Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Baby Boomer's Fashion Show: A Short History of the Last 65 Years in the Clothes We Wore

Experts say that senior citizens enjoy nostalgia - singing the old songs ("Stairway to Heaven?"), reminiscing (about that time we got caught behind the barn?), looking at old pictures...

I thought I would try it out since I am a senior citizen (I guess).

My Dad was compulsive about recording every major and minor event with his camera so... 

Young or old, want to join me for a trip down memory lane?


Mahatma Gandhi is murdered by a Hindu extremist, Israel is declared an independent state and the National Party of the Dutch Afrikaners begins the policy of apartheid in South Africa.  President Harry S. Truman issues Executive Order 9981 ordering the end of racial discrimination in the Armed Forces.

I was born.

I am only a couple of months old and my brother was probably already plotting to kill me, one of many such plots over the years.

The fashion for transporting babies was the perambulator, also known as a pram.  The umbrella stroller had not yet been invented. 


Dwight D. Eisenhower is inaugurated as the 34th President of the United States. Queen Elizabeth II crowned queen of England. Jonas Salk announces he had produced the first vaccine against polio. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed for treason.   

My mother was a big fan of the "middy blouse," a sailor-inspired creation that I wore well into my teens much to my chagrin.  Must have been the Shirley Temple influence.  I wore a lot of dresses. I wasn't allowed to wear blue jeans and didn't own a pair until I was able to buy them for myself. My mother thought only farmers wore blue jeans! Not sure what my mother had against farmers.


The increase in living standards and the focus on education helps to fuel the increase in college education with 1 in 3 high school graduates now going off to college.  Ninety black leaders in Montgomery, Alabama are arrested for leading a bus boycott. TV shows included "As The World Turns" and "The Price is Right." Mothers could buy disposable diapers and teflon non-stick frying Pans. Elvis Presley appears on the Ed Sullivan show and enters the music charts for the first time, with "Heartbreak Hotel".   

Women wore "house dresses," i.e. they did their housework in dresses.  My mother did, anyway.  I don't think she started wearing trousers until she retired and even then they were my Dad's Bermuda shorts!  I don't think I ever saw her in a pair of long trousers.

The cold war continues and John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson win the Presidency with one of the smallest margins in history ( 113,000 votes) out of 68.3 million. The sexual revolution of the 60's has begun with the use of birth control pills.  The "Flintstones" is shown on television for the first time. The U.S. sends the first troops to Vietnam following the French withdrawal in 1954 in the fight against communist North Vietnam. Four black students sit at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, sparking six months of the Greensboro Sit-Ins. Civil Rights Act of 1960 signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

 There seems to be a misconception about the "60's" - that's when all of the hippie stuff started happening but that's not the case.  In 1960 women were still wearing gloves, pearls and hats.  And there was no political correctness about animal fur and feathers.  Here my mother is proudly wearing a hat made of pheasant feathers and a collar and muff of real leopard. 

I know, I know.

Contacts must not have been invented yet either or I wouldn't have been wearing those horrific glasses.  I can't speak for my sister.

Crinolines were also still popular.

The war in Vietnam continues at the same time the Anti-War movement grows. There is also civil unrest with rioting, looting and arson in Los Angeles. Malcolm X is shot to death in Manhattan, New York, probably by three members of the Nation of Islam. This is also the first year mandated health warnings appear on cigarette packets and smoking becomes a no-no. The miniskirt makes its appearance. The Beatles release 4 new albums including "Help".    

From the looks of these folks, you would never know there was a war going on. 

Women AND men wore hats.  I don't remember my Dad ever going anywhere without wearing a hat.

And my mother would not allow ME to go anywhere fancy without my hair being done up.  Hours and hours of ratting the hair.  I remember I had to bring my own hair pins to the salon because it took so many to get it up there.  My Dad loved posing us looking in the mirror.  I think he thought that was very arty.

Long gloves were de rigueur for dances and of course the shoes had to match.

But the hippie influence was starting to show itself. 
Though for me it was probably more about Cher.  I wanted to be Cher.


The Rev Martin Luther King is assassinated and Robert Kennedy is mortally wounded when he is shot by Sirhan Sirhan. The peace movement continues to grow and more and more Americans are against the war in Vietnam with continuous rioting.  The music scene is dominated by the "Beatles" and the "Rolling Stones." The first Black power salute is seen on television worldwide during an Olympics medal ceremony.     

La tee da.  Not a care in the world. Had to have the latest haircut: 

Then Reality sets in.

And let's just say he didn't enlist.

Low draft number results in a fancy uniform and a ticket to Vietnam.

 Where the hell were my contacts? And what's with those trousers?


Protests again the War in Vietnam continue especially after the Kent State shootings. Music continues to make significant impact with the largest ever rock festival held on the Isle of Wight with 600,000 people attending, including some of the biggest names in music including Jimi Hendrix and The Who. This is also the year The Concorde makes it's first supersonic flight. Voting age lowered to 18 in the U.S.

Note the peace symbols on some of the mortar boards at this graduation. I am the one in the last row with the long hair.

The 70's were really the start of the hippie movement.  Believe it or not, this is a wedding dress!


Inflation continues to be a problem around the world. Black History Month is founded by Professor Carter Woodson's Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. One year after Microsoft is formed Apple is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Nadia Comaneci scores the first ever perfect score in Gymnastics.  Riots in South Africa mark the end of Apartheid.

Yes, the hair. 

Saw "Last Tango in Paris" and had to have hair like Maria Schneider's.  I discovered permanents and kept it up until just a few years ago.  Note the turquoise necklace.  Turquoise was a very popular hippie accoutrement.  I sure wish I still had all of that turquoise jewelry I wore.  Also had a ring on every finger. 


The Aids Virus is identified.  McIntosh computer introduced.  Following the Widespread Famine in Ethiopia many of the top British and Irish USSR pop musicians join together under the name Band Aid and record the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Following the boycott by the U.S. of the Moscow Olympics the Soviet Block boycotts the Los Angeles Olympic games. The Cosby Show begins, and is regarded as one of the defining television shows of the decade. Recession continues to be a problem in the U.S. and 70 U.S. banks fail in just one year        

Men unselfconsciously wore short shorts and porn moustaches.

What can I say?  It was the 80's.


After many years of Apartheid in South Africa, a new constitution for a multicultural society is formed. This is also the beginning of the Balkan Wars and Lech Walesa is elected as President of Poland. Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the band Queen, dies from the AIDS Virus.

Fashion is returning to normal but hats are back!


Gas was $1.22 a gallon in the U.S. The first signs of the dreaded Bird Flu in China where the first documented case of it jumps to humans and causes Hong Kong to kill 1.25 million chickens.

Princess Diana dies in a car accident.    One of the worst days of my life.     

Denim on denim is hardly ever in fashion, but I think it was my mother depriving me of jeans in my youth.  Making up for lost time with the "all over" look!


George Bush defeats Al Gore in U.S. Presidential election.  AOL debuts.  Tiger Woods becomes youngest person to win golf's Grand Slam.  Concorde Air France crashes killing all 109 on board.  Average income is $40K and a gallon of gas is $1.26.

When you are packing on the pounds, black is always good.


Bird flu spreads.  Saddam Hussein sentenced to death by hanging by an Iraqi court.  Warren Buffet donates 85% of his 44 billion dollar fortune to five philanthropic organizations.

Black is always in fashion...
especially on vacation in the UK in one of my all time favorite places:


An earthquake rocks Haiti.  Wikileaks drops some bombshells.  Chilean miners trapped for 69 days in a mine.  The BP oil spill in the U.S.  The rise of the Tea Party and Apple launches the IPad.

I go blonde.


 I retire.

And can now wear whatever I want whenever I want! 



What were your favorite fashion trends over the last 65 years?

What were your biggest fashion flubs?

Now on to 
Rosy the Reviewer's
Week in Reviews


It's been a busy movie week!

I was really looking forward to this one as I like both Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.  The premise also had promise:  the competitive world of college admissions (Princeton, no less) and Tina, the admissions officer, discovers that one of the applicants might be the son she gave away as an infant.

Rosy the Reviewer says...interesting premise gone very wrong.  This was supposed to be a romantic comedy.  No romance, no comedy.   But then I tried to watch the last episode of "30 Rock" and didn't think that was funny either.  Pass on this one.

I wonder if you can figure this one out.  I couldn't.  Malick's movies have been getting stranger and stranger ever since "The New World."  I embrace the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words and if a film can say something with a visual, then I prefer that.  But there is just too much in the way of arty visuals and not enough plot. It seems to boil down to it's easy to fall in love in Paris, not so much in Oklahoma.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like long shots of running water, people gazing out of windows and breathy voice overs, you might like this.  If you figure it out, let me know.  Same goes for Malick's  "The Tree of Life," too!

Based on a true story, this film follows the pursuit of fame by a singing quartet of aboriginal girls who go to Vietnam during the war to entertain the troops.  Lots of great 60's music and Chris O'Dowd is always good.  Interesting to see the Australian perspective on the War.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Interesting premise that is carried off with heart and fun.  Recommended.

The Amityville Horror was a best-selling book and movie - in fact there have been several versions of the movie.  Here you get a real-life perspective from one of the children who lived in that house when all of that supernatural stuff was supposedly going on.  Most of that has been debunked but this guy says otherwise.  He lived it.  He is kind of a nutty guy in the Robert Blake kind of nutty.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked the book and like documentaries, this is an interesting addendum to that story.

This film asks the question, "How much does it take for you to question authority?"  This is based on a true incident where a supervisor at a fast food chain was approached by phone by a supposed police officer and told to take a young girl employee in the back room and search her as she had supposedly stolen money from a customer.  All hell breaks loose as the caller continues to make demands on the supervisor.

Rosy the Reviewer says...the acting is just first rate here as you are drawn into the nightmare.  But warning, it is cringe inducing.  Highly recommended.

You know the drill.  High school reunion 10 years later.  You have the jock who wants to apologize for being a bully, the ex-lovers meet up again but they are married to others, the hot girl with a secret...the usual stuff.

Rosy the Reviewer...always likes to see Tatum Channing and this time he is teamed up with his real-life wife.  But a marginal film.


This is not a film per se.  It's on BBCAmerica right now and it's really, really good.  David Tennant is an ex-Dr. Who and an excellent actor.  I'm a huge fan of British TV but there is a reason.  It's really good!

Rosy the Reviewer says...This is a British version of "The Killing," so if you liked that, you will like this.  And it's mercifully on an hour per episode.  I get sick of everything being two hours these days.  Highly recommended.


I've lost 8 pounds so that not eating thing appears to work.


I think I covered that.


"Leaving Home" by Anne Edwards

Anne Edwards is the author of 16 biographies, everyone from Judy Garland to Maria Callas.  Her biographies are factual and engrossing.  Here she turns the spotlight on herself as she talks about the years she was in "exile," due to the witch hunts of the McCarthy era.

Rosy the Reviewer says...If you like nonfiction, it doesn't get much better than this.  Edwards is a masterful writer.

Ohh La La!" French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day by Jamie Cat Callan.

C'mon, what woman doesn't want to know the secrets of French women for feeling beautiful? 

Rosy the Reviewer says...a fun romp into the world of perfume, lingerie and embracing your age.

"Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook by Alex Guarnaschelli.

Well, for someone wanting to lose a few pounds reading a cookbook about comfort food is probably not a good idea but I can't help it.  I love cookbooks.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a more gourmet take on comfort food.  And it has lovely color photos, a must for the best cookbooks.


Gladys Knight and the O'Jays at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery last Thursday was one of the best concerts I have ever seen.  I was in bliss.  If she comes your way, don't miss her.  She is the personification of warmth, professionalism and talent.

Well, that's the week,
dear readers. 

 Stay tuned for next week when I reveal why working full-time makes you fat!

See you next week!

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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Here is a quick link to get to all of them.  Choose the film you are interested in and then scroll down the list of reviewers to find "Rosy the Reviewer."

Or you can go directly to IMDB.  

Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Parenting and Grandparenting From A Distance and The Week in Reviews

[I review the movies "Celeste and Jesse Forever," "Small Town Murder Songs," "Starbuck," "Ginger and Rosa" and extol the virtues of stair walking and meditation.]

But first

Parenting and Grandparenting from a Distance



OK, OK, I know I am being overly dramatic here.

But I sometimes sit with my little wine-guzzling poodle and wonder how my life veered so hugely from how I was brought up and what my expectations were.

I grew up a block from my grandparents - my Dad's parents.  They were a big part of my childhood - holiday celebrations, Sunday dinners.  They had a TV before we did, so I remember going over there on Friday nights to watch the Friday Night Fights (boring) and Ed Sullivan.  As a teen, I was expected to read the newspaper to my grandmother every afternoon after school and take her for walks. She was blind.  As my grandparents aged, my Dad, who was an only child, would stop by their house on his way home from work to fix their dinner. So I lived near my grandparents until I went off to college, and my grandparents lived in their own home until their deaths at 89 and 92.

But my generation was a different generation, and it was not unusual for young people to move away from their families.

I know it was very difficult for my mother when I not only went to college and rarely came home, but on the day I graduated, I announced I was moving to California, thousands of miles from my home in Michigan.  She must have been crushed, but she never said anything, never complained.  I should have learned from her example.  But I didn't.

As I look at this picture of her helping me get my room ready on my first day at college, I can relate to what she must have been feeling. 

Despite the fact that we raise our children to be independent, happy and successful, it doesn't often occur to us as they grow up that they might live their independent, happy and successful lives far away from us.

If I might brag a bit here, my son is a successful attorney, happily married with two lovely little boys.  My daughter is a Stanford graduate embarking on a new career in Information Science and happily married to a professor. 

So what's the problem?

My son is 900 miles away and my daughter is 3000 miles away.

So while I am happy that my children are happy and successful, what my mother and I both didn't bargain for was that we wouldn't be a part of that happiness and success.

It's a cruel irony that we raise interesting, kind and responsible children and just when they get old enough to participate in adult activities and carry on interesting conversations with us, they move away!

I know I am not alone in this.  This is probably more the norm for parents and grandparents than not these days. 

So how do we remain in our adult children's and grandchildren's lives when they live far away? 

How do we create those shared histories and memories, so crucial for maintaining close relationships?

When our children were living at home, we participated in our children's activities and had family nights and trips.  My husband and I both came home after work and spent most of our free time with the kids. 

When they went off to college, I decided not to be a "helicopter parent," calling them all of the time and bothering them.  I wanted them to find their own way, thinking they would call me when needed.  But what I really wanted was to talk to them every day.  When I did call them, our conversations would be terse or they wouldn't pick up at all. That would hurt, so I resolved that I would wait until they called me, thinking if they called me, then they would have set aside the time and we would have nice conversations.  Not necessarily so.  I have always been envious of parents whose children say, "My Mom is my best friend.  I can't imagine not talking to her everyday."  That didn't happen for me.

There was a disconnect between what my expectation of the mother-child relationship should be and the reality. 

We sold our house and left California for Washington State when our daughter was a sophomore right before the housing bubble burst.  That was a good thing, but what we didn't anticipate was the difficulty for people of a certain age to start over somewhere new not knowing anyone there.  However, our daughter really liked the Seattle area so I was fairly certain that she would join us after college.  However, through a series of events, she stayed in California and eventually met a fellow there who was visiting from Atlanta.  She married him and off they went.

Our son was ensconced in his life in California and as he frequently reminds me, he only lives an hour and a half from his childhood home.  WE are the ones who left.
So that's how it happens.  One story out of many, I am sure. 

