OLD NAVY

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U.S. Navy recruiting poster– circa 1917.  She’s sporting standard naval issue enlisted dress blues– or “crackerjacks” as they were commonly called in reference to the sailor boy on the popular Cracker Jack box.

Women have served as an integral and invaluable part of the U.S. Navy since the establishment of the Nurse Corps in 1908.  Nine years later, the Navy authorized the enlistment of women as “Yeomanettes.” In 1948, the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act was signed, making it possible for women to officially enter the U.S. Navy in regular or reserve status.

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It’s commonly thought that the “bell bottom” trouser was introduced in 1817 to permit men to roll them above the knee when washing down the decks– and to make it easier to remove them in a hurry when forced to abandon ship or when washed overboard.  Old Navy folklore has suggested that they may have also been used as a life preserver– by knotting the legs at the opening and filling them with air.

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Great Depressionista

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Recesionista is one of those buzzwords of 2008 that’s getting a little overplayed.  In my small world, it’s feeling more like Great Depressionista– in regard to fashion and the economy.  Looking at these pictures from the 40′s, they look like what you see in a lot of Soho shops & vintage Americana brands these days like– RRL, LVC, Warehouse, etc.  There are great, rugged pieces, and little, honest details not to be missed– like our friend’s chambray workshirt (above) that’s been mended time and again over the years– out of necessity, not for fashion.  That looks like a great old pair of Levi 501s.  I like how the front belt-loops are placed nice and snug to the fly.

 

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Star Spangled Manor

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To say that my friends, Eric Jones and his wife Cary are patriotic– is kind of like saying that Martha Stewart is anal.  It’s a major understatement.  I asked him how many antique American flags they own– he lost count at 220.  By now you probably noticed the vintage Goyard trunk resting casually under the table…

 

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Sidecar Conversation.

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I don’t know if you can tell from some of my recent posts– but I really need to hit the open road.  Soon.  This picture makes me especially itchy.  Must.  Get.  Out.

When I was a boy there were certain things that were just cool to you.  Tents, campers, convertibles, BB guns, slot cars, Indian arrowheads, Zippo lighters, hermit crabs, anything to do with a CO2 cartridge… well, you get the picture.  But if I had to pick just one thing, it would probably be a motorcycle with a sidecar. Continue reading

Name, Rank, Serial Number and Much More.

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I’m writing this because of a recent experience I had.  A friend that is an avid antique collector handed me an old I.D. tag and said– “check this out.”  I wasn’t ready for the emotion and humility that overcame me as I held the old tarnished tag in my hand.  I realized it was much more than a piece of stamped metal– it was someone’s personal story of sacrifice,  for whom I may very well absolutely owe my own freedom too.  I stood there for a second, unable to speak.  

It was humbling to say the least. 

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The image above was taken in 1945, and shows American infantrymen lining up to drop their personal belongings (pictures and letters from loved ones back home, wallets, etc.) into boxes for safe keeping, and in accordance with regulations.  Any items (except dog tags) that could identify a soldier were strictly forbidden on special missions.  The soldiers here were stationed in Italy and preparing to embark on a night raid of German positions. Continue reading

Wanted- A Place in the Sun.

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You won’t fide a whole lot of actual shade at The Shady Dell, but you will find an artsy, desert haven down in Bisbee AZ.  If I had the dough, I’d pack up and head there right now to escape my winter blues.   Once New Year’s has come and gone, I am officially over it and ready for the sun.

The Shady Dell is run by a young, retro couple with a passion for 50s vintage living.  There are 9 fully-restored campers ranging from a ’49 Airstream to a ’57 El Ray– often mistaken for an Airstream, but actually more rare and coveted.  

Nestled perfectly within walking distance from each trailer is Dot’s Diner. Built in the 1950s by the pride of Wichita Kansas, The Valentine Manufacturing Company, this authentic diner was originally purchased by John Hart in 1957 and delivered to the corner of Ventura and Topanga Canyon Blvd in Los Angeles. The diner was transported by flatbed truck to the Shady Dell in November, 1996.

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