Category Archives: Tucker – Tyler Adventure

How to Get a Job in New York City

How do you get a job in New York City? Especially when you’re an actress? In 1952, Rusty found a job as an NBC Guidette (or “Page” as they’re now called) by interviewing at an employment office.

All dressed up, in matching hats and shoes, Marialyce, Evelyn, and Billie Ann went to an employment office. “We asked, ‘How do we get a job? What can we do?’ The man [in the office] looked at us, turned around in his seat (trying not to laugh), got out his phone and called NBC,” Marialyce said. “We went to NBC to become Guidettes.” It was at NBC where someone nicknamed Marialyce “Rusty” for her deep reddish rust-colored hair. …

As an NBC Guidette, Rusty took tourists on tours of NBC studios. “We had all sorts of sound effects we used,” Rusty said. “We’d show them how to make the noises of horses clomping.”

Guidettes

From The Tucker – Tyler Adventure.

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On Board the Queen Mary | Snapshots and Sojourns

Rusty and Kit sailed on the RMS Queen Mary from September 8 – September 13, 1954. Rusty’s daughter spent a few hours on the ship in 2013. Read about her trip and see her photos here:

On Board the Queen Mary | Snapshots and Sojourns.

Art Deco Bar

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Classic Movies to Watch from the 1950s

What movies did Kit and Rusty possibly see in the early 1950s that might have inspired or influenced them before their trip to Europe? While I was writing and editing The Tucker – Tyler Adventure, I decided to go to the movies.

1950s movies

Rusty’s letters home were often sprinkled with the names of the movies Rusty and Kit saw while in Paris or Rome or even on the Queen Mary. Rusty wrote to her mother:

We walked down steps then to the very edge of the Seine. Remember in An American in Paris when Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron danced at nite along the river? And they came down the steps leading to the street, to this wide cobblestone way beside the Seine? – There we were!

I discovered that a lot of the “classic movies” I’d already seen were filmed in the 50s. Movies like Cinderella (1950) and Alice in Wonderland (1951), Singing in the Rain (1952), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Dial M for Murder (1954), and Rear Window (1954).

So I watched the movies that Rusty and Kit wrote about: An American in Paris (1951) where two friends fall in love with the same woman in Paris; Roman Holiday (1953) where a princess falls in love with an American newsman in Rome; and Three Coins in a Fountain (1954) where an American young woman falls in love with an Italian prince in Rome.

Next time you’re looking for a movie to rent, consider traveling abroad in the 1950s and view one of the movies Rusty and Kit watched.

From The Tucker – Tyler Adventure, written by Katherine Tucker and Marialyce Tyler with Nancy Cowan and Tara Taft.

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Filed under Armchair Travel, Europe, France, Italy, Tucker - Tyler Adventure, U.S.

What Did They Cook in the 1950s?

What were you, your mother, or grandmother cooking in 1954, the year that Rusty and Kit went to Europe? If you didn’t live through it, and the recipes have long been thrown away, consider these facts: in 1953, Cheese Whiz and Saran Wrap were invented. In 1954, the first TV dinner, Trix cereal, and peanut M&Ms were introduced, Burger King was founded, and food rationing finally ended in Great Britain.

If you’ve been searching for an old family recipe, you might want to check out these blogs and cookbooks.

Mid Century Menu is a blog devoted to remembering and trying out recipes from the mid 1900s. There are lots of recipes for jello salads, hot dogs, casseroles, cocktails, and even Spam!

Another blog, Hey, My Mom Used to Make That! is devoted to vintage recipes. The blog is organized by decade, with old photos to complement such recipes for Tuna N’ Waffles (made with that versatile ingredient, cream of mushroom soup), and Crisco’s Chocolate Fluff Cake.

Taste of Home published the winning recipes from 1954 Pillsbury’s Grand National Recipe Contest. The winning recipe was My Inspiration Cake, a pecan and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The second place winner was Blueberry Boy-Bait! Other recipes posted include Cinnamon Nut Crisps, Ye Olde Saffron Braids, and Maple Syrup Layer Cake.

