Category Archives: Reflections

Meet the New Gal

Silka c. 1964

Silka c. 1964

Here’s the newest member of the collection.  Her name is Silka c. 1964.  All of the drawings are named after Mom’s models, friends and family.  Silka was my grandmother. Mom’s mom.  Unlike this willowy drawing, Silka was 4’10” and quite stocky.  But she exuded the confidence seen here.  She was born in 1883 in a town called Little Constantine near Kiev Russia.  When she was 15, she started a business making corsettes.  She and my Grandpa Lazar immigrated to the US in 1904.  She wasn’t happy here and longed to go back.  Lazar agreed and they did, but upon returning after a while, she realized she had made a mistake and in 1907, they returned and settled in Brooklyn.  She was a business woman and had several dress making stores.

Cilka and Lazar. Note that she's standing on books pushed under the carpet.

Cilka and Lazar. Note that she’s standing on books pushed under the carpet.

 

She wanted all four of her daughters to have a career and Mom was the only one who realized that. She was so proud of her.  Like Mom, Silka was way ahead of  her time.  So every time you look at this beautiful drawing,  please think of my Grandma Silka and see a little Jewish lady blazing a trail.

Grandma Silka

Grandma Silka

The Silka Print and Notecard are now available on our site.  

 

 

 

 

A Class Reunion and Norman Norell

photo ©Milton Greene

photo ©Milton Greene

I was at my 37th high school reunion this past weekend.  I rekindled a friendship with Cathy Morrow, now an interior designer in Atlanta.  Cathy lived on 80th street and I could see her apartment windows from my own. We were on 81st.  She and I never knew that both our mothers were in the fashion industry until last weekend!

Her mother, Clare Eggleston Morrow, was a model for the famous designer Norman Norell. (One of my very favorite coats is a Norell.  I will never give it up, even though it’s showing some wear these days.  Off white wool, A line with big black buttons and a raw silk lining. Ahh…But I digress…) In the iconic photo above by Milton Greene, Cathy’s mom  is the one in the red dress on the left.  Stunning!  She told me that these dresses were known as Norell’s Mermaid Dresses and each sequin was hand sewn.  The look was inspired by the painting that hangs behind them.  She said her mother told her that in those days, there was no dark eyeshadow, so they used burnt pulverized champagne corks (how very chic!) to make the powder.  All the models were so devoted to Norell that they all cut their hair to complete the look.  The other gals in this photo were, left to right, the aforementioned Clare, Dorine McKay, unidentified model standing in for Yvonne Presser and Claudia Morgan.

Clare, Dorine, Yvonne and Claudia were Norell’s showroom models. They traveled with him to the Orient and Europe during the 1960’s.  They all became very close friends and each adored him.  What a world they must have seen in those days!!

Cathy’s mom and Norell also shared another bond.  Both were from small towns in Indiana. Clare first moved to Dayton, Ohio where she started her modeling career.  A garment rep that she met there told her she had what it takes to be a successful New York model and so she decided to take a leap to the big times.  She lived in a woman’s hotel, had one little black dress and a pair of white gloves and became a great success.  She gave birth to Cathy in 1958 when she was in her mid 30’s and went right back to work.  Another working mother before it became the norm.

I’m so glad to have found my classmate again and learn about Clare. And don’t get me started about all the vintage Norell clothing that Cathy has in her closet…

And if you’re looking for beautiful interior design and home staging in the Atlanta area, please give my friend, Cathy Morrow,  a call at her company Room Reflections. After all, she inherited her style from her mom!

 

Celebrate Hilda’s Big Day

Mom and me baby bw011-Edit

August 4, 1958, Hilda was in Doctor’s Hospital on the Upper East Side of Manhattan giving birth to me, her only child. She was almost 45 years old and had been married 20 years. She decided she wanted a child and had no worries that there would be any problems. Nowadays, this is a much more common occurrence, but 55 years ago, it was almost unheard of. Mom was a ground breaker in many ways.

I can’t believe that I am 55 years old.  In my mind, I’m 25 years younger.  And people say that I don’t look my age, whatever 55 is supposed to look like.  But I do know that the excitement and success of having this new business makes me feel like I shouldn’t be getting the Senior discount at the supermarket.  Thanks Mom, for keeping me young!  You still are taking care of me.

Sandy c. 1957

Sandy c. 1957

Sandy circa 1957 is one of my very favorite drawings.  I just love her outfit!  You all give me  a gift every time I hear how much you love Mom’s work, so for my birthday present to you, from August 3 thru 5, a 9×12 Limited Edition Print of Sandy will be on sale for $37.50.  She’s 50% off!  I want everyone to be able to have her hanging in their boudoir.

Sandy is printed on a heavyweight fine art paper called BFK Rives, mimicking the look and feel of the original.  She is numbered and her name and date are hand written in the corner.  “The White Cabinet” seal is also embossed on the page to ensure that your have the real thing.

Thanks everyone.  I think this is going to be one of the best birthdays ever!

A Little About Bernie

This whole venture is all about my mother and her immense talent, but when I was growing up, the artist that everyone looked up to wasn’t her.  It was my father, Bernard Glasgow.  He was a fine art painter whose work was exhibited at places like the Brooklyn Museum with the likes of Georgia O’Keefe. He was represented by 57th Street galleries in Manhattan.  Mom and Dad met at when they were taking classes at the Art Student’s League.  In those days, anyone who was serious about art went there.  Dad was a class favorite of teachers  Rico Le Brun and Jon Corbino.  He was a talent.

Bernie was born in 1914 in the Bronx.   He couldn’t wait to get to Manhattan and rented a cold water loft there when he was 17 and gradually moved out of his parent’s apartment. He went to NYU and then the League.  His style of work matched the progress of the century.  He started off realistic.

The Picnic circa 1935

The Picnic circa 1935

In 1941, he won a prestigious WPA award to paint a U.S. Post Office mural that still hangs in Salem, West Virginia.  (I have to do a road trip soon.)

PO Mural

He served in North Africa during WWII, but saw no action.  Stationed in Casablanca, he painted murals and camouflage and was honorably discharged as a Staff Sargeant.  After the war, his fascination turned to Cubism.

Purple Nude

Purple Nude

and then Abstract Expressionism.

He pretty much stopped painting by the early 1960’s and became an art director at a Madison Avenue ad agency.  And yes, Mad Men does bring me back.  It’s like a recreation of place I remember visiting as a kid.  He was a curious man, always creating something, whether it was designing a desk or taking photographs.  He loved kids and was a favorite parent to my friends.  He was always taking us to the amusement park, beach or, his favorite, the many NY museums.

Some of his paintings were out in the world and many were in our apartment.  When he was about 70, he got a call from a gallery who was trying to find Bernie Glasgow. They had just bought one of his paintings at an auction.  Coincidentally, the gallery was a block away from where we lived.  I walked over with him and there was a large, bright realistic painting he had done of a party in Rockport, Massachusetts in the 1930’s.  He had been Jon Corbino’s teaching assistant there.  I remember him looking over the painting and I could see him traveling back to those years.  Then he asked how much it was selling for.  The dealer said $7500.  They had a nice talk and when we walked home he stopped and said “When she said $7500 I almost had a heart attack”.  He couldn’t believe his work could sell for that amount of money.  The painting did sell a few months later, but unfortunately, Dad had passed away by the time I found out.

Over the years, Mom and I found renewed interest in his work and it’s now represented at the Papillon Gallery in Los Angeles.  Dad was a doting father. He would have been thrilled to know that he was able to take care of me and Mom long after his death with the sale of his paintings.

He was the real deal.

Bernie Glasgow (1914-1986)

Bernie Glasgow (1914-1986)

So Many Faces

The ease of Mom’s drawings makes you forget how truly hard it must have been to bring a new spirit to each drawing.  The more I look, the more I see that each gal has her own unique personality.  I wonder where she started.  Did the clothing lead the way?  Or the real model? Or did the client dictate a specific look?  With a few lines of a face, she captured sophistication or wonder or sweetness.  Maybe haughty, but never mean.  That wasn’t Mom’s style.

