Nostalgia, Vintage Aluminum Tumblers, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up

It’s tall, it’s cold, and it once held my pink lemonade flavored kool-aid. It’s an  aluminum tumbler from the 1960s, in close-up.

Vintage Aluminum Tumbler. 1960s

I filled it with ice water just to get that familiar hot-summer/cold-glass/water-beading feeling.

I found two in the back of the cupboard, a red one and a gold one. Here’s why I went looking for them — I saw this set at the Smithsonian Museum of American History last week. Oh joy. Just like my mother used to have…

1960s Aluminum Tumblers - Smithsonian Collection

Nostalgia at the Smithsonian. *Want* — Too bad I don’t have the sleeves or the pitcher.

I think I missed my calling. Clearly I was born to be a museum curator.

Our tumblers held our tea, our ice water, our lemonade — all summer, at the kitchen table, on the front porch, or sitting outdoors on a quilt in the yard. Sometimes they even made it to the table at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Now I’m giving my two to Sam (aka Mr Mid-Century Modern) who remembers a set from his childhood too. I only regret that my tumblers are not as bright and pristine as the Smithsonian’s. I’m still hoping I find at least a couple more.

Here are mine, in clips from my father’s home movies… ready for their close up.

Aluminum Tumblers at Christmas Past

Tales of Christmas past…

Aluminum tumblers at Christmas Past

That ghostly highlight is the sun coming in on my cousin’s shoulder. (now if I could just find that blue tumbler)

Aluminum tumblers at Christmas Past

These tables are laden with my mother’s and my Aunt Betty’s home cooking. Food like that just doesn’t exist any more.

So here’s my glass. Right now it’s way over half-full. How’s yours? Red Aluminum glass - its over half full




For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up



Monuments, Fridge Magnets, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half

Half and Half or night and day: the Washington Monument can work for either.

Washington Monument - night view from the Lincoln Memorial

Night view from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  Composition-wise, exactly half-and-half is a bit unsettling, so let’s make that roughly half-and-half.

Washington Monument - Day

A monumental division of picture space from a different viewpoint.

The US Marine Corps War Memorial works for a diagonal half and half, bisected by flag pole.

Iwo Jima Memorial - U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial

Iwo Jima Memorial – U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial, a view from the evening tour.

Can you tell I’m just back from a trip to Washington DC?

Meanwhile, here on the home front, downsizing continues. Still, I’m appreciative that the Smithsonian isn’t downsizing… they need to keep their stuff (and I wish they’d keep some of mine too). The back seat of my car is full of books I’m ready to donate to the library, and my next basement project is to figure out if the the set of Harvard Classics I found is complete and in good shape.

Now, just one more thing from Washington: shot through the window of ‘Julia Child’s Kitchen’ —

Julia Child's refrigerator magnets - from the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Julia Child’s refrigerator magnets – from the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

And, on the home front —

Sandy's fridge magnets.

Sandy’s fridge magnets… well, some of them. I’m downsizing. And by the way, we saw the ‘real’ ruby slippers at the Smithsonian.

James Joyce’s deserve a closer look —

James Joyce's fridge magnets.

James Joyce’s fridge magnets.

What’s on your fridge?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half

Writers, Typewriters, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol

What’s still a potent symbol for writers, even years (make that decades) after falling out of use?

L.C. Smith Typewriter - keyboard detail

Typewriters of course. And to carry it one step further, typewriter keys carry the symbols that make up our language. This is the vintage 1940s L.C. Smith typewriter my mother learned to type with.

Placing it on the newspaper for a photo op felt symbolic too…

1940s L.C. Smith Typewriter

Note that this typewriter is “super speed” — I don’t know how the space-bar got broken. Maybe someone was typing too fast…?

Here’s Jr-High me with the typewriter, supervised by Pete the Parakeet. Hipsters take note; my glasses might be back in style soon.  And, that space bar was just fine back then — I swear.

I learn to type on the L.C. Smith

This picture surfaced a couple of weeks ago, and deftly illustrates one of the dangers of finding old photos — they expose the dorkiness factor.

Another find when unpacking boxes, an antique green Oliver No. 9 Standard “Printype” —

Olivetti typewriter, Standard No. 9

From this angle it resembles a butterfly.

The keys are loops that come down toward the center from either side. I’m fascinated by the FIG key. I’m not sure, but I think it’s like a CAP key for the top row. I like the slightly offset  G* key too. It’s from 1912, folks, at 103 years old it’s OK to be a little out of line.

The Oliver was one of my first ever thrift store finds, and yes, I should have known better. At the time, I thought I’d have it cleaned and restored, but then computers came along and I never looked back.

