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Silent Night: 1925

"Volunteers of America, Christmas 1925." A festive table, good friends and that venerable yuletide sentiment "Profanity Positively Forbidden -- Shut Up or Get OUT." Merry Christmas! National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.

"Volunteers of America, Christmas 1925." A festive table, good friends and that venerable yuletide sentiment "Profanity Positively Forbidden -- Shut Up or Get OUT." Merry Christmas! National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.


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Re: Shining Example

Also remember, that in 1925 if your soles wore out, you had new ones put on (if you could afford it) and kept wearing them. Who knows how old those shows actually are. It's funny, I'm young enough to grow up in the disposable/k-mart thinking, but still have enough "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" in me to not throw out a pair of shows that still have a sole on them.

[Like they say, the show must go on. - Dave]

In 1925 . . . .

No one ever polished their shoes.
No one ever mopped the floor.
Spot cleaning of uniforms was forbidden.
No one could smile while having their picture taken.
There were TWO turkeys on the table to feed all those people.
And it goes "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."
I feel so much better now.

In reply to Shining Examples

I'm just guessing here, but maybe it has something to do with the age of the shoes. Today we think nothing of going to the mall and buying a new pair when they get slightly scuffed, but, I believe, as with everything else, there was a "Use it up, wear it out, fix it up, or make do" feeling back then that we seem to have lost today. I don't imagine they ran out to get new shoes for all occasions, plus they were sturdier (the shoes, and the people), and built to last.

(Shoe, last, get it? I'm so bad.)

And not a napkin in sight.

What were they thinking?

No grinning either!

The fourth fellow on the left, you can see his teeth. He can get out too!

Volunteer Recognition

Volunteer organizations all over the USA still look for venues large enough to honor the entire staff of volunteers at one time. Likely this hall was called into use for this occasion, hence the squeezing in.

This being 1925 this hall was likely used to gather those down-on-the-luck, perhaps a day labor room, or a forerunner AA meeting. Those are pocket doors. Staff Captain Myers might have been the Salvation Army guy in command and we know how the Army feels about profanity, boy howdy we sure do.

How long did they have to sit motionless for the camera to focus? I remember this same paralyzed looks on the faces of my family when dad brought home the first DONT MOVE Polaroid.

And what about that baby front and center--what’s that tyke doing there? I am captivated by those big cups--that for chowder? This photo begs to be studied with a magnifier--see what we can see.

Perhaps a bit heavy-handed?

"Shut up or get out"? And good will towards all men and women.... Also, I hope there was more than one bird to feed 14 men, two women and a child.

Fainting from Hunger?

Maybe their glumness is from having to wait to tuck into the turkey and oranges until after the slowpoke photographer gets his dam... er, sorry, dratted picture.

Or maybe it's tied to the state of their shoes. They may be tired after a long day of slogging the streets doing their charity work.

Of course, what I'd really like to believe is that they're plotting the demise of the gentleman at the head of the table, who's guarding all the precious gold in the KEEP OUT room.

All's I really know is, that one coffee cup that's slightly out of alignment at the foot of the table? Somebody is SO getting a firm talking-to from Staff Capt. Myers for that one.

Take the picture!

"There will be no eating until the picture is taken."
Harold, stop closing your eyes! Maude! Close your mouth!"

I think that two people are helping take this picture. There is an open place on the left side of the table as well as the head of the table on our end.

Some of the reasons this looks so unwelcoming:
The tablecloth is meager--does not hide the bare legs of the table.
There is a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
Where are the napkins?!

And while the chairs have a definite "World Market/Pier One" vibe, they are still folding chairs--this is a most temporary set up.

Shining examples

Why are everyone's shoes in such ridiculously horrible shape in these sorts of photos? I notice it consistently!

It's like no one owns polish.

Is this supposed to be a party?

If this is a party, I think I'll skip it and go count headstones in the cemetary! That will be a lot more exciting than this group of people! Wow. I think Stinky had it right - these people were coerced into "making a party"!!

Something sad about this picture ....

... or maybe its just the room they're in. Somebody did their utmost to make things festive but the room is laughing at the decorations. Was the foreground space so limited that they were forced to park the table through the doorway? I'm made to feel "uneasy" looking at this and I cannot say why. Everyone looks "normal", so its something else and I suspect that its just the room itself - but why? I get the impression that they've been forced to make the best of a bad situation here. They wanted to have a group dinner but this was the only space available to them and it "feels" cold and unwelcoming. The ceiling is too high, the paint job is annoying and the floor is scuffed up and dirty looking. Also, besides the sign saying "Shut up Or Get OUT" there's another sign on that rear door saying "Keep Out". The overall effect is off-putting and unfriendly. I'm also sure that none of these attendees would agree with a word I've said. Secondarily, the standing man reminds me of Senator Joe McCarthy and the guy sitting next to him reminds me of Al Gore. All in all, this photo makes me feel sad -- and somewhat pitying that this was the best that they were able to come up with.

The Snoring Twenties

I'm guessing this was one party Scott and Zelda didn't attend.

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