1959: Fun Fashion, Fair Prices

News from the March 19, 1959, edition of the Lemon Grove Review.

The Annual Spring Edition of the Lemon Grove Review was a 16-page extravaganza of fashionista ads and articles that all but forsook hard news in favor of showcasing inventory from the town's myriad specialty shops. This snapshot of post WWII prosperity during the baby boom is a look back at Lemon Grove 53 years ago this week.

Wild at Heart: “Easter Promenade Gala Fashion Premiere: Starring a Galaxy of Gay, Exotic Colors” sang the cover page. “Inspired by vibrant colors of the Orient, spring fashion wings its way to extravagant heights of brilliance with flaming, sun-drenched shades, scintillating iridescent neutrals ... a glorious array of just-unpacked fashions to bring out the madcap in YOU!”

Readers were enticed to shop until, well, the cows came home at Miller Dairy—and not just women.

“Stolen from Bob Cummings,” proclaimed Lane's Men's Wear, 7775 Broadway, about its $7.95, zip-front, roll-collar, V-neck polo shirt “as seen on the Bob Cummings Show, NBC-TV this week!”

Also vying for Dad's dollar, the Lemon Grove Department Store, 7846 Broadway, pushed its “American Ambassador” tailored suits in a “dashing Wiggle-Weave worsted that stands up to heat when temperatures soar.”

Junior was kitted out in the same store with boy's suits for $24.95, boy’s slacks for $6.95, and boy’s sport coats for $13.95 back in the day when your 11-year-old looked like a little banker.

Kiddies were shod at Children's Bootery, 7885 Broadway, where “our skilled fitters assure a fit for your precious little ones a doctor could approve!”  Or, you could visit Purtee's Shoes, 7741 Pacific (“next door to the Lemon Grove Library”) and join the Family Shoe Club, offering you a 13th pair free if you bought 12 pairs. Or, drag the babes to Brumley's Shoes,7763 Broadway, for a “Hi, Honey Bunny” chocolate egg with purchase of patent-leather Mary Janes, or oxfords “for your stylish little guy.”

But Mom was the major prey. She could attend demonstrations and fashion shows at Patricia's, 7887 Broadway, Evelyn Wigton's, 7761 Broadway, Helen Gauldin's Style Shop, 7808 Broadway, Williams of Lemon Grove, 7945 Broadway, Lowe's Toggery, 3321 Imperial Ave., Walker Scott Downtown, Morrison-Adams Jewelers, 7919 Broadway, and a Culligan Soft Water demo and sale (“$100 for six weeks”).

Mom could test the office chairs and desks (“what every busy mother needs”) at Lemon Grove Stationers, 3842 Main St., test drive a '59 Spring Green Ford Station Wagon at Spears Ford, 7720 Broadway, receive hair-dye counseling at the Helena Rubinstein counter in Dial Drugs, 7961 Broadway, and trade in S&H Green Stamps for a corsage at Lemon Grove Florist, 7965 Broadway (where O'Chea Fashion Boutique is today).

Fashions of the Fifties: Sailcloth clamdiggers, colorful tights for school, office or evening, floral turbans for bathing, swimming or lunching, Pixie and Minx Mode cinch-waisted circular skirts, patent pumps with detachable bows, rhinestones and mink poufs, dropped shoulders, cape-like sleeves, cummerbund suits with cropped jackets, bolero coatdresses, empire sheaths, slim pants and blousons, Dior knock-off ball gowns, half- and full-length girdles, the new, above-the-knee nylon tricot slips suitable for shrinking hemlines, and the reliable shirtwaist dress seen on every woman (and TV sitcom) from coast to coast.

Smart Kids: The Lemon Grove Women's Club awarded $25 scholarships to four Mount Miguel High School students: Charles Mehlberger and William Raaka (both looking like bankers), and Lynette Carr and Brenda Epperson (in hats, gloves and calf-length dresses).

Down to Business: Oops. The State of California spent $1,234,129.75 more than it received reported State Controller Alan Cranston. Weirdly enough, considering all the shopping, state retail tax revenues showed a deficit of $8,241,927. But feel slightly better because, even though 2 percent down from 1958, retail tax of $330 million was still the lion's share of state revenues.

Food Basket Grocery List: Three bunches of Romaine for 19 cents. Fresh Cornish fryers, 37 cents a pound. Two pounds Duncan Hines pancake mix, 37 cents. Pound of tomatoes, 35 cents. Large Kraft French Dressing, 37 cents. Bath-size Dial soap, two for 39 cents. Rump roast, 69 cents a pound. Artichokes, three for 29 cents. Ground beef, 49 cents a pound.

Pricey Corner: Developments valued at “several millions” got underway on the southwest corner of Broadway and Massachusetts, including Bill's Self-Serve Station and the famous Bowlero Bowl. 

Hideous Sight: Lemon Grove deputy sheriff Don Bryan and team arrested 60 people and 42 gamecocks at a fight ring on the Mother Grundy Mountain Truck Trail 20 miles east of Lemon Grove. Spectators fled into the underbrush, but many were later rounded up as they tried to leave by car. Blood-caked slasher spurs, needles, surgical saws and poultry knives, the tools of the gamecock trade, were bagged as evidence. The scarred, de-combed birds included some that were eyeless, wingless and legless. This savagery, alas, is alive and well today.


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