EASTER sing-a-long

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Entering World War II for the United States was still almost two years away when this card was sent, but fuel economy was already a topic of discussion.

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What a grand truck this was.

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And notice the stamp commemorating author Washington Irving.
Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle", both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of George Washington, Oliver Goldsmith and Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Christopher Columbus, the Moors, and the Alhambra. Irving served as the U.S. ambassador to Spain from 1842 to 1846. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Wouldn't one of these trucks have been useful at Irving's estate?

(SOURCE: Hudson Valley)

Think of the books he could have hauled around in the back as he drove from book store to book store hawking his stories. Would "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" find an audience today if he had to self-publish? Or would he have a large house full of unsold books?

More than once, before print-on-demand, I asked an author who wanted to self-publish, "How much garage space do you have?" If they didn't understand the question I knew they weren't ready to self-publish.


FEELING FINE and hope you are the same

I'm guessing just a brief note such as this was enough long ago. Think of it as a Tweet. Okay, I hate Tweets. I find them to be little more than brain farts. I also hate getting cards like this that say virtually nothing. I used to give a friend a hard time when she'd send a card that had two lines on it that could have been written by anybody. But still, long ago, a mother would have been happy to know that Will was still alive and "feeling fine." Perhaps Will used some of yesterday's products which would explain his cheery self and rather odd choice of image for a card to mom.

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The card was produced by M. Rieder in Los Angeles, California, and printed in Germany.
M. Rieder   (1901-1915) 
Los Angeles, CA
Printed and published view-cards of the West and of Native Americans. His cards were printed in Germany except those contracted out to Edward H. Mitchell in the United States. (SOURCE: metropostcard.com)



Why are the constipation ads in the back of the magazine? Why aren't they on the inside cover? We're embarrassed by constipation. We're embarrassed by the opposite of constipation. Why am I talking about constipation? Because there are all these fine ads in the back of the May 1937 The American Magazine.

Now, I don't know about you, but staring at this guy just makes my old sphincter just close right up. Moving on...so to speak...

This company, Pluto Water, we've visited before. They had a lovely little gazebo. When I'm constipated my first thought is of gazebos. Okay, better gazebos than this fella. Again, I'm feelin' a little tightening going on. And I don't know why, perhaps it's the 10 year old in me, but I keep wanting to change the headline to "For Constipation Do As Doctors Do Do."

Okay, this is better. A breath of fresh air, wind blowing on my face, bathed in sunshine. Oh wait, that's the bathroom light. I've just remembered I need to take one of these before I turn out the light. And I need to run through the house telling everyone else. Well hells bells, why don't I just canvas the neighborhood? Why keep this to myself? It looks glorious!

Seriously? I mean...seriously? Honeymoon constipation? Now I know what to get that bride and groom I need to buy a gift for. I'm sure nobody else will give them this. I like to be original with my gifts.

Best of all! Dance baby, DANCE! Dance that constipation away! Nose rubs optional and will actually not help at all when trying to ummmmm...relax your...well, you know. Apparently the cure for Saturday night fever.

This was a most irregular post.


So...are you feeling like a LUCKY TIGER?

It's always fun to find a piece of ephemera about a company that I've never heard of. My usual reaction is that the company no longer exists and all I'll find is historical data, if anything at all. I went into my search about this company with that preconceived notion. How wrong it proved to be.

Lucky Tiger, started in 1927, is still in business, and apparently has a loyal following.

This ad from the May 1937 The American Magazine is full of copy they'd never get away with today. Well, that's not true. They'd find ways to say the same thing, but might have the government taking issue with their claims that this product helps with baldness. Their implication was that if you were bald it was partially your fault because you were lazy. So they played on your vanity in the ad.

By the 1950s they were telling you your virility was at stake if you didn't use the product.

Today it seems mostly about memories and the possibility of adventure. Remembering "better times" when you were younger and spent time happily being groomed at a barber shop. The sensations of the visit are brought back by using their product. Perfectly valid direction to go. The adventure aspect? Might be stretching it a bit.

I don't know if the products are still being used in barber shops, but it's nice to see they're still around and have even expanded their product line.



There used to be a phrase that was thrown about quite a bit. If you were to tell someone about an item, like a dishwasher, which was considered to be top of the line you'd say, "It's the Cadillac of dishwashers." Talking about a tractor? "It's the Cadillac of tractors."

I don't know if this phrase is used anymore. Cadillacs are not thought of in the same way as they once were. Perhaps people say, "It's the Mercedes of dishwashers." I don't know.

But here, from the May 1937 The American Magazine, is an ad for the Cadillac Vacuum Cleaner. No, not the Cadillac of vacuum cleaners; the actual Cadillac vacuum. I don't know how long the company was in business. I'm not finding historical information readily available, and I don't have the bandwidth to do much of a search. Perhaps when things are back to being hunky-dory with my net access I'll return to add to this post. Then again...why? I don't have the Cadillac of net access.

Let's just be glad we don't have to drag all the rugs outside each spring and beat the hell and dust out of them. I mean, I do like hitting things and watching the dust come out, but not if I have to. I'd rather do it for fun...in someone else's home...and then smile and leave.


Let's take a trip on the SERGEANT C. E. MOWER Revisited

This is a reposting of a piece I wrote for my Tattered and Lost Vernacular Photography site. It was posted on Dec. 9, 2009. Since then, over the years, I've received a lot of comments from people who also had a soft spot in their hearts for this ship.

Today I received a comment from the brother of the Medal of Honor receipt, Sergeant C. E. Mower who the ship was named for. I felt it necessary to repost for all to see. His brother was a hero who lost his life in order to save others during World War II. Yes, that war is long ago and many of those who personally remember it are passing on, but we need to remember if only for a few moments those who did great things in service to our country and their comrades.

Click here to visit the original post and to see all the comments. I have included the most recent one from Sgt. Mower's brother at the end of this post.


Searching through a drawer last night, hunting for my grandmother's watch, I came upon this card. Every so often I find this card hidden in the bottom of the drawer covered by clothing. This is a card my mother wrote to her mother in the early 1950s.

Sgt. C. E. Mower_tatteredandlost
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This is the ship I sailed on when I was around 18 months old. My family was on their way to Midway Island where we would live for a year. This ship, the Sergeant C. E. Mower, sailed from San Francisco to Hawaii transporting military personal and their families. Until now the mere mention of Sgt. Mower would bring laughs in our home because of the memories my folks have of the roughest sea voyage in their lives. But then tonight I decided to do a little bit of research online and came to have a more clear perspective of the history of this, as my mother called it, "crate."

The following is from Wikipedia and is quite interesting.  
USS Tryon (APH-1) was laid down as SS Alcoa Courier (MC hull 175) on 26 March 1941, by the Moore Dry Dock Company, Oakland, California and launched on 21 October 1941 sponsored by Mrs. Roy G. Hunt. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, she was designated for U.S. Navy use and assigned the name Comfort in June 1942. Comfort was renamed Tryon on 13 August 1942, acquired by the U.S. Navy on 29 September 1942, and commissioned on 30 September 1942, with Comdr. Alfred J. Byrholdt in command.

World War II
Tryon, an Evacuation Transport, got underway for San Diego on 9 October 1942 and departed from there on the 21st, bound for New Caledonia. On 7 November, she arrived at Noumea; joined the Service Squadron, South Pacific; and remained with that organization for the next 15 months, evacuating combat casualties from the Solomons to Suva, Noumea, Wellington, Auckland, and Brisbane. On her return trips to the forward areas, she carried priority cargo and troops for forces fighting the Japanese.

Tryon's first combat duty came in the Marianas during the summer of 1944. On 16 July, she joined Task Force 51 at Lunga Point and sortied for the invasion of Tinian. The hospital transport arrived off the beaches on the 24th, combat loaded with troops and equipment. After unloading, she embarked casualties for a week and then got underway for the Marshalls. The ship called at Eniwetok, New Caledonia, Espiritu Santo, and the Russell Islands before anchoring off Guadalcanal on 27 August 1944.

