I'm re-reading a very good World War II-era novel, So Little Time, by one of my favorite authors, John P. Marquand. It's about a somewhat cynical middle-aged writer who is fearful that his sons will be caught up in the war (and they are). Marquand is a great writer, and his people (at least his central characters) always seem alive in the present day, despite the fact that the novels are set now sixty to eighty years ago. Alas, Marquand, along with James Gould Cozzens and John O'Hara -- the great "middlebrow" authors of the mid-century, are, for the most part, forgotten.
Anyway, reading Marquand makes me think of women of the 1940s who were young then and for whom everything was new. That's something we forget when we think of the past sometimes -- that the things that seem so antiquated for us were the newest and latest things. For instance, in 1943, when the Marquand novel came out, Gene Kelly was starring in his first big musical, Thousands Cheer, with a twenty-one year-old named Kathryn Grayson. I don't think I've ever really registered Miss Grayson, but she had a nice little career and, at the time, I'll bet doing an MGM musical was about as exciting as things could get in Hollywood: