A significant cultural icon is no longer with us. Barbara Billingsley, better known to the world as June Cleaver, mother of Beaver, died yesterday at the ripe old age of 94. She will best be remembered for vacuuming while wearing pearls and high heels. Some people give her a bad rap for this. They say it isn't realistic. I say there are far worse things for which to be remembered. And everybody needs a little glamour in this ho-hum, humdrum life of dusty living rooms and dirty dishes. Hurray for June, pearls and all!
Before I encountered her as Beaver's mom thanks to reruns, I knew her best as Nanny on "Muppet Babies." From what I can recall of the animated program, we never saw her character's face. Just those striped stocking legs.
And as for those pearls and high heels---the pearls were used to cover up a hollow at her throat and the high heels to disguise the growth of Wally and the Beave as the sitcom progressed. It's always interesting to discover the origin of trademark looks. Personally, I always envied her outfits. I love fifties clothes. A lot of my skirts and dresses have a "classic" vintage look. Too bad I can't pull off those big poofy skirts. At a little over five feet, the look would be less than flattering; my mother always insists that those outfits were made for tall women! Not to mention the fact that I might get some strange looks.
Want to be a whiz in the kitchen like Mrs. Cleaver? Check out this blog with lots of fifties style, June Cleaver Cooking Club.
For a mom on a mission inspired by June, check out A Year in the Life of June Cleaver.
Go here for more on June---I mean Barbara Billingsley.