|Our Family Inheritance - The Turquoise Grapes|
These grapes have been the subject of a lot of jokes and even tests for cultural orthodoxy. Many find them quite mysterious. And while clearly a mid-twentieth century evidence of suburban kitsch, I'm not quite sure it was all just the Mormons as this nice, apparently non-denominational, craft lady seems to demonstrate.
It was when my wife and I were watching some old episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show on Netflix that we had a start. It was Season One from 1961, Episode 3 "Jealousy" and there, right on the 2nd shelf in Laura's divider in the kitchen, is a cluster of big, presumably plastic grapes. Check it out at 1:12 right behind neighbor Jerry, and at 14:25 behind Laura going off on Rob about her "jealousy."
I was just a little kid in 1961. But I do remember how popular that show was at least in my house. I bet there were a lot of suburban women who wanted to be like Laura Petrie. in fact, Wikipedia reports that she pioneered the acceptance of women wearing slacks! That was revolutionary considering that June Cleaver had been vacuuming in heels and pearls (always in a dress). I don't think it is too hard to imagine that some progressively suburban Relief Society sister somewhere latched on to those grapes and it spread like wildfire. Maybe it wasn't just Laura's kitchen style. But if they were used on that Hollywood set, they were no doubt popular in Southern California and we know how quickly (well, at least with a year or two lag) the Wasatch Front follows West Coast fashion.
Maybe we're not so peculiar after all.