Mustaches of Years Gone By

My father sent along this picture to me, of him and my mother back in their married days, which were also coincidentally his Navy days, which means that in this picture both of them are about 20 years younger than I am at this moment. Which messes with my head, it does. I have no idea what it is the two of them are doing in the picture, although if I had to guess, I’d say he’s handing his paycheck over to mom there. Which is, oddly enough, pretty much exactly what I do when I get checks. Not to mom, though. To my own wife. You know what I’m saying, here.

But what I notice most is that dad is rocking the full-on Jim Croce mustache there in the picture, which, while it doesn’t conflict with the Navy uniform is still nevertheless a reminder that facial hair fashions were different back in the day. No aspersions to dad, but these days seeing a fellow in that suit with that ‘stache would cause me to look around to see if I could also spot the cop, the cowboy, the construction worker and the Native American in the chieftain hat. It was a more innocent, less disco-y time back then, I suppose.

Also, those of you who know me will be able to look at those two faces and see which parts of my own face come from which parent: Eyes, nose and mouth from mom, but eyebrows? All dad, man. Genetics. I’m telling you.

50 Comments on “Mustaches of Years Gone By”

  1. What, you’ve never heard of the “Navy mustache?” They’re popular even now, and I can pick a Navy guy out of a crowd with zero effort (Marines, too, for different reasons).

    And hey, was your dad stationed in San Diego? IIRC, you used to live there, right?

  2. rxgreene – I'm a 30 something tech junkie with a yen for imagining how things might/maybe should work. Married with one child. I work in the car business running a business development center. This is my dedicated tech theory playground, I hope you enjoy it!
    Ryan Greene

    My dad switched between the “Jim Croce” and the “Grizzly Adams” back in the 70’s (AKA The Golden Age of Facial Hair). I love seeing those old pictures, and feel no small shame at my inability to raise such a magnificent crop of beardtastic facial hair.

  3. I was waited on by a guy with a mustache like that just the other day, and I thought “wow, that is a great ‘stache.” You should totally grow one of those and then post the result.

  4. R.W. Ridley – Richard W. Ridley is the author of 12 novels, for which he has received three Independent Publisher Book Awards and first place in a Writer's Digest International Publishing Competition. He has also earned semi-finalist honors in the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition for the screenplay version of Never Living, and he has been fortunate to have the opportunity to develop the story for the stage through the help of South of Broadway Theatre’s Second Sunday at Seven (SS7) workshop for playwrights and the Writer’s Workshop sponsored by the Culture, Arts & Pride Commission of the Town of Mount Pleasant. His short play Nonstop to Charleston was performed at South of Broadway’s PlayFest 2015. The stage version of Never Living was a finalist in What if? Productions’ 2015 Playwrights Festival, and was chosen for 5th Wall Productions Rough Draft Readings program. In addition to his pursuit of fame and fortune on the stage and in print, he’s worked in television and advertising in various under-compensated, yet highly rewarding roles. In an attempt to stay relevant in the internet age, he is a paid bi-weekly contributor to the CreateSpace community blog, and his pieces on writing and indie publishing make the occasional appearance in the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter. He publishes his novels under the pseudonyms R.W. Ridley, C. Hoyt Caldwell, and Jackson Goddard.
    R.W. Ridley

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but your dad could pass for Groucho Marx in this picture. At the very least, he could have played him in a made-for-TV movie.

    He’s doing much better than me with the stache. I look like a crazy pervert with a mustache

  5. That was back in the day that you could still grow a full beard when you were out to sea. Sadly, that privilege went away just when I enlisted. Sec. of the Navy (Lehman, I think?) felt it was a safety issue and could interfere with getting a good seal on your Gas mask or OBA.

    On another note, I can’t quite make out the rate symbol on his sleeve. I can tell he was a First Class Petty Officer and that he had served one hitch by that time but not his rating. It kinda looks like a Hospital Corpman badge but I can’t make it out.

  6. funny, i looked at this picture and immediately saw a little bit of athena in the woman before even reading the post. do you see it?

  7. Had a beard about 18 years ago first time I got married. Went for the Grizzly Adams look. Shaved it off the following Easter.

    Grew another shortly after I remarried. Went for the goatee this time. The permanent Mrs. Winter loves it, therefore I love it.

    Don’t think I could do the Jim Croce ‘stace, though. My ‘stache sort of fades out before it makes contact with the goatee.

  8. A few dabs of wax and five seconds of searing agony will take care of those eyebrows.

    My step-dad had a cross between the Croce and the Cat Stevens ‘stache, whereas my father has sort of the thick-bristly-mess-on-the-upper-lip-to-compensate-for-the absolute-inability-to-grow-a-beard ‘stache. His cheek and chin hair is, to put it mildly, pathetic. I on the other hand, have five o’clock shadow by 3:00 p.m. and can grow a decent full beard in four days. WHICH I HATE! How’s that for one of life’s little ironies?

  9. That is a very Navy mustache. I think it’s required of all male sailors to grow a ‘stache at some point in their career. I know I did (after I got permission to do so, of course).

    Jeff S.:
    Crossed Quills of a Yeoman, mayhaps? Handing over his re-enlistment bonus…

  10. John P. Murphy – I'm an engineer and writer living in New England. My research background is in robotics and computer security; my writing is primarily science fiction and mystery.
    John Murphy

    Did he shave it off, or go for the full beard? Moustaches are unstable these days: most of the people I’ve seen sporting them opt for either more or less, never just keeping the `stache.

  11. Looking at that picture and the location makes me wonder if your dad was re-enlisting.

  12. No aspersions to dad, but these days seeing a fellow in that suit with that ’stache would cause me to look around to see if I could also spot the cop, the cowboy, the construction worker and the Native American in the chieftain hat. It was a more innocent, less disco-y time back then, I suppose.

    Well, those characters are who they are for a reason, you know.

    (Okay, this is a bit of trivia I didn’t know: The video for “In The Navy” wasn’t just filmed on a naval vessel, the US Navy used the song in promotional advertising. That’s just … oy, my brain hurts.)

  13. Lefty @ 12:

    I on the other hand, have five o’clock shadow by 3:00 p.m. and can grow a decent full beard in four days.

    At some point in the distant past, I noticed that I could scratch an itch on my hand by rubbing it on my face. It was, if I remember correctly, about 2 hours after I had shaved. I decided that it was probably not a quality that would endear me to most people otherwise tempted to snuggle up with me. Hence, the beard.

  14. When I looked at this thought the fuzzy, pre-caffeine light of the morning, the way the shadows fall over your dad’s face made it look to me like he was wearing an eyepatch, which is impossibly romantic and dashing.

    You sure he wasn’t a pirate?

  15. luisaperkins – I write speculative fiction, specifically contemporary dark-ish fantasy. I've been married for nearly 20 years to Patrick, an absolute prince of a man. We live with our six lovely children and an insane cat in New York's Hudson Highlands. My passions include reading, gardening, knitting, cooking, eating, and musicking.
    Luisa Perkins

    ‘Stache-tastic! What a cool photo.

  16. Actually, son I think it was his re-enlistment. I was about 18 then. I’m not sure if we even had your sister then. He was Yeoman submarine sailor at the time and those guys could get away with all the facial hair they wanted. Boy! We look young! We were stationed in Hawaii at the time. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Love, Mom

  17. @7

    ditto ditto!

    I so thought I was looking at a previously-undiscovered photo of Grouch Marx. Before I read all that unnecessary verbiage, of course.

  18. “Groucho”, as opposed to the Marx-brothers’ little-known mean sibling, known simply as “Grouch”.

    STG I proof-read before I hit the button.

  19. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang

    Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever heard you mention your father before. I had always assumed – forgive me, Mr. Scalzi, sir – that he was deceased.

    That said, the moustache is full on power. Glad your father is still with us and Mom, too.

    I never noticed you having especially verdant eyebrows. I will have to measure them next time I see you.

  20. Chang:

    Well, I don’t generally talk about my mother or sister or brother, either. It’s that whole “Private John Scalzi is Private” thing. But for the record all of my immediate family is currently alive.

  21. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang

    Yeah, I knew you had a Mum and Sis. Don’t worry. I’m not keeping tabs (rearranges index card and yarn Scalzi family tree). I fully get the Private Scalzi thing. Guess HELLO Magazine hasn’t met your price yet?

    I kid because I love!

    Be well, ‘Stacheless!

  22. John, I can see how your features match up with your parents as you’ve described, but what hit me most strongly as a match for you was your father’s body language and the way he’s tilting over for comic effect. Was/Is he a bit of a ham? (If so, I bet he would have loved to get his hands on Photoshop when he was that age.)

  23. Looks like he was E-6, and if you were on a submarine then (as in now) you advanced in rank fast.

  24. Great ‘stache! I didn’t even have one that awesome when I was Navy. Now I’m Army and I’m pretty sure I’d be pistol-whipped if I even THOUGHT about having a ‘stache that…epic.

  25. Elgion:

    He was on the Guardfish and the Carbonero, I believe, although I may have misspelled that last one. This would have been late 60s-early 70s.

  26. Thanks John. Those are a different class than I rode. I’m your age, but I still rode on ones old enough that he could have been on them at different time.

  27. John, you should definitely do an identical pose with Mistress Scalzi (WMBO).

    Bearpaw 17: The video for “In The Navy” wasn’t just filmed on a naval vessel, the US Navy used the song in promotional advertising.

    Was it? The way I heard the story, there was one high-ranking person in the Navy who wanted to use it, but he’d only really listened to the chorus and had no idea who The Village People were, and that more knowledgeable people quashed the idea before any ads could be made.

    But I’m going from memory. Do you have any information about this that you could link to?

  28. Ok, I now need to check my coffee for additives – I read your header (above the “Whatever”) as
    FLAGRANT Green Plumage
    not
    Fragrant Green Plumage – which is what it really says.

    Couple that mis-reading with the awesome mustache of Scalzi-the-Elder and MAN.
    I need to make sure this is really coffee I’m drinking.

  29. I was somewhat struck by the length of his hair in the picture. When I was in the Army from ’66 to ’70 we tended to grow our hair as long as we could get away with (and longer). These days buzz cuts seem to be the fashion.

    The Army didn’t like beards, the gas mask excuse. Someone in my platoon developed some sort of facial rash and got an excuse from a doctor to not shave for a while. Boy did he like to carry that written excuse with him to show to some NCO or officer who told him “You need a shave soldier”!

    George

  30. I had a “no shaving” chit for a month in USMC boot camp. Liked it so well, when I got out, full beard for … can it have been 41 years?

    The chit didn’t end any push up or squat whoopee demands, but did draw a line there.

  31. Stesmo @ 13

    Later posts show that you totally nailed it.
    Your eyes are better than mine.

    Fun to hear from John’s Mom filling in the back story like that.

  32. Bearpaw @18: Evil Rob has a beard at my request* for similar reasons.

    And, well, it looks good.

    *Which lines up with his own inclinations. It’s really funny listening to his mom saying, “Wouldn’t you look nicer with a shave?” Kind of wistful.

  33. Mark Terry @ #3 was close.

    I checked in the site after being a way for a few days and wondered why Frank Zappa in a sailor suit was handing Katharine Ross a check.

    @ 44 & 45:

    Pseudofolliculitis barbae. Shaving bumps caused when men — particularly blacks — with extremely curly hair are required to close shave daily. The hair tends to corkscrew into the surrounding dermis and create a localized inflammatory nodule or “bump”, which are then prone to nicking and infection.

    JJB

Exit mobile version
%%footer%%