When Mom Was 6

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In 1934, America had an International Exposition. It was

held in Chicago, Illinois. My mother was fortunate to attend

with her mother and father. She recently was studying three

postcards from this fantastic trip and trying to remember

some of the details.

Mom told me she felt there was beauty in the displays,

buildings and costumes she saw. She remembers, from

age 6, her being full of excitement and anticipation.

“I felt like there were surprising things, about to happen,

just around the corner.”

There are only three pieces of memorabilia she has left of

this special lifetime experience. She doesn’t believe her

Dad took any photographs. This is so unusual, many times

in her life and her sister’s later on, there were memorable

captures of events and places from my Granpa’s camera.

Each of the International exquisite exhibition postcard looks

more marvelous than the next. The first one’s words sound

like an exaggeration or maybe the pale watercolor with pen

and ink drawing doesn’t do this one, ‘justice.’

~One~

On the front of this postcard which is textured is the

wording:

“X-185 Electrical Group at Night”

Here is my description of the postcard’s drawing:

It has a bright series of circular light drawings with the

building looking brilliantly lit and seriously futuristic.

My Mom’s ‘version’ of this:

“There was a point in time, after dinner that my Dad

put me on his shoulders. I looked and looked at this

electrical display and was amazed.”

The words on the postcard’s back describe this:

“The Aurora Borealis in all its splendor, pales into

insignificance before the magnificent beauty at the

Electrical Group at night.”

On the corner of the back of the postcard it says,

“Postage One Cent.”

The postcard was printed by,

“American Colortype Co., Chicago and New York.”

~Two~

“Night Scene, Giant Fountain”

“A Century of Progress”

“Chicago’s 1934 International Exposition”

My description of the postcard:

This artist-illustrated picture is one with a large

outdoor scene. It is gorgeous in its incorporation

of the way water creates rainbows while lit from

behind with lighting.

Mom’s first reaction was:

Mom was quietly pensive. She spent several moments

studying the illustrated postcard.

She was really trying to remember the way she must

have felt when she saw this as a little girl.

Finally, knowing that I was jotting notes down on her

memories, she said,

“This one may have left me speechless. I like looking

at the rainbows and they remind me of rainbows over

Lake Erie. They both ends of the rainbow end in water.

On the Back:

“Nature’s powerful elements- electricity and water-

combine to create an effect of great beauty in this

night scene of the great fountain.”

This postcard was,

“Made expressly for Max Rigot Selling Agency,

Chicago, Ill.”

Also denoted the cost as,

“Postage One Cent.”

~Three~

“X-176  Irish Village”

“A Century of Progress”

“Chicago’s 1934 International Exposition”

My description of this postcard:

The picture drawn by the artist shows a lovely

set of quaint Irish buildings, creating a town

for the viewers to walk through. I imagine this

would have lively Irish music, costumes and

some of the different elements of the Irish

culture displayed here.

On the back of the postcard,

“Typifying the life and natural activity of all the

14 counties of Ireland, the Irish Village composed

of sixty buildings, is a high spot of interest at the

Fair. Exhibits of Irish arts and crafts and imported

Irish entertainers are featured.”

“American Colortype. Chicago-New York.”

“Made especially for Max Rigot Selling Agency,

Chicago.”

Mom got suddenly excited,

“I remember this! I remember the pretty dresses

and the dancing of folk dances. I also remember

the smells and they were delicious. I wonder if

we ate here, since it is odd there are only three

postcards of such a huge exhibition?”

In 1964, my two brothers and I went to New York City

to see the “World’s Fair” with my parents. I have some

great and more distinct memories, since I was eight

going on nine year’s old. My brothers, one who was

seven and the other who was five, are like my Mom.

(In her inability to give me distinct details or examples

of her favorite things she saw.)

The brothers would have had spending money, but

they aren’t able to produce a souvenir. I remember one

of the two bought a little globe with silver details on a

key chain. Since they probably over the years discarded

or packed them up in a box and we threw out quite a lot

at my parents when they retired and moved to the little

cottage on Lake Erie.

I still have an inexpensive necklace that is like a plastic

bubble, with silver edge on it. Captured inside one of the

sides is a blue butterfly’s wing and the words,”The World’s

Fair, 1964″ printed on the back.

I hope it is not a real butterfly’s wing. The gossamer iridescent

quality of aqua blue with black edge and one spot actually

resembles a part of of a wing, when looked at very closely.

I remember the song, “It’s a Small World” and some of the

fun rides. One of the buildings we sat in a pair, (Mom and

me) in the front, while my Dad set one brother on each side

of himself, as we ‘rode into the future.’ On another ride, it

may or may not have happened, but I felt we traveled back

in time to the prehistoric era. Wow! Either this happened on

a ride, or my Jurassic Park combined with the recent “Night

at the Museum (parts one and two) have left quite an

impression on me. I also liked the way the air held different

aromas, while we walked through various ‘villages’ and took

in different countries’ exhibits.

