I picked up this candy tin at a Spokane yard sale so many years ago because it seemed quaint and campy and it reminded me of 1952, when I was five and first became aware of the greater world around me.
We lived on Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, South Carolina. My mother suffered from a Blanche Dubois syndrome and so she had to have a “negro” lady named Alice come in to do the ironing. I recall watching Alice iron clothes under the carport where it seemed to me she fueled her steam iron with a constant supply of bottled Coca Cola. Another Faulkner touch were the canasta parties on the screened porch with neighborhood officers wives. A scene I would later be reminded of while watching The Right Stuff, was Colonel Smith, looking regal in his MacArthur sunglasses driving by our house in his red Chevy convertible, the roof down, his gorgeous wife riding shotgun with her June Allyson pageboy safely covered by a Hepburn scarf.
Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Kay Starr and Rosemary Clooney dominated the airwaves. I might have been listening to Because of You or Come On-a My House when the radio news announced that the young Elizabeth had been crowned the new queen.
We wouldn’t have a TV for another four years, but I remember seeing the pretty young queen in newsreels before the main feature at the base movie theater. I could have seen her just before watching Singing In the Rain or maybe High Noon.
Sometime that year I also remember running into my mother’s room to tell her we had a new president whose name I stuttered over till I remembered the nickname the radio announcer had used.