We’ve been helping clean out a friend’s mother’s house in preparation for the new owners. Her mother lived in this house since the 80’s and her grandparents lived there since the 50’s. Mother did not throw out a thing. Not. A. Thing. The attic, as well as cupboards, closets, bureaus, and the basement were filled to the literal rafters with stuff. Stuff that has since been sorted for donation, for sale, for recycling. Because mother also collected mining-related ephemera, we took three large cartons of scrapbooks and file folders home for one final screening before we put them to the curb.
This afternoon, I tackled that job. I found a few interesting pieces, including an entire North Bay Nugget special mining edition that features Cobalt, so that was cool. I also found a 1900 marriage certificate. The handwriting is very difficult to decipher, but I think the bride and groom are my friend’s relatives, if not her great-grandparents.
Reading the scrapbooks left me feeling kind of… well, I don’t know how I felt. Odd. Overwhelmed maybe? So many images that were familiar yet forgotten.
You know those annual “year-in-review” montages at every December month end? It was like that, but for the 60’s and 70’s all mixed up, because the books were not in chronological order. I saw headlines announcing the moon walk, the FLQ crisis, Pierre Trudeau’s marriage to Maggie and the birth of their son Justin – now our current PM. I read about Churchill’s death and about Charles de Gualle’s fatal heart attack. There was a short article about Watergate – déjà vu, anyone? I read several articles about the Royal Family and more than a few opinion pieces that lashed out at the feminist movement. I also read a tongue-in-cheek column that suggested that the hot-pants fad had bottomed out. I get the sense that the scrapbook keeper approved.
The file folders contained hundreds if not thousands of recipes, many hand-written, many more from magazines or pamphlets issued by the food company. Or from the government as was the case with a Cooking for Wartime publication. Each folder was devoted to a specific category of food preparation: desserts, soups, preserves, etc.
At the back of one folder, I found a series of clippings dedicated to weight loss. One page featured a column written by Hildegarde Fillmore. She described a series of bathing suit exercises, including how to avoid dowager’s hump. But I won’t share that with you today. Instead, I’m going to focus on the advertisement adjacent to Hildy’s tummy tucks and bust-enhancing moves.
Milk of Magnesia was used as a face cream. It was a thing. And apparently, it is still a thing today! Women use it as an economical primer before they put on their makeup.
I had no idea.
In the same folder was an ad for Libby’s.
Is Libby’s still around? Wait. Don’t answer. I should do my duty as a responsible blogger and answer that question myself. One sec.
Yes. But most of the company is owned by Nestlé, judging by the number of references on the Wikipedia page.
Anywho, back in 1958, Libby’s was flogging its “non-fattening tomato juice 3 times a day to help you stay with your slimming program.” I don’t know about you, but I feel about tomato juice the same way some people feel about beets. That is, those people who are NOT fans.
Neither am I a fan of ads from the 50’s. Or the 60’s. Who am I kidding, I’m not a fan of ads, from any period. PERIOD.
Especially ones like this one:
Speaking of beets. (Yes, beets. I’m sorry, Greg.) We harvested a decent crop this week. I made more chocolate beet cupcakes and shared the bounty around town. The rest are in storage. I will probably end up pickling them. Judging by the number of recipes in the file folders today, my friend’s mother also had extra beets on hand.
I wonder what this would taste like?
Well now. I sat down to write this post, fully expecting to dazzle you with three things that were things, but it turns out they still ARE things. Women still use a laxative on their faces, ads are as outrageous and insulting, and beet root is still used to make wine! Just ask Harry Potter!
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A reader asked “What is acid skin?”
I meant to research that for the post – here’s a great piece that describes the marketing ploy:
In the 1930s, Philips tried something similar by advocating the use of creams containing Milk of Magnesia (emulsified magnesium hydroxide) to neutralise any skin acid (deNavarre, 1941, p. 133). The company was ordered to stop using the term acid skin by the American Federal Trade commission (FTC) in 1941, on the grounds that the term did not describe any known skin disease or pathological condition.
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