The 14 beautiful homes of The Astronaut Wives Club — Production Designer Mark White takes us inside and behind the scenes — 33 photos

midcentury decor
At Betty Grissom’s in Virginia. © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

The story of the seven women on ABC-TV’s The Astronaut Wives Club is fascinating, but you know what we’re ogling: Their midcentury homes.

Seven modest 1950s homes… seven glamorous 1960s homes – each, meticulously decorated to reflect the well documented lives of these “astrowives” as they rocketed to Mercury Seven Project fame.

A bundle of readers emailed us, all excited.  So we contacted ABC for photos, and then I jumped on the phone with Production Designer Mark White. How did he create such gorgeous and authentic-looking interiors? Where did they get all the stuff? And what tips does he have for those of us trying to get this look? Happy surprises: He knows our blog. And, he’s a mega fan of knotty pine. We like him, for sure!

midcentury decor
© 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Who were the ‘Astronaut Wives Club’?

With The Astronaut Wives Club, White had an immense amount of historical material to help with his designs. Americans were fascinated with the space program during the early days of the space race. At every lift off, we were glued to our TV sets. The nation was so interested in the wives of the Mercury Seven team that Life followed their lives for 15 years. “They became the nation’s first reality stars,” White said. “Their lives are documented beyond belief.” The seven women comprising the Astronaut Wives Club:

  1. Rene Carpenter [played by Yvonne Strahovski]
  2. Trudy Cooper [Odette Annable]
  3. Annie Glenn [Azure Parsons]
  4. Betty Grissom [JoAnna Garcia Swisher]
  5. Louise Shepard [Dominique McElligott]
  6. Jo Schirra [Zoe Boyle]
  7. Marge Slayton [Erin Cummings]

To create his designs, White poured over the LIFE stories. “There were historical photos over virtually every story point,” White said. “The research was endless, and it was great to have almost handed to you.”

That said, White added that he also had to be adaptable, first, to frame the scenes as written into the scene, and, to complement the looks of the actors chosen for the roles.

Based on the book, The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story (*affiliate link) by Lily Koppel, , the 10-part television series begins in 1959, when the seven women are living with their families in Virginia. Mark White describes their homes there as “basically non-descript” military housing. Then, around 1963, after their husbands are chosen to be the first Americans to orbit the earth, everyone relocates to Houston with NASA. There, each family uses money from their exclusive deal with Life magazine to build and furnish a dream house. The series follows the story through 1970.

midcentury living room
Betty Grissom’s house in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

Each family had its own tastes. So among these 14 homes – the modest ones in Virginia and then, the more flashy ones in Houston — we get to see a smorgasbord of what late 1950s and early 1960s American homes could look like.

There are other treats throughout the series as well. The color-splashed motel in Cocoa Beach, where the astrowives would gather to watch Cape Canaveral launches, is a kind of perfect.

Retro Holiday Inn
The crew transformed a Motel 6 in Slidell, Louisiana, into the Holiday Inn set in Cocoa Beach, Floriday. White said that not much of the set was salvageable to remain at the motel For example, decorative concrete blocks were carved from styrofoam. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

“As production designer,” White explained, “I design pretty much everything you see on screen, except for the actors and their wardrobes – full design from start to finish for every place they live, every location that’s scripted, everything they use.”

The job has its literal aspect – filling the stages that set the scene, but production design also plays a key role in helping to illuminate the story. “The next level is using it to create mood or feelings or elements to add to the story beyond just their home,” White explained.

midcentury dining room
Rene Carpenter’s dining room in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
midcentury decor
Betty Grissom’s bedroom. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
Midcentury modest house
Trudy Cooper’s house in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

“For me, the key to this story was these seven women and who they are through the script, which is a version of who they are through their real lives and Life magazine. Their homes became essentially my actresses telling the story.”

The Mercury 7 families start in Virginia

“The story starts with them as military wives. Salaries are not high and they don’t live in high-income position homes. So we simplify how they were living, starting with early 1950s version homes and décor and in some cases, the 1940s.”

It was a challenge to recreate the 1950s-era Virginia homes in a way that was also good as a backdrop for the TV scenes. “The homes were so simple, everything had a purpose. There was not an extra lot of fluff.”

vintage retro kitchen
In Betty Grissom’s Virginia kitchen © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
retro kitchen
Betty Grissom’s house in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
midcentury decor
Louise Shepard’s Virginia house. © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
vintage retro kitchen
Louise Shepard’s Virginia kitchen. © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

In order to deal with the limited decoration and artwork, he created ‘set flows’ – for example, dropping in a soffit — to help frame up the shots. “You don’t want them sitting against a bare wall.”

Marge Slayton’s knotty pine kitchen 

The knotty pine kitchen built for Marge Slayton is White’s favorite among this first batch of houses.

“Marge Slayton [as interpreted by Erin Cummings] has a gun moll vibe. She reminded me of my mother’s sister and my mother – she’s a two-fold character to me. My mother had a knotty pine dining room, and my aunt had a knotty pine kitchen.

knotty pine kitchen
Marge Slayton’s knotty pine kitchen and family room — Virginia house — Photo courtesy of Mark White.
vintage retro kitchen
Erin Cummings as Marge Slayton — in curlers in her knotty pine kitchen — placing a call to JFK. © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Marge Slayton's house in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
Marge Slayton’s house in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
midcentury home decor
Marge Slayton’s Virginia home. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

“Knotty pine was going to happen in Marge Slayton’s house no matter what I had to fight for. It was a big obsession, and I love that set so much. Erin Cummings was over the moon for her knotty pine home and also loved it and loved it for the character. It made sense for her and who she was and the time. That kind of thing can excite an actress on the set and aid in her performance.”

Astronaut Wives Club in Houston

Once the astrowives move to Houston, there is a distinct visual shift, as the space race – and their previously humble home lives — gained velocity.

“Their whole lives change — the houses… money … celebrity,” White said. “You see the colors come alive during the exciting space race. We bring all that in, to help the story along.”

“For example, I wanted everyone to have new, colorful kitchens. That was important to me – this was an example of how we wanted the Houston homes to tell the fame part of the story. We had shoppers in several states scouring for seven sets of 1962-63 stoves and refrigerators!”

Some Virginia house décor continues into the Houston houses. “Each wife brings her own personal taste and history – elements of the past – into the present,” he said. The television sets, for example, don’t change. “They were a big deal,” White reminded, “Unlike today, they didn’t go quickly out of date.” Also watch for recurring lamps.

vintage retro kitchen
© 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
midcentury decor
Betty Grissom’s house in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
midcentury retro decor
Trudy Cooper’s house in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
midcentury aqua kitchen
Rene Carpenter’s kitchen in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
Midcentury modern bedroom
Rene Carpenter’s bedroom in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

Rene Carpenter’s Geneva kitchen cabinets

The Houston houses are all a lot of fun! Rene Carpenter has aquamarine Geneva steel kitchen cabinets. Annie Glenn’s house features Americana. Rene Carpenter was raised in California, so her home has that vibe, with bamboo, shells and color choices.

midcentury window treatments
And we get to see public spaces like this, too. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
midcentury fireplace
Jo Scharra’s living room. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
Midcentury modern house
The Gemini Mission family house — the Bormans’ (?)  in Houston has: Central air conditioning!. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
midcentury living room
Lovel house living room. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

Did I say 14 houses? There are more! We also get to see Houston homes of some of the Gemini Mission astrowives, along with many public spaces.

vintage furniture
Louise Shepard’s apartment in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
Louise Shepard's apartment in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
Louise Shepard’s apartment in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
vintage retro kitchen
Louise Shepard’s kitchen in Houston. © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

White points to Louise Shepard’s midcentury modern apartment as his favorite among this bunch.  “It makes me crazy,” he said. “It was just was so much ‘of the time’, so ‘who she was’, and so much fun to do. The apartment was in a fairly new building – we found reference photos – and it features a sunken living room, big windows, and is elevated. It so different from the world they were coming from – it was new, chic and exciting.”

All that said, I tell White that what I love about the interiors – in the Virginia and Houston houses, both — is that they do not feel fake. They do not seem like “a dream” of what we lived like, but an often-imperfect mix of what homes really looked like — a bit of mid-century modern and lots of mid-century modest… medium-tone paints and woods… not overloaded with stuff… and not overly stylized. They look like [pretty darn tidy] “normal people” houses.

