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The Flying Bruin: 1942

The Flying Bruin: 1942

March 1942. "Flathead Valley special area project, Montana. Mrs. Lawrence Thompson, wife of the manager of the Farm Security Administration cooperative sawmill." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Office of War Information. View full size.


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Tire Ashtray

The object under the frog/flower on the right side of the table near the ink and flashlight looks like the old BF Goodrich tire ashtray Dad used when I was growing up in the early '50s. I wonder if it held VanDyck cigar ashes from the two boxes also on the table!

Partial Safety?

There may be a handrail on the side of the stairs closest to the wall (which we can't see in the picture). Hopefully, that's the case. If not, poor Mrs. Thompson may have replaced the bear on the wall in March of 1944.

Wonder what radio program she could be listening to while doing needlework?

Neat old photograph!


No accounting for taste

I find the decorating scheme -- from the bear to the birds (why is there one practically on the ceiling?) and even the frog-with-lily whatever that is -- truly terrifying. I hope Mrs. Thompson's wee bairn has a strong stomach and I hope she gets some new hosiery, and I wish she would sit in the comfortable upholstered rocking chair to do her embroidery.

Stocking shortage.

When stockings are scarce, you get the most out of your old ones.

Double Duty

Looks like that table does double duty as the entertainment center. Radio, papers, nearby rocking chair available for your relaxation pleasure. One can assume she's listening to a morning's radio show while sewing.

Norman Bates, Decorator

I can't help thinking of cinema's iconic taxidermist and mother's boy.

Stockings WWII

A woman's bane - runs in those rayon stockings!

It's not just the hills

"I tell you, Larry, every time I'm in this room, I feel like someone's watching me."

From bear to beadspread

From apex predator to beadspread in three easy steps:
1. Get shot.
2. Get skinned.
3. Get preserved.

Safety schmafety

I have been in a number of turn of the century houses with stairs like that

Going up the stairs?

Bear right.

That last step could be a lulu

I wonder how much higher that staircase goes. Without a baluster or handrail it could be a recipe for disaster. I don't recall ever living in a home without some way to steady oneself or to keep one from falling over the edge, but perhaps it was more common in some places.

Falling Bruin

Did the bear die falling down the stairs that don't have a handrail?

Safety First?

Doesn't appear that way. Those wooden stairs could benefit from a handrail.

No banister or hand rail

Not very safe for a pregnant lady whose husband I'm sure is serving his country on foreign soil!

[Um, no. He's the manager of the local sawmill. Just like it says in the caption. - Dave]

Women's work

Guidance from Roy Stryker to John Vachon, March 18, 1942:

"We need more pictures of 'Mrs. America.' Mrs. America is all over and often hard to find. To be specific, let us have more pictures of woman in the home, women in the kitchen, women gardening, women working. I think you have some feeling already for the type of pictures these should be."

Danger lurks

Why oh why would you build stairs without a rail?

[Because they're not a bunch of woke sissies? - Dave]

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