The Take-Out Ladies: Welcome to July 1967 and the Brand New Mystery

Lots of notable things were happening in July of 1967. At the beginning of the month, this song by the Beatles debuted in London and then 2 weeks later in the U.S….

This woman successfully flew around the world following the same flight plan as Amelia Earhart…

Ann Pellegreno completed the 28,000 mile flight on July 7th, 1967

And this funny man was born on a sunny July day in Irvine, California…

Actor, writer and comedian Will Farrell born July 16, 1967

An ancient city dating back to 1628 BC was discovered in Greece. Race riots broke out in New Jersey, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin and  a sink hole swallowed two houses in Oklahoma.

The world also said their final goodbye to Scarlett O’Hara…

Vivian Leigh November 5, 1913- July 7, 1967

and tourists took the tram for the first time up to the top of the St. Louis Arch.  Other events included a new gemstone discovered in Tanzania…

Tanzanite’s beautiful blue color can only be found in one place in the entire world – in the immediate area of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

and the famous ocean liner, the Queen Mary, was sold to the highest bidder for transformation into a luxury hotel.

On her final voyage – 1967

This was also the same month in the same year that these two ladies stopped for a bite at a take out service counter…

Photographed during a decade when lunchtime sit-ins symbolized a fight for equal rights and Americans were inspired by the impactful words of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, eating out was not only a sociable activity but also a powerful statement.  These two fantastic and fascinating women posed in front of a take out service window in July 1967…

…which brings us to our mystery. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you know that we always love to explore a good vintage puzzle around here.  Whether we are trying to translate the characters on a vintage Chinese mug or figure out the author and era of an old note scrawled on White House letterhead, it is these these types of curious mysteries from history that always inspire us.

Today’s puzzle focuses on questions about this 1967 photograph, specifically the restaurant in the background. We’d like to find out the name of it, its location and the significance of the glass panel partitions between customer and employee, which was a somewhat unusual feature for takeout restaurants of the time period.

Was it part of the segregated South or just a style of architecture? Were these two women, in their pretty cat eye glasses and high-heeled shoes, simply stopping for a bite to eat or were they making a statement similar to the lunch counter sit-in crew at Woolworth’s? Are the answers in their faces as to how they were treated or were they just hungry and a tiny bit exasperated by a photographer friend insistent on capturing the moment?

These are the questions swirling around this mighty but mini photograph from fifty years ago. It was found last week  at an antique store in Nashville buried in a box full of random photographs that included a wide assortment of people, places and nationalities from around the world.  There are no notes on the back. The only true identifying mark on the front is the date stamp of July 1967.

First speculations brought to mind were that this was possibly a scene from a drive-up motor lodge (something along the lines of a Howard Johnson’s) or a  bus station depot (with the option of eating inside or outside). So we will start down those avenues first and see where our theories lead us.  As the puzzle begins to unravel clue by clue – we’ll keep you posted as to what we discover. In the meantime,  please feel free to weigh in with your theories below in the comments section too. Especially if you happen to recognize the style of building, the sign font or perhaps even the ladies themselves.

Cheers to a good mystery! And cheers  to these two ladies, for providing us with a glimpse into the world of 1960’s take out.

And The Winner Is….

Two weeks ago Ms. Jeannie held a little photo story contest on her blog with the chance to win this vintage photo…

The prize!
The prize!

Well, we didn’t have any entrants, dear readers. Not one! But that is okay by Ms. Jeannie. This gives her another opportunity to exercise her imagination!  She had been looking at this photograph for quite awhile now, trying to imagine all the scenarios and possibilities these two ladies could have gotten themselves into.  For days and days she looked and thought, but she couldn’t get beyond a sentence or two. Not even with the handwritten prompt on back that read Grace and me. I have on Grace’s hat and she has mine on.

To help the story develop, Ms. Jeannie threw two other photographs into the mix…

photo2

photo3

and then the story just opened up a like a sunny spring flower!

Here’s the situation, Ms. Jeannie came up with,  based on the three pictures…

photo4

Rudyard Noble just drove onto Main Street and already the telephone lines were hot with gossip. Word had it that Rudyard was here on a visit specifically to see Grace Dalton, who at the present moment was on a ladder in the rafters of her parents garage shed.  There had been speculation of letters exchanged between Grace and Rudyard over an entire year, but this matter was not discussed publicly. Speculation of the Mayor’s family had to be handled delicately, and as first daughter of Wayfaire, the politics and private matters concerning Grace’s love life, although enticing, had to be considered off public record, for the betterment of the community at large. No one wanted to get on the bad side of the Mayor with that temper of his flaring up like wildfire in the July heat.

rudyardgrace

That being said, this was a horse racing community, and quiet bets were being hedged in every household. Everyone knew that Sam of Sam’s Machine Repair was doing his best to court Grace all the way to the alter.

sam

But now it seems there was to be some sort of competition for Grace’s heart and it was going to be tough. Rudyard was a self-made man with a booming business back in New York, with the looks of a movie star and the language of a literary lover. Sam on the other hand, came from more humble roots. He worked with his hands, studied engineering and fiddled around with the science of botony enough to surprise Grace with a hybrid of wildflower wonders in his backyard garden. The linchpin was that new car of Rudyard’s.

newcar
You see, Grace had a curious head for business. Not for the political glad-handing of her father’s world, but for the basics of profit and loss. She and Daisy, her very best girlfriend since grade school, had started a little hat business, which is what brought Grace into the storage shed on this very day.

daisy

Their business at first was just simple repairs…loose threads, ill-attached decorations, flopping flowers, etc.  These quick fixes garnered the girls enough money to go to the cinema once a week, where they delighted in the costumes of Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo.  Inspired, the girls began to feel the excitement in creating and then selling their own designs, based on popular movies of the day. Grace didn’t fancy herself as talented a milliner as Daisy, but she did have a special calming knack for dealing with customers and keeping the books figured correctly and organizing ads in the local newspaper. They became quite a little team.

daisygrace

That’s where Rudyard came in. Daisy had dreams of taking their business as far as Kentucky…to Lexington, the creative epi-center of the hat wearing kingdom. But Grace, although more timid in personality, had bolder ideas. She wanted to get to New York, to London, to Paris with their business. She wanted to walk in the footsteps of Coco Chanel and decorate the heads of movie stars and royalty.

Rudyard had left Wayfaire exactly four years ago this summer, and he was already such a tycoon in the New York business scene, he afforded his own fully furnished 5th Avenue apartment, a country Hudson River house upstate and now, his very own automobile. In their year of correspondence, Rudyard had become Grace’s university on big city enterprise, offering her step by step practicalities of what it would take to make it in Manhattan.

While this correspondence was building between Grace and Rudyard, Daisy was building something of her own as well –  a love affair with Harry, Sam’s brother.

harry

In addition now to hats, Daisy also dreamed of wedding dresses and babies and a house of her own.  There was still lots of room for business in that head of hers, but Daisy was a prioritzer and Harry was arduant, so more often then not, Grace would catch Daisy sketching  farmhouses instead of feathers, baby clothes instead of berets.

All this wedding talk on his brother’s behalf, got Sam thinking about his own future. He sat back all summer long and listened to Grace’s lyrical way with the language of hats  and he wondered where he fit in to her whole new enterprise.  Grace might be shy when it came to words of love but ask her about a certain style of brim or the cleaning and care of a certain type of fabric and she could talk for hours. He loved the idea of her determination but he also loved the idea of having a wife. And in all of the word’s spoken from Grace’s pale pink lips, she never once mentioned the word marriage to Sam. He noticed this. He was listening hard for some prompt or sign to keep encouraging him down the road of matrimony.  He had grown quite used to Grace and he could picture her face settled into the same farm lifestyle that he wanted with her arms full of chickens and freshly baked bread and summer evenings on a porch in Wayfaire.

But now Rudyard is here, shiny and sophisticated and equally fond of Grace and her ways with language. Daisy’s gone to get Grace down from the rafters in the shed. She’ll have to pull the cobwebs from her hair and exchange her hat for Grace’s hat since Daisy’s style looks better with Grace’s dress.

Sam does his own rearranging. He puts on a tie – his one and only tie.  If today is the day he is going to propose, he at least wants to do it properly. Harry says it is a rash decision. Hang back and see how Rudyard plays out – those are the words of advice Harry offers as they walk the back road shortcut  to Grace’s house.

samharry

{to be continued} Look for more on this saga in coming blog posts!

Meanwhile, the trio of photographs is now available for sale in Ms. Jeannie’s shop here.

Storytime (and a Challenge!) with Ms. Jeannie: How Old Photographs Can Spark The Imagination!

When Ms. Jeannie first started doing her genealogy research, the holy grail of success for her was finding the faces of her ancestors. She worked close to a year before she uncovered any. Ironically, that first photo that opened up the pictorial floodgates, was right under her nose… in an album Ms. Jeannie’s mom had forgotten about in the back of a closet!

The day Ms. Jeannie looked at the face of her great great grandmother Martha, for the first time, she was so overcome with emotion, she cried!

The first picture of great great grandmother Martha
The first picture of great great grandmother Martha (on right)

Silly but true. Ms. Jeannie is not really the weepy kind, after all. Anyway, she just got caught up in the moment.  All those months of researching Martha’s  life  – her 11 kids, her journey in covered wagon from Indiana to Ohio to Iowa, her husband’s military service in the Civil War, her farm life in Iowa… all those details rolling around Ms. Jeannie’s head for all that time. And then suddenly – there was Martha!  There was the shape of her face, the evidence of glasses, the style of her hair.

Since then, through help from online forums like ancestry.com and genealogy.com and the kindness of sharers, Ms, Jeannie has found handfuls of family photos. Her family.  Spread out over many trees, many lines and many countries. These are some of the more recent finds…

Great Grand Aunt Anna's house in Iowa
Great Grand Aunt Anna’s house in Iowa
Great Great Grandfather Albert
Great Great Grandfather Albert
Fourth Great Grandparents Maria & Garret
Fourth Great Grandparents Maria & Garret
Great Grand Uncle J. William
Great Grand Uncle J. William
Grand Aunt Leona
Grand Aunt Leona
Great Grandmother Juna and her sister Hannah
Great Grandmother Juna and her sister Hannah

Had she never done the research, Ms. Jeannie would never have known what any of these people looked like. With the exception of great grandmother Juna, these were all brand-new faces of family.

Ms. Jeannie likes to look at these pictures and think about the context in which they were taken. What was great Aunt Leona thinking about? Why were Juna and Hannah wearing paper dresses? What was the pin on the lapel of J. William? Noticing small details like this paints a vivid picture for the imagination!

In the same vain, whenever Ms. Jeannie comes across old photographs for sale, she can’t help but do the  same exact thing – she thinks about the back story surrounding each image.  She has several examples of this in her Etsy shop… let’s take a look…(click on any of the pictures for more information about each photograph)

On first glance, you might just see a picture of a girl on a bench…

Ms. Jeannie named her Nina!
Ms. Jeannie named her Nina!

nina2

But crawl inside Ms. Jeannie’s head and she’ll tell you this story…

“Nina waited patiently for Spring. Well, technically, she was waiting for summer – but you had to get through spring in order to get to summer, so she had to dream in order. This summer, she’d be done. Done with high school. Done with wearing plaid skirt uniforms and done, done, done with all that homework, thank goodness. Sure, she was going onto college in the Fall, but that would be different. There would be boys, and classes she wanted to take and parents that she only had to see on breaks. At college, her preferences for life would bloom and Nina couldn’t wait for that. She’d study literature and she’d become a writer and her very first piece would be about the suffocation of long skirts and loafers.”