I remember the sweetness of the time spent with my family.

It was definitely an “experience of a lifetime.”

What is one of your most favorite times of your life?

Is it clear and every moment captured, or are there

elements that have faded over time?

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About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

23 responses »

  1. I remember the same World’s Fair as you, Robin, distinctly, even though I am your middle brother’s age, and you think that’s too young! Maybe it’s because it was local for me, living close to Flushing, N.Y., but I remember the “Panorama of New York City” ride, in a little cart around a model scale of the Big Apple, as amazing me. I remember the wax figures of Walt Disney as being a big hit. I remember the “moving stairs.” Yes, escalators! And the famous big globe outside. I remember the “It’s a Small World” rise, the model dolls ride and the singing song, the precursor of the famous one that went up at Disney World, which I didn’t see again until I was 35. And I remember my little souvenir was a was figure, too, a Sinclair oil company dinosaur. It was green. I don’t know where it went.

    I love your mom’s three post cards, that she has them, that you and she can sit and look and talk about her memories. Wow. How great. That’s life, my friend. You have that to cherish.

    • Mark, this brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy you have such excellent memories to cherish. Thank you so much for sharing them here, too! Big hugs for the details.

      I remember the “Panorama of NY City,” but would not have really remembered it without your putting the thought into my mind. I also do remember the big, famous globe. Which I do think my little brother had it for awhile, since key chains were a big deal to him.

      I rode through the “It’s a Small World” ride, where the dolls did wear international costumes and the song played throughout it.

      Your souvenir reminds me of the dinosaur in “Toy Story,” but knowing it was Sinclair Oil Company, that is a distinctive detail, Mark! Wow!

      I did not see the wax figures, still would like to see Madame Tussaud’s in France. How cool that you saw Walt Disney and the others there.

      Living close to this really did help you to focus on the details. But, you must give your brain credit, too. It is the brain of a future journalist, who attended the World’s Fair, Mark!

      • Also, I think that because we lived close by, my family brought me more than one time. That gave me a bit more of an advantage in my memories, too, and because my friends were more likely to have gone with their families and to be able to talk about it with me. Seven year olds in class talking with teachers, too. That sort of thing, Robin! But thank you for your faith in my brain. I was a sharp kid who wanted to be a reporter from a young age, and you remember me writing about that.

      • I remember your interest in reporting and writing from a young age, Mark. I am glad you mentioned some more reasons for your memory being so strong and intact, too. I need to ask my brothers about their memories some more, not just on this subject. We are not a family who dwells on memories but our current experiences are our favorite topic, along with the news in the world. I have faith in you, so glad you can see this in my comments! Smiles!

  2. My mom and her first husband attended the 1938 World Exposition on Treasure Island before the Bay Bridge was completed..

    • This is so great that you knew this about your mother! Wow, I didn’t know about the Treasure Island nor the Bay Bridge not being completed. You have opened my thoughts on this and wish my Mom could remember more or have had more pictures to share with me. Thank you!

  3. Your mother’s memories of the Chicago World’s Fair is a wonderful opportunity to relive history. Her memories seem as vivid as your recollections of the World’s Fair in New York, thanks to the vintage postcards and your fine story. It’s too bad your father didn’t have photos as well.

    I was 12 when the ‘Century 21’ World’s Fair opened in Seattle. I remember the Space Needle being built leading up to the April opening in 1962. The Science Pavilion and the Coliseum (where Seattle’s NBA team played from 1967-2008) displayed futuristic looks at science and lifestyles. Fortunately, most of the lifestyle things did not catch on or we would still have dinette sets made of red plastic.

    All those structures except the Space Needle were supposed to be demolished after the Fair, but the people of Seattle loved them so much they still exist today. As part of what is now the Seattle Civic Center, an Opera House and Playhouse were also built for the arts. Also, tourists can still take the Monorail from downtown Seattle to the Seattle Center – a two minute ride of about one mile.

    I have vivid memories from this period, which included the construction of I-5 through downtown Seattle, although the freeway didn’t open through town until 1967. – Mike

    • I went back to check on this, some extra time and not such a busy day at work, Mike.
      I enjoyed all the details of the futuristic buildings which ended up a part of the ‘landscape’ and texture of Seattle. I have seen photos of this yet never been west of the Grand Canyon. So, this was a great adventure in 1962.
      It helps that you were 12 years old, along with some of the structures stayed. I would lke the Science Pavilion and the Space Needle. I think this is so great that they utilized thsee to become the Opera House and Playhouse. I admire their being frugal and incorporating the monorail, too. Thanks so much for this great piece of information, Mike!

