Literary Pursuits

The Workbasket – March 1953

The next issue of The Workbasket that I have is from March 1953– almost exactly 60 years ago. The only comment I’ll make as to the cover is that women’s foundation garments in the 1950s were very different from what they are now. Goodness!

The popularity of cheap, synthetic fabrics amuses me. “This striking fast color makes unusual blouses, curtains, underwear, etc.” Wonder what “Green Foliage Pattern Color” looks like, anyway? Can’t you just see the housewife’s blouse matching her curtains and underwear? I’ll say that’s unusual!

“Not a Cold or Heat Wave! Not a Wave Set!” What exactly is it, then? I can’t quite tell. “MAGIC CURLERS have a built-in Dupont Sponge Reservoir that holds special, safe curling solution, then releases it quickly, evenly, smoothly in your hair.” I still don’t understand. Some kind of goop, apparently. I guess I should just accept that it’s “MAGIC” and let it go at that. (Notice the “foundation garment” in the illustration?)

“Easter Bunny and Easter Chick are for a little girl or boy to wear on a lapel in the Easter parade. Besides being bright and clever costume keynotes, the little felt pins will each securely hold a few coins, which makes them doubly useful. Choose your own colors, or make them like our models, with a black hat and white bunny; and a white egg and yellow chick with bright purple cap.” Either I’m color blind, or they’re mistaken! Is it just me, or is that a red egg and a gray┬áchick with a bright red cap? And why does the chick even have a hat? With a feather in it, no less?

From the “Women Who Make Cents” department… I’m glad I’m not friends with Mrs. Don C. Harvey! No telling what gossip she would report about me!

I can’t quite make out how this “new invention” is different from the old way of making rice… but something must have caught on. I never heard of changing water or transferring to a colander when making rice. My rice always turns out just as described: “Each grain is separate, tender, non-starchy.” (Except, of course, when I burn it, but that doesn’t happen too often.) Maybe I have one of these new inventions and didn’t even realize it. I just call it a pan.

Here’s a way to garner “spare time earnings” with “no canvassing, no selling, no ‘make-it-yourself,’ no abusing the good will of your friends…” Yeah, somehow I have a hard time believing that I would “find women all over town flocking to [my] doorstep bringing [me] good cash, and thanking [me] for the privilege.” I’m pretty sure it would fall under “abusing the good will of [my] friends.”

Becky has been watching old episodes of Hopalong Cassidy on Netflix lately, and I can promise you, this inflatable toy does not “look just like his famous horse, Topper!” No doubt a kid would have fun playing on it, and pretending to be a cowboy, but he’d really have to use his imagination to think it’s anything like a real horse. Of course, kids are very creative in that regard, so I guess it’s all right.

“A set of these gay chicks nestling over the eggs at your Easter breakfast table will start the day with smiles.” Assuming the traditional definition of the word “gay” to mean “happy”… which is what I’m sure they meant. Um. No. I’m not seeing it. Sinister? Grumpy? Maybe. I think the eyes need to be re-worked.

In conclusion, here’s the dress pattern page with lovely 1950s fashions to admire.

What’s your favorite “piece” from this issue? I’d really like to know!


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