Saturday, August 12, 2006

Beyond Dick and Jane

Another blogfriend, Kenju, always posts pictures of old things she has kept for years, like postcards and books. I recently mentioned to her that I've kept some old books myself and she asked me to feature them here. So, Judy, in your honor...

Before there was www...ANYTHING, there were encyclopedias. We had your basic Funk & Wagnalls, but we also had "The Book of Knowledge" which we absolutely loved. I have the entire set, and it sits in my son's room where he devours every last obsolete detail.

In the "Dick and Jane" vein, there were "Friends and Neighbors", and "More Friends and Neighbors". These were published in 1942 by some Catholic firm, so most of the stories managed to work in a moral whether we liked it or not. As for me, I liked drawing glasses and mustaches on the people (and, in this case, horses).

As previously noted, my parents liked to take us on long car trips. We had several books for these trips, including one by Dave Garroway, the first host of The Today Show. This Family Fun Book was my personal favorite, though.

"Days and Deeds" was another Catholic propaganda book disguised as entertainment. However, I was shocked to find the story of "The Man Who Kept House", which is basically a tale about a chauvinistic idiot who thinks his wife does nothing until he switches places with her one day. Surprisingly evolved for 1942.

I have several of these, published by Parents' Magazine. They were pretty cheesy but we loved them. I still remember the "My Shadow" poem and will recite it to you someday unless you give me a thousand dollars not to.

So... hope you enjoyed this little trip down Library Lane. And just so you can put these books in context, here's what I looked like around the time I was reading them. (I love the details in this photo...the Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, the Patty Play-pal doll, the kicked off black pumps in the background. I just received HUNDREDS of jpgs that my Uncle made from his slides, taken from 1959 through 1965 or so...thanks, Uncle Joe, for the blog material! Not that you'll ever know that!!)

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