As I continue thinking about things we can’t do now, I bring you this photo of what must be a college graduation day. My guess is that it comes from the mid to late 1950s. The photo is an old peel apart Polaroid. You can see telltale streaks from the chemicals at the top. Cameras to make these black and white Polaroid pictures were very popular in the fifties. By the 1960s, color Polaroids emerged. It was a big innovation at the time, but I prefer the black and white ones. The color photos fade horribly over time.
The graduate on the left doesn’t look too happy, and neither does her mother on the right. One disadvantage of Polaroid pictures is that some trigger happy photographers didn’t take time to compose their shots. The only cheerful person is the older sister/younger aunt/best friend in the middle. Perhaps she and the photographer had a special rapport.
Everyone is dressed up for the big day—you can see suits, hats and gloves in the fuzzy background. The mother wears a fancy shirtwaist dress in white or some other light color. Her hat and gloves complement the rest of her outfit. Notice the touch of lace at her collar and the broach at the v-neckline. These are classic elements of a conservative, older woman style.
What do you imagine is in the oblong box in the mother’s hand? A watch? A pen set? Or maybe a string of pearls.