Monday, July 3, 2017

our girls

Eighty degrees, ninety percent, daylight, sun’s not up yet but it’s going to be a bruiser. Scorcher, whatever. A few wakes in the Bay as boats streak for Shell Island or wherever on this wonderfully long weekend. So smothering outside and cool inside that 7H windows are fogged and streaked.

Okay, look, the picture is so much fun that, like a book that I don’t want to end, I’m going to pore over it slowly for days. But right to left, that’s a 1955 Mercury, a 1957 Ford, I still don’t do motorcycles, and I’m in love with those three girls. Cars aren’t the only ones who have changed. The girls take me back into dreamland even more than the automobiles.

The Ford is obvious, one of my all time favorites, the Mercury less obvious, so here’s a lesson. That particular rear body styling was only for 1955 and 1956, how to tell which? One must look closely at the trim, which in those days of annual model changeover might be changed slightly each year for a “face lift” absent a major body redesign. It’s marketing. At first glance, I notice that the taillights give a subtle clue, in my memory, the top of the taillight was open in one year, slightly closed the other year. More obvious is the center trim: 1955 was rather delicate, and that little chrome teardrop to rotate aside for inserting the trunk key is another hint ->

1956 was noticeably different, more bold, nome sayin'?

See, the cars are basically otherwise identical. 

But the girls. The girls, our girls in that day and age. They didn't all look alike as they do today. Our girls all looked different, each girl, every girl was different. You could fall in love with her hair, or the scent of it. A boy could fall in love at first sight, and I did. He could dance cheek to cheek with this one, and I did; and then with that one, and I did. And some guy with eyes for your girl could cut in and take her from you for this dance, and etiquette required that you could not cut right back in; but your friend could cut in on her for you, and then you could cut back in and finish the dance with her. “When you are in love, it’s the loveliest night of the year” isn’t it. 

Come back, Weller.

Not only our girls in those golden years, but also boys, the guys looked different too. Hair styles. One of my retirement past-times has come to be watching full length World War Two movies on Youtube, it started during my January February sabbatical, and continues. Free, mind. European, usually German or Russian, never American, they're corny. Many, most, based on true stories. 

One thing I notice is that it’s easy to tell when the filmmaker was not concerned with historic accuracy, because the hairstyles, especially of the men and boys, are modern, not what guys wore in my youth and before in the 1930s and 1940s. 

On my computer desktop I have a list of “best films for German language learners” and have been watching some of those. Yesterday, Sunday afternoon sipping an Absolut bloody mary, I watched Hitlerjunge Salomon “Europa Europa” (1990). 

An online resume describes it “In the early days of WWII, a Jewish boy is separated from his family, poses as a German orphan (jawohl, Herr Hauptmann. ich bin Deutsch), is accepted into Nazi society where he’s celebrated as a ‘war hero’ and eventually made a Hitler Youth. This movie, based on a true story, has a bitter-sweet touch of both drama and comedy, which ultimately culminates in a very unusual perspective.” A touch of extremely tense humor was the classroom scene when the expert professor summoned the boy, a Jew, to the front of the room to measure his head, top of head to chin, temple to temple, ears, chin to nose, width of eyes, color of eyes by a chart, profile, and pronounce him a perfect Aryan. In the film, girls’ hairstyles were reasonable, the boys’ mostly more modern than authentic. But then, who would find the male half of a romance drama appealing if his hair was long and greasy. As in Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya, Brylcreem, ya look so debonaire BTDT. 

Besides enjoying film and story, one can enjoy picking up other historical inconsistencies such as the 1946-48 Dodge car I spotted in Empire of the Sun. The Packard limousine was exquisite, but the filmmaker was no car expert.

Monday, July 3, 2017: another beautiful day in +Time+


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