Flapper Day

Teaching my child about the 1920’s…dress up as flappers and dance to Jazz!

This is my kind of play.

How can you inspire your children through creative learning opportunities? Think about it today!

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Early Gag Boxes

What is a gag box exactly?

It’s a like a funny greeting card, but instead its a 3D box. Reading the outside of the box will entice you to open it. And when you open it, of course, it’s a gag. It’s not what you were expecting at all. And that’s exactly what gag boxes are all about. It’s a bait-and-switch.

H. Fishlove and Co made gag boxes from 1914 until 1985 when they were bought out by Fun Inc. Here are some examples of the boxes they produced between 1920-1950.

Mailer

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GottaGo

Girlie

Diet

baldheads

References:

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/how-your-grandpa-got-his-lols/

H. Fishlove

If You Think Your Refrigerator is Small…

The 1920’s bustled with new inventions that made life easier for families. Refrigerators were among the new appliances. However, they look quite different than the ones we have today and are considerably smaller.

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Reference:

http://seesaw.typepad.com/blog/2008/05/refrigerators-part-2.html

Some Irish Humor

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In Ramble and Roar, the first book of my Roaring Twenties Series, I explore the Irish mob. I spent months researching the mob, Irish culture, and Irish vocabulary. And I found the Irish humor to be delightful!

Today, I am sharing a few Irish jokes with you:

Mrs. Feeney shouted from the kitchen, “Is that you I hear spittin’ in the vase on the mantle piece?”
“No,” said Mr. Feeney, “but I’m gettin’ closer all the time.”

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Reilly went to trial for armed robbery.
The jury foreman came out and announced, “Not guilty.”
“That’s grand!” shouted Reilly. “Does that mean I can keep the money?”

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Irish lass customer: “Could I be trying on that dress in the window?”
Shopkeeper: “I’d prefer that you use the dressing room.”

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Murphy told Quinn that his wife was driving him to drink.
Quinn thinks he’s very lucky because his own wife makes him walk.

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“O’Ryan,” asked the druggist, “did that mudpack I gave you improve your wife’s appearance?”
“It did surely,” replied O’Ryan, “but it keeps fallin’ off!”

Reference: http://www.abitoblarney.com/irishjokes.htm

O To Be A 1920’s Farmer

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Mowing Hay
Mitchell Home School Farm 1920s
Photograph # 19981.1.53.70

Let’s take a moment and thank God for technology.

I have been busy researching for Book Two: Marvel and Mayhem: The Roaring Twenties Series. In this book, my main character, a New York City flapper ends up working on a farm in Harrisburg, PA. Best part is she doesn’t see it coming until the manure reaches her nose!

Farm life is hard work now, but in the 1920’s, it was even harder.

Farmers put in long days for little money. Work and play revolved around the seasons. Everyone in the family had chores — milking cows, feeding the animals, harnessing horses, gathering eggs, cleaning the outhouse, washing clothes, and more. Children usually walked to school, rain or shine, and spent summers helping in the fields. Farm families looked forward to the fun of school programs, trips to town, church gatherings, and other social events. With help from neighbors, 1920s farm families brought in the harvest, battled fires, coped with accidents and illness, and weathered natural disasters.

(Reference: http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe20s/life_01.htm)

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Morning Chores: Milk the Cow
http://kentuckyexplorer.com/nonmembers/06-12pics.html
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Kansas Farm Crop with Mr. McMurry on the Binder and Aunt Myrtle Driving the Tractor, 1920’s.
http://www.gregssandbox.com/mcmurry/sec02/02-fcrops.htm

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http://fdtcompany.freeservers.com/pages/1920TGERads.html
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Vincent Davlin, his wife Edna and 2 children, Charlie E. and Marian http://www.villageoftowerlakes.com/history/Pioneer%20Families/pioneer_families.htm

Snow Skiing in the 1920’s…With An Added Bonus of Horses

The roaring twenties was characterized by pleasure-seeking youth and adults who craved the next thrill. Hence, adventurous activities, grew in popularity.

Skiing was one of those. People flocked to the slopes both for fun and sport.

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Recreational Skiing on Hollyburn Mountain. (Reference: http://www.hollyburnheritage.ca/recreational-skiing/recreational-skiing-in-cypress-provincial-park/recreational-skiing-on-hollyburn-mountain-1920-s-1930-s-photos/)
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Competitors line up for the July 1923 cross-country ski race on Mount Rainier. Hans-Otto Giese wears number 15, next to the pole with the Norwegian flag. Photo: Giese archives. (Reference: http://written-in-the-snows.net/far-country4.html)
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http://www.alsap.org/GoldenStairs/GoldenStairs.htm

And if the regular form of skiing wasn’t enough thrill, many folks added a horse and reigns. This sport is called Ski-joring.

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http://www.woodriveresja.com/about/history-of-ski-joring/
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http://archivalclothing.com/tag/out-of-the-past/

1920’s Holiday Photos

Around this time of year, I get Holiday Fever. I feel the compulsion to bedazzle everything in holly, bulbs, and Christmas lights. Since our house isn’t complete yet, I cannot unleash my many Christmas decorations. Thus, I have decided to live vicariously through these great 1920 holiday photos I found on the internet.

Join me in the fun:

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Hey, they didn’t have Meijer or Walmart to purchase the turkey.
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Barbara Kent seems especially eager to start carving in this Universal studios photo from the late 1920s.
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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. These balloon characters are slightly scary to me.
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Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five: (from left) Louis Armstrong, Johnny St. Cyr, Johnny Dodds, Kid Ory, and Lil Hardin Armstrong

I have a collection of old holiday music and boy, you know when Louis starts to sing! You can’t mistake his awesome gritty tone and when he plays the trumpet, woo-wee, that’s good stuff!

And let’s not forget the amazing, Ella Fitzgerald. She is beautiful in every way.

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Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917– June 15, 1996), also known as Lady Ella (the First Lady of Song). She was one of the most influential jazz singers of the 20th Century.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald and Family Dancing
F. Scott Fitzgerald, wife Zelda, and child. F. Scott was a pivotal author in the 1920’s.
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Martha Sleeper was a silent film star in the 1920’s.
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Fun group photo of Flapper friends.
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The sign in the window says you can buy a doll that walks and talks for $2.98. What a deal!
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Dickey family photo, 1922. They sure look cheerful at Christmas time. It must be the contagious holiday spirit in the room.
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Another happy family photo.
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Movie Star: Clara Bow

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That chair might be a little too small.

Enjoy the Season!

Picture References:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/turkey-time-hollywood-style.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/26458/quick-10-10-unfamiliar-macys-thanksgiving-day-parade-balloons
http://blog.lib.uiowa.edu/drp/2011/11/16/wishing-you-a-safe-thanksgiving-break
http://myauctionfinds.com/2009/08/31/black-music/
http://www.dieselpunks.org/profiles/blogs/family-christmas-photo-1922

http://www.inherited-values.com/2010/12/merry-martha-sleeper-jewelry-fashions/
http://www.kitschy-kitschy-coo.com/blog/2010/12/have-yourself-a-clara-bow-christmas/
http://en.paperblog.com/christmas-time-in-the-1920s-30s-378079/
http://www.reminisce.com/1900s-1920s/stocking-hung-on-christmas-eve/attachment/rm10137c28a/

http://www.cardboardchristmas.com/papateds/Christmas1920s.html

Sneak Preview From Book One in the Roaring Twenties Series

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Excerpt From Chapter Seven…

The door slid open. The beat of shoes and hurried voices passed her lonely cart.

A porter popped his head inside and nodded to her. “Hello ma’am. You have another passenger to keep you company.” He allowed the traveler to board.

The man stepped onto the train with swift nonchalance.

Eliza’s breath caught inside her lungs. He was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. Tall like a Greek column, his broad shoulders strained against the fabric of his tailored, charcoal gray suit. His chiseled features were bronzed by strokes of the sun and lightly weathered in a rugged, daring way. A striped fedora hat tipped over one eyebrow, partially obstructing one of his extraordinary aquamarine eyes. She swallowed. Heavens, he’s incredible.

His voice came out with smoky ease. “Hope you don’t mind me sharing this compartment with you.”

