I’m not sure why, but when I think of Iowa — my Iowa, at least! — I cannot imagine a thriving pop culture scene, especially for teenagers. I guess I’m influenced by what my parents have told me; in fact, my sister was once doing a report on the ’50s and thought she might call my aunts, Janie and Patsy, who were teens in the age of rock and roll. However, because my family is from the country, my mom was quick to dispel that idea: “They weren’t into anything cool! They didn’t know about Elvis!” (Haaaa.)
So, when I saw these LIFE Magazine photos of teen life in Des Moines, Iowa in 1947, I was pleasantly surprised to see cute sweater sets, co-ed mingling (in cars!), slumber parties and even spin the bottle. (Granted, Des Moines is “the city” in Iowa, so, there ya go.) I stand corrected! That soda shop is bumpin’.
And I’m always enamored of any teen girl with glasses — wear ‘em proud! — and the girl with all the bracelets is just so cute and fashionable. Love her.
My morning routine is not worthy of documentation. (But if you’re really curious, I whip a comb through my hair, toss on a dress from my pile — not joking, it’s a mini-mountain — and apply lipstick that usually wipes off before I get to work.) However, I can appreciate a more elaborate process, and geishas’ rituals are lengthy and steeped in tradition. This beautiful film from the 1930s shows geisha styling their hair, dressing and preparing for public life.
As soon as I caught sight of the “player of the dulcimer,” I knew I needed to look closer. This tiny automaton — as large as a bird-boned, ladylike toddler — is credited to German watchmaker, Peter Kintzing. However, a hundred craftsmen from 26 trades were involved in its manufacture (crazy!). It was presented to Marie Antoinette at Versailles in 1784, and she quickly snatched it up — eventually lending some of her own hair for the miniature’s bouffant. It has since been donated to the Academy of Sciences and continues to function. So beautiful.
Educational films are the best. They’re dated almost immediately, making for some sweet nostalgic viewings down the line. (I still can’t get over the orientation video from Being John Malkovich. “High ceiling rooms mock my stature!”) This gem of a time capsule was surely shown to middle school girls circa 1973, shortly before they were handed maxi pads as big as bricks. The color scheme and animation just kills me — it reminds me of the little interludes in Woody Allen movies. Oh, the miracle of life: getting your ‘riod!
My name is Alison and this is where I obsess // muse // and drop all of the curious, obsolete, eccentric and otherwise noteworthy things I come across on the weird, wide expanse that is the Internet. Also, cute cat posts.