Monday, June 30, 2014

What Does Billie Holiday Wear? (Newspaper Article,1937)

Good morning!

How was your weekend? We had a pretty lazy one hanging around the house, drinking mimosas, and saving a snapping turtle from imminent danger (also, I may or may not be too into Instagram right now). And here I am back at work today to deliver the good word in vintage goings on. Heads up this Monday for a new vintage timewaster on the internet-- Google has a newspaper archive some hundreds of titles strong, and yours truly just last week figured out how to search the database proper, rather than occasionally stumbling across the odd article here and there. I was looking up something or other and came up with this amazing article from a 1937 issue of The Afro-American, a black interest newspaper published out of Baltimore since 1892. Reporter Lillian Johnson sat down with Lady Day herself in her dressing room of the Royal Theater, and dished something delightful over the personal wardrobe and habits of the iconic vocalist.

Take a look:


What a lead, already, by the way-- "I like ugly men...I've always had the idea that good looking men are conceited, that they think they're cute." The Coasters would agree with you! Billie Holiday, born Eleanora Fagan in 1915, would have been twenty-two at the time of this article's publication, and spent 1937 on a difficult tour with Count Basie. I lo-o-o-ove the dishy tone of Johnson's column, and want to rifle through the other issues of The Afro-American from the time to see if I can dig up anything else on the swing/big band era stars of the time. I'm still honing my Google newspaper search skills, and haven't quite figured out how to search one newspaper's run, but somewhere in these 465 issues of the paper from the 1930's, I'm sure I'll find something else good!

Here's a photo of Holiday on stage around the time the article would have run.

Billie Holiday at the Apollo with Count Basie's band, 1937 (source)
If you're more of a visual than a text-based learner, I went through the article and tried to recreate some of the outfits from each of the lavish descriptions for you, in case you wanted to swagger out of the ball room in style like Billie did back in her heyday. I didn't always hit the nail on the head etsy-wise, but I hope I came kinda close? Here's the singer's dressing room ensemble, comprised of:
  • "A peach colored dressing gown, trimmed in turquoise blue"
  • "with satin turquoise mules," and
  • "a ring set with nineteen diamonds".
Wonder who she was engaged to at the time? BH doesn't spill on who the lucky guy was, other to say he's "tall, sharp, and tailor made, though he isn't handsome"...while Billie married her first husband, Jimmy Monroe, in 1941, who's to say who this former beau was. Whoever he was, don't mistake him for cute, Billie seems to be insisting!

dressing gown, shoes, ring
The rest of the article continues to describe her clothes and demeanor here (click for a closeup):

Billie is described as "neat and dainty" and as doing her own hair. I second her sentiment of "I didn't take a course in hair dressing, but I kept trying until I got it just right." Preach! Her favorite colors for her wardrobe include "black, white, and green", but none of those are represented in the streetclothes described as hanging from behind the door of her dressing room. Those items include
  • "A soft fleece sport coat in dark gray with a blue fox collar"
  • "a gray skirt" and
  • "a short woolen jacket of brick". She also wears
  • "a long, slender wristwatch, lavishly set in [diamonds].
Doesn't this ensemble sound chic, chic, chic? Here's what it might look like in person, with apologies for the early fifties' wouldn't believe the time I had trying to find the right fox fur and grey suit, to boot! In the late thirties', the sleeves would have been fuller, the jacket longer and maybe belted, and the skirt a little looser/more flowy. See this image for an example.

suit, wristwatch, bolero

On to what we would have been more familiar with her wearing-- Billie's on stage clothes! I noticed the copy mentioned three gardenias in her hair, and while that sounded like about two too many, here she is rocking the triad of floral hair pieces like it was no big deal, looking gorgeous in the meantime. Again, her stage attire is described as:
  • "a black chiffon, fitted evening gown with a black satin underslip, trimmed in rhinestones at the neck" and 
  • "with it she wore three gardenias".
Two of my favorite songs of hers were recorded in 1937: "A Sailboat in the Moonlight" and "Me, Myself, and I". Though they're all my favorite, this period of her recording history, at least, boasts some of her best numbers. If you're a beginner Billie fan, I would heartily recommend the Lady Day box set, which covers her Columbia recordings from 1933-1944. While later albums are poignant in their own way for her raspier, deeper voice in the late forties' and early fifties', the lilting prettiness and insouciant song stylings of this period are classic Holiday at her best.

dress, gardenias, sheet music (one and two)
How about the reporter outs Billie as having plenty of tearose silk underwear around her dressing room? The article asserts she doesn't keep a maid and tidies up well after herself...yet, how is the reporter privy to the contents of her unmentionables drawer if she didn't have pairs strewn about the place? Inquiring minds want to know. Favorite perfumes and makeup?
  • "Max Factor makeup blender" and
  • "Emeraud and Evening in Paris perfumes".

Max Factor face powder, Emeraud, Evening in Paris, tap pants

Last but not least, the reporter describes Billie as intending to buy a Persian lamb coat and hat...these two in the photo below are from a 1937 catalog advertising the self same! Can you beat that? Billie also goes on to describe her house and being all done up in white furniture and blonde wood-- while I had several Hollywood mansions of the time period pegged to show you what this would look like (I'm almost positive Jean Harlow's bedroom was made up in all white, but maybe I'm thinking of a movie?) I wasn't able to lay hands on any from the time in color. Here's a pretty reasonable facsimile, along with what a 1930's white telephone might look like in its factory version, along with the original model black phone Holiday ruined when she tried to paint it to match the decor (see the article for details)!

coat and hat, bedroom, rare 1930's white phone
You can see the original article as it appeared in the Afro American here (right click then "open link in a new tab" for the full size version):

So! Are you a Holiday fan? What was the most exciting detail of this Baltimore write-up for you? If someone wrote a similar write-up about you, what do you think your fans would be surprised to know about your personal habits or wardrobe? Let's talk!


That's all today, but go have fun looking at all these old newspapers, and I'll be back tomorrow to tell you a little bit about my weekend finds! Be good; til then.

Bonus: Have you seen Carl Van Vechten's 1949 photographs of Billie Holiday in color? They're breathtaking! Here's my favorite, but check out all Van Vechten's work over at his Yale Libraries page:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Photo Friday: The "Scoop" of the Century Edition (Sealtest Ice Cream Naming Contest Winners, 1950's)

Good morning!

Well, we made it to Friday, and have I got a whale of a story for you! I got an email last week from a gentleman who had stumbled across my website while looking up a defunct ice cream brand that used to rival Mayfield, Purity, or Baskin Robbins in terms of brand recognition. Sealtest was a nationally famous ice cream outfit in the 1950's and 60's, boasting a broad line of flavor selections and some of the cutest print ads to come out of those decades. David Wolfram, of Jacksonville, Florida, wrote in to tell us about his experiences with a 1957 contest to rename one of the flavors, of which his dad was one of the lucky winners! The pictures alone are super cool, but having the story to go with it is just a real treat.

Take a look:

Pictured are the author (center) and his two sisters among a slew of empty cartons (provided by the Sealtest folks).

And here's the skinny straight from the source!
"My father was one of the winners of that Sealtest Strawberry-Banana contest in 1957.
 He submitted a number of names but never told the family about what he did.  So when two strangers knocked on the door of the house one August day my mother was skeptical about the authenticity of their claim.  I guess mom called dad at work to get things straightened out. An appointment was made and the Sealtest reps returned and shot some promo pics using dozens of empty ice cream cartons with mom and dad, me and my two sisters.  A picture and story were run in the local paper.
We received a book of 104 coupons, one for each  ½ gallon of ice cream.  Mother would get two or three half gallons at a time.  There was so much we sometimes had the neighborhood kids come over to help eat it.  Mother complained about all the weight she gained that year but I don’t remember anyone saying they were sick of eating ice cream. 
Sealtest would not say which of my dad’s submissions was chosen.  None of us remember anything about the flavors we ate but we know we never saw a banana-strawberry.  When I look at the ice cream cartons in the photos I see only ordinary flavors.  Maybe this was a period when Sealtest first began to expand their product range.
So how did I get here?  For Father’s day one of my sisters came to the house to help celebrate.  We were sitting around eating ice cream and she started talking about the ice cream contest.  My oldest son googled our story and found this blog.
I still love ice cream.  Usually getting some “gourmet” mixture of Ben and Jerry’s or at a specialty shop. Something with a fruit flavor, chocolate, nuts and crunchy and gooey stuff.  The more goo the better.  Happy ice creaming!
David Wolfram
Jacksonville, Florida"

I'm glad a year's worth of ice cream didn't sour David and his family for life on the dessert, and think its fabulous he shared this story with us! Cynic that I am, I always figured the advertising people encouraged the public to write in and then just nobody ever won, but here you go-- Sealtest made good on its offer to keep the Wolframs in ice cream for an entire year! I tried to research what the name of the Banana-Strawberry concoction ended up being, but the only information I could find on a Banana flavor from Sealtest was this 1959 ad for Banana Strawberry Split:

I also found this ad from the March 7th, 1957 issue of the Ocala Star-Banner while I was trying like heck to track down the original newspaper article, look how cute:

Want to know more about Sealtest? Want to eat some ice cream now? ( I'mma have to heat some SoDelicious coconut milk ice cream STAT) You're in luck on one of those yens! Here's the original post as it appeared on the blog June 20, 2012. Thanks again to David for the inside "scoop" (I crack me up).


Good morning!

I was doing my routine run through mid century Life magazines, a particularly cute one with by beloved Kim Novak on the cover, when these OH MY GOODNESS adorable little guys caught my eye in an ad for Sealtest Ice Cream. We got 'cher mountain-like blob of sherbet, check! We got your pink and lime green color scheme, check! And best of all, little fifities' bunnies gallivanting arround the scene exhorting us to "Dig this crazy mixed up ice cream!" Yeah, man! YEAH! Let's take a look:

Hi, bunnies! What's that? You want me to eat raspberry/vanilla/orange-pineapple ice cream? How did you know that was my heart's fondest wish? Ice cream for breakfast? If it was good enough for Mabel Normand, it's good enough for me! I had dry toast and coffee and man am I regretting my decision. Bab, let's stock the freezer with these bad boys! The Polynesian exoticism of the flavor combination sold me even before Bunny #2 yelled "It's the greatest!" and Bunny #3 added, "Man, it's real cool!"

I can't lie, I was even more excited when I realized the bunnies seem to be made of strawberry-flavored cake mix. Or possibly strawberry-flavored cookie dough mix? I hope such a thing exists, because I just got R-E-A-L-L-Y hungry for some. "Here it is again!" says the rabbit, and I'm reading a little resignedness into the heel-clicking he's doing.

Sealtest Ice Cream's company history was surprisingly hard to look up. From what I understand, it was owned by National Dairy Products Corporation (which later became KRAFT Foods), and it was delicious. And people miss it! Unilever (who also owns Breyers') bought the rights to the company in 1993, but based on the number of Google results that include the words "demolished in" and "does anyone remember", I don't think it survived into the millennium. What a shame...seeing as I am all kinds of Sealtest ice-cream craving right now.

Like a lot of novelty fifties' food advertisements, I was interested to see how many weird (and wonderful) flavor combinations there were at one time. Vanilla fudge royale, butter almond, cherry vanilla...check out this graphic for "sunkissed peach"!

In spite of the sun-on-peach lip lock, I love that most of the ads in the fifties' are bright, colorful bids at grabbing children's attention. Because, really, as much as we love ice cream as adults, do you remember what it was like to love ice cream as kid? Before you quite understood what calories were? Here are some buttons from a 1956 Sealtest-sponsored TV show "Big Top" advertisement. The copy invites you to head for the Sealtest "Cone-vention" at the Sealtest fountain. So I think there were soda fountains that were exclusively Sealtest-stocked? There was one at Disney World in the sixties', but that's as far as I could get with that one, too. My Google research skills are really failing me today.

Which one do you want? I'll take the seal and the chimpanzee.

In 1957, Sealtest held a contest in which one lucky winner would end up with a year's supply of ice cream (can you even imagine!) for re-naming the accurately yet awkwardly named "Banana-Strawberry" combination. I'm not a fan of banana practically at all (except maybe in oatmeal or by itself), but I was intrigued by their little mascot at the bottom left hand corner:

Banana Strawberry man! You remind me so much of Art Clokey's style. I love you. I hope they found a name for you, because I sure couldn't find the results of the contest online. Folks, I am batting zero.

"Gay 90's Toffee Fudge" is another already-combined-ice-cream-combination I wish was still around. See the beautiful milk glass dishes these revelled little ice cream concoctions are being served in. How am I even going to make it to lunch looking at all this goodness? I love the pink gingham of the box and the little 1890's soda shop men. Why wouldn't I?

I just want a huge print of this hanging over my sofa:

I like the idea of a "try-pack" in which you could give each of these ice cream flavors a shot without committing to a full carton. Not a huge fan of orange, but maybe with the pineapple? And raspberry, a thousand times raspberry! My grandaddy used to call Neapolitan ice cream "Napoleon" ice cream or, even better, would holler out the door before my grandma and I departed for Kroger's "HAZEL! GET ME SOMMA THAT THREE-WAY ICE CREAM!" I wish I'd written down half of what he used to say, he really had the most endearingly insane way of talking. I miss hearin' him.

Last but not least, the craziest thing I've ever heard of:

"Plum Nuts" is the flavor here. You take plums, you add nuts, and you get this completely ill-advised ice cream flavor. Has anyone ever had something like this? Because if I'm wrong, I'm wrong...but somehow I doubt it. I applaud the adorable wire figure man with almonds for eyes and plum nose, but I just can't get behind this aberration of wholesome taste.

Had any good ice cream lately? Do YOU remember Sealtest brand? Is it still around? Wanna go get some? :)

I've got to go find somewhere in the downtown area that serves ice cream ((hangs head guiltily)) . I'll see you tomorrow!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sugar Chile Robinson (Child Prodigy Boogie Woogie Pianist, 1940's-1950's)

Good morning!

I'm glad you all enjoyed my retelling of my trip to the taping of Antiques Roadshow as much as I enjoyed going! Now everytime I watch it, I'll be looking for those starstruck little antiquers in the background with a bit more empathy than upon previous viewings. Today, what I've got for you is this pint size piano player, "Sugar Chile" Robinson, who is almost as cute as he is talented. And that's saying somethin' on either front! 

I was looking up videos of Sammy Davis, Jr. as a child performer when I came across a video labeled "Little Richard as a Child". "Huh," says I, "Wonder how he stacks up!" Upon opening the video, it turns out the performance was mislabeled-- the tiny guy on the keys was actually Frank "Sugar Chile" Robinson playing his hit recording of Louis Jordan's "Caldonia" with all the ripsnorting alacrity of a grown boogie woogie player. 


The clip was from 1946's No Leave, No Love, starring Van Johnson, but it was apparently far from Sugar Chile's first brush with fame...I was able to pull up this 1945 Life magazine article about bantam bluesman when he would have been all of seven years old. Take a look:

Ugh! Tiny baby in a sailor suit! With a rascally backwards glance at the Life photographer, Sugar Chile made his first appearance in the news as boogie woogie's first child prodigy...roll over, Beethoven! If Mozart could do it, why not Frank Robinson? While the tone of the article is a little squeamy for the minstrel-y dialect attributed to the kid, I'll give it a pass for the fact that the editors dedicated a full fledged profile on the boy in this November issue. Read all about it:

I just can't get over the idea of that part of a little baby's brain being that hyper-developed for his age. Seven years old, probably can't do much on his own yet, but set him in front of a keyboard and he can out play people twice, three times his age. To be that preternaturally talented! Notice they mention he was on his way to be in that Van Johnson movie, and that the rest of his six siblings don't have any particular interest in music or share his gifts. His father, Clarence, goes on to talk about the first time Sugar Chile played the piano at the age of three, stunning Clarence and a family friend with a pitch perfect rendition of the Glenn Miller classic "Tuxedo Junction":

How freakin' cute, that last line, "Come on, let's get this over with. I gotta play hide-and-seek." Whether he said it or not, that's adorable. Here he is playing out on his porch for neighbors. Can you imagine, in those pre-Youtube, pre-tv, pre-Internet days, how amazing it would be to see something like this in real life? Me, I'd be like, "Yeah, yeah, your kid can play the piano, COME SEE your kid play the piano, I've got stuff to do better than to-- OH MY GOD, LISTEN TO HIM!"

How good was Sugar Chile? Berry Gordy, Motown records founder and producer par excellence, actually competed in another boogie-woogie contest like the one mentioned in the first paragraph, and lost to Robinson. He recounts in his memoir, To Be Loved:

Wouldn't you have done the same? It was probably a hard knock being beat by a five year old!! Check out this pair of newsreels of Robinson, in which you can see more of the ivory tickling that made him a star. I can't get over his sweet face, and his tiny limbs as he pounds fists, elbows, and fingers across the piano:



In 1946, Sugar Chile was granted an executive audience, playing for President Harry Truman, a known piano man himself, at the White House. It was at this event that Sugar Chile introduced his catchphrase, "How'm I doing, Mr. President?", which, along with "Greetings, people of Earth", is about the best line you can enter a large crowd or public speaking engagement with. Robinson went on to play to audiences across the US, and in 1950, appeared in a short film called Sugar Chile Robinson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and His Sextet. Not bad company to share a bill with, huh?

Some photos from his career (if you're ever looking for somebody who doesn't show up on Google Images very much, try tracking down publicity photos on Ebay, it feels like the Chicago Tribune or someone is ALWAYS selling original press pictures from their archives...excuse the watermark, and you can buy these photos for yourself via this link):

With bandleader Frankie Carle (2 Frankies 2 Furious)

As he grew older, a professional career in show business wasn't in Robinson's long term plans. This photo was taken in 1954, showing a sixteen year old Sugar Chile, focusing on school work. The caption reads:
Although he still plays boogie-woogie, 'Sugar Chile' Robinson, now age 14 [sic] and a high school student in Detroit, Mich., is more deeply interested in plans to become a doctor. Here he does his homework. He gets A and B marks in all his subjects. His professional piano playing is now restricted to holidays and vacations. He made about $1,500 Thanksgiving week at the Apollo Theatre in New York. He thinks that by the time he is ready for college he may have ended his musical career.
Unlike many child performers of his generation, Robinson was able to attend and complete college, having saved a comfortable amount of money from his time as musician. Ebony magazine did a "Whatever Happened To..." feature on him in 1971, where we got this update on the terminally cute kid's life since he left professional music behind:

Can you believe he's still that tiny? And TWO DEGREES, thankyouverymuch, in a time where a lot of people didn't complete high school, much less secondary education. Robinson made scattered appearances at festivals in the 2000's, including this British performance from 2007. At sixty-nine years old, he's still got it! 

So! Take a listen and tell me what you think! Isn't he adorable, AND THEN so enormously talented? I know we get a glut of little kid wonders on shows like X Factor and the like these days, but I was charmed to see so sincere and precious of a performer way back in the forties' getting his slice of the pie. Do you have any novelty acts of the forties' or fifties' that are near and dear to you heart? What have you haphazardly discovered on Youtube lately? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll catch you back here tomorrow for a special Photo Friday! What could it be? Tune in Friday to find out! Take care, til then.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Birmingham Bound: Road to Roadshow Part Three (THE GOODS)

Hello there!

Sorry for the delay in today's post, I've been feeling super run down all morning and debated whether or not to leave my usual "Closed For Business" type illness post. However, as you can see, lunchtime has rallied my spirits a little bit, and I know you want to know what I took with me to the Antiques Roadshow taping! Competition among my items was stiff, but I finally settled on four. Let's take a look at what they were!

