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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • CHRISTMAS PRINTS

Naptime for Daddy: 1957

Naptime for Daddy: 1957

Another thing every suburban mid-century modern house had was a console television set. Specifically, it is a 1951 RCA Kendall 17T174 model 17 inch black and white TV in a blonde wood cabinet with doors that closed to make it look “pretty” like a piece of furniture. (Don’t ask me to explain why people in the fifties thought this way. It isn’t as if they were going to fool anyone that it was not a television set.)

I am sitting on a Paul McCobb “Captains Chair,” though I also can’t explain why I have it caught in the living room curtain. I further don’t know why my father is napping on the living room floor. He clearly knew that was what he was going to do because he brought a pillow to the floor with him. It isn’t like we didn’t have a couch in that room. I also do not know what was in my three-year-old brain to cause me to sit there so still and seriously. All of which (the husband and child, not the TV) may be what caused my mother to take this picture. Scan was made from a negative. View full size.

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Mrs Sew and Sew

My mother basically made all of my clothes up until I was an adolescent, not counting socks, underwear, hats, and coats, and she made most of her own clothes in the Levittown era.
She made all of the curtains, in that house, bed spreads, and slipcovers for the furniture too. That room had a red color scheme in winter, and a blue/aqua one for summer. The carpet was rainbow stripe mill ends so it matched both seasonal color schemes.
Whether she made that plaid skirt and top, I do not know. When I asked her about my father sleeping on the floor, she told me that she had shown that skirt to her own mother, and her mother really hated it.
No clue what color it was. But she thought the skirt was cute, and as an adult, I think so too.

Radiant dad

If your house radiant floor heat, it's no wonder your father napped there sometimes. Heck, I would sleep on my floor if it had radiant heat.
I remember using the floor for many things such as you described, though anything with a "mess potential" (play clay, etc.) was done on a table - - this included coloring, for some reason.
I can just picture these draperies in color - - that was a popular combination, then, I believe. It's nice that your mother sewed well enough to make draperies and cushions. I wonder if she made your jumper, too. Every little '40s and '50s girl had a plaid jumper and/or dress. Red was very popular, but blue was seen often, too. I think multicolor plaid was seen sometimes also.
I like your photo, Aenthal, and I'm glad you posted it.

Rug Rat Family?

I asked my mother about this picture, and she said that he napped there more than once. It was not a for-camera pose. And though I had not thought of it until your comment, there are other pictures of him using the floor instead of the furniture including one where he is on the floor with me and my brother (who will be born in 1961) reading the comics to us. Though there are no pictures of it, I almost always used the floor for art (particularly coloring books, so I could spread out the crayons) and often laid on my belly to watch TV on the floor. Maybe I come from a pack of rug rats?

Another factor might be that this house had radiant floor heat. Hot water circulated (from a boiler in the kitchen) in pipes built into the cement slab of the house, making all the floors warm when the heat was on. If this was winter, that floor might have been a very cozy place to lay.

My mother made those curtains. I remember them to be green, white, and some warm tones such as orange, gold, red, or brown. There are matching pillows she made of the extra fabric, in the room too. Beyond that, I do not know--did I push the chair into them in trying to climb onto it, or was it there before I got in? No clue.

Role Reversal

This photo shows a reversal of roles wherein the child is awake and sitting in a "grownup" chair while the father is napping on the floor nearby. (Napping on the floor was common in our house as the adults figured while a young child might fall off a sofa or bed, he can't fall off the floor.) Anyway, perhaps your father posed this way for the humor value, or perhaps your mother, the presumed photographer, saw the humor and snapped the picture. I wonder if you pushed the chair to its location, and caught the draperies in it as you did so.

As for having a television with doors on it, well, I toured a model home not long ago which had a built-in TV that became a picture (artwork) when it was turned off. So whatever made folks disguise the TV with doors then makes them use other methods now.

Being a 3 year old in 1957

You and I are the same age, as I turned three that year, also. I don't think we ever had a TV with doors, but I do remember seeing them. I think they probably came about partly because of the fact that there were still a limited number of hours that anything was playing. I love your curtains, and the picture of your dad is just priceless! I wonder if he was supposed to be watching you, while your mother tried to get some work done. Mothers usually know that it's a good idea to check on whoever is watching the little ones. I have pictures of older siblings who were supposed to be watching the baby, sound asleep.

 
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