Editor’s note: Although things are very slowly getting back into a state of normalcy (whatever “normalcy” means), we here at ALO-L central decided to go back to publish a few articles that were mean to be released long before the current crisis took its hold.
The following article was meant to be released in late March. However, it does provide a nice diversion to what’s going on in the world. Don’t ya think??
Not too long ago, I was lucky to inherit some books and related goods from a deceased relative of mine. This was from a cousin I bailey knew. In fact, the last time I recall seeing her was sometime in the 1980’s when my grandparent passed away, and she and I was there for the funeral. All I know of this person what she was in her middle 70’s at the time of her death, and died of an unspecified illness.
Anyway, I requested from the family that I could obtain any personal photos she had, or any home movie footage shot on 8mm, Super 8mm, or 16mm film that may exist. After dealing with the person (some probate attorney) handling the estate, I was told that I would receive the requested good if (or when) they could be found.
Some five years passed. Then one afternoon, I received a medium sized box from some address in Chicago I didn’t recognize from the law firm handing her estate. I was hoping that it would be the collection of photos and related media I asked for way back when. I somewhat forgot this request since I didn’t think I would receive anything, so I wrote the whole thing off. But now this box was finally here. I thought to myself that my long awaiting for the goods finally paid itself off!
So upon opening the box thinking I would find photo albums or perhaps reels of film, all I was able to find was a collection of hardcover and paperback books. There was no note attached to this collection. All there was to be found was a series of hard cover novels published in the 1980’s, as well as a collection of mass produced paperbacks. Again, those were novels published around the same time, something one would find in any standard garage sale selling for whatever one could get for them, if anything at all!
I was rather disappointed over this cache of books that frankly wasn’t what I had asked for. Never mind the fact that these books were once part of this long forgotten relative’s library. It didn’t seem it held any sentimental value. Or at least not to me.
However, there was one book that caught my eye. It was the only book that wasn’t a novel published in recent years. It was the only book that wasn’t even in the greatest shape. The dust jacket had water stains on its lower half, and the pages were slightly yellowed with a discolored piece of Scotch tape holding the jacket together from a tear. However, it was a book that spoke upon a period of domestic society that has long disappeared and has changed drastically since it was published.
The book in question was entitled The Seventeen Book of Etiquette and Entertaining, written by Enid A. Haupt, and published by David McKay Company, Inc, based in New York.
This book was first published in 1963 and was written by the then Editor-In-Chief of Seventeen Magazine, a title that was first published in 1944 as a magazine for teenage girls, and continued its run as a monthly until 2017 when it became an every other month selection. Today, it’s only published as separate stand alone issues when its current publisher, Hearst Publications, find the need for a print edition. However, it’s still alive and living online at at http://www.Seventeen.com
Anyway, getting back to the book. On the inside cover cover written in ink is my cousin’s name with the year-1963. On the second page, somebody wrote with a felt tip pen “Happy Etiquette! Craig”. I don’t know who this “Craig” is (or was). Perhaps it was a (boy)friend of hers long forgotten as I don’t know of any relations with the name of Craig.
I started to go over this book that lists in detail the ideas and tips a young woman of the era should follow. It covers everything from keeping personal habits in check, how to be nice with family, friends and in public. It provides advice on how to compose letters, how to speak to people in person and on the phone, as well as what to wear, when, and how. And of course, it also gives advice on how to act and react with the opposite sex i.e. “boys”.
Being the fact that the topic of sex is far more amusing than on how to host dinner parties, I turned to the chapter entitled “Boys Boys Boys”. Sure enough, the entire chapter covers the topic of this species of humans that are known to girls, but something that isn’t known enough!
My cousin used a yellow highlighter marker to make this sentence listed in the first paragraph. It reads “Any girl can get a date, have a boy in love with her, become engaged and get married. Fix these facts in your mind and believe in them and you will be successful in getting along with boys.” (The italics appear in the book as published!)
Apparently, she had to confirm herself in getting this fact straighten out so she would know just what to do to with believing the idea that it was rather possible to get a boy’s attention just by following the rules. And this chapter would tell her just how to go about the process!
There are a very long list of things one must do, what to say, how to say it and so on! And when it comes to sex, a word that interestingly enough, never appears in this part of the book (the italics are of this writer’s addition), it does inform (warn?) the reader on how to be careful so the boy won’t put the make on her!
F’instance, in the section of this chapter called Manners in Love, it states that the reader should stay friends with the boy treating him as a casual beau and to be honest with him, such as keeping the lights on, making sure that somebody else was in the house, and to avoid such situations as long drives in the country, moonlight walks on the beach, and spending evenings in a fire lit room with a thousand love songs on the record player. It was suggested to leave the new jazz and the old twist records on the machine and move the ping-pong table nearby! So instead plopping some mood music recorded by Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra, it’s best to twist again (like you did last summer) with Chubby Checker, or to swipe your dad’s disks cut by Dave Brubeck or Miles Davis while engaging in a hot and heavy game of ping-pong!
Yes, the above notes does sound like they were taken from an episode of The Donna Reed Show where Mary Stone would entertain her beau, or even The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet where Ricky would invite some young lass to the Nelson household to play his latest hit.
But that was what this nation was going through in those so-called innocent times where nice girls didn’t “do it”. And even if they did and the boy didn’t bother to head on over to the neighborhood Rexall Drugs to grab a box of “pros” before the fact, she would eventually get a bun in the oven. Then the girl’s daddy would grab his trusty Remington rifle out from the hall closet and tells the boy to start drawing up marriage plans–or else!
I won’t get into details on other tips on etiquette it speaks of, such as how to host “adult” dinner parties, or proper ways to send letters to those in public office such as how to address the First Lady of the USA. (Hint: Address her as “Mrs. Kennedy”.) But this book, among all of the other books I received, was the only keeper. I can’t say if my cousin ever followed these rules as I never really got to know much about her, but at least she had the tips on hand to guide her whenever the notion called for it.
Not too far from where this writer hangs his hat, there is a community library where a local resident placed a bookshelf outside of his home. There are a number of books on the shelf where neighbors are encouraged to take a book, and to possibly leave a book for those to later take and enjoy. So all of those books once owned by my late cousin were plopped on those selves awaiting for their good homes. The only selection from this ghost library that remains was this book written by Mrs. Haupt that inform those women of the baby boom era (first generation), on to follow for a preparation of a happy and healthy life as a woman of domestic society.
PS…Was there ever a book written for boys to follow etiquette-wise? Perhaps, but nothing that this writer is aware of, or at least not created from this era. Maybe boys already knew on what to do and what to say. Perhaps they never knew, let alone even cared to learn! However, maybe they through if Elvis can get away in what he did in his moving pictures, maybe they could pull the same stunt! After all, what’s the harm in a little fun in Acapulco anyway? (Thunkathunkaverymuch!)
NEWS AND REVIEWS
There are some good news to report! Many of the movie theater chains such as AMC, plan to reopen their movie houses on July 12th through limited capacity. Some places will request patrons to don face masks with entreating their places. Of course, if one is consuming popcorn, soda pop and the like, one can remove the mask when eating and drinking (‘natch!)
To obtain information on who is opening up and its procedures, visit the designated theater’s website for complete details!
As to what’s available on the big screen? Many of the studios are making mad scrambles on getting their schedules going. Again, check the theater to find out what’s playing!
So as Gene ‘n Rodger used to say, we’ll see you at the movies!!
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