Voilà, my quartet of goodies. I think it's hilarious they look like something out of a staged magazine shoot in terms of how the faded teens' and twenties' coloring is so similar. What we've got, from left to right:
  1. 1917-1918 Girl's Commencement book scrapbook, featuring photographs, ephemera, inscriptions from a girl's WWI-era senior year of high school
  2. WWI Sweetheart Souvenir Handkerchief
  3. Christian Dior by Kramer pavé rhinestone penguin brooch, circa 1950
  4. A flapper doll from the Virgin Islands, circa 1920's

So, in reverse order, here's what they told me about my stuff:

1) Flapper Doll

This was the first thing we had appraised, and I was confused as heck at this point as to how the whole appraisal process went down. The bow-tied man behind the folding table welcomed me and asked me what I could tell him about the item (which seems to be a standard opening for every appraisal, as I was asked the same another three times). I told him that I'd bought the doll at an estate sale where the woman had a large collection of vintage and antique dolls from her travels, and this one had caught my eye because of its size (it's a good twelve inches tall, compared to the other, smaller dolls at the sale) and its flapper style. I pointed out the different materials and the fact that the owner had pinned a piece of paper with "Virgin Islands" written on it to the gal's dress, and the appraiser said, "Yes, I thought when you brought it in it was typical of the Virgin Islands. What's interesting about this doll is that most of the souvenir dolls coming out of the Virgin Islands in the 1920's were made to depict native people-- which is to say that they were black. It's a little rarer to find one that's white." He turned it over in his hands and examined it with birdlike quizzical intensity, before asking how much I paid for it. "I think it was $15?" I stammered. "Well done, I would say this doll is worth every bit of twenty or twenty five dollars." I was let down, but not for the reason I think he thought I was-- I really just wanted to know anything else he could tell me about the item besides what I already knew! Ah, well. We went back to the outer circle and chose another line to wait in. 

Isn't she pretty, though? I love the little handkerchief stitched into her hand and her rouged cheeks.

2) Christian Dior by Kramer pin

A friend of mine gave me a bunch of costume jewelry that had belonged to her fiancé's grandmother a year or two ago, and I about fell out of my chair getting a load of this crazy thing. While there were some fun earrings and a necklace or two I liked in the ziplock baggie, this pin stuck out as something special to me at once. When I got it home, trying to figure out how I could solder a new pin back on the brooch myself, I noticed a circular jeweler's mark on the back that read "CHRISTIAN DIOR BY KRAMER" and was thrilled all over again-- this was a piece made by the high quality costume jewelry firm Kramer to accessorize the "New Look" early fifties' items coming out of the Parisian atelier. While not as fine as the jewelry from Dior itself, I mean...look at this design. It's crazy in exactly the right way. I don't think I've ever been given something just out of the blue that I like as much as I like this pin! I ended up getting the pin back professionally replaced and I wear it with pride whenever I want a little extra "wow" to my outfit.

At the appraisal, the guy at the booth told me pretty much what I told you, which I did already know, but he seemed particularly charmed by the design. He said there were some stones missing from the tail, which probably would have also been red. The real wild card from this appraisal--one of the appraisers behind the booth actually interrupted this interaction to say, "I just LOVE, I LOVE your outfit. You have such a fun sense of style! Do you mind if I take your picture?" Ok, I was already like "WHERE AM I, WHAT AM I DOING?" and now someone wants to photograph me in this bewildered state. I acquiesced, and her colleague was like "Do you want me to move?" She: "No, no, you can go on with the appraisal, I'll just snap a couple pictures." I was flattered but it was also confusing for this bashful belle. So somewhere, a friendly lady jewelry appraiser has a photo on her iPhone of me in my little Boy George hat and winged eyeliner looking dazed. That was what I took away from that table's appraisal, haha.

And back out we went again to wait in another line!

3) Souvenir de France sweetheart handkerchief, WWI:

I did a whole post on this handkerchief back in May, so I won't talk your ear off about it, but I felt like this appraisal was by far the best as the appraiser really took a moment or two to go over what it was and what he thought about it as an antiques guy. He confirmed what I knew about  it being a WWI souvenir sent home or brought back by a soldier in France for his mother, girlfriend, grandma, somebody-- but also told me that it would have been hand embroidered, not made by machine, and embroidered on silk, which makes it different from machine-made, rayon embroidered trinkets of a similar nature from the Second World War. "Isn't this great," he said, "You've got the Statue of Liberty there off the coast of Manhattan, but what's interesting to me is how contextual it is. If you had that little squiggle just by itself, you wouldn't even be able to make out what it was, but here in its proper context, you can tell it's a major and familiar landmark." I asked him about the shattering in the background, feeling like that was probably something that would affect the value or "goodness" of the piece, but he reassured me that because the item was silk and almost a hundred years old, hardly any of them survived, so to have one at all was really neat. How about this, value wise, too? He asked how much I paid for it and I told him $30; he said that without the frame, just the handkerchief, it was worth about $60, and in the frame, that number could double or triple depending on the collector's interest in it. THIS collector was very pleased not to have been snookered in the thirty dollars I put out for it!

And for the home stretch:

4) 1917-1918 Girl's Commencement book scrapbook

I honestly can't believe I haven't shown you guys this on the blog yet, it's one of the things in my house I would grab if God forbid the building was on fire. I had just graduated from high school in 2003 and my dad (ever the accomplice in my collecting habits) took me to Rare Bird Antique Mall in Goodletsville to spend some of the loot I'd gotten in my graduation cards. I remember feeling quite queenly with a hundred dollars to spend-- I'd put some money from family and friends away, and good Lord, a hunnert bucks was about $92 more than I ever had on me at any point in time. I had, just the week before, flapper bobbed my hair to my jawbone in a fit of love for Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and I was in the midst of a serious, scholarly crush on the life and works of the Jazz Age icons. You can imagine the "whuh....whuh..." sputtering sense of awe I was in when I found this scrapbook from Minneapolis, Minnesota in year of our Lord 1917, in a booth for $40.

The author, sharing a home state with FSF, I might add, was a tall, Germanic looking girl (sound like anyone you know?) named Grace Peterson. This journal so closely resembled  my own scrapbooks and notebooks I had kept meticulously in middle and high school, with cheeky notation and photographs and every little scrap of a 17 year old girl's life carefully pasted in-- I really couldn't believe my luck. As the US entered into First World War, Grace's newspaper clippings and photographs reflected star members of the basketball and track team joining up, War Bonds drives taking place at the school, and visits to dances on a local Army base. IT WAS PRETTY MUCH EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR. I was loathe to part with the forty bucks, but to this day, it's one  of the coolest things I've found in my junking days, and you can re and re read the inscriptions, pore back over the photos, for hours.

The Collectibles line was by far the longest we waited in, and while we almost wanted to just go get our Subaru swag and go back to the hotel to eat vegan pizza, instead, we went the distance. The guy in front of me was driving me absolutely insane with his nonstop chatter to his wife about how the dobro he'd brought was from 1935, and worth $6,000, then mentally tallying up and loudly repeating how much whatever else he'd brought was worth, then calling people to tell them about it, then talking to the people ahead of him about how much their barber chair was probably worth ("WITH the headrest of course") because he "knew a bunch of barbers, and a little bit about collectibles" blah blah blah blah. All the while dressed in that hipster uniform of  beard and "What Opie Taylor would wear if he was 5'8'', 32 years old, and slightly overweight" (checked collar shirt, pegged jeans, Chuck Taylors). I know I'm being mean but it was like Chinese Water Torture listening to him talk. FOR AN HOUR. At the end of the line, mercifully, the appraiser was nice enough, but I'm pretty sure he was vigorously flipping through the book hoping my Grace Peterson had gotten Douglas Fairbanks, Sr's autograph, or had her picture taken with Woodrow Wilson. No such luck! He did put an auction value of $150-$200 on it, which sounds a little on the high end, but heck! I'm just glad he didn't say $15-$20!

So! That was it for the Roadshow. I think next time I would try to take something I actually thought was valuable, rather than something I wanted to know more about, to up my chances of beeeein' on the teeee-veee! I am really excited to see what the items in that inner inner circle were like and how close I probably was to some real American treasures.

What do you think of what I ended up choosing? What would you have taken with you if you were on the Roadshow? What's the best or worst info you've ever found out about a piece you bought after the fact? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I hope you have a great evening, and we'll talk more tomorrow! Take care, til then.


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