Here are a few…

Face Collage

 

and of course, here’s my favorite…

Hilda in the 1920's

Hilda in the 1920’s

 

Thanksgiving and More

I am thankful for so many things.  My husband, my step children, my friends, my family, my animals (3 dogs, 2 cats and a horse – crazy!!)… and this new business venture.  The White Cabinet has made me happier than I ever could have imagined.  Start ups aren’t an easy thing, but the path seems to have been laid out before me and as long as I follow down the road with open and adventurous eyes, Hilda’s drawings will be enjoyed world wide.  What a gift she has given me to wake up every morning inspired with new ideas, excited about what the day will bring.  

I am a lucky lady.

As a very small business, to celebrate Small Business Saturday, we are having a very special sale.  On November 26, for 24 hours only, all notecards and prints at The White Cabinet will be 50% off.  It’s our way to say thank you for making life so much fun!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Ad Men and Bunnies and Planes, Oh My!

It must be because The White Cabinet has had such success that the major television networks have introduced two new show this seasons that are set in the early 1960’s.  Or maybe it’s Mad Men. Who knows.  In any case, I’ve just finished watching both and I have some thoughts. Both are about women trying to spread their wings.

Mad Men, as we all know, holds a very high standard.  The characters, storyline, fashion all paint a broader image of the early 60’s.  Sure, there’s probably some stereotyping there, but hell, women did have fewer choices and were probably really uncomfortable in those girdles.  And here’s the most important part – it’s just really fun to watch.  Now The Playboy Club and Pan Am have jumped on the bandwagon.  I, for one, couldn’t wait for the fall season to start.  Here are my reviews, for what it’s worth.

Playboy Club makes you realize how really good Mad Men is because they make it look so easy.  I had reservations about watching a show about the bunnies parading around and the men who oogle them, but it was promoted as more than that.  Life from the perspective of the women.  Okay, that could maybe be interesting.  Again, not as many opportunities in that time and this was a good way to make a living.  What were they really thinking about the guys as they served up the Manhattans?  How did this financial freedom change their lives? How did it affect their family life? How did it change them and their perspective of men in general? Did it change them?  Now turn that into an entertaining show, like the aforementioned AMC hit.  Here’s what I got.  The new cigarette girl (CG) is asked to dance by this kind of surly looking guy (SG).  She agrees and when he puts his hand on her butt, she changes partners to the handsome young attorney (HYA) who is an up an coming politician who also happens to be the boyfriend of the head bunny.  Cut to the CG restocking her tray in the back room when SG barges in and attacks her.  HYA happens to wander in and a fight ensues.  CG is thrown on her back and stabs SG with her stiletto in the jugular.  He dies.  HYA tells her that that was the mob boss (it’s Chicago, after all) and if anyone finds him there, they’d both be goners.  So without anyone noticing, they drag the body to HYA’s car, drive him to the river, wrap him in chains (that happened to be in the trunk) and dumped the body.  After that, back to the club where a man approaches HYA. He wants him to work for the family again. HYA says he can’t. Man says if he doesn’t, he can forget about his political career.  Oh please. At this point, I had to turn it off.  I tried, but it really was just so not Mad Men. I could take it no longer.  And even if it’s the fashions I was watching for, all I saw, for the most part, was Bunny garb. And it was all about HYA, not the women.  And it was dark. The club was dark. It  takes place at night… There was no lightness both literally and figuratively.  I probably should have watched until the end, but the story was so unimaginative that I couldn’t imagine that changing in the second part. I could stand it no longer. It’s been deleted it from my Tivo list.

