Friday, October 29, 2010

Aqua Blue Heaven Friday: Where Were You In '72? (Or '59. Or '68. Or '77. Or...)


...Me, in 1972? I wasn't born yet. Not even close. (Give it another 4 more years, though, and the world would never be the same.) If you were on this planet then, do you remember where you were in 1972? No matter where you were, I bet you owned one of these:


The calendar dish towel. (This one is for sale on Etsy from seller Luna Park Foundry for $18. Yikes.) I know you grew up with one in your house. You know why you MUST have owned one of these? Because they're everywhere. They must multiply like Gremlins (or Duggars), since every thrift store or antique mall I've ever gone to has had some incantation of the dated dish towel for sale. And always with the standard rooster, kitchen utensil or ever-popular 1976 bicentennial theme. Makes me sad, really, seeing all these dish towels scattered to the 4 winds, unloved and irrelevant. Understandably, who wants to buy a towel from 1968 with a basket of eggs on it? I'd like to know who thought the current year was so important, it had to be commemorated and remembered on a novelty kitchen linen. (And who would donate one to a thrift store, thinking: "Surely someone is looking for this 1971 towel with a bushel of wheat and bald eagle soaring over a mountaintop on it. I'm such a good person for doing this."

So have you guys ever seen one for sale in your travels? Do you remember the year it was from or what picture was on it? I rather love them, if not for their kitsch factor, then for their pure randomness. I think I need to start a movement. A "Save the Dated Dish Towel" Project, where we buy as many of these suckers as possible, saving them from a useless life of fading away on a dusty Salvation Army shelf, right next to the opened package of adult diapers and "World's Best Boss" coffee mugs.



  1. Lol, I was being born in 1972. And my Gram usually was given one of these dish towels every year, which makes me wish I'd hung on to them if they're going for $18 a pop now!

  2. Hahaha Mom had these. Why? because Dad would buy close-out stuff at supermarkets and go sell them at the Swap Meet.

    This was back when Swap Meets (which were like a big yard sale with a lot of different people, held at Drive In Movie theaters, during the day) actually had good stuff and were not populated by the people who now dumpster dive places like Big Lots and sell rejected, packaged brand new junk.

    Seems to me Dad never sold everything, and things like these dated dish towels wound up in the garage.

    Could Dad collect super cool atomic stuff? Ah no. He only got the reject mid-century stuff.

    Love ya, Dad!

  3. Please kill me now.

    Born in 1961.

  4. Thanks for posting, I now know that my 5th birthday was on a Thursday. I remember seeing these when I was little, and they were usually hung on the wall, not used as towel. Weird. Maybe they were gifts from insurance agents.

  5. And my 6th birthday was on a monday! I'm not sure these were as popular in the UK, I don't really remember seeing them however teatowels purchased as holiday souvenirs or gifts from someone who'd been on holiday was very common. What the heck was that about?!!

  6. Hey- my 16th birthday was a Thursday. That would mean I was learning to drive and getting my first job. wow. I AM old. Those towels were everywhere for a while. They were pretty kitschy at the time, too.No one ever actually dried their hands on them, not unlike the fancy his and hers guest towels.

  7. I was definitely alive in 1972 and still don't understand why one would want to date a dish towel. Maybe it was so that dish towel sales reps could be sure and have customers replace them years after year - guaranteed sales!

    And hmm...I wonder what year they stopped doing it. What year did the masses finally say, "Enough!"?

    I love them though and do always snatch them up if I see them. I like to give them as gifts on birthdays if I know when someone was born - they're good to wrap the gifts in.

  8. Howdy
    Oh My Gosh ,I was around at the time ,but there is something you need to know .
    in Central Texas we have nothing like this available !
    We have one Good Will store and
    a Salvation Army neither have anything vintage to offer :(
    I envy everything I see on ebay,etsy , blogland,etc.....
    Oh how I wish we had the land of thrift shop offerings found outside Texas.
    It is not as if they don't have things here ,but you must realize Texans might have been the first to recycle,reuse ,upcycle and so forth due to the enviorment we live in .
    Thank you for your post !
    Yes I am a frequent visitor and buyer on ebay and etsy ,and a few other places.
    You brought back a lot of precious memories .
    Take care my blogging friend
    Until Next Time
    Happy Trails

  9. Hi everybody

    This is my first comment, even though I've been following this blog for a while now. But I couln't resist commenting on this post (I wasn't around in 1972, I wasn't born until 1981...).
    I'm from the Netherlands, and one of my favorite Dutch webshops ( sells a lot of these teatowels. Right now they're selling towels from 1963, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1977 and 1978. But also calendertowels from 1993, 2001 and 2002!
    I wouldn't be surprised if they're still being made today. I can't think of any good reason why, but I do love the ones from the 60's and 70's.

  10. lol. i was 2 years old. don't think they're that hot where i am.

  11. I saw these around the kitchens of my mom's friends (I think Mom had one or two over the years, too). They were meant to be used as calendars rather than towels and were hung on walls. I suppose the fact that they were printed on fabric with some kind of kitchen-y theme made them appealing as a kitchen decoration. Just wait until you come across the enhanced version -- some women used the design as kind of a coloring book and used glitter or other crafty type accessories to liven up the design. Those were truly... fascinating. :)