For more savory recipes check out the book Feeding the Nation: Nostalgic Recipes and Facts from 1940-1954. Recipes include Steak and Potato Pie and Stuffed Marrow and Eggless Sponge Pudding. Hmmmm.

Photo from Seattle Municipal Archives licensed by CC under 2.0.

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Single in New York in 1954

When you want to be an actress, living in New York City is a dream, especially for a girl from the midwest. For Marialyce Tyler, moving from South Dakota to the Big City in 1954 was exciting. With a couple of college friends, she lived in two different apartments on the Upper West Side of New York, right near Central Park, on West 74th Street and West 68th Street.

West 74th Street

Rusty described the apartment on West 74th Street as the old Borden Mansion. According to Rusty, they lived in what was the old library.

We were on the first floor, a 14-foot ceilinged room with a huge marble fireplace, tall windows draped in dark red velvet and then beyond a huge room that had three twin-sized beds, a very large and long dark mahogany dining table, chairs, etc., a small one-person-at-a-time kitchen, and beyond that a bathroom that had been made out of a closet.

From The Tucker – Tyler Adventure, written by Katherine Tucker and Marialyce Tyler and edited by Nancy Cowan and Tara Taft.

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Writing a Travel Memoir

I knew my mother had written letters home from her trip to Europe in 1954, but I had never seen them. In fact, I had no idea they still existed. Until one day in 2007.

With plans to rent a slide projector so that we could look at Mom’s slides of her trip, I asked her what it was like to be on the Queen Mary. I was looking for the details, and she referred me to her letters. Letters?! What letters? Much to my surprise, my mother’s letters were in a box in the next room waiting to be read. All 69 of them.

I began reading them out loud. Written on airmail stationery, in black or green ink (Mom’s favorite color), the letters were written to my grandmother back home in South Dakota. I stumbled over the words, squinting at her writing, and promised to type up the letters so that she could read them on her own.

TTA Letters

As I typed up the letters a month later, I was captivated. The letters were full of life and personality and included details of the people she met, the food she ate, the places she visited, and the unplanned events that just happened.

The following spring, I showed the letters to Mom and her friend, Kit. In 1954, Kit and Mom (or Rusty as Kit called her) traveled for 3 months together, from New York to Europe, calling their trip, “The Tucker ~ Tyler Adventure.”

As I watched the two women in their 70s giggle at their memories, I began taking notes. I learned that Kit’s families had saved her letters as well, but it wasn’t until 2010, that I approached Kit’s daughter with the idea to put the letters of their trip into a book.

The Tucker ~ Tyler Adventure, written by Katherine Tucker and Marialyce Tyler, with their daughters, Nancy Cowan and Tara Taft, will be published soon. For the next several weeks, I will include a few background details about their trip, extras that weren’t included in the actual book, and I’ll let you know when the book is available.

It’s 1954. Pack your suitcase and get ready to travel to Europe with Kit and Rusty aboard The Tucker ~ Tyler Adventure!

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The Lost Art of Travel Letter Writing

When I traveled for 3 months in Australia, I felt a little guilty. Not about the trip. I was happy to be there. I was in between jobs and paying my own way. I was in my 20s and without any responsibilities. But I knew I should be writing letters home. Descriptive and detailed letters like my mother had written to her mother when she traveled to Europe in 1954.

But it took so much time, and I just didn’t have the patience. It was all I could do to keep a journal and write a postcard now and then, and that was in the days before email and texting.

When my mother traveled throughout Europe in 1954, she wrote 35 letters home in just 3 months. Plus postcards.

Postcards

Her writing was so detailed and descriptive that her hometown newspaper published excerpts of her letters (after her mother edited them, of course).

Fort Pierre Times

I still keep a written journal when I travel, though I usually start out strong and by the end of the trip, I’ve slowed down or even stopped; the details of the last few days left only to memory.

Journals

 

Though I blog about my travels, and document the details with photographs, letter writing is a more intimate mode of expression. There’s a difference in the process as well as the outcome when typing and using a mouse to record travels vs. the hand to pen to paper approach.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to share your travels? Or even kept a journal?

 

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Filed under Armchair Travel, Europe, Menu 2, Tucker - Tyler Adventure