Saturday, July 05, 2008


In 1950 the Jergens Co. chose neighbors of my grandparents in Brattleboro, Vt. to be the poster family for one of their magazine advertising series. It was entitled "Four Youngsters to Feed, Daily Housework & Chores on her Vermont Farm", and depicted the faithful and ever dutiful-wife Bertha, husband Herman and four children.

I don't have the pictures but I do have the script and it is incredible to see how we were back then. To illustrate:

Ad #1. (Bertha gazing dreamily into camera). "My secret for pleasing Herman is always to be cheerful and prettied-up when the day is done. I take a shower, put on an attractive dress, fresh makeup and, of course, Jergens lotion in case we might hold hands across the table."

Ad #2. (Bertha with daughter) "Mary and I love to wax & polish and it doesn't bother my hands at all because Jergens lotion keeps them so smooth & soft. Herman says they look as if I were a lady of leisure".

Ad #3. (Bertha washing dishes) "Those hungry wolves of mine make every meal a production, but I don't mind the dishes. Jergens lotion gives my hands a 'never put them in water' look. I keep a bottle in the kitchen".

Ad #4. (Whole family seated for dinner. Bertha & Herman holding hands across the table and gazing into each other's eyes.) Herman beams at Bertha and gives her Jergens-soft hand an extra squeeze that seems to say, "We're just about the happiest couple in the world, aren't we?"

The 1950's....a wondrous time...when a bottle of Jergens' lotion, and lots of hard work and blind devotion on the wife's part, could solve all our problems ! And guess what? I bought into it...lock, stock & LOTION.


Blogger Unknown said...

I remember Jergen's. It was very heavily scented with almond and I never cared for it very much for tha reason.

10:42 AM  
Blogger robin ann mcintosh said...

haha, I STILL use Jergens!! Great post. you are so full of information, never ceases to amaze me, ginnie : )

11:09 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Yet another connection with fame!!

11:38 AM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Well, no wonder the feminists got their (second) start in the 1960s. What an intriguing script--as though a woman's life can be reduced to "pleasing Herman", polishing furniture and using the right kind of lotion!

12:03 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I loved the smell of Jergens and still do, but I am fully aware that it doesn't make life any better....

1:28 PM  
Blogger dmmgmfm said...

What a sweet post, Ginnie.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

I keep lotion in the refrigerator and give a good rubdown with the cold stuff after a hot day on the boat. It works wonders for every ailment. Glad that society has progressed so that there are other uses for lotion besides those "dish washing" hands.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Jergens was a fixture in my family home. It has been replaced with Bag Balm around here.

I married with those values you mention. It was begrudgingly acceptable for my wife to work to help put me through University.

The ground rules changed over those 6 years such that she didn't want to stay home but wanted a job and a life of her own.

We were not together long enough to want all the things beginning with a 5,000 square foot home and all the recreational toys that go with it.

5:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL....this was great.
But humor aside, I don't know....I'm beginning to think those 50's were even better when I reflect on them all these years later. Society was different then and I'm sad for all the good we've lost. Even a Jergens commercial was about being "yourself" and not about a lotion that promises you youth and beauty.

12:05 PM  

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