Rainbow Snippets: Who got the best dress at Wanamaker’s 1951 back-to-school sale ?

Harriet, the narrator of my coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, never explicitly states where she grew up in the United States, but she drops some clues. Probably the biggest one is when she mentions her fellow classmates going back-to-school shopping at Wanamaker’s. … Read more

Politics of the 1950s: Revising the Pledge of Allegiance

In the first scene of my 1950s coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, Harriet Little is at school for her first day of fourth grade. It’s 1951, and they start out the day by saying the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge recited by school children back then differed from the one Americans use today. It had two fewer words. Do you know what they were? … Read more

Language in the 1950s: Dungarees, not blue jeans

When I was writing my 1950s coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, which is being released today by NineStar Press, I had to pay special attention to language. The words we use tend to change over time, and nothing illustrates this better than the fluctuating popularity of “blue jeans” versus “dungarees.” … Read more

The Culture of Tomboy: Gunsmoke in the 1950s

black and white photo of Amanda Blake in Miss Kitty costume

In my 1950s coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, crushes on movie and television stars a major factor in Harriet’s sexual awakening. One of those crushes is Amanda Blake, who played saloon owner Miss Kitty on the Western television series Gunsmoke. Read all about Gunsmoke and how it broke new ground in entertainment in this post.
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Rainbow Snippets: Learning to ‘duck and cover’ from atomic bombs in the 1950s

cover of a nuclear preparedness booklet from 1950

This week’s Rainbow Snippet takes place right at the beginning of Harriet’s school year in 1951, the year the Federal Civil Defense Administration was set up to teach Americans ways to survive atomic attacks. One popular survival tactic was “duck and cover,” which began to be taught widely in schools. … Read more

The history of Tomboy: Dress codes in the 1950s

One of the main characters in my 1950s coming-of-age romance novella Tomboy, Jackie, goes against convention by wearing pants whenever she can get away with it—and for a lot of her childhood, she can’t get away with it. During that period in the United States, school dress codes crimped the style of their students, but especially of girls. … Read more