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Golden Years: 1941

Golden Years: 1941

July 1941. "Sun bathers at the park swimming pool." Yet another shot by Russell Lee of the ladies of Caldwell, Idaho. 35mm nitrate negative. View full size.


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Timing of the two photos

I love the two shots of this group! It reminds me of the many days that my siblings, friends and I spent at swimming pools, in the mid-late 60s. It looks to me like there are two sets of sisters here. The three blond girls appear to be wearing identical bathing suits, and so do the two dark-haired girls. I also wonder if the fudgesicle is actually two different fudgesicles. The smallest of the blond girls has wet hair in one and dry hair in the other, yet the fudgesicle is about the same size in both pictures. I can't think of how the fudgesicle could have stayed the same size long enough for that to happen.

I'm sure this attention to detail, in pictures that most people wouldn't spend two seconds looking at, could probably be diagnosed as some kind of mental disorder, but I see where others here pay attention to small details too, so I guess if I have a disorder I am in good company!

I doubt that these boys would have been quite old enough to serve in WWII, which would have been over, four years later. Perhaps they did like my dad, who was a little too young to see action during the war, but enlisted soon after. There was still a tremendous amount of work for the military to do, and a lot of tragic things to see, for several years afterward.

Boys to Men

The boys in the background had NO idea that, within a few months, America would be at war and they would be in it. This is the last carefree summer in their teenage years.

[They had a very good idea. The war had been going on since 1939. After the Germans bombed London, Americans knew it wouldn't be long before this country entered the war. - Dave]

Bikini in 1941?

Bikinis in 1941?

[Two-piece swimsuits go back thousands of years; having two pieces doesn't make a swimsuit a bikini. The "official" bikini, a two-part swimsuit with an abbreviated bottom section, was named after the Bikini Atoll, site of an atom-bomb test in 1946.- Dave]


I noticed the oil too--everyone seems completely fascinated by this!

[Yes. We do seem to have a lot of cooking fans here at Shorpy. - Dave]

Pompeian Brand Olive Oil

Still produced here in Baltimore, Maryland~~

Ice cream!

Note also how the dark haired girl with the medallion around her neck is eyeing the fudgecicle held by the girl getting her back oiled. Sure seems to want to finish it for her!

Olive Oil

Note the use of olive oil as tanning oil - Pompeian brand

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