I love stuff from the 1950s and 60s (pre-hippie and avocado green). Specifically, I love Made in Japan ceramics from that era. Salt and pepper shakers, planters, figurines, Christmas decorations – I’ve got a good amount of it. Unfortunately, most of it has been packed away for a couple of years now because we tried to sell our house two years ago, I’m lazy, and we’re going to try and sell our house again someday. The upside to that is when I finally get to drag them all out of their boxes, I won’t remember half of it. It’ll be a nice surprise.
One of the reasons I really like this stuff is because it is weird. Very weird. It’s like everyone was on a post World War II high and decided to channel that through crazy kitchenware items. Luckily, two of my favorite things aren’t packed up.
First, my favorite thing, ever. This is a Holt Howard relish condiment jar (the Holt Howard line of condiment jars like this is called “Pixieware,” btw). Don’t even try to tell me you don’t want one. Back in the 1950’s, if you were a real hostess, you didn’t humiliate your guests by forcing them to accessorize their hamburgers with faceless, soulless jars and dispensers. You put condiments in a ceramic jar with a spoon too short to reach the bottom, and you put a whimsical face on that spoon, or you can fucking forget it, I’ll eat my hamburger plain.
There are tons of these jars. I own several. But this relish one is my favorite. Partly because of the colors and he has my favorite thing-that-represents-the-condiment-expression, and partly because it was a Christmas present from my sister and parents. The relish jar is rare, and my relish jar is in mint condition – so suck on that, it’ll make your breath fresh. But, I show you this only as a gateway to my second specimen. I don’t think you could have handled it by itself.
You know all those people who lament about how unequivocally awesome and more better “simpler times” were? About how “back then” you didn’t have to x, y, and z, and Back Then is the captain of the football team and Now is the slutty drop-out under the bleachers? And kick the can, apple pie, gingham tablecloths, lemonade, scooters, and Norman Rockwell? You can argue until you’re blue in the face that time moves forward, awesomeness is always a give and take/subjective – some people in the 50s thought it sucked, just like people think now sucks, etc. Or, you can just show them this picture:
Yes. That is a blond angel, dressed to the Christmas nines, holding a giant candy cane with one hand, and wrangling two tiny Santa Claus’ on chains in the other. My sister and I inappropriately call this the “Santa slaves girl.” That came from the 1950s, y’all. In the 1950s, somebody said, “Let’s make a figurine of an angel, and let’s have her walking one, no, two Santas, each attached to a chain. You know, for Christmastime.” A more innocent time, my ass.
There’s actually a lot of big-thing-with-two-littler-things-on-chains figurines from that time. Most of them are animals – a mama and two babies of the same kind of animal. Here is one. Here is another.
Here is a lady with two sophisticated children, I’m guessing. Weird, yes, but I can see that perhaps, like the real-life modern day child leashes, that this was done for safety’s sake.
But two malnourished, failure-to-thrive Santas? On chains? Look at it!
Ok, ok. How about this – anyone who thinks that the past was a more morally “pure” time than the present, admit that this figurine is totally and completely messed up, and I’ll do you the favor of modernizing it so that you can feel comfortable that the original version is less sick. Deal?
I’m just glad we could all come to an acceptable compromise.