A Sea of Summertime Synthetics

Vintage illustration suburban barbecue 1950s

Despite the growing tension concerning Berlin, and the possible threat of thermonuclear war, folks demeanor at my big family barbecue that summer of 1961 were as trouble-free as their Dacron separates.

It was always fun to see my usually serious relatives suddenly seasonally transformed, parading around in their gay summertime attire.

No longer weighed down with winter’s worries, they appeared buoyant in a way I never saw all winter.

It was if by shucking their wools and gabardines for the, wrinkle free ease of 100% Acrylon, they were ridding themselves of a seasons worth of heavy burdens.

First sightings of our Uncles hairy legs and knobby knees poking out from baggy Bermuda shorts, brought on uncontrollable giggles, for my brother and me.

Men’s winter bellies that had been neatly contained by worsted wool suit jackets were now bursting free in their Ban-lon shirts.

Women’s winter weary bosoms, coming out of hibernation in an exuberant display of deeply tanned décolletage revealed in sporty little perma-prest sundresses.Their color happy Celanese separates were vibrant in sun coral, refreshing in turquoise and electric in jubilee orange.

It was a veritable sea of drip dry, and wrinkle free, a wash n’ wear tribute to Postwar man’s progress over Nature, a cornucopia of the space age convenience of miracle man-made fabrics.

The real miracle was that there wasn’t a natural fabric among them. What a tribute to the great outdoors.

Nothing announced to the world that you were a man of discerning taste the way a garment of 100% Acrilan did.

Vintage illustration suburban entertaining  1960s

Scintillating Synthetics Sixties Style

Because these new miracle man-made fibers were totally synthesized from chemicals found in the oil industry, there was enough petroleum in the clothes to ignite barbeques up and down the block.

As the humidity mounted on the sticky city streets, my small contingency of hot-town-summer-in-the-city relatives was always delighted to be out in the country for their dose of fresh air.

It was the perfect tonic for the exhaust fumes, grit and grime of NYC despite it being hawked as a summer festival.

Breathing in the fresh suburban air, co-mingling with the fumes from the chemically laden charcoal briquettes emanating from all the other grills of ex-urbanite- neighbors up and down the block, stimulated a suburban sized appetite.

Poke up a fire and relax while supper grills to a turn. Just don’t stand too close to the fire; nothing acts as an accelerant better than polyester.

Smoke Gets in your eyes

vintage ad suburban backyard barbecue 1950s

As if following some unspoken rule, men and women gradually separated like they were at an Orthodox wedding, an invisible border divided the 2 camps.

While the men huddled ‘round the smoky Weber grill, hotly debating whether Roger Maris would break Babe Ruth’s Home runs this season, and the likelihood of thermonuclear war, the wives held their own smoky gab fest, relaxing comfortably on the colorful woven polypropylene plastic folding aluminum lawn chairs, an assortment of wicker and straw handbags sat comfortably by each ladies chair marking it as their own.

The gals comfortably fun-loving casual in their ship n shore patio pants, peddle pushers and capris were engulfed in a plume of hazy blue cigarette smoke. The outdoor smoker, a white tin ash tray held up by spindly black enameled steel legs was overflowing with an assortment of lipstick stained cigarettes.

The collection of menthol fresh Kents, Kools and Salems was easily identifiable to its owner by the distinctive shade of enticing fruit colors-for-warm -weather -wear lipstick.

A frosty cantaloupe smudged Salem would never ever be confused with a Parliament, smeared in Revlon’s Persimmon.


Hot Summer Cold War Pt III Next Post

Copyright (©) 20012 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved -Excerpt From Defrosting The Cold War:Fallout From My Nuclear Family




One comment

  1. Pingback: Licensed to Grill « Envisioning The American Dream

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: