

Dear Barbara Jean,

That’s got to be Fanny’s niece…

My sister promised my annoying and naughty niece that I would buy all of her Girl Guide cookies. Now I’m stuck with a bill and 400 boxes of the darned things. Barbara Jean, I’m on a diet and with summer right around the corner, how the heck am I going to get in shape for my new polka dot bikini?

Fleeced Fanny in Forest Hills

Dear Fanny,

Well, get out there and peddle those biscuits to your friends and neighbors, sister. The Girl Guides are an admirable upstanding group, even if your niece isn’t very nice. And say, whatever you have left, why not wing a couple of boxes my way? Think of it as payment for my helpful advice.

Thanks for the snacks, Barbara Jean

Keep your letters coming! I love to help or hinder any way I can.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's, 1950s food, 1950s fun, 1950s glamour, 50's housewife, advice, advice column, Alter Ego, Americana, Beauty Pageant, cookies, Creativity, daily blog, diary, dieting, Domestic life, Family, family life, Girl Guides, Humor, letters, Love, neighbors, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, Relatives, Retro, Romance, Socializing, suburbia, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You Knew Ozu Like I Know Ozu

Hi there, guys and dolls! How’s everybody doing? Planning on nestling down in front of your TV this weekend? Well, I have some terrific Raves n Faves for you. Five of my favorite movies by Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu.

Now Ozu had an extensive film career dating from the 1920’s to ’60’s, and ranging from gangster/crime stories to family slices of life and heartfelt romance. Some funny, some sad, all of them lovingly poignant and practically perfect in their quiet ways. He had a talented ensemble cast and crew he enjoyed working with, which makes them even more delightful to watch in the varying roles. I’ve got a list of my five favorites, with links to watch on the Criterion Channel (which is such a gem), although I’m sure you can find them streaming through other options as well.

The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice
The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice

THE FLAVOR OF GREEN TEA OVER RICE (1952) – A woman’s dissatisfaction with her unrefined husband grows as his business trip to South America draws near. Such a fun chick flick!

Tokyo Story
Tokyo Story

TOKYO STORY (1953) – A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, TOKYO STORY is the crowning achievement of the unparalleled Yasujiro Ozu. The film, which follows an aging couple’s journey to visit their grown children in bustling postwar Tokyo, surveys the rich and complex world of family life with the director’s customary delicacy and incisive perspective on social mores. Featuring lovely performances from Ozu regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, TOKYO STORY plumbs and deepens the director’s recurring theme of generational conflict, creating what is without question one of cinema’s mightiest masterpieces.

Equinox Flower
Equinox Flower

EQUINOX FLOWER (1958) – Later in his career, Ozu started becoming increasingly sympathetic with the younger generation, a shift that was cemented in Equinox Flower, his gorgeously detailed first color film, about an old-fashioned father and his newfangled daughter.

Good Morning
Good Morning

GOOD MORNING (1958) -A lighthearted take on director Yasujiro Ozu’s perennial theme of the challenges of intergenerational relationships, GOOD MORNING tells the story of two young boys who stop speaking in protest after their parents refuse to buy a television set. Ozu weaves a wealth of subtle gags through a family portrait as rich as those of his dramatic films, mocking the foibles of the adult world through the eyes of his child protagonists. Shot in stunning Technicolor and set in a suburb of Tokyo where housewives gossip about the neighbors’ new washing machine and unemployed husbands look for work as door-to-door salesmen, this charming comedy refashions Ozu’s own silent classic I WAS BORN, BUT . . . to gently satirize consumerism in postwar Japan.

Late Autumn
Late Autumn

LATE AUTUMN (1960) – The great actress and Ozu regular Setsuko Hara plays a mother gently trying to persuade her daughter to marry in this glowing portrait of family love and conflict; a reworking of Ozu’s 1949 masterpiece Late Spring.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

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