Now on to Pan Am.  Loved it! Okay, From the first moment it started, the era unfolds. The clothes are FABULOUS.  And all types of clothes, from beatnik to wedding dress and everything in between.  The hair. The makeup.  Now this is fun! Through flashbacks, we learn about the characters.  There’s even Cold War intrigue.  Not a route I could have foreseen watching the promos.  The characters have the potential to be  interesting and to give us more insight into those years.  There’s the smart Greenwich Village girl (Christina Ricci) who has a beatnik boyfriend. I hope they show more of that world (and clothing). There are sisters, one of whom has just been recruited by the CIA to do some espionage and one who walked out on her wedding day to find a more interesting life.  There’s the French stewardess who had the affair with the, unbeknownst to her, married man and the original stewardess spy who is retiring from that game (we think).  The male characters aren’t as intriguing.  They are pretty but pretty much stereotypes which I think is great.  It focuses all the attention on the ladies.  I get the feeling that was the intention.  Yeah, there were some cheesy parts, like the flashback in Cuba. The plane was set to take off with rebels from the botched Bay of Pigs invasion. One stewardess (the original spy) was missing and the co pilot boyfriend goes to find her.  They’re standing on the tarmac. It’s dark. He asks her to marry him… Maybe a nod to Casablanca (she said hopefully)?  That’s okay. The moment passed.  I’m on board with this one. I can’t wait until next week!

What do you think about these shows? I’d love to here.

Earthquake and The White Cabinet

Just when I was having a bit of difficulty coming up with this weeks blog,  the earthquake hit. I was sitting at my desk, looking into a blank page on a computer screen, editing and the re-editing my post, when the house started swaying.  I live at the very end of Long Island, NY, near the Hamptons.  This is beautiful part of Long Island that is comprised of farms, vineyards and beach for the most part. At first, I thought it was my imagination.  I looked at my cup of coffee, the first that I had had in about a year since hot flashes had started (btw, eliminating caffeine does help) and thought that I had the jitters.  I was feeling a bit disoriented.  And then I heard The White Cabinet (now it must be written with the first letter in caps.  After all, it is THE white cabinet).  It talks! The steel doors had been open and they were squeaking. I looked and yes, they were moving.  As our house is about 100 years old, I was worried that the boiler had blown up or a support beam had given way.  I got the dogs and went outside and got a call from my husband who works at Brookhaven National Lab.  He said we had an earthquake which meant that our house wasn’t falling apart.  What a relief!  So now in addition to The White Cabinet being the home of Mom’s beautiful drawings, a symbol of her life’s work, and a booming business, it has a new title – Earthquake Indicator.

A mundane little blog, I know.  But a bit of fun anyway.

It’s Not Easy Doing Blogs…

I’ve noticed that the first month I started this new venture it was so easy finding fun little stories to write.  Everything new. All those drawings. All those memories.    It does get harder after that first enthusiasm wanes a bit.  Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean enthusiasm for The White Cabinet.  We are going strong. But friends have emailed how much they enjoy the blog.  Oy vey! The pressure! The blog…  How do I keep this going so people still want to read it?  And then a fortunate meeting occurred.  I was at my friend Sara’s house. She has one of the original drawings and  I came to photograph it.  Her friend Vicki was there and told me she loved the blog.  I expressed my worry.  Her response really revitalized me.  She said that the blogs she loved were those that were inspiring.  I realized that, while I had been thinking that Hilda’s Blog was about the business and the drawings, it was also about deeper more personal feelings that could be called inspiring.

I’m an only child.  We were a close knit trio. Dad died 25 years ago and Mom lived almost 19 years longer.  When she died there was an incredible sense of loss that I really can’t put into words.  If you’re lucky enough to have had a loving mother, then you know what I mean.  Life goes on.  My life did in a big way.  I got married for the first time at age 49!  I still missed her so. But when I came upon this idea of showing her work,  that stopped.  In the Jewish tradition, on the anniversary of a death, you light a Yahrzeit candle.  In the past, every year  I had anticipated that date weeks in advance.  But this year was different.  I forgot about it completely. I didn’t think about that day 6 years before and what went on.   I didn’t think about the memorial service or the scattering of the ashes. I forgot to get the candle.  I realized it was a sign that I was finally focusing on her life instead.  There was, after all, just one day of her death, but almost 91 years of her life.

Everyone reacts to a death in different ways.  We have to mourn, but after a time, it’s just exhausting.  I am so grateful that I found this outlet  and THANK YOU HILDA for being such a creative person!  I truly do hope that, along with the enjoyment of the drawings, this also encourages others in the same boat to find their “White Cabinet”.