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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Humpty Dumpty Cake: 1958

Humpty Dumpty Cake: 1958

March 1958, my older brother's second birthday. Octopus (no: I'm emending this to Humpty Dumpty) cake, with cousins surrounding. Folksy decor. Is the folksiness peculiar to my parents, who were international folk dancers? Or was it generally popular in that era? Bow ties. Kodachrome, taken on Minolta A range-finder. I've also posted a picture from his birthday a year earlier. View full size.

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Check out next year's party

I recently posted a picture from the following year's party; check it out if you haven't yet.

Not twins

No, my blonde-girl cousins are not twins. The one on the left is the older.

Are the girls twins?

The blondes are dressed alike. Are your sisters twins?

I'm pretty sure

that tablecloth is a modern print imitating a fraktur design, and is 1950s manufacture. My grandmother had such a cloth the spit of this one, and it wasn't much older than I was.

Re: Human Handcuffs

While mother has her handcuffs on birthday boy, the youngster to the right seems ready to get his piece of cake right now, and no one to stop him. I'm not sure if all the kids were truly "well-behaved"; several of the children have their elbows on the table, and the girl on the left (leaning towards the birthday boy) seems to have her fingers in a somewhat unsanitary location. Perhaps she was preparing to do a little cake decorating of her own.

Swiss Girl outfits

I'm really Bill's wife Glenna Jo (I can't seem to get registered on my own. ;-<)
The one outfit I still remember from childhood was one I had in 1st grade (1958)
It had a black velvet skirt with suspenders and an embroidered cross bar over a pretty white blouse with puffed sleeves.
It was very similar to what I can see on the little girls in the picture. My bangs were cut to the middle of my forehead too. I had the coolest outfit in class that year!

Folk Dancers?

Brings back memories. For about 30 years I belonged to a Verein of Schuhplattlers (Baverian Folk Dancers) in western New York. Looks like your brother is wearing lederhosen.

Were there prizes?

You know, nickels and dimes, wrapped in wax paper, baked right into the cake.

Cool Parents! Warm House!

Your parents were international folk dancers?? How cool is that! To me your house doesn't look overly kitsch. However, it does look warm and inviting on a bleak winter's day.

Egg beats Octopus

Okay, I apologize for mis-identifying this as an octopus cake. Upon closer inspection, it is Humpty Dumpty. I'm renaming it. The side-decorations of the cake are quite wall-like.

My lame excuse is that I obviously wasn't invited to the party, and I was only seven months old. Thanks for all the great comments, though!

My brother and I had great times together on the swing set visible through the right-hand window.

Tired of Winter?

I like the contrast in this pic of the warm inside scene with that of the late winter or early spring snow cover through the two windows. Imagine the kids are tired of the snow by now especially if this scene takes place in the northern climes.

Pretty mom

I like this picture because we can see your mother's face so much better!

I figured, since you said you were in-utero at your brother's first birthday, you were probably in someone's arms, sleeping or being played with, while your brother was blowing out his two candles. I don't think any of my grandkids, as babies, have ever been anywhere but in someone's arms during family get-togethers! Oh, and one more thing, were your parents, by any chance, part of the "BYU International Folk Dancers"?


I'm sure an octopus has eight legs and no feet, I'm bored.

Table cloth

Yes it's very Scandinavian at least. My family is from Norway and I have inherited a tone of table cloths, runners and mats with that pattern or similar. Colors not too dark, look Swedish? I forgot the term in Norwegian for Kitch.

Humpty Dumpty Cake?

I don't have a photo of our 1950s birthday cakes, but this one looks more like the HD cakes my mom's talented baker-friend Eulalia made for my brother and me back us in the 1950s than it does an octopus. She also made ones for us at Easter shaped like a lamb, with made-from-scratch white butter cream & coconut frosting. Yum!

Let Them Eat Cake

Are you sure about the theme of the birthday cake? It looks more like Humpty Dumpty to me!

Human handcuffs

Mom has a solid grip on both hands of the birthday boy, lest he get his paws into the lovingly decorated frosting and mess it up before the pictures are taken. The tablecloth looks like Pennsylvania Dutch but went very well with all the early American stuff that everyone on the east coast seemed to have in '58 (it may have been a requirement) although the arty ultra-modern stuff, city style, was also popular for the "in crowd" of cool cats, poets and beatniks. I have these identical chairs and a blue version of a similar tablecloth just purchased recently as nostalgia. This folksy look really did feel more welcoming, homey and cozy than the featureless, minimalist Ikea uniformity seen in most young couples' homes today. Cute kids too, well-behaved and best-dressed. Treasure these pictures, they are priceless, and thank you for sharing.

Vintage tablecloth

I collect tablecloths like this one, among many other things. It looks like a Wilendur, but I have not been able to identify the pattern yet.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | 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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