Tryon embarked 1,323 Marines of the 1st Marine Division and sortied on 8 September 1944, with Transport Division 6 of Task Force 32, for the assault on the Palaus. She was off the beaches of Peleliu on the morning of the 15th and disembarked elements of the assault wave. Then, serving as a hospital evacuation ship, she embarked 812 combat casualties and, on the 20th, stood out for Manus. She disembarked the patients at Seeadler Harbor four days later and headed back to Peleliu the next morning. The ship remained off the beaches from 28 September to 4 October and then joined a convoy bound for the Solomons.

USS Tryon (APH-1) at sea during World War II
When Tryon arrived at Tulagi on 11 October, she was assigned to the 7th Fleet to participate in the Leyte campaign. She called at Hollandia and Humboldt Bay en route and reached Leyte on the 30th. The ship completed unloading the next day and began the return voyage to the South Pacific. The transport loaded troops and cargo at Langemak Bay from 13 through 27 December and headed for Manus on 28 December 1944.

On 2 January 1945, Tryon stood out of Manus with Task Group 77.9, the reinforcement group, for the invasion of Luzon on the beaches of the Lingayen Gulf. She arrived off San Fabian on the morning of the 11th and began unloading troops and supplies. From 13 to 27 January, she received casualties on board and headed to Leyte Gulf where they were transferred to USS Hope (AH-7) and USS Bountiful (AH-9). On 2 February, she joined a convoy and departed for the Solomons.

On 22 February, the evacuation hospital ship got underway and proceeded via Pearl Harbor to the United States for an overhaul. She arrived at San Francisco on 11 March and remained in the navy yard until 20 May. After refresher training in San Diego, she sailed for Hawaii on 3 June and arrived at Pearl Harbor the following week. The transport then called at Eniwetok, Guam, and San Francisco before returning to Hawaii on 2 August. The next day, she headed for Guam and arrived there on the 15th to hear that hostilities with Japan had ceased. Tryon was routed to the Philippines, embarked occupation troops at Leyte, and joined a convoy for Japan on 1 September. The transport disembarked the troops at Yokohama and received liberated Allied prisoners of war en board for transportation to the Philippines. She disembarked them at Manila on the 18th.

Post-war operations
On 1 October, Tryon was assigned to the "Magic Carpet" fleet which was established at the end of the war to return troops to the United States. She served with it through the end of the year. In mid-January 1946, the ship was slated for inactivation. She was decommissioned at Seattle on 20 March 1946, returned to the War Shipping Administration in April, and struck from the Navy list on 17 April 1946.

Tryon was turned over to the United States Army on 17 July 1946 and converted into a troop transport by the Todd Shipyard, Seattle, Washington. She emerged from the yard on 25 August 1947 and was placed in service as USAT Sgt. Charles E. Mower.

The Secretary of Defense, by a directive dated 2 August 1949, established a unified sea transportation service; and, on 1 March 1950, the ship was transferred back to the Navy Department, assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service, and designated T-AP-186. USNS Sgt. Charles E. Mower operated as a dependent transport shuttling between San Francisco and Pearl Harbor until she was inactivated in 1954.

Sgt. Charles E. Mower was placed out of service, in reserve, on 16 June 1954; transferred to the reserve fleet at Suisun Bay; and struck from the Navy list on 1 July 1960.
Okay, I had no idea this little joke in our family had such a history. And what's even stranger is that for a long time I lived near where this ship was mothballed and every time I drove by the mothball fleet in Suisun I was driving by a ship I'd once sailed on. Hadn't a clue. It might still be there.

Now as to why the ship was named the Sargeant C. E. Mower, also from Wikipedia:
Charles E. Mower (November 29, 1924 - November 3, 1944) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.