Just one more  — this view of my father’s old Remington portable looks like it’s smiling despite its decrepit ribbon.  I never saw him use it. I was in love with its pop-up keys (they fold down so it can fit in its case). I thought I was rescuing it from the dust of his service station, but I didn’t get around to restoring it either.

Vintage Remington portable typewriter - detail

Now, what shall I do with my typewriter collection?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol

Another Cabinet Explosion, Dinosaur Muffins, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Door

These are the doors to the kitchen cabinet under my cooktop. They don’t look dangerous, but think again. One day I realized there was a lot of stuff inside I don’t use, so I decided to boldly delve in and take everything out.

Kitchen Cabinet under cooktopIt looks like the cabinet exploded — I’m always amazed by how this happens. There were things in the back I hadn’t seen in years.

Kitchen cabinet explosion

How did it all fit? You can see I haven’t even taken out the top shelf stuff yet.

See how I even had pans stored in the ovens, how sad is that? 

Sorting out a big box of things to donate — great. Finding goofy things I hadn’t seen in ages — if this were a credit card ad, that would be the “priceless” part.

Rainbow's end blend herbal tea

Rainbow’s End Blend herbal tea was my favorite about, uh, 30 years ago.

The box was empty of course, but apparently I kept it in remembrance, and through at least 2 moves. This tea would have been worth it for the name alone. Here are some more Golden Harvest varieties… I could do with a cup of Mystic Spice right about now.

Rainbow's End blend - details

What’s in Rainbow’s End Blend, and others?

Here’s something else I hadn’t seen in a while — my dinosaur muffin pan.

Dinosaur Muffin Pan

I haven’t had it since the Jurassic, but it has been a while.

When I first got this, I wondered if there was a way to convert it to make ice-pops. Mainly what I had in mind were “Tricera-pops”.

Oh, and another good thing, once I donated my extra stuff I have room in the cabinet for the pans I used to store in the oven. Now I’ll see how many of the remaining things I really use before the next round of clearing out. It may not be politically correct to say this during Plastic Free July (and by the way there were plastic containers here that I bought before I knew better) but I’d like to put in a good word for my reuseable vinyl shelf paper — all I had to do was take it out and wash it, then put it back. No waste.

Kitchen Cabinet After Downsizing

Kitchen cabinet after downsizing – still a little messy but much better than it was.

 Have you had a cabinet explosion lately?

(P.S. — I kept the dino-pan.)

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Door

Flying First Class, Pinching Menus, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

Unpacking yet more of Bob’s boxes in the last few weeks, I’ve uncovered a trove of airline menus from past flights in 1st Class. Seeing these, I could say his muse was food. When these menus were new, we were airline employees, with pass riding and upgrades as part of our benefits. Before flights were packed as full as they are these days, we often got upgraded.

TWA First Class menus

When menus were shiny — I don’t remember the difference in Ambassador and Royal Ambassador. Apparently it had to do with silver and gold. Or maybe it was the upstairs/downstairs of the 747’s.

Before I had Bob to travel with, I seldom stopped to eat in nice restaurants, but instead found a cafeteria or a grocery store, or got a sandwich on the go. Seeing these menus reminded me of our first trips together and how amazed I was at the time he was willing to invest in deciding where to eat. Our first international trip together was to Greece, and I remember walking up and down and around all the streets near our Athens hotel that first evening, waiting (and starving) while he read the menus in the windows and deliberated, sometimes going back to look again and compare.

But back to menus in the air:

TWA 1st Class Menu - libations

The libations were shiny too.

And over the years the menus evolved:

Group of TWA 1st Class menus, probably through the 1980s.

A selection — I’m guessing through the 1980s.

Bob often traveled on business, so he collected menus from several other airlines too:

KLM First Class Menu

KLM Menus were a class act, and by the looks of it I’m guessing there were libations involved here as well.

Years later, in New York City for his cancer treatments, Bob lamented that there we were, in Manhattan, surrounded by wonderful restaurants, but chemo made him too nauseous to feel like eating. That soon changed though. After his surgery and through seven years of subsequent visits for check-ups and treatments, he got to enjoy those restaurants many times. I remember now that when I first started sorting through things after his death, I found stacks of menus then too — from his New York favorites.

But one more thing. I’m not so innocent myself. I found a menu that I saved. My friend Donna and I went to the Cafe Royale in London just to get this one. It had something to do with our favorite sci-fi novel of the moment, a Michael Moorcock time travel fantasy, where the raucous aliens partied in the bar of the Cafe Royale — picture the bar scene from Star Wars set in Victorian London.

Cafe Royal Bar

Cafe Royal Bar – you can tell from the prices that this was some time back.

 What to do with the menus? Maybe I’ll check out eBay. I did notice not long ago that someone Cafe Royal Menu Coverwas selling a TWA seat-occupied card. And yes, I have one of those too.

Have you ever collected menus?

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse