Wanda Merritt Anthony

Wanda Merritt Anthony

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Sunbeam Girl

I called my mother the other night to find out why she decided to get me a camera for Christmas that year.  Her logic is as convoluted as my husband, Edwin, used to say mine is.  So this is how it all began.

"You liked to look at things,"  She said.  "you liked to look at catalogs, TV, the Sunbeam Girl, everything."  Did I look at things differently?  It appears I didn't look a different kinds of things than other kids.  This is all the explanation I could get out of her.  She says that camera is around the house somewhere.  I wonder, because we moved when I was ten and I'm pretty sure I had a different camera then. 

Now if I had a little girl who, "liked to look at things I would have gotten her some picture books or a ViewMaster with extra slides.  I never would have made the leap to a camera.  But I'm glad she did.

Now I must explain about the Sunbeam Girl.  The Sunbeam girl was an icon for the Sunbeam Bread Company.  She was depicted on the bread wrapper eating a slice of buttered toast.  In Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the courthouse sits at one end of Main Street and a huge billboard of the Sunbeam Girl sits at the other end.  The girl used to sit on an operational swing.  She swang from one end of this gigantic billboard to the other constantly, day or night, rain, or shine.

I used to have my parents stop so I could get out of the car and watch the Sunbeam Girl swing.  I bet they avoided Man Street as much as possible so they didn't have to stop.

The original billboard stayed up until sometime in the 1970.  I'm guessing they took it down about the time of the Energy Crisis.  The replacement billboard simply had a picture of the girl on a swing.  I think they tried another billboard with a operational swing but it didn't stay up very long.  To me, this picture looks as if the swing would work but this is the current billboard and she doesn't swing. 

If you like white bread but not soft white like Wonder, then you would like Sunbeam bread.  It has a courser crumb than Wonder.   I't more like homemade.

I found the picture above on Google.  I couldn't find a full sized unedited version on my computer.   Here is a version I was working on for a local contest.  I ended up abandoning it because the isolation was sloppy.  I ended up using some other local scenes for the Office of Emergency Management Calendar.  Even though it was 200? it doesn't stand out in my mine as the 1992 Beautiful Tropical Flowers calendar does.  It was 2006 or 2007.  I'm pretty sure Edwin was still alive. 

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