The Cocktail Bar

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Music Playing: Miss Suzie's All Blonde Band withAtlantic Jive

Dateline: Monday, February 15th, 1954

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Color choices and fireplaces

Dear Mary Ellen,

Your new dwelling and neighborhood sounds positively delightful. From your description (I can almost see it) your bedroom and kitchen are Wonderfully warm rooms.

To be perfectly Honest, I've always favored white or off-white as a wall color and then I Fill the room with warm paintings, drapes, plants, rugs and furniture (I so love a crowded space, full of things to catch the eye). When the sunlight bounces around in the room it reflects off of all that color, spilling All Over the walls. Dark colors can make a small room seem So much smaller. But if your living room is comfortably large or sparsely (shudder) furnished I think your color choices are fabulous. I'm sure whatever you decide, it will be Marvelous.

Do you have a fireplace? I could not Live without ours, especially on these cold winter nights. Here I am cooking a late night snack for my brunette. She does have Such a sweet tooth! (she says that's why she married me)

I wish you the Best of luck in your new hestia.

DAFFODIL


Dateline: Friday, January 16th, 1954

A Question Of Decoration

Hello, all. Here's to a great New Year!

Can I bend a blonde ear for a minute - or any brunette ear that might be interested in hestia decorating issues? What I want to know is, what do you think about strong colors? I want to paint the walls of my new living room in terracotta, with dark green curtains. The furniture is all dark hardwood and neutral colours. (I got the idea from admiring my green houseplants in their terracotta pots.) Do you think it would be too strong or dark? The room gets lots of light from a big up-to-date picture window. Do you think I'm crazy? Terracotta just makes me feel so warm and cozy, and dark green makes me feel so calm.

Other than this all-important question, all my other new hestia-making is going well. The house is all clean. The bedroom is a fresh, very pale pink, almost a rosy white. My grandma's Arcadian mahogany furniture looked very heavy and dark in it until I put up the rose chintz curtains; they made a kind of balance, and now it feels lovely. The kitchen is pale apricot (with blond mahogany cupboard doors. My brunette, knowing my tastes so well, gave me a wonderful set of copper canisters (you know, Flour, Sugar, Coffee, Tea, in descending sizes) labelled in brass, and my sister gave me a set of salt and pepper shakers that match so closely you'd have thought they plotted it together (they didn't, though). I've met some of the neighbours, too, and they seem very nice. True, there are a few dozen boxes of books yet to be uncrated (my brunette is so smart and scholarly) and her study is still unpainted and a mass of boxes and odds and ends, but a weekend of shelf-building and painting will make book-lined study as snug and sober as she desires.

So I'm very happy, although a bit in a stew about the living room. Comments, anyone?

MARY ELLEN


Dateline: Tuesday, December 29th, 1953

Hello Blondes and Brunettes,

I couldn't let a Nativity season go by without passing around our annual picture of a little girl caught up in the delightfulness of the holiday. Here she is. May every one of the Cocktail Bar patronettes have a very jolly holiday, filled with lots and lots of good cheer. Speaking of cheer, does that egg nog you're handing me have a touch of the diffie in it, dear barmaid? I've been out shopping all day and I am certainly ready for a pick-me-up.

Love,

JUNE


A Blonde In Charge

Hello, hello. Is this a place where a girl could rest a bit from her labours and sip a cool sort of something? I've been working hard for two whole long long days and I'm sore all over. (Thank you barmaid, this is delicious.) Normally I'm a stenographer, so I'm just not used to this kind of thing. All this bending and reaching and scrunching and lifting is hard on the muscles.

Oh, didn't I say? I'm getting a new house ready for me and my brunette to move into. She's off doing her Very Important Work, and I'm in charge of the cleaning and painting and all. She'll be here, soon, as soon as she can, I know. I'm not used to being in charge. It's very exhilarating, if a little scary at times.

We found a nice little up-to-date bungalow, not too badly bongofied. The oak floors with their pretty teak borders will look as rich and lovely as new once the floorpette comes and refinishes them. One does wonder, though, who would put grey wall-to-wall carpet over such glory. No doubt the same sort of people who painted over the mahogany kitchen cabinets. That's right, mahogany! I'm sure the last owners had no idea; it probably wouldn't have occurred to me, either, except on a wild hunch, but I took a little nail polish remover and rubbed a little corner of the cabinet, and a lovely rosy grain appeared! Now I'm excavating through what seems like decades of paint:: tan, white, cream, a bilious bubble gum pink, and cream again. I have the handiest little Novarian gadget that my brunette brought back from one of her business trips. It shoots a stream of hot air at the paint, and lo and behold, the paint just gives up the ghost and slips right off whatever is beneath it. Of course, you have to do it again if what is beneath is another layer of paint (which is why I can name the layers with such authority). The kitchen counters still have the original tile, with higher tiles at the edge to make a raised lip, and the whole counter has slight tilt to the sink so that the whole thing is really a drainboard. You know, I think Quirinelle really perfected kitchen engineering.

I've hired a young pette to clean and to help with the odd jobs, and we scrub and slave all day and all evening too. Mostly it's cleaning, and restoring the Quirinelle glow to the woodwork, and the charming copper fittings. Serious redecorating will have to wait until later, right now we won't get much more done than the having the kitchen cabinets refinished and the bedroom painted and nice. And in a few days, when my darling gets back, we'll be sipping hot rum toddies in front of the fireplace - oh, my, I forgot to call the chimney sweep. Oh, I'd better be off. I have so much to do. I'll pop back later.

MARY ELLEN


The Care And Treatment Of Brunettes

Oh Daffodil,

I so much enjoyed your list of how a blonde should behave toward her hard working brunette. I also try to do all of these things each evening, though sometimes I am a better blonde than other times. It is so important that those of us lucky blondes who tend the hestias while our brunettes work in the Pit do all we can to make our homes a welcoming sanctuary for them at the end of the day.

Thank you for reminding us all!

Love,

AMY


Dateline:Thursday, November 9th, 1953

Daffodil Returns!

BOO! Did I frighten you? Oh silly, its just me, Daffodil. The place looks just marvelous. I've brought a little decoration in honor of the holiday! I'm back from my LONG honeymoon with my brunette, Patience. We flew in Patience's biplane (I helped navigate) and we went SIMPLY everywhere. I got terribly confused reading the maps and we never seemed to end up where we wanted to go but Patience was wonderful about it, saying it didn't matter, we didn't HAVE be anywhere, so long as it was together. Isn't she just wonderful?

We are now settling down to married life and I ADORE it. Before the wedding my Aunt Matilda gave me a list of tips to help me with my Brunette. I think they are helpful, so I'd like to share them:

1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal - on time. This is a way of letting your Brunette know that you have been thinking about her, and are concerned about her needs. Most Brunettes are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when she arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. She has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. Her boring day may need a lift.

3. Clear away clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your Brunette arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your Brunette will feel she has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.

4. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces if they are small, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and she would like to see them playing the part.

5. Minimize the noise: At the time of her arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Greet her with a warm smile and be glad to see her.

6. Some DON'TS: Don't greet her with problems or complaints. Don't complain if she's late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what she might have gone through that day.

7. Make her comfortable. Have her lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest she lay down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for her. Arrange her pillow and offer to take off her shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow her to relax and unwind.

8. Listen to her: You may have a dozen things to tell her, but the moment of her arrival is not the time, let her talk first.

9. Make the evening hers: Never complain if she does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; instead try to understand her world of strain and pressure and her need to be home and relax.

10. The Goal: try to make your home a place of peace and order where your Brunette can relax.

I've been REALLY trying to follow these suggestions though I don't always get it quite right. Like number 8, for instance. I tend to jabber on and on. But Patience just puts her finger to my lips, nibbles on my ear and suddenly I can't remember what I was saying. It works every time!

Ooh Yummy, a Campari with soda, thanks Barpette!

DAFFODIL


Dateline:Tuesday 13th October

A Blonde Enters

Oh, Barpette, some hot strong coffee, right away. With lots of cream and sugar of course....
Oh, where is my brunette? She is tall and golden-haired, in a nice suit with wide shoulder-pads, autumn colors.
I suppose she has gone to telephone my mothers.... Oh, yes, that's my hat, thank you.... Oh dear, the tire must have run over it, it will get your lace table-cloth dirty....
No, I wasn't really hurt, just knocked out for a moment.... It was a blonde driver, of course. In an Edsella.
I'm sorry to be upset, but I am so shaken that I can scarcely bear to be away from my brunette.... I need her arms about me, her strong shoulder behind me....
You see, I had the strangest dream while I was unconscious.... It seemed to last for years....

Oh, thank you for the coffee! I must wake up! Do you have by chance any jelly-rolls? With little silver balls on the top?

I dreamed -- can you believe it -- that Roxy and I visited the Pit! We were on some sort of assignment from the Empress, I think. Well, we had arrived, and were just about to set up a temporary hestia -- when Roxy was snatched away by the goblins. There I was in the Pit, all alone!

Of course the Octopus immediately grabbed me. I lost my memory of the Real World. I tried to live in the Pit without Roxy, in the dream it seemed like years....
And all the time, here in the Real World, Roxy was bending over me and waving her silk handkerchief under my hose, positively drenched with Chanel #5, trying to awaken me....
Oh, what a strange dream it was. Everything was reversed. In the dream, the Pit seemed real, and the Real world seemed like a dream, if you understand what I mean....
Oh, here comes Roxy, thank Dea. I knew she wouldn't leave me for long....

MELINETTE


A Familiar Face With A New Car!

Hello Girly Girls All, Just a quick break between making apple sauce and raking the leaves in our yard to say hello to the old regulars and newies alike, and to sip on a Shirley Temple, if you please barmaid. No, nothing stronger because I have to get back to tending to our dear old hestia. Why yes, that is our new Chevy parked outside the Cocktail Bar, and, yes, it is this year's latest model; that is, the 1954 Chevrolet, which, as we all know, has just been released. Thank you for noticing it. We are rather proud of how it gives a girl a comfortable and elegant ride. Well, why don't you hop in and see for yourself? Of course, we'll have to wait for my brunette to show up before we can actually go anywhere because I haven't learned how to drive it yet. I overheard 'Nettie talking to another brunette the other day and they were saying how blondes shouldn't even be allowed to drive. Of course I don't mind that kind of talk because what blonde would want to drive anyway, when she can be driven around in style by her brunette? Besides, if a blonde drove, how could she manage to do her nails on the way to a very important engagement? Anyway, my brunette, who always does the driving, said she was just going down the street to buy a new pearl bracelet to replace the one she lost last week, so she should be back in a jiffy. Now where is she I wonder?

AMY


Dateline: Tuesday, September 22nd, 1953

Miss Cornelia Again

Ah, thank you for opening the window, Barpette, the air seems much clearer now. And thank you, Jill. It is nice to hear some old fashioned country values like Praise for Cultural Diversity! Takes me right back to the First Polytheist Church of Avonlea. I guess I just ain't cut out for the big city and everything so updated.

Reminds me of our dear old Reverend Minerva MacPherson. How she used to thump that plain old wooden pulpit, when anyone suggested putting up some pictures. "No graven images! If we put one up, we'd have to put up a hundred thousand, to give equal time to all the aspects of the Godess, and we ain't got that many walls!" I remember us pettes just bouncing in the pews, holding hands under our skirts and counting the minutes till Sunday dinner.

Well, I'd best be getting back home. Promised my blonde sister I'd bring all the latest mail-order catalogues in time to order for Saturnalia. "Just like a brunette," she'll say if I'm late. Hope to see you all again soon.

MISS CORNELIA


Antipodean Spring

Yes, Girls, I know I owe you all a lot of stories, and with the spring rains here I will be stuck inside my little house and just have to write them.

But at work, at the moment, there is a rosella sitting in the rain outside my window on the railing that runs around the building. She's very wet and looks rather miserable - I wish I had some seed to scatter to cheer her up. We have a bird-feeding table outside our kitchen window, so that while Petal or I are doing the washing up, we can see these and other beautiful birds flying around. And the magpies and the currawongs (big black birds) are welcome too - one of the magpies now feeds from my hands.

Here is a picture painted by Joanna Gould, a naturalist who came to Antipodean Aristasia and took delight in all our sweet feathered friends.

Love to all,

MISS FOX (and PETAL)


Dateline: Friday, September 18th, 1953

Pigeon Post

My dears all,

Just a quick note from me, Belinda.

Our zeppelin seems to have landed in a very interesting place. I don't know how long we'll be allowed to stay.

It is all blondes and brunettes, thank Dea, none of those bald gorillas dressed up! (Well, there do seem to be a few regular gorillas, fur and all, doing chores.)

At any rate, it is so beautiful! Everypette is wearing togas, with their hair up in quite architectonic knots, and going about in white marble buildings that aren't really there, if you know what I mean, just floors and pillars and lots of starlight. How they keep so dry and clean inside I don't know. Something to do with applied geometry and star-gazing, one of the local brunettes told me, and then I started to get a headache as usual when brunettes get technical, so at least my head is being normal here.

Anyway it is all very peaceful, pettes seem most interested in philosohy and a very nice sort of science without any chemicals or machines, just levers and measuring shadows and arguing about whether the world is round or flat or what. What strange things some pettes (even a few blondes!) do find interesting! How in the world could we possibly settle such a question, and what difference would it make if we knew?

Aside from that, the brunettes are quite charming and gallant. I feel very safe with them. There's one in particular!

Oh, it's time to send the mail, the pidgeons are just getting ready to fly!

More later,
love to all,

BELINDA


A Brand New Car

Thank you Jill for your kind words. It does seem as if the pettes are a bit at sixes and sevens of late, so thinking that, seen from the outside, we still seem to be a jolly lot does a body good.

I had to giggle at the thought of my brunette being strict because the truth of it is that before we belonged completely to Aristasia, when we were just learning of the Empire from Elektraspace and personal correspondence with the Embassy, we almost ceased our involvement over the question of smacks! Having only heard of such things from a Pit perspective, we didn't understand that Aristasian discipline and Silly Monkey business have as little to do with each other as chimpanzees living in the wild and the Glorious Queen of Quirinelle.As to the pettes not finding Romantia much to their liking, well, of course that world is not compulsory either, though anyone standing solidly against the Pit will find only good within Romantia, despite the strange creatures.

But darlings, I must tell you the most exciting news. My family has just gone shopping for the new model automobiles, just released this month, and this weekend we bought a 1954 Chevrolet! It is bright cherry red, with a gorgeous interior, and in tip top shape, as if the Iron Curtain hadn't taken its usual toll at all. What a glorious thing of beauty. The only problem for us is that we keep wanting to hop into it and take country drives, so we aren't able to get very much work done around the house. In fact, sitting on our little Trentish porch right this very mome are boxes of fruits and vegetables needing to be canned, pickled, frozen, and turned into yummy pies. But the pull of that Chevy is simply too too, if you know what I mean!

With warm affection,

AMY


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