  4. what amazing memories these must be! (have you read, ‘devil in the white city’, robin? it was incredible, mixing the story of this fair, the city and a killer, all in one amazing book. i think you’d love it. some of my fav times were going up north to the lakes with my family, relaxing and enjoying our time together.

    • I am going to have to write this book down, Beth. I like detective stories, wish it were a movie so I could see it and know all about it, quickly. I have two books on my bedside table right now.
      Thank you for this comment, since it directly applies to the World’s Fair and to my personal interest!
      By the way, I am not as ‘crazy’ about Bob Dylan’s song about “One More Cup of Coffee.” But, musical taste between you and I usually ‘jell’ and we agree on. At least I tried it! Smiles!
      I think you have lovely beaches in Michigan, Beth. I particularly enjoyed Sleeping Bear Dunes and the “UP.”

      • i just read that leo decaprio bought the rights and wants to make it into a movie, so you may be in luck. glad you at least listened to the dylan song, it’s a bit different from his usual )

      • I did write the title down and stuck it in my writing notebook, Beth. I am so glad you learned Leonardo D. may be making this one, wow! I find his movies he is in very good, but have not really paid attention to his directing, Beth…
        Sometimes, listening to a song requires more than one time, I was in the car and my youngest daughter put it on her cell phone on speaker phone. See, this may have created not as clear of a version as I needed. Bob Dylan is still awesome, in my mind! Smiles!

  5. The most vivid memories I have of family life when I was a child must definitely be our holidays. We’d pile into Dad’s car and head for the West Country, a journey of 200 miles plus. We’d ask every five minutes if we were nearly there yet and then we’d sing songs like ‘ten green bottles’ very loudly. We’d get to our holiday chalet or cottage and head straight for the beach where Dad would insist that we find a pitch miles away from anyone else. Mum would sit on the tartan rug and we’d all go off exploring the rock pools and climbing rocks before dashing into the freezing sea for a swim in the rolling surf.

    • This is a really vibrant and exciting vacation, Jenny. The trip was long but sounds so interesting with the rock pools and climbing rocks, going into the freezing sea and the rolling surf. You included such vivid details, that I can really see how much these holiday trips meant to you. Thank you so much for sharing this. I went backwards today and found you, Mike, Beth and more people who shared such lovely memories. Thank you, Jenny.

  6. I think, for me, it would be multiples times of riding our boat’s bow with my nose in the wind like a dog while trailing my hand in the wake of the water, before the Coast Guard stopped us and told my father to stop letting us ride up there. Unforgettable.

    • I am so glad you shared this thought, Bela. I apologize for being late in responding to this lovely vacation you shared here. I think it is so nice and descriptive. Almost poetic, with the boat’s bow with your nose in the wind like a dog… such a beautiful and emotional way to describe this! It makes me glad you had this experience and sad it had to end, too. I love the word, “unforgettable!” Thanks, Bela.

    • My dear Margaret, so glad you found this post. Just imagine your twins’ memories, this may make you be an even better parent. (I learned while taking early childhood courses that children have very long memories, so this made me a more careful parent… as it is those kids remember the silliest and worst things I ever did, instead of the best. ha ha!)

      • I need to get over and see your bangles, sorry I had a wonderful weekend and didn’t check in on many aspects of blogging. I went to my one granddaughter’s 4th birthday party at a really large and sort of overwhelming bowling alley. The game room had wrist bracelets and ‘credit’ cards which entitled them to play games, but the place didn’t have a close bathroom and they didn’t have a ‘guard’ to protect kids if they ran out of the game room. I like places that are more geared for children, when they are released to play. Each time one of them asked me to go to the bathroom, I would try to round up a few extras. Sunday, there was a YMCA pool party which I got into the kids’ pool which had arches with water sprays, buckets of water on long poles which tipped onto their heads. My grandson turned 6 and my oldest daughter made Despicable Me cupcakes, she is an artist. The butter cream frosting was so delicious, because she asked him if (since they were yellow like the minions from the movie) if he wanted lemon flavoring. He said, “May they taste like orange instead?” With the butter and vanilla they tasted like orange creamsicles. There is my short essay on why I didn’t get to respond over the weekend, to my friends (and especially you!)

  7. t must have been great sharing those moments with your mother of a time so long ago when you were not even there and yet now, the memories are something that you share together.

    • Elizabeth, I think older people live in the past memories, better than the current ones. So, I am always digging around the one box we kept of her stuff and the one box I kept of my stuff from the past. I will take them as a bridge to connect us better. Otherwise, we go on ‘wild goose chases,’ looking for her misplaced clothes, purse and key to her apartment. Smiles!

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