“Believable and real” midcentury house interiors

“That was 100 percent my exact point!” White said. “My approach was to make the homes as believable and real as I could. The ‘50s and ‘60s are so easily stylized to include exactly ‘the perfect design’ furniture, the ‘name’ lamp and rug. But these were real people. I didn’t want it to be Mad Men. No one did.”

Remembering what it’s like to turn the knob of a TV set

retro decor
Originally a toy designer, Mark White transitioned into theatre as a production designer and ultimately into features and television. Mark is best known for his diverse filmography, having designed such iconic films as WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER and Academy Award Nominated, WINTER’S BONE. His contributions in television are no exception with the limited event series ASTRONAUT’S WIVES CLUB for ABC and Season one of OUTCAST for Cinemax/HBO. He grew up in Western Connecticut and attended College at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore Md. He currently lives in New York City. Above: Mark in his awesome living room. www.markwhite.nyc

More about Mark White

Born in 1965 and raised in Connecticut, White’s childhood memories – both visual and tactile — helped him on the job. “This show has so many things that referenced to my childhood. All the wood, and what it’s like to click the knob of a TV set –they are homey, comforting memories that just make me feel happy. “

As a professional in the visual arts he also is drawn to midcentury design. [He graduated with a fine arts degree from the College at Maryland Institute College of Art and in his early career designed toys, holiday wrapping paper and theater sets],

“I’m pretty obsessed with the time period in general. In my own home I always gravitate to midcentury and Scandinavian design textiles of the time. What I like more than anything are the textures – they are so rich and exciting. By the 1990s, everything evolved to become so flat and smooth. Bare white walls make me uncomfortable.”

Where did they get the furniture and decor for Astronauts Wives Club? 

Curious to know more about how TV production design (dream job!) works, I asked White for a rough sketch of the process – when we see the credits, who is doing what?

The Art Department works for the Production Designer to bring the plans to life. Set designers draw up the plans and specify exact details, for example, the types of windows. Once these are place, the art director leads the construction of all the sets. And meanwhile, a decorator has shoppers out looking for all the furniture and accessories required.

vintage sofa
Rene Carpenter’s living room in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

For Astronaut Wives Club, Set Decorator Selina Van Den Brink had shoppers scouring the country for everything needed to build out the sets. Yup, that meant pretty much: Everything to decorate 14 living rooms, 14 bedrooms, 14 kitchens. And much, much more.

midcentury kitchen
Betty Grissom’s kitchen in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

Overall, about half of the kitchens and bathrooms were built and filmed on New Orleans production stages — where the series was shot. The other half were already in place on location. Marge Slayton’s knotty pine kitchen, for example, was built from scratch on a stage.

Some items – the astrohusbands get groovy vintage barbecues! – were found new old stock, or fixed up, or came from Los Angeles prop houses that cater to the film and television industry.

Paint colors were chosen for how they read on television and to complement actors’ skin tones. “This was a slightly different mandate than if I was deciding on paint colors for a house,” White said. “To research paint colors, I bought old paint swatch brochures on ebay. Your site also came up a number of times when I was searching .” Woot!

“Some of the homes – for example, Louise Shepard’s and Betty Grissom’s houses – are all about linoleum. We printed that because it’s so hard to get sheet goods. “

vintage retro kitchen
Betty Grissom’s kitchen in Virginia. © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

White used wallpaper in a number of the room designs. Some of the wallpaper is new and in other cases, the team designed and printed their own patterns.

Sofas, casegoods, lighting, accessories — pretty much all vintage, then reupholstered or otherwise freshened up as required.

retro furniture
Florida Life Magazine House. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

Hey: I see upholstery and quite a few pinch pleat draperies made from Full Swing Textiles barkcloth. Boo hoo, the business is now in its last month of its inventory liquidation, I only see one barkcloth pattern remaining.

retro kitchen
Betty Grissom’s kitchen in Houston. Photo courtesy of Mark White.

Mark shares an important discovery: Beauti-Vue wood and yarn window shades!

And above: White gave me one earth-shattering (well, in our retroworld) product-source tip –>>> Beauti-Vue yarny woven wood shades — and where you can still get them today!

Where does furniture from a film set go when the filming is complete?

