Sunday, May 12, 2013

Turn-Style, Mom and Me

Store sale flyers. Every week, tons of these things show up – crammed in the mailbox, stuffed in the Sunday paper, sliding out onto the living room floor. Do people ever save these things? I certainly don’t.   

Well, except for this one, that is, and not for the reasons you’d think. Mod 70’s styles at crazy 70’s prices. A long gone classic discount chain, Turn-Style, and a great multicolored version of their last, and best, logo.
No, the reason I’ve hung onto these is because one of the young women featured is none other than my very own Mom, Linda. 

For a year a half in my early grade school years (1970-71) she modeled for ads for a number of companies including Turn-Style, their sister division Jewel Food Stores, and Lytton’s, a famed old-line Chicago clothing retailer. These ads are from May and June 1971. Her modeling career was brief – the hours were long, the pay wasn’t great and the better jobs, like this one, were few and far between. Later that year she entered nursing school, from which she graduated two years afterward. Model or not, I’ve always been so proud of her, and she’s always encouraged me at every step of the way in life.
  
Mom is on the far left in the photo. On the far right is Brenda Broce, a very popular Chicago model. Unfortunately I don’t recall the name of the woman in the sailor’s hat, but she was also a familiar face in those years. Best known of all was the young woman “talking” to my mom, second from left. She was Janet Langhart, an extremely popular model in town who by this time was also working as a news feature reporter for the local CBS TV affiliate, WBBM. In the mid 70’s she moved to Boston where she hosted the highly-rated “Good Day” morning show. Eventually she married William Cohen, a U.S. Senator from Maine and later Defense Secretary under President Clinton.
Here they are again, with Mom second from the left in a “stylish” wig this time. Thankfully, she spared me years of night terrors by not wearing it at home.


She had nothing to do with these three pages, but I thought you’d like to see ‘em anyway. I like the little guy flying the plane with the “Turn-Style propeller”. Better keep the nose up on that thing, guy! 
In polka dots this time, in the only photo that shows her real-life hairstyle at the time. One of these days I need to ask her how many hours it took to put those shoes on.
One Saturday afternoon, my Dad, brother and I were out running errands, keeping occupied while a photographer did test shots of Mom in our kitchen. (3,000 photos of her holding a box of “Pillsbury Extra Lights” pancake mix, as I remember.) When we returned, he said "Let's take some shots with the kids." That’s 7-year old me on the right, and my 3-year old brother, who’s been taller than me since 1983, on the left.

The funny thing is, we had been out shopping at some discount store – Zayre, Kmart, Community Discount, maybe even Turn-Style – of course I don’t remember which. As I told my friend Adrienne a while back, I had no idea that decades later this would be useful information.

In any event, Happy Mother’s Day! 

22 comments:

  1. how cool! your mom is so pretty.

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    1. Thanks, Eydie!

      And I agree! :)

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  2. Happy Mothers Day to your mom, she looks great in the ad! Turn-Style brings back so many good memories from growing up in Wilmette, IL. This site is the BEST! So Many Thanks

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    1. Jay - Thanks, and she still does! Thanks also for your kind words about the site. I'm very glad you like it!

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  3. Your Mom's a hottie. Loved Turn Style and was bummed when they were sold and turned into Venture stores.

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    1. Thanks! :)

      The Venture we went to (Mt. Prospect) was built from scratch, but a good number of Turn-Style stores did become Ventures, while in other cases Jewel just took over the Turn-Style spaces for their own expansion. Which one did you shop, out of curiosity?

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  4. What a neat Mother's Day tribute this is! I don't remember Turnstyle (we were way outside their territory I guess) but I do remember Venture, mentioned above. Venture was one of my favorite stores in town. I always got a free cookie from their bakery and they were the BEST! If Turnstyle was anything like those, I'd have loved them!

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    1. Mike - Thanks. I remember Venture quite a bit more than Turn-Style myself, and don't recall any free cookies or even a bakery there, for that matter. In our case, that department would have been on the Jewel side of the wall.

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    2. Dave - I think in the case of the bakery, it was a local vendor. Our Venture, too, had a grocery. At first it was branded as Venture, but it later became local Smitty's. Smitty's was later bought by the big Albertson's chain, only to "go local" again when Price Cutter took over Albertson's local stores. Of course, before any of these take-overs, the old store next to Venture was long gone.

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  5. I wonder if your mom ever got recognized by the clerks at Turn-Style, etc. during her modeling days. And that bit about posing for 3000 pictures of a pancake mix in her kitchen cracked me up. I imagine that's much closer to the reality of being a model than posing on the beach at sunset in designer swimsuits.

    Great stuff as usual and this was a clever and unique Mother's Day post. Those shoes were hideous, though. Think of the tan lines!

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    1. Thanks, Michael. I don't believe she was ever recognized, and we did shop at Turn-Style occasionally. Only the last pic showed her actual hairstyle, which may have had something to do with that.

      Didn't even think about tan lines, but you're right! That would have looked really strange!:)

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  6. Somehow I think that 3,000 figure is youthful embellishment. :) Thanks for the great pics, Dave - looks like you were the luckiest kid in Chicagoland!

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    1. Definitely some embellishment there, I must admit! ;) I think there were two or three full contact sheets, so maybe 50-75 photos in total. I mean, how many angles do you need to show someone pouring pancake mix into a bowl?

      Not sure how lucky I felt at the time, but looking back I certainly should have. Thanks so much for the comment!

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  7. Nice post Dave, It cracks me up seeing the picture of us with Mom

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    1. Thanks, Bro! We haven't changed a bit, have we? ;)

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  8. I am a little late to the Mom Tribute but I just LOVE this! Such a sweet way to honor your gorgeous mother, Dave. Also, any chance she kept the polka dor dress or the shoes? I WANT!

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    1. Thanks, Didi!

      You know, thinking back, I don't think she was allowed to keep any of the clothes!

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    2. Ih man! Too bad. I almost never see groovy threads like this at sales. ;-)

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  9. Somehow I hadn't seen this yet, Dave! This is easily one of my all-time favorite PFS entries. I love the fact that you were able to combine vintage retail (you know, a popular topic around these parts) and a fascinating personal story in one brief post. Reading the introductory paragraph, I had no idea what was about to happen. Well done as usual, and thanks for sharing such a cool story!

    Only moderately related...I went to the same high school as Bill Cohen, only, you know, a few years later... ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Kendra! I've been wanting to do a post on this for quite a while, and I thought Mother's Day was an appropriate occasion.

      I'll never forget the thrill of seeing this show up in the Sunday paper, "in living color!"

      And I didn't know Sec'y Cohen was from Bangor...seems like Maine connections are everywhere, you know? ;D

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  10. Please post again soon...I still mourn the death of Mallsofamerica.

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    1. Fear not, my friend. More on the way.

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