If you have an oldies collection, the following songs might be good to play before or after a book club discussion of Stony River. To learn why the novel’s Linda Wise might have chosen them, bop on over to My Blog.

My Prayer – The Platters

In The Still of The Night – The Five Satins

Thousand Miles Away – The Heartbeats

Since I Don’t Have You – The Skyliners

Fever – Peggy Lee

It’s All In The Game – Tommy Edwards

You Send Me – Sam Cooke

Rockin’ Robin – Bobby Day

Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On – Jerry Lee Lewis

Earth Angel – The Penguins

I Want You, I Need You, I Love You – Elvis Presley

I Only Have Eyes For You – The Flamingos

Tears On My Pillow – Little Anthony and The Imperials

Little Darlin’ – The Diamonds

Chantilly Lace – the Big Bopper


If your club serves themed refreshments, here are a few options for Stony River night:

  • Roger’s Canasta Cocktails and Linda’s Can-A-Pees*
  • Dearie’s Meatballs and Arlene’s Beer
  • Madge’s Cupcakes and Miranda’s Chamomile Tea
  • Mrs. Judge’s Rice Krispies Squares, Rolf’s Wax Lips and Orange Soda
  • Lemon Meringue Pie Automat-style and Tereza’s Cup of Joe
  • Feeling nostalgic? You can’t go wrong with Pizza and Cherry Coke.
  • Feeling ambitious? Serve Betty’s Baked Alaska with Coffee.

*Linda cuts Wonder Bread (minus the crusts) into the shape of the card suits and fills the spades with egg salad, the hearts with cream cheese and pimiento, the diamonds with Cheeze Whiz and the clubs with crunchy peanut butter. Roger serves Whiskey Sours, but you don’t have to.

For more thoughts on food in the Fifties, see “Chowing Down in Stony River.”

If this were the 1950s, you would don your spiffiest hat and gloves, hang a pocketbook (never a purse in New Jersey) over your arm and head out to the A&P for your book club treats. For 67¢ you’d get most of the fixings for Linda’s Can-A-Pees. Or you could save 21¢ and a lot of fuss by serving the gang the pound cake. Another 51¢ would nab you a pound of coffee.

For more about this iconic grocery chain, see “The Genius of A&P.”


For Her:

  •  Jeans with rolled cuffs and a man’s white shirt, the longer the better. Roll up the shirtsleeves.
  • A skirt and a sweater with a short scarf around the neck. The skirt should be mid-calf length and either straight or full enough to swoosh when you jitter your bug.
  • White ankle socks and loafers or sneakers.
  • Pull your hair up into a ponytail or sport a headband.
  • Want to go big? A nylon net prom dress with starched crinolines underneath, a rhinestone tiara and a wrist corsage.

For Him:

  • The greaser look: rolled-up jeans and T-shirts with a pack of cigs under one of the short sleeves, leather jacket and leather boots. Hair slicked back into a DA.
  • The preppy look:  khakis and shirts with button-down collars, letter sweater or varsity jacket, loafers or Hush Puppies with white socks. Or, Bermuda shorts and knee high socks with loafers.

Check out Penguin’s Fab 50s Pinterest board for other ideas.

For thoughts on how clothes branded girls in the Fifties, see Of Easy Girls and Book Covers.

A shot of me in a short-lived fad called a Skort. If you wear one of these, you’ll be boss.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.