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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • TO EUROPE THE AMERICAN WAY

Picnic Shirts: 1963

Picnic Shirts: 1963

There were basically two groups of people who lived in Princeton, New Jersey during the 1960s: people connected to the University and related educational companies, and RCA kids. My father worked at RCA’s David Sarnoff Research Center on Route 1, so I was an RCA kid. Every spring RCA rented carnival rides and brought over acts from NBC (RCA owned that network) for an event called The RCA Picnic. All the RCA kids got to go, and the University kids did not. (Of course we RCA kids made sure they felt terrible about what they were missing.) For the 1963 event my mother made us matching plaid shirts, which we also wore to have a family picture taken on the front steps of our new “forever” home.

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Big Deal Picnic

Calling the RCA Picnic a single day event doesn't quite grasp the significance of the day.
In addition to being a large party, this was a chance for all of the executives and employees of the Laboratories to show off their families to the people they spent 300 days a year with. Everyone dressed up for it (in a casual way--not ball gowns, but not old jeans either).
More than what kind of car you drove, the look of each family had a status element. Each family tried to impress.
Though the shirts were made to be debuted at the RCA Picnic, we also wore them as regular shirts for years after that. I suspect this picture was taken when some relative came to see our new house, not on picnic day.
My mother made almost all of her clothes, and most of mine in this era. And she made many matching sets including a set of three identical red dresses--one for her, one for me, and one for my Barbie doll.
It was her creative joy, not a domestic chore for her.
She loved to design clothes and sew.

Matching plaid shirts

I can't get over how your mom made three shirts specifically for a single event, the picnic. I wonder if there's any mother today who would or could still perform such a task, something that would be a small domestic miracle.

Also, I'm delighted to see the reflection of the back of Arlene's head in the glass of the front door. In a previous thread, in response to various questions by my wife and me, you used the phrase "1950's poodles" with regard to her hair. The reflection bears out those words.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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