Marilyn and Other Things

Before the weekend, I have to share more about what happened in 1953.

Did you know that the first issue of Playboy magazine was published in 1953? And, did you know that Marilyn Monroe was on the cover? This first issue cover was interesting for one other reason–it was not dated. Hugh Hefner was not sure the magazine would be popular enough to warrant a second issue. I have to say, I didn’t think Hugh Hefner was unsure of anything!

Queen Elizabeth II was crowed Queen of England.

Also in the United Kingdom, Ian Fleming published his first James Bond novel, Casino Royal.

Some of the films you would have seen in theatres were: Shane, The War of the Worlds, From Here to Eternity, and another tip of the hat to Ms. Monroe, her now classic film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. This was, indeed, a very busy year for Marilyn!

The Corvette made its first appearance on Chevrolet showroom floor.

Texas Instruments was credited with the invention of the transistor radio.

Smoking cigarettes was reported for the first time as causing cancer.

Albert Schweitzer was awarded the Noble Peace Prize. Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The top three songs on the Billboard top 100 for 1953 were: The Song from Moulin Rouge by Percy Faith, Vaya con Dios by Les Paul and Mary Ford, and How Much is That Doggie in the Window by Patti Page.

The three top TV shows for that year were: I Love Lucy, Dragnet, and a tie between Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts and You Bet Your Life.

The New York Yankees won the World Series for the fifth year in a row.

The Detroit Lions were the NFL champions.

The Minneapolis Lakers were the NBA champions.

The Stanley Cup was won by the Montreal Canadians.

Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine. In 1952, the number of polio cases in the United States was 57,628, over 21,000 of those cases were paralytic. Those statistics shocked me.

James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Creck announced the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.

The Korean War ended after President Eisenhower warned China he would not be afraid to use nuclear weapons. This war was costly one. 33,629 US troops, 3,000 UN troops, 50,000 South Korean troops, and 1.5 million Communist troops from China and North Korea died. I had no idea the casualties were so high.

On a much lighter note, I found this interesting little tidbit. I’ve always been intrigued by teen fads–most likely goes back to the days when I was tagging behind my cousin, Donna. This year girls wore dog collars over their white ankle socks as ankles. If the collar was worn on the left ankle, the girl was single. On the right ankle, she was going steady–another word you do not hear anymore–going steady. In the Chicago area, according to this online source and the Chicago Tribune, girls added nail heads and bells to their collars. The girls from the Windy City also stepped up the messaging system by adding colored collars. A red collar on the left meant the wearer was in love and going steady. A green collar on the left meant the girl was “willing”. (Hmmmm…) A tan collar on the left meant the wearer did not care if  she had a date or not. A black collar on the left meant their relationship was over–they were in mourning.

As I wrote that last paragraph, I had to smile. Our world has changed in so many ways but our basic human needs and desires are the same. I am saddened by one thought that came to me. In 1953, in order to communicate with their peers, the young ladies had to get out and socialize. They had to take a risk and be visiable–personally announce their social status.

I smile again, wondering what the conversation would be like talking with the young lady wearing that green collar anklet?

I’m thinking I’d really like her spunk and spirit!

Have a great weekend, my friends.

Stay well, cool, and hydrated.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you and wish you peace.



Besides Me, What Happened in 1953?

I did not realize until I started writing this blog, how little I really knew about what was happening in the world as I grew up.

I don’t think any of us who grew up when I did knew much about the world around us. Our world centered around what happened in our neighborhood. That’s all we needed to know.

I’m not sure that isn’t still correct.

When I began writing about my grade school years, I had to sit down and write out the years I was in school. Who knew what year certain things happened?

Today, I did some very simple online research. I read what,, and, had to say about what was happening in the world in 1953. I did not fact check any of what I am going to share with you because, regardless of the accuracy, I found it all so interesting.

In 1953, my life began at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Kokomo, Indiana; Vivian and Merle’s lives changed forever.

Here are some other interesting things about 1953:

A woman could buy a cotton print dress for $10.75. A Velveteen jumper–when was the last time you heard the word, jumper? $11.59. Metal colored platform shoes = $3.49. Nylon stocking, with a French heel, $5.00.

A man in 1953 would spend $13.76 for a pair of trousers. Again, when was the last time you used the word, trouser? A corduroy jacket would set him back $15.75. A 10K gold ring with a genuine black onyx or a simulated ruby would take $8.98-$29.98 out of his wallet.

The average cost of a car was $1,850. Gas, depending on the what source you use, 20-29 cents a gallon, a loaf of bread, 16 cents, a first class stamp would add 3 cents to the cost of that birthday card.

The average wage per hour was 75 cents, average salary approximately $4,700.

Depending on where you lived, this is what you would get for your mortgage dollar:

Oshkosh, WI, Lakeside 4 bedroom home with 90 feet of lakefront on Lake Winnebago, $10,000.

Elyria, OH, 8 room house with basement on 3.5 acres. Furnace and outbuildings. $8,000

Joplin, MO, 6 rooms with modern built-in bath, 2 car garage with other outbuildings. 8 acres. $8,500.

Some of the more odd things noted about 1953:

Duncan Hamilton won the 1953 Le Mans car race. I read this and thought, way to go Duncan until I saw the note that, according to this source, he did so while being completely inebriated.

All radios made in the US between 1953 and 1963 had a white triangle marking the dial at 640 AM. This triangle designated the spot where you would go to get the Civil Defense information broadcast.

One of the early TV evangelists was Fulton Sheen–my mom’s favorite. On one broadcast he substituted the names of Russian leaders when reading from the burial scene of Julius Caesar: “Stalin must one day meet his judgement.”  Later that week Stalin suffered a stroke and died.

An interesting note for all country western fans, the first radio operator to hear about Stalin’s death was Johnny Cash. He was serving with the US Air Force in Germany at that time.

Swanson had a lot of turkey left over from Thanksgiving in 1953. 260 tons, according to one source. When Swanson asked their workers what to do with the leftover turkey, they suggested they pack it into individual trays along with some side dishes and freeze it. Just like that–the Swanson TV dinner!

Is it any wonder why I like potatoes? This was the year that Ore-Ida began selling Tater Tots to grocery stores. What are Tater Tots? They are the pressed leftovers from making french fries. Who knew?

I have some other tidbits to share with you tomorrow. Unfortunately, I don’t have a new book to share with you. There has not been much time for reading this week unless you count reading a refrigerator operators manual.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you guys.