So as the reality of the "empty nest" set in, I began overcompensating for the distance by oversharing all of the angst I felt about how difficult it was adjusting to this new life, new job, not knowing anyone, etc.  My rationale was if I did this, my children would continue to get to know me and we would stay close that way.  Not  recommended.

 So what do you do?

Well, don't do what I did. 

Here is what I have learned.

First of all, when your children leave for college, call them as much as you would like to.   
It doesn't do any good to pretend to feel something you don't. Just know they have issues of  their own as they adjust to their new lives, so don't get your feelings hurt if they don't pick up or return your calls or have monosyllabic conversations with you.  At least you are making the  effort to show your love and that will resonate with them later.  I think in the end, my not  calling made them think I didn't care.

Don't overshare.
Yes, you might be feeling sad or having difficulties with your own life, but they have their own problems. Worrying about their parents shouldn't be one of them.

Get your own life.    
As I look back, I see that yes, I had a career, but once my children came, I saw my main role as mothering.  I have had to reconcile myself to the fact that this role is now behind me. Your adult children no longer need mothering, so it's time to take stock and redefine your role.  Then when you are in touch, you have something interesting to share with them.  We are all friends on Facebook and I send them my blog, so we can keep up with each other online in between phone calls.

Be a friend.
Your adult child doesn't need a mother, but everyone needs a friend.  And your children should be given the same respect and deference you would give your friends.  Infantilizing your adult children will only make them not want to be around you.  Be a good listener.

Avoid guilt trips.
There are other parents involved when your children marry and those parents also want time with your children and their spouses.  Holidays can be particularly difficult.  In our situation, the "kids" have rotated every Christmas with each family.  The first Christmas we were alone was very difficult...it would have been very easy to call them and say "This cannot happen again."  But we went to Paris instead (something I would actually not recommend...I mean, Paris at Christmas, which was a zoo, not the going away part.  I think Buenos Aires would  have been better).  If this happens to you, get away from what makes you sad and do something that will make you happy and look forward to next year.

Create an environment your kids will want to return to.          
When your adult children and their families do come to visit, it creates a somewhat unnatural balance.  If we all lived in the same town, we could get together when we wanted to and enjoy each other's company as long as we wanted and then return to our respective homes when we got tired of each other.  When families come together from long distances, they usually stay for awhile in your home and that can create pressure to spend all of that time together, knowing that everyone will soon part. Also it's sometimes close quarters. So treat your family members with the same respect you would show your guests, giving them space to be alone if they want and looking after their individual needs.  Plan fun events and a comfortable, fun environment.  The last time our daughter and her husband visited, I made up a list of "adventures" we could tackle  - they could choose which one.  They chose kayaking and  it just about killed me!  But our adventure was a funny story we could all share.

Try to plan the next time you will see your children again.
If you can manage it, check in with your adult children and try to find a time in the not too distant future when you all can get together again.  It might be around an event like a major birthday or some fun activity they might like. When my husband turned 60, we all gathered at a condo in Lake Tahoe to celebrate.  But keep in mind, if your adult children have their own children, it is probably easier for you to travel than for them.  To know when you will see them again makes it easier.

Share family stories and pictures.

They may not care now, but they will later in life. I wish I had asked my mother and dad more questions.

And what about the grandchildren?

We grandparents who must do our grandparenting from a distance fear being strangers to our grandchildren. 

 How do we transcend the miles?

Skype is a godsend. 
When they are infants, you can see them and they can hear your voice. As your grandchildren get older, you could read stories or make up silly stories and use props or teach them some songs.

Keep current on your grandchildren's interests.
My oldest little grandson is obsessed  with the movie "Cars," and already anticipating "Planes," so I come prepared to watch "Cars" with him and to bring him toys of those characters, or whatever is his latest obsession.

Write letters and cards to them.
Corresponding by letter is almost dead these days, but it is a still  a wonderful way to interact with your grandchildren.  When we were in London recently, I sent my 2-year-old grandson a postcard with a double decker bus on it, because I knew he loved buses and trucks.  I said, "This is how people ride around in London.  Glammy and Papi (yes, I'm Glammy) rode on one of these and thought of you.  Maybe you can ask Daddy to show you where London is on a map so you can see where we are."  As your grandchild gets older, you can send longer messages and letters.

