Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bü, with both pink and blue

It's the birthday of my father-in-law, Friedrich: happy birthday, Bü! Last year I posted one of my favorite family photos, a picture of Friedrich (on the left) with his older brother Peter. (He looks so much like Jack in this photo.) They were the two oldest boys in a large family, born in the late 20s in Germany.

Bü's birthday coincided with a message from Lois, a friend of my mother's (who, like my mom, spent her childhood and youth in North Dakota). She shared this, on the topic of color coding for infants:

Your blog on the color pink reminds me of my bewilderment when I first paged through my Aunt Sophy's scrapbook from the 1920s. It contained all sorts of memorabilia as well as yellowing newspaper fragments relating to engagements, weddings, and births among her long gone circle of friends. At first, I felt mildly embarrassed for the printers in North Dakota who obviously hadn't a clue that pink was for girls, blue for boys--or perhaps they were color blind. 

My cousin Rodney's birth announcement (ca. 1926) [posted at the right] shows a baby swaddled in a pink-flowered blanket, and tucked into a pink basket! There were several announcements, and the color scheme was consistent. At last I went to the Internet and found that until about 1950, pink, as a watered down shade of red, a manly color, was assigned to boys; blue was considered more delicate, as well as being the color of the Virgin's robe, and hence more suitable for girls. I was so pleased to have the job printers of my home state vindicated! 

Lois also sent this photo of Pulmonaria, noting that its pink buds open to blue blooms: "best of both worlds." Thank you, Lois!

One little p.s. – it's so lovely to receive messages via email from readers,  especially when they include images and observations like this one. If you have a topic, link, video, or story that reminds you of with a blogpost here, please don't hesitate to contact me: ellenkmichel[at]gmail[dot]com.

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