Update: This question came up in comments once we published. Here’s what Mark White replied:

One of two things can happen to all the set dressing. Occasionally we have a Set Sale, where most everything is sold, usually to other films and shows.

But more often, as with this show, it gets stored and held by the studio. It’s all in a warehouse someplace waiting to be either reused on other productions or sit there until it’s rediscovered by some martian in the far future.

Mark White’s advice for Retro Renovators

I ask White what advice he would give others who want to create beautiful retro-inspired interiors like those in The Astronaut Wives Club. He is not very high-falutin’ prescriptive, not at all:

“As far as design goes, if you don’t like it, don’t put it in. Be happy visually with it as a whole. I don’t believe that ‘because this is the current thing that’s hot right now you need to have it.’”

I laugh with him about his own living room, which is jam-packed with visual interest. So many creative types, I have found, have an insanely high tolerance for visual complexity, and clearly he is one of them. He tells me that during every project he ends up collecting something new.

Right now, he’s working on a new show, Outcast, for Cinemax. It’s a horror series set in rural West Virginia. Although it seems it’s being shot in South Carolina, because that’s where he called me from for this interview.

So what’s Mark White collecting now?

“Piling up in my office right now are nature things – acorns and pine cones. I’ve also started picking up sleeves for food products — vintage restaurant packaging, graphics on waxy paper. I got here, and I saw a restaurant selling fried pies in waxy sleeves. It looked like they were 60 or 70 years old. I wanted one without pie, but they didn’t have any. So I bought one with the least amount of grease stains, then started looking for more things like it.” He said he doesn’t shop for stuff like this in Ebay – it’s too easy. He watches for stuff in his travels.


Retro holiday inn
Holiday Inn. Photo courtesy of Mark White.
vintage retro kitchen
© 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

I’ve now watched four episodes of The Astronaut Wives Club [on demand]. At first, it was hard to pay attention to the plot, what with all those sets – and we haven’t even gotten into the clothes(!) But then, I really got into the show. Overall, it’s an enticing real-life story. It doesn’t belittle the women’s roles. It depicts positive, life-affirming friendships. It’s optimistic and energetic and colorful. I’m really enjoying it, and so is history-geek Dear Husband.

Mark White, thank you so much for sharing the story of your work on The Astronaut Wives Club – and for all the fantastic, extra, exclusive photos you sent us, too! We love the production design of The Astronaut Wives Club – and even more so, for all the love and thoughtfulness that went into it!

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  1. My Home Island says:

    I loved this show and was so sad to see it end. There were so many things in the homes that I now remember from growing up, like the apple shaped wood cutting boards on the kitchen wall of Betty Grissom’s house in Houston…just like the ones my mom had. So many other things… Now I wish I had recorded all of them so I can watch them over and over.

    1. pam kueber says:

      We finished watching it last night. I also LOVED IT!

      Recommendation: Pay the $1.99 or $2.99 an episode and watch it on ABC on Demand, if you can. Or: At least the last episode. Plays even better without the gazillions of commercials!

  2. The Rene Carpenter kitchen is so amazingly mid-mod, especially the ovens which look like thermadors. The fridge looks like a Frigidaire, but it is hard for me to tell for certain. Because these were/are new, higher-end homes for the time period I doubt it represents anything actually seen much in 1962, but, it’s fun to see these gems anyways.

    1. Denise says:

      I know this is two years old, but I have just seen it. The ovens are in fact Thermador — I know because it’s my kitchen. The previous owners of the house had put in a Sub-Zero refrigerator, and the set decorators moved it out, built the two cabinets over the fridge, and painted the cabinets and refrigerator to match my cabinets. They even found the pulls for the cabinets, on eBay they said. Our house was built in 1956-57, and the Thermador is original.

  3. Diana says:

    Thank you to you and Mark White for this article fabulous display of pictures! The blood is pounding through my veins! I drool when watching this show, panting like a dog! Plot? What plot?

    I have had this reaction to this style for at least 30 years–when everyone else thought I was crazy for buying some old aqua lamp. It is so great to now be validated by all of you and to “know” people who share your passion. (Although it has driven prices on vintage items to the moon!) I was born in 1956, so I’m sure that’s when it imprinted on my soul. As Mark said, it just makes me happy.

  4. johnny says:

    I did props, set dressing and other art department duties on many features between 1987-1997. Regarding what happens to props or set dressing after production wraps, there are other potential outcomes. The director or another high-ranking crew member might ‘earmark’ something they would like to have and/or purchase at the ‘Garage Sale’ sometimes held shortly afterwards. Things occasionally ‘disappeared.’ On one occasion the entire crew flew home and the production manager told me I could have everything in the warehouse. My apartment and garage were packed with furniture and cases of [famous sweet drink] for months afterward. Once got a great piece of luggage, too.

  5. ShariD says:

    This is one of the few reasons I miss watching network television! I don’t miss the commercials every 7 minutes vs 5 minutes of show content, that’s for sure! Unfortunately, I had not heard about this program, but will now do my very best to play catch up, and watch the show from start to finish online!

    One reason I feel like I’ve actually missed something special are my very close ties to the location of the beginning of this story! I was born in 1957 in farm country of north central Indiana (Gus Grissom ties all around here abound) BUT was moved with my parents at the age of about 9 months to Hampton, Virginia, very close to the Langley Air Force Base/Langley Research Center and the NASA Research Facility that was so important in the beginning not of just this story, but the Space Program in general.

    I grew up in the shadow of these facilities, spent tons of time on and around them inside the military housing of numerous school friends, as an AFJrROTC Cadet from Hampton High School on the base for various functions and programs, and just generally immersed in the military service population of the area.

    Fort Monroe and Fort Eustis for the Army are within shouting distance of Langley, and of each other; Norfolk and Virginia Beach are across a bridge or two, depending on which flute you take, with the North Atlantic Fleet Headquarters of the Navy, Norfolk Naval Air Station and other associated facilities are right there also. The Coast Guard is stationed there, and there numerous Marines in the area who are connected with the activities of the Navy.

    The source of many of the Navy’s aircraft carriers, submarines and other ships of the fleet is Newport News Shipbuilding, which is located on the far end of the Peninsula, on the James River leading into the Chesapeake Bay and then into the Atlantic Ocean, which contains Hampton and Newport News, and is the biggest employer next to the military in the area for miles and miles around. My father obtained employment there after leaving the Army. His home was Virginia, which is how I ended up there from Indiana. My stepfather also worked for the Shipyard, and through him, I “inherited” several generations of Shipyard workers into my family. From grandfathers to great uncles, uncles, cousins in more than one level, plus brothers and brothers in law, and friends from school. Hampton is also their home. And Navy personnel attached to ships in there for repair live in temporary military quarters while they wait to go back out.

    Northern Virginia, where DC is located, is about 3 hours away, so, if you leave very early in the morning, could be a decent day trip. If you have a limited “mission” there, that is. Driving around IN DC is nothing like anything you’ve ever experienced, and a considerable challenge for the uninitiated!

    This was my world growing up, from the early 60’s to mid 70’s. And primarily in the Hampton area. The main thoroughfare through Hampton is a 6 to 8 lane divided city highway named Mercury Blvd, for that space program. It is the most heavily traveled, retail ‘infested” highway I have ever seen! There are streets all over named for various astronauts. The areas of military housing are no longer confined to inside the base, and they really weren’t when I was there. They are in the community, and are now built and operated under contracts by private companies who specialize in nothing else. Bethel Housing was the largest complex operated by the government, and was somewhat scattered about in sections. As it became necessary to enlarge it over time, different sections of property were purchased and developed, some in rather far reaching areas from the base. So, placing distinct groups of personnel close together, was sometimes only possible if a new area was being built and inhabited at the same time.

    When I was visiting friends, they lived in military owned and constructed housing that looked somewhat like what I see in these pictures, but many of my friends were children of enlisted personnel too, not just officers. And those could be much plainer. Kathy covered that all very well in her comment regarding her own experiences with military housing, so I won’t repeat it here.

    Also, there were families who either chose to live in the community instead of in base housing, or had to because none was available at the time, since on base housing was rather limited and seemed to be mostly for Officer’s families early on in its existence. Their housing was certainly more variable, and had more latitude in decorating, although if it were rental housing, they usually had more strict rules governing their decorative efforts. And since most military families of the time did not buy housing, due to its sometimes onerous disposal routine when military transfers could come with a “very short string” as I heard a couple of military moms call it, renting was the way to go.