Here, you see two bathing beauties…

1940s Swim Photographs

swim2

swim3

And Ms. Jeannie sees Rose and Evelyn…

“Rose and Evelyn stayed in their swimsuits the whole entire vacation. And who could blame them? With that ocean stretching out behind them and the infinity pool disappearing in front – it was all they needed. This was the vacation where Evelyn perfected her dive, and where Rose realized that she was now technically old enough to flirt with boys without looking ridiculous. It was an ego-booster for both of them, this vacation.”

This one is a school scene from the 1920’s…

microscope

school1

Sometimes, Ms. Jeannie sees many stories in one scene. Such is the case, with this one! Here is all she imagined…

“There’s the obvious one, of course, about how smiling Dorothy is in love with Gilbert and absolutely thrilled that her crush of the past two years is now sharing elbow space with her. 

There’s the story about lively Pauline (in the forefront) and how she talked her way into getting the traveling photographer to stop by her Biology 101 class. “You’ll want to document the budding scientific genius occurring in room 9, sir. I guarantee you that.” 

There’s the story of Mr. Whipple, first year science teacher, who doggedly fought the school board for months over the right to buy 37 microscopes so that each student in his class (not just the boys) would have use of their own scientific study instruments. 

Then there is the story of three friends, who spent all summer in the science lab researching why the bullfrogs in Tillman Pond were genetically bigger then the bullfrogs in every other pond in town. 

And let’s not forget about humble Pauline who was the first girl, in the state of Texas, to win first place in the national science fair, which yielded not only a cash prize for her, but new textbooks and supplies for her school. 

Oh, Ms. Jeannie could practically write a novel with all the situations going on here! Now it’s your turn to look close and see what stories you see…”

This one is a miniature portrait…

marion

marion2

Ms. Jeannie called her Marion and wrote about her neighbor, Arnie (short for Arnold)…

“Marion’s got a suitor in her neighbor, Arnie, across the street. Well, technically he’s not really her suitor yet – but one of these days she’s going to fall head over heels for him. He just knows it. In the meantime, he does his best, on a daily basis, to try to impress her – nothing’s really gone gangbusters so far. Most of the time she stands there, with her arms crossed and that same as ever are you kidding me expression. But Arnie’s of a hopeful mindset…one day, she’ll see it.”

Ms. Jeannie got a little help from the inscription on this photo postcard…

bobbie

cheer2

This is what she thought was going on inside Bobbie’s world…

“Oh that Bobbie – she’s quite a clever kidder, calling her beau a schnook like that. She hopes this subtle Merry Christmas postcard tactic is all that she will need to make handsome Dean realize that she is quite over the moon for him. It’s only taken her the whole semester to get her nerve up – but what the heck does she have to lose now? It’s Christmastime and she’s feeling hopeful. She’ll just slide it under Dean’s dorm room door before she heads home for the holiday. Let him stew on that during winter break!”

Of course, all these photographs are open to interpretation,. You may see something totally different in the bathing beauties or in Bobbie’s cheering stance,  but that is sort of the fun of these old photographs. Don’t you think?

Following this train of thought, Ms. Jeannie came up with a fun little challenge for all of you dear readers!

Here it is..

What is this scene all about?
What is this scene all about?

Now it is your turn to come up with the back story about this picture above!  Write your own quick little story snippet about this photograph and email it to msjeannieology[at]yahoo.com

It doesn’t have to be long… just a few sentences is great.  The most creative entry, as determined by Mr. Jeannie Ology (for fairness, of course) will win the picture! The challenge will be open for one week so be sure to get your entries in by midnight on Tuesday, February 26th. Winner will be announced via blog post, and also email, on Wednesday, February 27th.

Lucky for you – there’s a little extra help with this challenge! On the back of the photo, written in pencil, it says…

“Grace & Me. I have on Grace’s hat and she has mine on.” 

Here’s a few more close-up views of the photograph. In case you want to know the size – it measures 2.5″ inches x 3.5″ inches.

hat2

hat3

hat4

hat5

Good luck and happy imagining!!!