Her hands choked her gloves. She forced a light smile. “I didn’t pay for a full compartment. Only a seat.”

He pulled off his hat and revealed a perfect head of slick chocolate hair. “I suppose I’ll pick one then.”

“You have a few to choose from.” She motioned to the empty, floral-patterned cushions.

His eyes swept over the small space. With fluid, deliberate steps, he strode to the seat directly across from her.

An alluring scent of spiced musk rolled past her nose. She breathed in the rich cologne. My goodness, he smells delicious.

He paused before sitting and peered at her. A glimmer of mischief crossed his eyes. “I think I like this one. If that’s okay with you?”

Her heart fluttered. “That would be fine.”

“I hoped you’d say that.” He lowered to the seat.

She bowed her head to hide the rosiness surfacing on her cheeks. Is he flirting with me? She stole a glimpse in his direction.

He stared at her.

Her cheeks reddened more. He saw me look. Should I say something? What would I say? I suppose I could introduce myself.  I should probably introduce myself. Or is that too….

He interrupted her thoughts. “Where are you heading today?”

“Eliza Brickman,” she blurted.

“What?”

“New York City! I mean my name is Eliza, and I’m headed to New York.” She could taste her stupidity saturating her tongue.

“I’m pleased to meet you Eliza-headed-for-New-York. I’m Warren Moore-headed-there-too.” His mouth curved into a sultry smile.

She was sure her heart failed to take a beat.  

The train’s whistle howled.

She jumped. Without a second warning, the train lurched forward offsetting her balance. Her face plunged into Warren’s chest as her hands grabbed the top of his thighs.

He grinned with shock and enjoyment. “Most ladies demand a date before embracing, but this works for me.”

She scrambled backward, her eyes bulging in horror.  “I–I–I am so sorry! The train moved so quick that I lost my balance and I—”

He held up his hand. “Don’t apologize. You may sit on my lap for the duration of the trip if you’d like.”

Her mouth dropped open. She knew her eyes looked like saucers.

“I’m only teasing. But I have to say.” He leaned forward. “You are a sweet doll.”

She managed a thank you.

“Any time.” His smile was suggestive.

Her mind muddled beneath the allure of his charm. She fidgeted with the pearl buttons on her gloves. Below her lashes, she saw him tilt to the side. His eyes traveled up her legs, over her hips, and paused above her midriff. Her head snapped upright.

He met her astonished eyes and smiled. “Nice ankles.”

She released a small gasp.

He opened his hands in surrender. “I’d compliment more, but that’s all I can see.”

She gasped again.

“I mean no offense. I simply wanted to appreciate the beauty before me.”

She didn’t know if she should be angry or flattered. His boldness was entirely unsettling and, well, exciting.

He changed the topic. “Do you live in New York City?”

She inhaled. “I’m going there today for the first time. Do you?”

“I do. I was visiting a friend in Jersey.”

Eliza didn’t catch the sarcasm that accentuated the word friend.

“Are you visiting someone in Manhattan?” he asked.

“No. I’m going to pursue a career as a singer. I want to make albums and perform. I want to hear those wonderful rhythms of jazz and see New York City in all its glory.”

A throaty laugh burst from his mouth. “Are you sure? New York City has pretty rough edges. And most debs are lost as to what—”

“I may be a debutante, but I’m not incompetent!”

“I’m not trying to insult you baby, but New York is no playground. Sure it’s a land of opportunity, but you’ve got to know where to go…and where not to. Besides, you’re gonna stand out.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look at you.” He indicated with a wave. “Long dress. Gloves. Hair piled on your head, even though a ringlet has managed to sneak out.”

She brushed the curl behind her ear.

“Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the black curls. But Manhattan girls aren’t like you. They wear short skirts and smoke like chimneys. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure you can handle it.”

His words stirred her insecurity. If he thinks I can’t handle it, maybe it is too dangerous. I don’t know anyone or anything about New York. Why on earth did I let Hugh talk me into this? Her shoulders drooped. She felt defeated once again and turned despondently to the window. Maybe I should go home. Then a new thought occurred to her. If I go home, they win. Again. Her eyes darkened. I won’t let others continue to dictate my life. I can’t retreat at the first sign of opposition. I said I have what it takes. It’s time to prove it.

It didn’t matter what others thought. She wanted to live. Not for her father. Not for her mother. But for herself. She trained a pair of blazing blue eyes upon him. “How dare you judge me? You know nothing except what you see on the outside. I’ll do better than survive in Manhattan; I’ll be great in Manhattan! I will sing and perform. No one and no city can stop me.”

A subtle smirk crept to his lips. He hadn’t expected this feistiness. Maybe there’s more to this girl than meets the eye. “I did judge you, and I apologize. With that attitude, you’ll do fine.”

“I’ll do better than fine.” She crossed her arms.

His eyebrow arched. Spirited little dame. Leaning forward with a hand on his knee, he spoke in a low, husky tone. “You sure will. I think you’re going to like New York City.”

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Penn Station in the 1900’s

SO HOW ABOUT YOU?

Is it time to chase your dreams?

IS IT TIME TO STAND UP AND SAY: “I WILL BE GREAT!”

Tell me your thoughts and what this scene meant to you.

Picture References:

Picture One (Interior of Railway Carriage) – http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=38753&l=en

Picture Two – http://knickerbockervillage.blogspot.com/2009/05/1920-elevated-train-interior.html

Picture Three – http://fineprintnyc.com/blog/evolution-of-new-york-city-part-3-1905-1910

Talk Like the Twenties

http-::my.ilstu.edu:~lmerri:uhigh:1920's:Historydd5b808585d6df63a1456c8e6faa22b8

Top 11 Phrases that Started in the 1920’s and Should Be Brought Back Today!

11. Rhatz: “Rhatz! These pants are too small.”

10. Now You’re on the Trolley: “I thought you weren’t too bright, but now you’re on the trolley.”

9. Get in a Lather: “Don’t get in a lather, I didn’t mean to break your favorite vase.”

8. Berries: “You got the job? That’s berries!”

7. Flat Tire: “Stop being a flat tire and let’s have some fun.”

6. Horsefeathers: “Awe horsefeathers, I know you’re older than thirty.”

5. Cook a Radish: “I’m not interested, go cook a radish.”

4. Bearcat: “Woo-wee, that gal is one fine bearcat. She gave me a kiss I’ll never forget.” fc7b42fe3d0ad3c313a62085ea9ded87

3. Oliver Twist: “I never seen someone dance so good. You’re a regular Oliver Twist.”

2. Cat’s Pajamas: “You’re the bee’s knees and cat’s pajamas all rolled into one!”

1. Cash or Check (do we kiss now or later): “So what it’ll be, cash or check?”

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 Picture References: http://www.pinterest.com/catiecordero/the-roaring-twenties-what-a-time/

Why Should Kids Have All The Fun?

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Costume Party 2008. Jonathan is Jack Sparrow and I’m a flapper!

Adults should dress up in costumes more often.

It is downright healthy to step out of the normal, everyday pattern and be silly, free, and have fun! Dressing up like a different character is a sure-fire way to do that!

Children love to pretend. The moment they put on a spiderman suit or tinker bell dress, they truly believe they can scale walls or fly. Their imaginations soar as they create their own adventure.  It’s fun to watch them play, but you know what’s even more fun…joining them!

The other day, my daughter asked me to play fairies with her. She put on her new, green fairy gown, and I put on my old, white fairy costume from when I was a teenager (yes, I still have it!) Together, we flew around the house and pretended to frost things (including grandpa) with our magic wands. It was a blast! I laughed hard, and it made me feel like a child again.

And you know, it got me thinking, adults ought to have fun like this more often. Costume parties or murder mystery game nights are great for adults. It helps us drop our old-fart habits for a little while and laugh. It’s so good to laugh.

I looked back at pictures from some costume parties we’ve held or attended. The photos alone make me smile.

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Friends in Bay City, MI
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Chinese Murder Mystery Party

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Here’s my advice: Put on a costume! See what fun awaits you!

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Make a wish!
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Jack meets Cher.
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Batman (my dad) and his little kitten (my mother). The bee…my daughter Isabella.