My Look Back: 1958

Friday, May 21, 2010

Today is my mom's birthday. And because she was born in one of my favorite decades, I decided to take a personal look back at 1958, the year she was born. I found several photographs in the LIFE photo archive that caught my eye. I also found that a whole lot of things happened that year, here are a few that I think are worth mentioning (in no particular order whatsoever):
  • Lana Turner's daughter, Cheryl, fatally stabs Johnny Stompanato, her mother's lover and a purported gangster.
  • The first ever regular season baseball game is played in California on April 15th 1958.
  • Madonna Louise Ciccone is born in Bay City, Michigan on August 16th and Michael Jackson is born on August 29th in Gary, Indiana.
  • Egypt and Syria unite to form the United Arab Republic.
  • Sputnik 1 falls out of orbit and onto Earth.
  • and Joanne Woodward wins the Best Actress Oscar for The Three Faces of Eve. She also married Paul Newman in January of that year.

This first photograph is from May of 1958 at the Meadowbrook May Festival taken by Thomas D. Mcavoy. I'm not sure where Meadowbrook is. There seems to be a neighborhood in the Lake District of Seattle, Washington named Meadowbrook, and there is a Meadowbrook Music Festival that happens every year in Rochester Hills, Michigan. But in this picture the May Festival king (Randy Blake) is crowning his queen (Carol Ellis). Don't they look exactly like miniature versions of a high school prom king and queen? Adorable. I love her lace ballgown with matching gloves and the carnation in his lapel. I am all for bringing back the carnation, by the way.
 
Another picture that features a fabulous dress is this one from a series of photographs taken by Paul Schutzer. The title from the LIFE photo archives simply says "Kids out of school in Virginia". Most of the other pictures feature a couple in a park setting. I would like to imagine that they are doing an engagement session and that part of the story is the bride getting her dress fitted. The gown itself is very reminiscent of gowns worn by Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Grace Kelly. It's a very classic 1950's ballgown with a sweetheart neckline and lace overlay in a long sleeve style. Beautiful.

And finally something pretty unrelated to the previous photographs, but noteworthy nonetheless, I came across this picture from the Eden Roc Night Club in Miami, Florida of Egyptian twins performing a belly dance routine (taken by Lynn Pelham). I love belly dance. I've even taken a few classes. Mostly I like the hip belts and scarves we use, and I have collected quite a few. It looks like they are performing American Belly Dance, which has its origins in the United States during the World's Fair of 1893 in Chicago. Beginning in the 1930's, dancers would perform this style of belly dance in nightclubs and restaurants. The Eden Roc itself is still in Miami, but is now touted as "The Bold New Eden Roc" (still no 'k').

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