Magazine Madness and/or Mania: Co-Ed, May 1963

Published by Scholastic between 1959 and 1985, Co-Ed’s somewhat confusing tagline was “The High School Magazine For Homemakers and Career Girls”, which covers pretty much every group of young women except collegiate co-eds.

Distributed to high school students (who could purchase a subscription for $2.00 if they wished to continue to receive it after they graduate!), its ostensible academic-bent is mostly seen in the reduced amount of advertising (and in some issues, increased amount of paid product placement). This issue is timed for the end of the 1963 school year, but is disappointingly mostly articles about selecting economical luggage and efficiently packing said luggage. There is even a quiz:

“Genuine Leather” indicates

a. “top-grain” leather
b. any cut of leather below top-grain

Wise choices for train travel would be

a. steamer trunk and zipper bag
b. Pullman case and a train case

True/False: The best type of vacation is completely unplanned.

But where should we travel? How about a college tour to glamorous ITHACA, NEW YORK!

(click all to enlarge)

There is a besides Home Economics?????

Also that guy with the pipe has composed some free verse he’s dying to read to you ladies.

Or maybe we’ll travel to The Exhibition Hall of Union Dime Savings Bank at Avenue of the Americas and 40th Street, New York City, site of the 1963 Scholastic Art Awards:

Actually, considering that Hallmark Cards, Inc. is sponsoring this thing, that is pretty modern.

Now really! That’s just encouraging Beatnikism.

Paging right along, we come to Co-Ed’s Co-Ed of the month, winner of the America’s Junior Miss pageant from Louisville, Kentucky, Diane…

WAIT, Diane Sawyer-Diane Sawyer?

She quoted from the Gettysburg Address and sang parts of the Battle Hymn of the Republic with organ accompaniment.

Have to admit: kind of disappointed she didn’t do a ventriloquism act.

There is an advice to the lovelorn column written by the hilariously-named Gay Head, who will tell you why your romantic problems are all your fault:

Is it the boy you want to get back- or is it your self-esteem? It’s a terrible blow to lose an attractive boy. And to lose him to one’s best friend is just about the end.

Perhaps there is nothing the matter with you at all. These boys may suddenly and simultaneously feel that although you are great, so is the competition.

First, stop the solitary knitting and reading.

There is also “Jam Session” a forum for teens to “sound off” about controversial topics. This month, it’s On Appropriate Dress For School.

Let’s hear from the girls first:

I think wearing slacks to school is quite all right. On days when it is cold out, I think this is sensible.

-Jeri Ottman, Minok, Ill.

I think it is all right for a girl to tease her hair if she knows how to do it right. But please don’t overdo it.

-Helen Kruck, Mercer, Pa.

I do not believe school policy should control the code of dress for students. The matter can be handled by the students or each family.

-Gail Robbins, Abilene, Tex.

So…. sensible! Let’s hear what the dudes have to say:

I feel the proper dress for school should be white shirt, tie and sports jacket for boys, uniforms for girls.

– William J. George , Malone, NY

A girl’s outfit should match her own personality and taste. Colors that bring out outstanding features of the face can be worn. Colors that don’t match should never be worn.

– Lance Sartain, Danielsville, Ga.

If a girl thinks she looks good in an elaborate hairdo and messy makeup, than this is what she should wear.

– Richard Farwell, Wilmington, Del.

I think girls should not wear slacks to school because it makes them look as if they are going on a picnic.

– Joe Selesky, Romeo, Mich.

Sitting on the GROUND, eating SANDWICHES??????

It’s like I am watching Women’s Lib being born before my very eyes.

Let’s look at some ads: 

Fully 90% of the ads this month are for acne treatments.  Also I’m fully convinced that 90% of the population was playing electric organs 90% of the time for 90% of the entire decade.

Yeah…. I’d still wear these.

And finally, we have a young lady looking very startled by sanitary napkins. Maybe Kimberly Clark marketed them by chucking them out of car windows at unsuspecting teens?

Posted in Magazines | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Robin West: Nurse’s Aide By Louise Christopher

The pretty nurse’s aide becomes involved in the strange life of a beautiful debutante…

It’s easy to see why nurse books were so popular amongst young, female readers of the 20th century: nurses got to actually do things: live away from home to train, solve mysteries, fight in a World War (or II), romance “groovey interns”, escape from Nightmare Islands, minister to Hootenannies… in fact, just go over to the Vintage Nurse Romance Novels website for the rest of the afternoon.

