(DailyPost, favorite toy as a child.)
My favorite toy as a young girl was my paper doll collection. I owned as many sets, or books, of paper dolls as I possibly could.
There was a paper doll edition of just about any Hollywood movie star a kid could think of, in addition to all sorts of theme dolls such as Fairy Tales, and various animals. I had TWO sets of the “Twins” paper dolls, featuring babies from newborn to mid-teens (of course I did…) and there was a gorgeous “Wedding” set featuring a huge wedding party including the bride and groom and…well, you know. There was “Raggedy Ann and Andy” paper dolls, which my grandmother especially liked–along with a paper edition of “Shirley Temple.”
My favorite movie star paper doll was the regal red-haired beauty, GREER GARSON. I am not sure why, maybe because she (the doll) had a lot of green outfits in her wardrobe. I love green. (I always wanted red hair, as well, but <sigh> that wasn’t to be.)
(I’ll bet that gorgeous gown was green! It certainly would have been included in the Paper Doll cut-out book.)
Other big stars of the 1940s who also were paper dolls in another dimension were Betty Grable, otherwise known as “The Blonde Bombshell”. She was noted for her shapely legs (aka “gams,”) and her picture on the side of some U.S. Army Air Force planes.
Then there was the “sarong girl,” brunette Dorothy Lamour…star of many south sea adventures. She was also a paper doll with a collection of colorful sarongs…all paper, of course. And Rita Hayworth, auburn-haired pin-up girl, who also had her image painted on the side of the occasional bomber.
In the first installment of this feature, Who Am I to have an About Page? http://mumbletymuse.com/so-who-am-I-to-have-an-About-Page-?/ I started out as a newcomer to the world on a Friday the 13th, and by the end of Part One I had been to California and back, eaten part of a persimmon and part of a gourd, and had finished Kindergarten. Which pretty much sets the stage for the second part of my life story.
Part Two: ME AND THE WAR
That would be the Second World War, WWII, The Big One– the catalyst for the rise to world dominance of the United States. I was eleven when the war ended in 1945, and I must say that I was one patriotic little girl. I was so proud of the accomplishments of my country, in which we had emerged mostly safe and sound (those of us who had not been killed during the war years, of course) and had the distinction of being THE leader of the Free World.
But let me skip the rhetoric and get on with MY part of the War, which began in 1941…along with the arrival of my baby sister when I was eight and a half years old; my brother was six. It was just us three until near the end of the war in 1945, when another sister joined our merry band.
One thing I recall about grade school is that there was a Congresswoman who regularly was permitted to leave fliers advertising her prowess in the U.S. Congress on our school desks. She would come in and talk to us about how important it was for our parents to vote for her. Despite having been told, on my very first day of first grade, by the teacher to “go home and never come back again,” as I explained to my parents when they picked me up walking home from school about an hour after classes began, I did indeed continue with my education. I remember well the adventures of Dick and Jane, Baby, and Spot, the stars of our first level readers.
The main thing going on everywhere was THE WAR. We went to the movie theaters, and were treated to black and white newsreels showing bombs dropping from airplanes, Hitler’s marching troops in huge showy choreographed formations, and in-coming shipments of USA- flag-covered coffins. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, and read The Weekly Reader, a newspaper produced especially for school children at various levels. My grandfather taught me about television. He had a floor-model radio, which had a large window area for tuning various stations on the radio, and he said that some day, after the war, we would be able to look at windows like that and see actual movies and real people talking and singing and the like. I was properly impressed…this was undoubtedly the source of my great love of electronic stuff.
Then the newspapers, The Cleveland Press, The News, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer told us every day how many soldiers had been killed in battle, and kept us well informed about the terrible evil enemies of the United States on all areas of the world. Toward the end of the war there was news about Hitler’s atrocities, and the Japanese cities evaporated by TWO atomic bombs. The pictures were everywhere in magazines and newspapers. The newsreels at the movies were relentless in presenting the horrors of war, and these were incomprehensible to American kids, who had thankfully never had bombs dropped on them.
Movies themselves, presented on monster screens in huge movie theaters that always reminded me of palaces (not that I had ever been in a palace) also presented the great block-buster films of the 40s…complete with horror stories about the war. So this brings Me to the end of the Great War, and the beginning of the phenomenon known as THE COLD WAR.
The newspapers treated us to daily headlines screaming of annihilation and pending doom. A particularly horrible series presented by the newspapers contained in part a huge bulls-eye, with segments indicating the extent of the death shadow that marked Cleveland…with its four NIKE missile sites forming at once a horrible defense capability of retaliation. The center of the bulls-eye, of course, meant instant end to everything…out in the suburbs the threat lessened sequentially until by a distance of thirty miles out some percentage of life might survive.
BUT that survival would depend on bomb shelters, which might delay death by radiation by a couple of weeks. As children we were conversationally proficient about hydrogen bombs, pros and cons of including guns amongdbomb shelter supplies, and just how bad radiation poisoning was. So that was pretty much what one little girl knew about THE WAR… The next era of MY ABOUT PAGE will be coming up soon: THE 1950s
please stay tuned…
This thing about being left out during news broadcasts has bugged me for a long time. Some are more blatant than others. These are the choreographed news shows in which there are two anchors: let’s call them George and Mabel. They have correspondents out in the rain…or snow, or hurricane winds, or war zone…just standing there holding onto their microphones and trying to look chic AND warm (at the same time) in their parkas and rain gear.
George: well, here we are covering this gigantic snow storm, Mabel.
Mabel: yes, George. It is a gigantic snow storm. Let’s go to our correspondent, Tiffany, standing out there in the parking lot to show us what its like out there.
Hello Tiffany…are you there?
Tiffany stares into the camera for a few seconds, then:
Hello… Mabel and Geoge…yes, this is a really gigantic snow storm. Traffic is just about stalled out here.
(Traffic is seen behind Tiffany, moving slowly but steadily along.)
Geoge… yes, we can see that Tiffany. Mabel, can you see it too?
Mabel…well thank you for standing out in the blizzard there, Tiffany.
Tiffany…yes, thank you Mabel and George. Over to you in the studio…
George…thanks Tiffany, that is some storm out there. Try to keep warm.
Back in the studio Mabel says to George: that was some report on the storm out there which Tiffany has reported is bringing traffic to a standstill.
(More footage of vehicles moving along in the background. Tiffany is still standing there staring rather impatiently into the camera.)
Following the commercial break, the Nightly News With Mabel and George continues.
Mabel: here we have some great footage of some animals suffering out in the storm. Check this out, George.
George: yes, there they are…they seem to be having fun out there playing in the snow.
THE AUDIENCE, AT HOME, WAVING…. “Hello, I hope Mabel and George don’t object to us sitting here at home listening in on their talk during the show.”.”
Well….I resent this feeling that I have every time I watch Mabel and George that I am just a fifth wheel, sitting at home watching the news as a spectator sport. The news is seemingly private conversation between the news anchors, with occasional input from the reporters out in the field.
I wish it was just as easy as switching the channel, but there are cooky-cutter teams of newcasters like Mabel and George chatting away to each other on all channels. We might as well be listening to an exchange of conversation among some strangers in an airport waiting room. The strangers are chatting away and bystanders…for lack of something better to do…listen in with blank expressions. Those sitting nearby the conversationalists rarely contribute any opinions or comments of their own.
In the past, before the nightly news became entertainment, the audience was included in the show. The anchors would address the “folks” out in the audience instead of each other. “So, take a look at this footage Folks.”
And while the Folks are listening in, the correspondents with the microphones included them in their report. “Good evening everyone, it is really raining up here on Capital Hill and these people walking by are really all wet. Back to you Mabel and George…”
Weather forecasters, who are often almost deliriously excited as a particularly interesting cold front approaches, tend to be more inclusive in addressing their reports. They still say the obligatory “Thank you Mabel and George, hope all the folks at home are battened down for the cold. You listeners over there in Hickburg should be especially attentive.” I appreciate that, Weather Person.
News anchors…please consider including us watchers in your conversation. You are not putting on a show (well, maybe so) and we really like to be included.
… and another thing, Tiffany, stop acting like you correspondents work for Mabel and George. You don’t, you work for us, out here in the audience.