I have written about this before, and I probably will again. So please, if you have heard my depressing melancholy on this topic, feel free to stop reading.
It is October 13, 2021. The “high” was only 54 degrees. A cold north wind is blowing, and the with wind-chill it’s more like 40 degrees. Its cold, I am sad, I know what’s coming.
The older I get, the less tolerance I have for cold weather. Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes is also the land of 10,000 wind-chills, or 10,000 below-zero days in winter. I’m exaggerating of course, but not by much. In fall, winter, and spring, which are all variations of discomfort and cold/wet weather, I always ask myself: Why do I live here?
And then Summer rolls around, and I know why I live here.
I am an archivist, specializing in preserving the photos and memories of a bygone era and the people who lived in those times (which is also my time because I was born in the 1950s). I tend to write about moms, babies, Curity cloth diapers, rubber pants and other relics from that era.
Recently, I bought a collection (an estate sale) of old black and white photos from the 1940s and 1950s from someone who had bought them during an estate sale.
One of the photo collections was a gravesite gathering of family members in Los Angles, CA in the summer of 1958, about 6 months after their mother had passed away at the age of 72. The last of her nine children passed away in 2002, and I assume the estate sale/photo collection belonged to them.
Della May McEvers, 1885-1957
She was born Della May Critchfield in Idaho on November 7, 1885. Della May Critchfield was married in 1903 to Charles Ruben McEvers who proceeded her in death by 3 months. And they had nine children together during 54 years of marriage.
Yes, their marriage lasted 54 years and produced 9 children. No divorce. No broken marriage. No children growing up without their father. A healthy, wholesome family and marriage that lasted until “death do us part.”
She had nine, yes, nine (9) children: 4 boys and 5 girls. Sadly, all of these children are now gone, like their parents before them.
The last of her children died in 2002.
Everyone you see in these photos from 1958 has passed away from this Earth; lost forever in the ether of time we all briefly exist in.
Where Did We Go Wrong?
It is clear, looking at these photos, researching the life of this large family, that something very terrible and destructive has happened to us. What happened? What went wrong in America?
Where did we take a wrong turn and get hopelessly lost in this menacing Forrest of postmodernism and immorality? Can we “fix” this? Can we ever return to a time like this?
Remember the orgy of hate and violence in the summer of 2020? Remember our cemeteries and graves being desecrated in the name of “social justice?” Ask yourself this question: Is it possible, with the population we now have, an immoral, debauched, violent people, to ever return to the days of the 1950s? Is is possible today to have intact, healthy families like this one you see here?
A Beloved Mother
In a jaded, debauched society full of lies and deceit, we often scoff at words on a plaque that say something like, “Beloved Mother.”
But in fact Della May was a beloved mother. Plaques, gravestones, memorials, and photographs are there to help us remember those who are no longer here.
When I was growing up, our home was always filled with moms, babies, toddlers, and children of various ages.
At some point in the gathering of moms and kids at our house, one of the moms would sniff the air, wrinkle up her nose, look around the room, and say, “Somebody stinks. Somebody needs a changing.”
“Peee-yew Mommy! Somebody stinks!”
Yes, “somebody” stinks.
Of course it was always a certain somebody in diapers and rubber pants who wasn’t quite yet fully potty trained.
Cloth Diapers Don’t Conceal The Odor
One of the biggest differences in dirty cloth diapers in the 1950s vs dirty disposable diapers (Pampers, Huggies) today is that in the 1950s, cloth diapers and rubber pants didn’t conceal or mask the odor of a full poopy diaper.
Disposable diapers in 2021 have chemicals and fragrances that mask or lessen the pungent odor of a bottle-fed baby’s poop or one who is eating solid food. Ask any mom and they will tell you that babies on solid food or baby formula have more odorous and pungent smelling bowel movements. But today’s disposable diapers conceal much of that odor.
It is rare to hear the word used anymore related to pregnancy. In 2021, the only moms to be and “expecting” families who use the term “Expecting” are those who hold certain things sacred and value propriety and chastity.
When I was a small child in the early 1960s, having been born in the 1950s, I can never remember anyone ever using the word “pregnant.”
It just wasn’t used except perhaps in a clinical setting like a doctors office. But in everyday company, especially “mixed company” (i.e. women and small children) the word “pregnant” was considered rude, crude, vulgar, and inappropriate.
“We’re Expecting a Baby”
“We’re expecting” or “we’re expecting a baby” was the phrase I heard most often when a large, round, pregnant woman and mom to be was explaining her “condition” to others.
And no, we were not told silly stories about “Pumpkin Patches” or “storks” who brought babies to new moms. But neither were we subjected to crude or vulgar descriptions of the expectant mother’s condition.
Wholesome Times, Wholesome Language
Of course our words and discourse were different back then, because we (Americans) were a different people back then.
We were much more chaste and circumspect in the words we used concerning the human body or bodily functions, because the time we lived in were chaste and wholesome.
I can’t ever remember hearing someone in my family or close friends saying the word “fart” in reference to someone passing gas. The words we used most often concerning that bodily function was “toot” or “breaking wind” or “letting one.”
Yes, we were more wholesome and chaste back in the 1950s and 1960s.
Today is August 1st, 1961, a rather somber day in Minnesota, because for all intents and pourposes, it is the beginning of the end of Summer.
Yes, it’s still Summer and its still warm (reltively speaking for Minnesota) but on Auguest 1st we become keenly aware that 2/3 of Summer are gone, and we are that much closer to the harsh cold wind of Winter.
Goodbye Sweet Summer of 1961
A Summer Day in Diapers
When the weather is warm and sunny, mom lets me play in just my diapers and rubber baby pants outside.