The age of the vintage Nurse Romance has mostly passed: Harlequin still publishes “medical” category romances, although I rarely see them for sale, and General Hospital is currently trudging into its 55th year on TV, but nursing seems to have lost some of its glamour for the kids these days.

I went searching to see if this was the beginning of a series, but info was difficult to turn up. “Louise Christopher” is a pen name for romance writer Arlene Hall, who has a number of “nurse” romances on her CV, but apparently Robin West only rated one follow-up: Robin West: Freshman Nurse in 1964.

The Plot: And frankly, I’m surprised Dell even bothered, since Robin West is the most fatuous heroine I’ve encountered since Polly French. Continue reading

Posted in Vintage YA Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Prank By Kathryn Lasky

How can the words of the past give Birdie hope for the future?

Well, this another one where the cover-copy barely matches the actual content of the book: it’s sold to readers as being about a high school student who learns about the horrors of the Holocaust after her brother is implicated the vandalism of a local synagogue…

The Plot: …but, whoa, there is a whole lot more going on.

High school Junior Brigid (Birdie) Flynn is a rapidly lapsing Irish-Catholic living with her nightmare family in a housing project in East Boston. Her barely-literate parents are frequently physically abusive toward Birdie and her brother (who was flunking out of school even before he got picked up by the cops) and her oldest sister regularly returns home with her young daughter to escape from her own abusive husband, whom she was forced to marry after he knocked her up. Continue reading

Posted in Vintage YA Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Announcing the 2017 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club

Full name: Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club Featuring Classics of Women’s Literature Defined As Books Authored By, About or Widely Read By Women in the 20th Century, because I should maybe read something intended for actual adults occasionally.

This year’s titles are…

Up the Down Staircase By Bel Kaufman Rookie teacher navigates the bureaucracy of the New York City school system in the mid-1960s. Will things stay the same the more they change? WILL THEY? Plus movie.

Haywire By Brooke Hayward Brooke Hayward is the daughter of theatrical producer Leland Hayward and actress Margaret Sullavan; her 1977 memoir relates her family’s history of mental illness and suicides. The 1980 made-for-TV movie stars Lee Remick as  Sullavan and Jason Robards as Leland Hayward.

The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown By Sylvia Tate …And now for a lighter look at Hollywood, Sylvia Tate’s long-lost satire about a megalomaniacal starlet whose kidnapping is mistaken for a publicity stunt (or is it?).  An uncharacteristically blonde Jane Russell stars in the 1957 movie, which is somehow not a feminist film-theory staple.

The Haunting of Hill House By Shirley Jackson And just in time for Halloween (or possibly, Thanksgiving) Shirley Jackson’s classic ghost story-slash-subtext fest. With the movie, of course.

The Imaginary Summer Book Club FAQ can be found here. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 9 Comments

Steffie Can’t Come Out To Play By Fran Arrick

To meet a man like Favor on her very first day in New York City…

Runaway teen stories if this era can be numbingly repetitive- when 14 year old Stephanie Rudd explains that’s she ditching her terrible family and terrible mill town of Clairton, Pennsylvania, to grab her chance at being discovered as a fashion model in New York City, you know exactly where this one is going, right down to what block she’ll be working as a prostitute in no time flat.

The Plot: The catalyst for Steffie’s leaving is the return home of her 19 year old married sister, Anita, put out of the house by her husband when she becomes pregnant. Already the primary caretaker for her much younger brother, Danny, Anita’s difficult pregnancy is just one more burden for Steffie to shoulder. Continue reading

Posted in Vintage YA Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments


Today marks the 5th birthday of this blog! As thanks to all of my loyal readers, please enjoy this stock photo of a cupcake:

And check back on Friday for a new Lost Classic review!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Project Boyfriend By Stephanie St. Pierre

Can Stacey capture Max’s heart, or is her downhill romance destined for a crash landing?

This one came out in 1991, fairly late in the run of Bantam’s Sweet Dreams romance imprint, which I didn’t notice until I sat down to type this up: those covers remain stubbornly stuck in the 80s…

The Plot: …which I guess is suitable for a retrograde YA romance?

High school sophomore Stacey Hollis hates all things athletic, much to the chagrin of her BFF, Emily, who is dragging her off the couch and out to something called The Windmere High Three-Day Sports Carnival as the novel opens. Stacey would much rather spend her time reading her favorite hard-boiled detective novels featuring the studly private eye Dirk Hanson. Continue reading

Posted in Vintage YA Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments