Saturday, January 28, 2012

Harlem rooftop fashion shoot, 1942

Lorraine Duffy Merkl, author of the acclaimed novel Fat Chick, usually publishes her personal parenting anecdotes in places like the New York Times. So I was honored to have her share her own mother's memorable style exclusively for this here little window shop.

Lorraine writes:

"My love of vintage comes from growing up looking at photos of my now 88-year-old mother Angelina (Sacino) Duffy.

I have boxes of pictures with her in cocktail dresses, suits with peplum waists and shoulder pads, peg pants and all that was in vogue when she was a young woman.

This shot, taken on the roof of her apartment in the Italian section of Harlem circa 1942, is a particular favorite of mine. I love the strappy shoes, trousers, formfitting top to accentuate her small waist, and most of all the 'Take that Betty Grable' attitude.

Even though her family did not have a lot of money, my mother always managed to look stylish, because as a gifted seamstress she made most of her own clothes."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

To kick off 2012, a submission that double-popped my eyeballs then sat unfairly in my inbox for too long. Resolution: no stylish mom left behind in the new year.

Walt Young, part of the rif-raf on the water fountain posing with his family in 1962 in the German Alps writes:

"My mom, Elfriede Katherine Hoffman Scheuerecker Young, was born in Wurtsburg Germany in 1928. She grew up in Nazi Germany and survived several bombings from the Allied forces. She was blind in one eye from the flash of a bomb that almost killed her and her family. She worked from the age of 14 in war torn Germany to help her family survive and was a translator at the Nazi War Crime Trials since she spoke fluent German and English.

In the late 40's, she met my dad, an African American soldier from Bogalusa Louisiana. They fell in love, married, and raised 5 children at a time when interracial marriage was illegal in certain states in the South. When the Federal government under President Kennedy decided to integrate the south, the Army gave my dad orders to transfer to Jackson Mississippi from Darmstadt Germany. He stopped at the Pentagon to plead his case with the Army brass that this was a suicide mission for him and his family but his pleadings fell on deaf ears. We proceeded to drive down South to Mississippi but were chased by Alabama rednecks and took refuge in a military base in Selma Alabama. The Army brass came to their senses and redirected us to Fort Bragg North Carolina.

The picture, above, was taken in New York City, in Columbus Circle, around 1959, and features my mom holding my brother Al with me standing to her left.

My mom retired from the State of New York in 1994 where she was the executive secretary to the head of the Tug Hill Commission in Watertown, NY. She was an officer of the NSA...National Secretaries Association...and was the president of the German American club here in Watertown. She passed away in April of 2007.

She was a great woman who made many sacrifices for her family and who enjoyed life to its fullest."