[Photo and comments by my mother]

"We're expecting..."

said the face of our 1953 photo greeting. The inside continued:

"...the Blanks to have a Merry Christmas!"


Joey was anticipated in late January, 1954. We moved in January of the prior year to an apartment above the doctor's office to make my workplace downstairs extra handy. A good friend in the other apartment was poised to be baby care-giver. Everything happened as planned, so a small room off our bedroom was prepared as a nursery with white baby furniture. I sewed curtains from 50 yards of cheesecloth gathered on a rod, making the one large window look like a big soft cloud. A satin streamer of a different pastel color hung every six or eight inches over the cheesecloth and lent a festive touch. The floor of wide pine boards got three coats of white paint, then light spatters of the colors in the streamers. All was made durable by a clear lacquer coating. We placed an oval white rug by Cabin Crafts -- recently retired to Goodwill -- in the center.


When the Korean war began I rushed downtown to buy a Singer sewing machine, remembering all too well the scarcity of such civilian goods during the second world war. It cost $150, which included six lessons, providing a good foundation for a lifetime of sewing. The little Singer Featherlight weighed 12 pounds with carrying case, and I still use it. Right then its highest and best use was sewing a lining and cover for the little heir's basket. Jerry is shown in this photo offering his enthusiastic help. The white broadcloth basket lining was sewn to a skirt of white eyelet that reached to the floor. This revealed slightly the underskirt of gender-neutral yellow. We were strictly pink-for-girls and blue-for-boys in those days.


Of course we didn't have the benefit of amniocentesis or ultrasound, so we didn't know the sex of our child until the moment of birth. My older sister, mother of six girls was floored -- and envious. After queening it up in a private room in the hospital for 8 days, Jerry took us home and did something very unusual. We entered the front door, instead of using the utilitarian back stairway. Carrying the precious bundle, we ascended the curving, carpeted front stairway to our apartment.


We didn't carry insurance, as Jerry reasoned that we were both so young and healthy we would take the chance. Hospital stays weren't expensive at all, and we just paid it. The doctor that my employer, Dr. Pott, lined up for delivery did it as a courtesy.


Just a note on the creation of this photo. As I've mentioned before, my mom did a lot of setup photos, using a tripod and timed shutter-release. This allowed her to appear in her own shots. -- Joey


  • carol 8y

    Such a beautiful young couple = )

    Love the detailed explanation as well = )
  • sac 8y

    I just went through the whole series at lunch (and a little beyond). Utterly captivating, the pictures and the stories. Such an engaged life you seemed to have been leading back then. Some other commenters have mentioned this, but if interested, you could publish an illustrated memoir easily. I'd buy it.

    And also, you are absolutely stunning in these pics.
  • Joey Harrison 8y

    That's very nice of you to say, but really, my mother is the stunner ;-)
  • sac 8y

    Ha, you know I almost put your mom's on here for that very reason.
  • Lauren Deardorff 8y

    *smiles* So glad these are here to see and read!! wonderful photo and I love that story! So sweet and pleasant!!! Makes me wish I did more sewing, too. In any case... Chalet: Next time you consider giving your old stuff to the Goodwill- throw it in a box marked "Send to Lauren".. I'll take good care of it :)
  • Susan Harrison 8y

    I'm "de-cluttering" lately. You are so nice.....We need to talk!
  • April 8y

    This is wonderful.
  • Jennifer Woodard Maderazo 8y

    Gorgeous photo and the description is just amazing.
  • E-Rock 8y

    Your mom is gorgeous blonde!
  • pizzo 8y

    Wow. Were you born in late January of 54? I was born in early February of 54.
  • Joey Harrison 8y

    Your mom must have been checking into the hospital just as mine was checking out.
  • westvillagebob 7y

    Chalet looks Lauren Bacall-ish in this photo.
  • Joey Harrison 7y

    She's been likened to a half-dozen or so different celebrities, but I think Bacall is the closest.
  • ams11 6y

    mom looked especially stunning in this photo.
  • 50s gal 6y

    Would you mind if I site what you mentioned here about your paying your hospital bill and its being inexpensive for my blog? I am always examining and studying the time period and comparing it to today, this is very interesting indeed and again, what wonderful photos!
  • Joey Harrison 6y

    Not sure I follow you ...
    Do you want to link to this photo on your blog? If that's it, by all means.
  • ~ Liberty Images 6y

    What a delightful picture! It is interesting that the hospital bill was just paid back then...Too much interference these days makes it all so expensive. And staying for 8 days! Goodness, today they kick you out 8 minutes after the delivery.

    Your mom looks SO gorgeous here! I agree that she looks most like the indomitable Lauren Bacall, whose hair I'm still attempting to mimic. Some day, some day...If your mom ever wants to give hairsetting lessons, sign me up!
  • Susan Harrison 6y

    I didn't dwell very much on the hair Jen; one shampoo a week, cross-hatched pin-curls, then dried overnight. No blow-dryers then! I didn't use any products on the hair other than shampoo. During the week I might sleep on a few dry pin-curls.
  • LOST SOUL 4y

    great looking couple!
  • JML 84 3y

    Beautiful couple, CHALET: Has anyone ever told you, you look like Lauren Becall???
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Taken sometime in 1953
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