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Dinette Dynasty: 1951

Dinette Dynasty: 1951

Columbus, Georgia, in 1951. "Mrs. Luther Wolff." And her brood of squirrels. Nuts will make your children STRONG! 4x5 acetate negative. View full size.

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Christmas fruitcake

In 1951 just about every family I knew was still stuck in the old holiday custom of making their own traditional festive fruitcake and wrapping it in brandy-soaked cheesecloth to age for at least a month before Christmas. It was a major production, all made from scratch, and I'm guessing that these are preparations for the ingredients, which would be accomplished over several days. Here they seem to be prepping the candied fruits and cracking nuts, and being this is Georgia, famous for pecans, I see plenty of those as well as walnuts.
The mom looks cheerful and optimistic, but the girl (almost a Mariel Hemingway look-alike) not so much and the oldest boy in his husky size shiny gabardine pants (yeah, I wore 'em too) seems somewhat maniacal. I certainly would not make him mad while he is wielding that over sized hammer. I notice it looks like the old Boston pencil sharpener hanging on the wall at the front, far left, for the kids to use when doing their homework at the kitchen table like we all did. I'm betting these kids have very fond memories of simple things they all did together in 1951, as do I. God bless 'em, every one.


When I was that age (and I was 6 when that picture was taken), I don't think my everyday shoes got shined very often (Kiwi, not Shinola, if they did). Scuffed them up so quickly, there wasn't much point. Dress shoes were kept shined, though.

Making Allowances

My money is on that dollar having a couple more behind it as it is clipped to a November calendar. Perhaps mom and dad believe in displaying the reward as motivation for chores done - a dollar allowance for the week, or maybe even the month, considering what $1 would get a kid in 1951, for each of the big kids.

First dollar?

Wonder what the story is behind the dollar bill on display on the wall? Somebody's first earned dollar?


I wonder what is the significance of the dollar bill tacked to the wall behind the table? Is that a shopping list next to it?

BTW: many of us (of a certain age) have seen tables and chairs like that in either our parents or grandparents kitchens (in my case BOTH).

That Table! Those Chairs!

On November 13, 1955, my parents' wedding cake was placed on a table exactly like that, except with two leaves in place. That table was at my grandfather and grandmother's house (my father's father and stepmother). I remember sitting at that table eating fried chicken in the late 1960s with my great-grandmother, widowed in 1915, died in 1970; a long time to live on without her husband; she lived with my grandparents the last 5 years (aka "All of my life, before her death" of her life). I remember many Sunday dinners (at least once a month) eating at that table, normally a roast or fried chicken (normally carryout from Pollards, near Lafayette in Norfolk) until my grandmother passed away in 1978. I remember going with my father to the house and sitting at that table the last time we were there, when my father was clearing it out in late 1983 after my grandfather's big stroke, wondering whether or not I'd ever be in that house again (no, at least not yet) since my father needed to sell it to pay for my grandfather's care in the nursing home (1983-1985). And I remember the last time I saw that table, and those chairs, when we left it at an antique shop; my father had gotten $70 for the set.

That picture brings back so many memories, so many of them good. My dad would probably have a small tear in his eye thinking about the years that he ate at that table everyday, from the early 1940s until 1955, and then all the years he went to see his father, bringing his own family to the table, literally and figuratively.

Thanks Dave!

Phi Mu

We have an identical Phi Mu sorority plate in my wife's office. 1955 I believe.

They don't know Shinola

An otherwise tidy-looking family has ignored the simple task of shining shoes.

"May Contain Nuts"

I feel compelled to echo the Shorpy tagline.

Luther Wolff

There's a Luther Wolff Jr and a Luther Wolff III in Columbus, both doctors.

Found a picture of III, I don't know if he's related but he's the spitting image of either of the two boys on the left.

The Hammer!

Just waiting for the WWF to come along.

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