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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • JOIN U.S. CROP CORPS, WWII

Ready to Party: 1961, not 1959

Ready to Party: 1961, not 1959

This must have been a big deal party because the woman in the foreground with her hand at her hip is my grandmother, Marie. She lived two states away from Levittown, Pennsylvania, in New York City. She did not visit often.

Leaning against the sink, with her arm also on her hip, is Dorothy Neil, our next door neighbor. My mother, Arlene, is the center adult. What she is doing at the counter, I don’t know. But this picture makes it clear that it is her arm getting something from under the sink in last week’s picture.

I am guessing that the crouching child is me because she seems to be setting the not-table with plastic candy baskets. I can’t imagine a guest doing that. This shot also makes me question the date. Standing up, these girls look bigger than nursery school. I would guess they were kindergartners. But they can’t be because the Neils did not live next door to us in 1960. They did in 1959 and 1961. So these must be first graders, making it my seventh birthday.

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Good Eye For the Grinder

The decorative item hung on the kitchen wall is indeed a grinder. It was a fully functional wrought iron, hand-powered, coffee grinder that my mother got from her mother, before I was born. She mounted it on the back of a wooden bowl as a decoration, much like she mounted her father's scissors on cutting boards.
I have no memory of her ever grinding coffee with it, though she let me turn the handle and showed me where you would place a cup in it, if you were grinding coffee beans.

As for me setting the not-table, I remember doing that kind of task at every birthday party I had.
It was an adult idea of giving a child an easy enough job to give them a feeling of being the host. I chose the little plastic baskets at the store with her, assembled them, and put the candy in them. Setting them at my friend's places was "my job" because it was my party, and they were my guests.

Akimbo

Thank you, aenthal, for this post. What I'm wondering is why the birthday girl was forced to set the not-table while at least two adults stood around with their arms akimbo in well-I-never posture. I am very glad to have this follow-up to last week's party picture, even if Arlene's outfit is not exposed to maximum advantage. It does, however solve the mystery of the black-sleeved disembodied arm. And I do think it's a great shot of your mother's nubbly poodle hair. Item of note: the frills on the center girl's socks. Plus the grinding device with the big handle, on the wall above your grandmother's elbow.

 
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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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