    Housing allowances weren’t nearly as generous back then as they are now, nor were they tied to the local economy. Based on rank, time in grade and presence or absence of dependents, you got what you got, whether you lived on the high cost coasts, or the more budget friendly Midwest. A Staff Sergeant with 12 years of service with 3 kids stationed in Hampton, got the same as the Staff Sergeant with 12 years in service who was stationed in Minot, North Dakota with 3 kids. So, you had to weigh your budget very carefully based on where you were and what it cost to live there. Your home decor traveled with you from one base to the next, and frequently reflected regional preferences picked up in other areas.

    My strongest ties to Langley AFB though come from the fact that it was what us girls called a “target rich environment” for dates when we were older teens (18-19) and young women over 20! Of course, the city was the same to them! I met and dated, through connections from my other girlfriends and their dates, some of the young airmen stationed there, and one of them eventually became my husband! And, oddly enough, he was from Indiana. So, after he got out, we ended up back here in Indiana to live. Some of it was spent in Lafayette, next to West Lafayette, home to Purdue University, whose engineering programs educated many of the astronauts in the early space programs. Really, the only way you know you’ve gone from one to the other is because the sign on the side of the road tells you that you have!

    One of my uncles worked at the Langley/NASA facility in the very early 60’s in facility maintenance, taking care of the more intriguing portions of the center, involving direct maintenance and construction of major portions of it. He was an awesome welder, and a very creative individual, and was responsible for quite a few innovations that made that place function. Since this was all new to everyone, and something they had no precedent to follow, innovations are what put that place together from Day One. The original lunar landing practice gantries were built there and used to train the astronauts who would be landing and working in zero gravity. They were enormous of course, and visible from a long distance.

    It’s a very interesting area, from a historical standpoint, also being so close to Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, Virginia, in addition to its strong ties to the Space Program and the military history as well. The Battle of the Ironclads ~ the Monitor and the Merrimack, took place in the Chesapeake Bay area right off shore, among many other historical events in the early and even later history of this country. I miss it a great deal.

    The early episodes of this show should prove intriguing, as they already have my attention just through this article and the pictures of everything it contains! Thanks so much to you for putting this together and to Mark White for providing information and photos!!

    1. Grandma says:

      You’re so right about the housing. I was a very young enlisted Navy man’s wife in the late ’50s/early ’60s) and was assigned a Quonset hut temporarily when we moved to San Diego. After that, because we separated (it turned out he was a “girl in every port” kind), my 2 children and I were cast to the winds and could not get any kind of cheaper military housing. Enlisted wives were treated horribly in the services because of the ranking system between officers and enlisted personnel. We just weren’t “worthy” and seen as classless.

  6. Grama Robin says:

    The sets are to die for, and the clothes are right on! Don’t forget to keep an eye on the cars, too. Amazing! This is the stuff vintage trailer rallies are about.

  7. Joe Felice says:

    I think most of us could happily step into any of those homes, with changes only to the items of decor to suit our individual tastes. I am drawn also to the clothes and hairstyles. They remind me so much of my mom. And I like the little details, too. The ubiquitous card tables, mixers, curlers and bonnet hair dryers–all so typical of the era.

    As for the show itself, I like that it isn’t sanitized, and gives us a glimpse into the real lives of the astronauts, even if a bit racy. As a child when this all unfolded, I recall how perfect everyone seemed. No one had any faults, and that is also how we perceived our government to be. Alas, to grow up and become jaded and cynical when discovering the truth. But I think that’s one of the things that draws us to the period–a simpler, happier time.

    1. ShariD says:

      I think you’re right on the money about these heroes of our early lives, and their families even, seeming so perfect and without any of the faults of all the “common folk” around us. Even our government. I think there are two forces at work in this.

      One of them involved the sanitizing done by the media, in their portrayal of these people. Their heroism would be certainly diluted in our eyes if all the usual faults, foibles and fears of the “common folk” were revealed to everyone, and it would certainly shake our faith in the portrayal of those who they sought to give us as heroic. The same goes for our government.

      The other involves the inevitable loss of our childlike innocence, which allows us that unquestioning view of those given to us as heroic. Having it in our early lives is just as inevitable as losing it when we age and become adults, with a more realistic and less innocent view of the world.

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