I’d rather worry about making Jello

Curlers covered with scarves.

Old Electrolux vacuum cleaners with pull-behind canisters.

Perfect lipstick.

White pumps.

Wildly colored curtains.


Hats worn on Sundays.

Hundreds of dishes containing Jello.

Every aspect of the new television series, “The Astronaut Wives Club,” makes me appreciate our nation’s past . . . and maybe wish that things could be that simple today.

I discovered the show a few weeks ago . . . and now I can’t wait to see the next episode on ABC.

For those who haven’t seen it, it’s the story of the seven wives of the first real astronauts in our nation’s history.

The premise is based on the real life characters who in the 1950s and 1960s embarked on the “race to the moon” and began the country’s space program.

There is real history interwoven through the show, which is fascinating.

But even more fascinating to me is the depiction of the women who stood behind their men and the way the American culture was back then.

So much attention has been given to detail, as far as the women’s stance of supporting their husbands, no matter what. While you sense there’s a longing for “women’s liberation” and empowerment, there is a reflection of how women of that era embraced their roles as being wives and mothers . . . that was their main calling.

Sure, there’s conflict and difficulties . . . but I almost feel relaxed while I watch these women don their gloves, have potluck lunches and discuss their tuna salad recipes.

Some days, that almost sounds like fun.

And there’s the impeccable sense of the era in the set design and wardrobes. It’s truly a joy to again see those awful orange lamps I remember from my grandma’s living room.

I laugh out loud when I see the women spend an entire afternoon (because it is Thursday, which they continue to say was “hair day”) putting each other’s hair in curlers and then donning these weird dryers with long hoses.

Whenever one of the husbands is launched into space, the ladies convene at one of their homes – and the press gathers outside to ask about the dishes they are carrying as they arrive.

Pickles wrapped in ham.

Meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato frosting.

Deviled ham and cheese dip.

“Sardine surprise.”

Melon boats.

Angelfood cakes that had been hung upside down on soda pop bottles.

A new drink called “Tang.”

Chicken salad with toast points – “I added walnuts this time, just to try something new!” the beautifully dressed astronaut’s wife proclaims to the reporters.

And of course, as I said before, Jello everything. They make Jello molds, and lime Jello with shredded carrots, orange Jello with marshmallows on top, cherry Jello with minced cranberries. Oh, and I loved their joyous discovery in infusing Jello with vodka on especially festive get-togethers.

In their kitchen sets are authentic gadgets considered top of the line, at the time. I wasn’t born until the late 1960s, but I remember seeing those exact objects in my grandparents’ homes way into the 1970s.

I love that the ladies were always so primped and proper in their dress. These are some beautiful women, as were the women in the real era – and they didn’t need to show excessive skin or have plastic surgery in order to be considered attractive.

I love their choices of words – everything seemed to be so much more polite and respectful back in the day. I guess the term is maybe innocent.

Besides this being a wonderful retrospect into our past, I think the show also reminds us of the sense of patriotic duty that was once prevalent in our country. Sure, there are scenes that remind us segregation existed, nuclear war with the Russians was a threat and that women had more value than just being Jello-setters . . . but there seemed to be an overall commitment to doing what was right and best for America. Sometimes I don’t necessarily feel that sentiment exists in our country any longer – at least not with the majority.

There were major challenges in the world, but it seemed like such a simpler time. I realize this is only a television show, but in their effort to make it as authentic as possible – down to the flowered couches, cool cars and matching clutch handbags – I feel like that era would have been a wonderful one in which to exist.

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe things weren’t ever that simple.

Maybe I’m just tired from the rat race that we’ve created for ourselves in our own complicated era.

Maybe my view of it is total misconception and I’m just seeing what I want to see.

But wouldn’t it just be nice, just for a little bit, to only worry about making Jello and putting curlers in our hair and deciding what hat to wear to church?

Just saying.



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