Oct 19, 2011

Keepin' it Simple . . .

We had a Hard Times party.
At a Soup Kitchen in Chicago.
No, not Al Capone's soup kitchen,
though I'm sure a few of his cronies were there for the free meal.
It was simple.
It was delightful.
I had sooo much fun planning it!
We danced, we played games, and went to the theater.
It was timeless.
Meaning you could be something or someone  from any
of the years of the Depression.
We weren't celebrating the Depression or the hard times exactly.
More remembering it, paying it our respects for the many things it taught us:
to live well - laugh often - love much
to do without if you don't really need it
to work together in everything
never look down on someone else
be thankful for everything you have, even if it's not much
to share the things you do have with others who don't

 Here's the Soup Kitchen.
Like most everything was.

 The table array.

 These were a last minute inspiration.
The boys got chicken feed sacks of candy.

 Girls, sugar bags of candy.
Babe Ruth's, Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops.
And everyone got a Hershey bar

 One day I went out looking for "lost things" in the old barns and sheds on our property.
I found:
An old door, the paneling had fallen out, but that was alright.
Two turquoise Ball jars covered in manure! But that was alright, too.
A really old gas can, with a spout and everything. Sorry I don't have a picture of it.
An old Permazone Anti-Freeze bucket.

 Oh, and an old looking crate.
It was pretty rickety, but that was alright. :)
It served its purpose.
Not necessarily 1930's authentic, but old looking.
Which was exactly what I wanted.

 We had a soup kitchen line with bread and gluten free biscuits.
The soup was chicken noodle.
I imagine they probably had something more like Mulligan Stew,
which is all the left over vegetables and meat thrown into a pot together.
But chicken noodle still worked.

 Found some lovely vintage looking material and couldn't resist some flags with Ric-rack!

 The invitation read: Vintage 1930s Attire Required
Everyone met these demands - much to my delight!
Darling came as an eccentric rich lady who had lost all her money in the crash,
but still thought she was rich.

 I was the soup kitchen lady,
with my T-strap shoes! *squee*
They're really in the style of 1920s Flapper Shoes,
but I'm sure in the early 30s they still had some 20s influence.
Anyway, I love them!

 Dearest was undoubtedly THE cutest hobo girl I've ever seen!
And I've seen many. I used to live back then, dontcha know?
With her braids, overalls, sweater and newsie cap,
she definitely would have got my vote for best dressed!

 It's Harry! From "The Journey of Natty Gann"!
Well, Billy didn't plan it that way, but he certainly did have a Harry-flare about him.
Billy is much more cool than John Cusack, though! ;)

 Me: Who are you?
Alaska Man: I'm one of Al Capone's thugs.

I came around the corner to check the soup and there stood Billy.
Nuff said. :)

 Daddy came as a migrant worker.

 Joseph was James, the eccentric rich lady's chauffeur,
with an over-developed sense of loyalty to his mistress.
She kept telling him to "bring the car around, James"
and he always patiently explained that there was none.
She never understood, but what are chauffeurs for?

 Momma came as Momma. :)
Isn't she lovely?

 The bell clangs loudly, followed by, "Soup's on!"
They all line up, then pause for a picture.
"Wait, are we supposed to smile?"
"These aren't happy times, so no."
"But we should put on a good face, you know--grin and bare it?"
"Everyone give your saddest, blankest look."
" . . . makes it look authentic, natural, like one of Dorothea Lange's photographs."
So I stand there smiling. I guess because I'm in charge of the food.

 Self portrait in the window. Interesting.
My dress is a bit too long for the period, but still the material looked 1930s-ish.

We played a laughing, rollicking round of Musical Chairs. 

 Here I sat, T-strap shoes and all, in charge of the Swing music.

 Everyone hurrying around the corner to get in front of the chairs before the music stopped.

Then we played 1930s Charades, where girls vs. guys and everyone got to act out
a famous person or thing from the time.
Johnny Dillenger, train, cotton picker, the Roosevelts
I think the girls won . . . maybe it was a tie.
We had fun!

 Oh, Big Bro that smile! It's a killer!
Then I asked, "Who would like to learn how to Jitterbug?"
There were wild screams of delight and waving hands from the girl's side . . .
 and evil stares from the boys'.
I started out teaching a few of the basic Jitterbug steps,
but it ended up with us all jumping and hopping about to the music,
add-libbing it everywhere!
Big Bro gave a Jimmy Stewart and we laughed and laughed!
Watch the video to share in the fun!

 Then it was time to go to the theater!
There was, of course, a girl movie and a guy movie.
The boys: MGM's Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland
The girls liked this one, too. ;)

 And for the girls: Curly Top, with Shirley Temple.

What is a 1930s party without this threesome? :) 

Everyone told me they had a wonderful time.
But I think I had the most wonderfulest!
Because to me . . .
there is nothing that is more beautiful or satisfying, 
nothing that makes you feel more full of life
than watching your family be happy around you.
Watching your family be together with you.
Watching us be family ALL together.
No matter what brings us together.
No matter what happens in between the parties.
No matter what.
I think the most important thing the Great Depression taught me,
just in reading about it,
was that you can never share too much love.
Even when times are hard.

Have a great day:


Emily said...

Love, love, love, LOVE it!!! Your parties look like awesome fun! You mind is a fair storehouse of creativity, Kay. You inspire me. I also love the fact that all of you guys just have random parties for the fun of it with just the family. That's priceless and rare these days!

Krystina said...

Looks like you all had fun. :D

Laura said...

How lovely, darling. :) Makes me miss you all somethin' awful.

Sarah said...

I *completely* agree with Emily!! Seeing all the fun you had makes me wanna pack up my bags and come join y'all! :)
P.S. I wanna have your shoes.