Unexpected gifts
Don't wait until birthdays or the holidays to send little thoughtful or fun gifts. Sending something for no reason would be a happy treat for your grandchildren and remind them of you.

I can't say that I have heeded my own advice at all times and, in fact, as you can see, I have made some pretty bad mistakes.  I have had to change my expectations.

I am certainly still a work in progress, especially now that I have recently retired, which is a whole new world unto itself. But I am committed to continuing to define my role in my adult children's lives and to be an active grandmother - one step at a time, no matter the distance.  Now I need to go.  I hear a little poodle getting into the wine again!

How did you handle your empty nest?

How have you handled being a grandparent from a distance?  Any cool tips?

Rosy the Reviewer's Week in Review
I have four little gems for you this week, ones you might have missed.

"Celeste and Jesse Forever"

Rashida Jones and Adam Samberg play a divorced couple who try to stay friends.  A really sweet romcom about two very likable people who just aren't meant to be...and that's OK.  Rashida Jones was co-writer of the screenplay.  Did you know that Rashida Jones is the daughter of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton of "Mod Squad" fame?

Rosy the Reviewer says...sweet and a different twist on the "soul mate" issue.

An almost unrecognizable Peter Stormare (remember the woodchipper guy in Fargo?) plays a  tormented cop in a Canadian Mennonite community who must come to grips with his violent past.  It's a mere 75 minutes long, but it gets a lot done. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...Slow moving and gripping at the same time. Reminiscent of "The Killing."


This is not about the coffee chain, but about a loser of a fellow who made money donating to a sperm bank only to find out later he had fathered 500+ children and 142 of them want to meet him!  A very funny and entertaining French-Canadian film (subtitles).
Rosy the Reviewer says...lots of adult fun!


Sally Potter is the female Woody Allen.  She writes, directs and gets famous actors to play small parts in her small films (Oliver Platt, Christina Hendricks and Annette Bening in this one).  One of my fav films is her "The Tango Lesson," which she also starred in.  This one follows two inseparable friends in 1960's London in the shadow of the Cuban Missile Crisis and what they get up to.  Baby Boomers can relate to the practice of ironing one's hair to get it super straight and sitting in a bathtub to shrink your Levis so they fit perfectly, or I can anyway.   Potter's stories unfold in the slice of life realm, but they are affecting.  I think she is very underrated.
Rosy the Reviewer says...Potter needs a larger audience.

Nothing to report this week. I'm trying not to eat.  Have to start somewhere.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Food...why does it have to be so hard?


According to "Lucky Magazine," pointy-toed shoes are back for fall as are over-the-knee boots and the kick flare skirt.  The color palettes are black and pink and zebra stripe and green (has zebra stripe replaced leopard as the new black?).  

 After having gone through three closets this last week of clothes I will never wear again, including pointy-toed shoes, over-the-knee boots and kick flare skirts, my obsession with fashion is starting to seem out of fashion.  Well, I might still wear the over-the-knee boots.



Stairway Walks

Completed another Seattle stair walk.  This is one of my absolute most fun ways to get exercise - urban walks that combine nature and neighborhoods.  It's a great way to get to know your town or City better. We did 5 miles in about 2 hours followed by some champs.  There always must be reward!
I don't know if you would call this fun exactly, but I have started Oprah's 21-Day Meditation Challenge.  You can sign up, too, if you are so inclined.  I am looking forward to the miraculous relationships it promises!  :)
I am doing that along with my 10-day Headspace course, so I am getting there.  I can now do 10 minutes with no problem and did an extra 10 today starting the Oprah Challenge.  Can't tell if it's working yet.  I still scream at the dogs when they bark their heads off when the FedEx truck drives by while I am trying to meditate.  Seems counter productive somehow!  OM....
So that's it.  Week five in this new world of retirement. 
How did your week go?