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Boys and Girls: 1941

Boys and Girls: 1941

July 1941. "Boys and girls. Caldwell, Idaho." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the FSA. I see the makings here of a double date.


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Side buckled

In the early 60s I wore my belt buckled at the side after seeing West Side Story, like the guys in the film.

I think this is a great photo, very nostalgic, and it would be nice to think that all four of these people were still around. (Nicer still to think that they paired off.)

Buckles and Brownies

I remember the older boys with their belt buckles to the side like that. It meant they were "cool."

Still have my Brownie camera like that, and the box for it. I haven't seen 620 film for it on sale for decades. It has two viewing windows, the one on top as seen in the picture is for vertical pictures. Another is on the side for horizontal ones. No flash, only one button to take the picture, and a little crank to advance the film. No wonder they were only about $3. But they worked well and were sturdy enough that Mom let me take ours to school sometimes. "You break it and your dad will tan your hide!"

Banking Hours

Something in defense of the bank workers in those days:

My mother worked at a bank in the Netherlands in those days: after 3 p.m. there was a lot of work to do: All the accounting was done by hand. And on Saturday: if there was one penny of difference between debt and credit sides, they had to work in overtime until the difference was found (1 penny difference could have been caused by the difference of 2 bigger amounts), and the overtime was not paid to the workers!


If this is the way "just friends"--or even brothers--interacted in the 1940's, I'm all for bringing back the good old days.

Kodak Brownie

Hey, I have one of those cameras.


You have to admit that's one way to stay out of the Army.

Belt buckle to the left

It's my understanding that belt buckles could be worn to the side for a couple of reasons. For musicians, it's so they don't scratch the backs of their guitars; for guys working on their hot rods, it's to keep the paint on the car from getting scratched if you're bending over to work under the hood. So an old musician/hot rodder/rockabilly boyfriend told me...

I love the repetition of all of the stripes, from her shirt, the columns and the reflected awnings, mixed with the squares, like the bricks, plaid skirts, windows and paneling.

Great Study

I love the way each pair has a more "serious" member -- the boy hugging the other boy, while ostensibly "goofing around," seems to be looking quite intently at the cute girl holding the camera, who is also the more "serious" of her pair, with her girlfriend looking very diffident with her thumb to mouth gesture.

I can easily see a double-date with this quartet, in which plaid skirt girl and cap-boy are awkward and embarrassed, and camera girl and hugger-boy end up going steady, getting engaged and?

[I see three possible pairings here. - Dave]

Signs reflected in the window

This is a wonderful photo; it captures a reality far from the experience of my family, and yet endearing and easy to imagine. I particularly like the expression on the face of the "huggee."

The stores across the street, reflected in the bank's windows, include:

* George's Shoes
* ??eurer's Cash Store
* No?????? & Sons (?)

[Meurer's Cash Store. Fascinating! - Dave]

The Boys

Those boys have to be brothers, right? Look at their eyes and noses.

[And ears. Shaped the same. Attention citizens (especially eightysomethings) of Caldwell, Idaho: Who are these people? - Dave]

Belts, Banks

I used to wear my belt buckle a loop or two to the left as a schoolkid in the early 1960s.

I like the bank's hours. Closing at 3 p.m. weekdays and noon on Saturdays. Boy, they really had us in those days. That place must have been packed on Saturday mornings!

What, no Onion?

"So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time"

- Grandpa Simpson

Boys & Girls

"He's Just Not That Into You," circa 1941.

From Caldwell to Eternity

These two high school boys likely either enlisted or were drafted into the military after December 7, 1941. I hope they survived.

The girl in the mismatched outfit (stripes and plaid together?) seems to be thinking, "Gee, I wish he would hold me like that."

Brokeback Mountin' ?

Note also the belt buckle moved to the left. This was common in that era, I am told.

[How fashion-forward. My own theory is that Ballcap is hauling his buddy around piggyback, maybe practicing for the Fourth of July picnic. Or it could be that his friend is just really, really clingy. - Dave]

That black box

What is that? A radio? A small lunchbox maybe?

[It's a Kodak Brownie camera. - Dave]

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