About the Vintage Master Class:
My mother has always been very stylish and taught me everything I know. Back in the 70s when most of the moms around the playground were wearing polyester stretch pants, my mom looked like a million bucks! This series started our as a great email exchange between my mom and I on hair in the 60s and I asked her if she would mind if I shared it with you. I know you all love vintage as much as I do, so I thought who better to tell us about it than someone who actually lived through it!
Today’s episode? The 1960s Slumber Party.
Back in my days, girls rarely had sleep-overs. Unless you were stranded by bad weather at a friends house—which actually did happened to me one year. I was a freshman at the local JC and we were preparing for winter finals. A group of us were studying together at my friend Ann’s house. Soon it became apparent there was no way we could make it home. Her parents very graciously invited us to stay. By morning the snow had let up and we could go to classes. But not before Ann’s dad made us a wonderful breakfast: hot oatmeal (drenched in brown sugar and half & half) plus a side of toast and crispy bacon strips. I’d never had that combination, and it was so good it might have helped me land a good grade in my English final that day!
For weeks, my little study group talked about how much fun we had at our impromptu sleepover, while the others listened with envy! Finally, one of the girls suggested, “Why don’t we have another slumber party??”
We looked at each other, delighted and intrigued. We were college freshmen after all. Well, who says you can’t have a sleepover in college! And that is how my very first—and last—Slumber Party came to be!
My sister Maria and her husband Max, who I lived with, who were always eager to host, gladly gave their permission. The plans swung into action! There was one obstacle though: the boys. Many of us had boyfriends who were very disappointed not to be able to have their usual Friday night date with their girlfriends. But what did we care! This was going to be our night. Maria offered to cook a big pot of Sloppy Joes (from scratch, of course) and all the girls would bring their favorite bottles of “pop” (no cans in those days!) as well as our favorite munchies: Bugles and Baby Ruth candy bars.
Back in my day, we didn’t have roller bags or back packs, we had our little cosmetic suitcases. These were small little bags, that came with a big mirror in the lid, and usually a supply of little empty plastic bottles that could be filled with lotions and perfumes, etc. We rarely used the bottles, however, as we usually crammed our little travel case full of hair care paraphernalia: curlers, hair clips, bobby pins, combs, brushes and hairspray. You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that, after all, remember we were the hair generation! [read about that over here!]
Now, this was not our only carrying case. Oh no! Our constant companion to any event were the small boxy suitcases filled with our ultimate treasures: 45 records. Having all your favorite music with you was essential! The bottom of each case was usually sprinkled with tons of the little plastic inserts you needed in order to play the record on your player. This was the perfect ingredient for fun!
So, around 8:00 in the evening The Girls arrived. Loaded with their little suitcases, pillows and of course sleeping bags. One by one they filed into our living room. There were around twelve of us. Max had moved my record player upstairs into the livin groom. My personal record player!! Just as the 50’s folks would call it the gramophone, a record player must sound so old fashioned to your ears. But I loooved mine. It had a new invention, a longer center pole so you could stack more than one record at a time. As soon as the first record finished playing, another record fell into place. This was a true innovation and guaranteed non-stop music! We were all so excited, this promised to be a great evening.
Then the phone rang. Max answered. He came into the room and informed us it was for Mary Jo! She ran to the kitchen, soon came back and whispered: The boys heard about our party and wanted to crash it. There are currently five car loads of fellows coming our way!!!!
We looked at each other in shock! Then giggled! We were thrilled! Excited! Nervous! What a turn of events.
Thankfully this was NO PROBLEM. For two reasons: Max and Maria were still rather young themselves at the time (in their 30s) and gave permission to turn the party co-ed until midnight!!!
As the cars rolled into our driveway and the guys climbed out, let me remind you, this was the mod generation! These guys were dressed to the nines, even wearing ties. How much more respectable could they appear? Maria and Max watched them with delight. “Come in! Come on in!” hollered Max. Each carried a six pack—no, not alcohol, but root beer, Vernor’s Ginger Ale, Coca Cola or Tab (!!). Of course tucked in their pockets were their cigarettes. Yes, yes, those were the days where hardly a young man did not smoke! Maria handed out the ashtrays and got promises of no accidental burns in her nice couch! It was a different time. She was also pleased she had made enough sloppy joes to feed the lot. Before you knew it, the rug was rolled up, my record player got into action and here we go!!!! We played all our favorites, including “Twisting the Night Away.”
Shortly before midnight Maria made an appearance, signaling that all the action would have to come to a stop soon. And miraculously, everyone agreed.
At the strike of midnight the guys left, as they had promised. Where were they off to, so late on a Friday night? We had no idea, nor did we care! We had our own plans!
As soon as the guys left, we changed into our baby doll nighties and there was a frenzy of activities: hair was washed and set on curlers, facial masks were tried, and nail polish colors unpacked! After years of red and pink, we had discovered something new and exciting. FROSTED nail polish— in white or pink —was all the rage! We continued to play records and gossip and laugh, reviewing the night. I think our voices were as loud as our music! With the boys gone, Maria and Max could retire to their bedroom, but we girls continued to party. Finally by 4 in the morning we must have zonked out.
The next morning Max got up around 7am for his daily walk with the dog. He love to tell this story. He carefully climbed over a dozen forms of young ladies sprawled all over his living room. As he made his way out the front door for his walk, a car pulled into the drive way.
A frantic-faced woman rolled down her window and inquired anxiously: “Is a girl named Ann in your house by any chance?”
Max laughed and said, “There are about a dozen young girls in my house. But I’ll go check and see.”
He came back in, shook me awake to inquire if there was an Ann. Of course, I woke her up to tell her it was probably her mother. Why did she come so early? As Max tells it, Ann came flying out the door with all her belongings clutched to her chest. As she raced up to the car, her mother got out, shrieked, gave her a huge hug, asking, “Are you ok, baby???”
Ann nodded and then, WHAMMO! Ann’s mother slapped her right there and then. Max was stunned. Apparently Ann forgot to mention to her mother that this was an overnight get together!! These were the days long before cell phones, and it was very hard to keep track of your teenagers!! Despite the dramatic end to the party, we had a fabulous time. Although there were a few more glitches:
+ Maria did discover a cigarette burn in her couch table!
+ Several of my records were missing! (the guys??)
+ Our cranky neighbor complained about the car congestion on the street!
+ And Ann was grounded for a whole month!
But of course none of this ruined our memories of the fabulous (and infamous) Freshman Year College Slumber Party!
images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Aw, I love these SO MUCH! Thanks mama once again for a completely fantastic post! And thanks to you guys for all your support and encouragement with this series. Your sweet comments mean the world to me and my mama!
To read more Vintage Master Class episodes, go here: