Saturday, July 13, 2019

1940's USO graduation party

The war is over!  High school is done!  The gals in the USO are ready to throw a huge bash in celebration, complete with a potluck dinner, live music, and a swing dance!  The guests came ready for fun dressed in 1940's attire, complete with victory rolls, suspenders, and cherry red lipstick. 

Invitations were telegrams from this Etsy (username: idoityourself)-

I love the details in this!  I even love that the type text is slightly crooked.  It seems so authentic! 

Table settings were incredibly simple.  We had been searching for vintage coke bottles at garage sales the entire summer of 2018 and ended up finding enough for an entire dining hall worth of tables! We used those as vases, and placed them on top of with my great, great aunt's and grandma's handkerchiefs and some old vintage quilts, it was the perfect setting for a USO party!  After all, a huge theme of the USO and the 1940s was using what you have and making it beautiful anyway.

We also decorated with vintage posters and real newspaper articles from the 1940s including V-E Day!  

(Cute boy added for scale)

The dinner was a traditional pot luck where we provided Coke (in glass bottles), deviled eggs (very popular in the 1940's), and cake.  Everyone else brought everything else and it was AMAZING not to have to make food for the 50 people that were there.

We made the party into a potluck because it was the custom of a party during the war. No one would dare throw a big party themselves in the 1940s. It would be showing that some had a lot in a time when so many had so little. In fact, people didn’t dress up, or wear much more make-up than lipstick made from grease and red food coloring with which they made a stain. The one thing that many people had was an abundance of eggs. Back yard flocks like mine could give a large family a decent breakfast every day, fed on very little beyond kitchen scraps. Back yard chickens became a staple, as did “victory gardens” like mine. In true 1940s form, I made our backyard eggs into as many deviled eggs as I could to share, garnished with sun burnt parsley and dill from my “victory garden”. 👩🏼‍🌾 (The deviled egg plate is also historically correct and I own 3 I found at thrift shops. “American egg plates were first made in the 1930s in popular Depression glass patterns. Duncan & Miller Glass Company, most likely made the earliest version in their Early American Sandwich pattern.”)

I think I went over 20 recipes for deviled eggs to find the very best vintage one to turn our 4 dozen backyard chicken eggs into.  It turns out that pickle juice, like the juice from the dill pickle jar, is the secret ingredient for success!  If you ever make deviled eggs, be sure to add a little pickle juice to smooth out the filling.  The flavor is amazing and the texture is nicer too! 

Some of my favorite details were on the bible verse table.  I set my daughter's bible on this table and had different highlighters so that friends could highlight their favorite bible verse for her to come across later in her spiritual journey and remember her friends from this amazing time in her life.  


On the wall above the bible table was a vintage poem from the winter of 1941 printed in one of the newspapers we found.  I just think it's so lovely that I may frame it for the wall!

A few more shots of the decor and friends:

We called this the "Oh Johnny!" shot:

This outfit is a genuine Boy Scout uniform from the 1940's.  I was SO excited that it fit Logan perfectly for his sisters party!  

After the potluck dinner, we had some live music and swing dancing.  Half of these kids are in the swing club and the other half were willing to learn, so they danced the night away and took turns singing until the wee hours.  It was so fun to watch!

Rosie the Riveter smiled down on us!  It was an incredible day to celebrate and incredible girl and her accomplishments.  

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