Mower joined the Army from his birth city of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and by November 3, 1944 was serving as a Sergeant in Company A, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. During an attack against Japanese positions that day, near Capoocan, Leyte, in the Philippines, Mower took command of his squad after the leader was killed and led his men from an exposed position despite being seriously wounded. He was killed during the battle and, on February 11, 1946, posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Mower was buried at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, the Philippines.
Medal of Honor citation
Sergeant Mower's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
"He was an assistant squad leader in an attack against strongly defended enemy positions on both sides of a stream running through a wooded gulch. As the squad advanced through concentrated fire, the leader was killed and Sgt. Mower assumed command. In order to bring direct fire upon the enemy, he had started to lead his men across the stream, which by this time was churned by machinegun and rifle fire, but he was severely wounded before reaching the opposite bank. After signaling his unit to halt, he realized his own exposed position was the most advantageous point from which to direct the attack, and stood fast. Half submerged, gravely wounded, but refusing to seek shelter or accept aid of any kind, he continued to shout and signal to his squad as he directed it in the destruction of 2 enemy machineguns and numerous riflemen. Discovering that the intrepid man in the stream was largely responsible for the successful action being taken against them, the remaining Japanese concentrated the full force of their firepower upon him, and he was killed while still urging his men on. Sgt. Mower's gallant initiative and heroic determination aided materially in the successful completion of his squad's mission. His magnificent leadership was an inspiration to those with whom he served."
To see a photo of Sgt. Charles E. Mower click on this link.  

Now, as to what my mother wrote inside the card...
Wed. Morning

Dear Mother,
Thought I would let you know how we are making out. This is the ship we are on. It is supposed to be the smallest ship on the Hawaii run, and boy does it ever rock. In fact one of the sailors said it would even rock in dry dock. What a crate. We have a nice state room and private bath. The food is excellent. We were late in leaving Frisco so won't arrive until tomorrow (Thursday) in Hawaii.
Let me tell you we weren't out of the Golden Gate an hour before everyone aboard started to get sea sick. Sat. night was a rough night. I think every sailor and Marine aboard was sick. Sat. night they only had two guards left on duty and one of them was so sick he could barely hold his head up. Even the poor dog on board was sea sick. Some people are still below in their sacks. We are lucky we are on A deck. They have plenty of entertainment for the kids. Had an Easter party for them. They all got an Easter basket filled with candy. Had a birthday party for them yesterday and there are movies and story hours twice a day."
She then goes on to say about me that I was "an old salt. Never phased her" and that I was "running them ragged on deck trying to keep up with me. You should have seen her Sat. night. All  night long she slid from one end of the crib to the other and when the ship started to rock she sang 'bye baby bye.'" Apparently I was a bit of an existentialist even at a very young age. And now I find for good reason. My dad informed me this morning when I was discussing this card with him that on the really bad night I was nearly killed by a lamp. My crib was under the port hole. Across cabin was a metal desk with a large heavy brass lamp on top. During the pitching and tossing that night the lamp came flying across the room and just missed me by falling to the floor right before my crib.

Eventually we made it to Pearl Harbor and flew to Midway Island. My mother used to tell me about the approach to the island. My dad pointed out the window at the tiny island and said "There's where you're going to live for the next year." My mother was stunned. But other than the lack of fresh food it was apparently a really good year and I have old footage of me running along the beach chasing Gooney birds near rusted wreckage from the Battle of Midway that had occurred a little over ten years before we arrived.

I debated whether to put this on my ephemera blog or here in the vernacular photography blog. It was a toss up, could have gone either way. It's a card, it's a photo. It's two, two, two things in one. And now for me Sergeant Mower is two things in one. The ship on which I made my first sailing adventure and a man who gave his life for his country. Sort of an odd mix to find at the bottom of a drawer.

UPDATE: Below is a comment I received today from Sgt. Mower's brother. Sir, thank you for honoring me with this message. I would be happy to post any other information you'd like to see on this page.
Brother Sgt Charles E. Mower    3/19/2013 
What a surprise finding all of this interest in the ship named after my brother. I'm sure he is looking down reading all the comments and has a big smile. He was a fun loving person, good athlete and loved to fish and hunt. The year '47 when the boat was converted from a hospital ship to troop transport our family was invited for the launching ceremonies. Cars and roads limited travel to about 500 miles in a day. It was quite a trip going from Wisconsin to Seattle, Washington.

My parents are now deceased along with one sister. My other sister and I live on the same lake (Wissota) just outside Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. I'm hoping she will give a report along with our 10 grandchildren. All the families have a picture of the ship hanging on their wall along with the medal of honor citation and picture of my brother.

When the ship was moth-balled the Navy sent us the three bronzed plaques that were on the ship giving the medal of honor history. One was given to our local American Legion post, one to our local McDonell High School that we all attended and one is mounted in a stone display in front of our local court house. The medal of honor along with pictures of the ship etc. have been turned over to the Chippewa County Historical Society.

Following graduation from high school my brother and two of his best friends (Ken Reiter/Bill O'Neil) decided to sign up for the service rather then waiting to be drafted. They called themselves the Three Musketeers. They first went to the Marines. My brother was color blind so he was turned down but they would accept the other two. They wanted to be together so then went to the Navy. After their physical they got the same story. Because of my brothers color blindness he would not qualify but they would accept his two buddies. They refused to be split up. They then went to the Army. At that time because of the war very few were ever refused. They all signed up together. Their day came when it was time for them to board the bus heading to Milwaukee. They were together until it came time to leave the bus. Then they lined up outside the bus according to alphabet. They never saw each other after that day.

I don't want this to be too long. I'll have to think about this some more and may put together another comment or two at a later time. I enjoy all of your comments and thank you so much.



Inside the horrendous LP cover is an insert advertising a variety of Mercury recordings that were available in the mid-1950s. You take the good with the bad.

For your viewing pleasure. William Holden on one, Kim Novak on another. Wonder if there was ever an album for the movie "Picnic" with the two of them on the cover?



I know the anticipation has been difficult. So many people were dying to know how all the pieces fit together. Worth the wait? Anybody still out there?

This is a seriously ugly LP cover. I can't find one nice thing to say about it. I'll never understand why they chose the hospital green as the predominant highlight color. Was this designed by committee? Had to be. How did they cast this shot? Where did they find these people and somehow decide they looked like the perfect family?

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They were selling music. MUSIC for crying out loud. This looks more like a menu at a fast food joint. This was 1956 and Mercury records was trolling the bottom with their design, but, and this was a huge surprise, the record is very good. It's in near perfect condition. I'd expected the vinyl to be in horrible condition. When I put it on and didn't hear any hissing or popping I started thinking that the reason it's not in bad shape is because of the content. One side has jazz, the other classical. Think of it as a mix-tape. The person who owned it obviously didn't want to listen to such a wide variety on their hi-fidelity system. It's a shame the packaging was so dreadful, but good for me. I love finding something this ugly.

Next post will show you some of the insert that came with the album.



The family dynamics in this photo are so spot on. We started with junior who was trying to decide if he should tell his family his secret. We moved on to mom and dad who are wondering if they should tell the kids they've been secretly swinging for the past eighteen months. Finally we have sis, who knows more than the rest of the family does and is taking a Greyhound out of town in two nights.

Tomorrow the full picture and what it was used for. Anybody want to guess what you're going to see? Perhaps somebody already owns a copy of this.

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They're almost life like. No color correction needed here. It's perfect as it is.



Before I show you this image in its entirety I wanted you to get the chance to absorb and appreciate the incredible beauty of it deconstructed.

This was taken back when color photography was at its zenith; along with photo styling, set construction, photo retouching, color correction, and makeup artistry. Not a penny was spared when this dynamite image was shot. Everything was top of the line because the client demanded the very best.




Right here for the first time anywhere!


For years Ovaltine has had the ring all to themselves, never needing to knock out any competitors. All of that has changed now that an upstart has jumped into the fray.

Welcome COCOMALT to the ring!

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: The American Magazine, October 1936)

You be the judge great American consumer! You declare the winner...though I'm not really sure how you're going to do it if you get knocked out by each product. Hey, it's not my problem.

Just remember folks, take caution when getting ready for bed. Do not drink and drive.


The R. B. Davis Company was located in Hoboken, New Jersey. 
R.B. Davis Sales Co. The distribution company arm for R.B. Davis Co. of Hoboken. It sold and distributed Cut-Rite Waxed Paper (Davis did not make the waxed paper; Automatic Paper Machinery Company, Hoboken was the manufacturer) in the late 1920s and 1930s as well as the main products: Davis Baking Powder, Davis Dry Yeast Baking Powder and Cocomalt. (SOURCE: Hoboken Historical Museum)
Cocomalt was not only sold as a sleep aid, oh no, it was also sold to kids to give them energy. What if when you wanted the little dears to go to bed you gave them Cocomalt and instead of sleeping they wanted to jump off a waterfall?

Click on image to be able to read it. 

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: Boy's Life, August 1940)

Mind you, this is not the first battle the R. B. Davis company fought. Here they had a battle for Cocomalt. Here they had one for their baking powder.

So folks, grab your pillows and battle it out.


MORE PROOF Ovaltine Helps You to Sleep

For the doubters still out there...and I know there are. I see you lurking, hear your mumbling. I know what's going on.

"As a hot bedtime drink, Ovaltine tends to draw excess blood away from the brain."

I don't think I need to say anymore.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: The American Magazine, October, 1936)


HOTEI YA at Ala Moana

This is a birthday gift; an odd birthday gift that will only mean something to one person. This was one of the favorite shops of two little girls back in the early 1960s. The other was Shirokiya. Both stores were in the Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Shirokiya still exists, though it's nothing like the original store. Alas, Hotei Ya is long gone.

Good times! Good Times! Happy Birthday my friend.

Click on image to see it larger.


HAWAII in the early 1960s

These images are from a 1963 California textbook entitled Hawaii: The Aloha State by Helen Bauer. I found it in a thrift store many years ago along with a second Hawaii textbook also published by California. I wish I had the books I used in the 4th grade in Hawaii when we studied state history.

This first shot shows a Matson liner at the Aloha Tower.

Click on image to see it larger.

This second shot is the Waikiki I remember from childhood. The domed building in the foreground was the Kaiser Dome, part of the Hawaiian Village resort. Heading towards Diamond Head you see an open expanse of beach with rafts out in the water. This is Fort DeRussy. At the time it was a private military beach where we went for picnics and a day of swimming without all the tourists.

The Ala Wai can be seen on the left. I used to walk along the canal on my way to and from school at Thomas Jefferson Elementary. Though I have bad memories of my class and horrific teachers, the grounds of the school were beautiful. I keep hoping to find some photos of the school as it was in the 1950s, but have never found anything.

Click on image to see it larger.

The image below is from Kamaaina56's Flickr site. He has posted hundreds of old images of the Hawaii we both remember as kids. I do believe there is a hint of the Thomas Jefferson Elementary in this shot on the right behind the trees.

Ala Wai Canal Boats
Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: Kamaaina56)



A commercial came on tv last night for some cruise line that has a HUGE ship that has a gaping hole in the fantail area with cabins facing across this expanse like some apartment complex. I looked at it and immediately thought that it looked like a Borg ship. Thousands upon thousands of people on board. The hive. Everyone being directed to activities. People surrounded by other people, but unaware of their existence. Blinded by vacation.

Then there's the old Matson Lines.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: Here's Hawaii, 1966)

To get a feeling of what it was like to travel on a Matson Liner there is a wonderful book called To Honolulu in Five Days. Full of images of ephemera, it tells the story of your trip to heaven and what it was like once you got there.