Olive and Popular Culture

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    Olive Goodykoontz spent a great deal of her time working or volunteering in some capacity, but that doesn't mean that she was completely removed from modern culture. In fact, Olive was quite well read and spent a great deal of time going to the movies or the theater.

    While living in Chandler, Olive regularly attended the Chandler Concert Series, an annual classical music series that often included visiting artists of world renown from musicians to opera singers. When she traveled to Germany, she continued to attend symphony concerts as well as the opera itself.

    As a teacher, Olive often served as a supervisor or chaperone for the high school drama club in Chandler and in that capacity she ended up seeing all of the plays the students performed. Outside of the school environment, she also attended local theater by groups like the Tempe Players and the Wesley Players.

    Overseas, Olive continued to attend the theater, usually in German because it helped improve her comprehension of the language. Since it was post-WWII, the plays were usually themed around the economic and social problems Germans were dealing with in the war's aftermath. Yet there were also times when she attended English-language shows that had been translated into German (such as "Lady Windermere's Fan")or ballets without dialog.

    Olive, who never even heard a radio until her late teens, was an avid reader. She read a myriad of books from the religious to the classic to the popular. Oftentimes she would read a book right before or after the movie based on it came out. When she saw "The Three Musketeers"in the theater, she went out and got herself a copy of the book.When "Gone With the Wind"was the most popular book of the 1930s, she read it and then saw the film when it was released in theaters. She was a very quick reader, too. Despite having a full schedule most weeks, she could get through a book as long as "Gone with the Wind"in a matter of days. Sometimes she even wrote notes in the back of her journals listing books she intended to buy and read the next time she had pocket money.

    Although Olive had never really gotten into the radio, she was always a regular movie-goer, a habit that continued throughout her life. Even when she traveled, Olive continued to go to the movies. She spent several summers in the Los Angeles/Pasadena area visiting with relatives. While there she would go to multiple movies in a week, visiting all of the popular movie palaces like the United Arists Theatre,where she saw "The Four Feathers"in 1929. Olive also continued to go to the movies while overseas doing relief work. While in Europe she saw an assortment of films from American ("Gilda")to English "The Upturned Glass")to German ("The Devil's General")to Scandinavian ("Frenzy").Sometimes there were even films (such as "Edward, My Son")shown onboard the ship when she sailed between New York and Southampton, England.

    While Olive was working for the AFSC,those in her section often played games in their downtime between work. While stationed in Germany, ping-pong was the most popular game amongst the relief workers. Many of Olive's journal entires reference the group taking some time to drink cocoa and play ping-pong after a long day at work. Olive did her initial training for AFSC in London and often returned there in between postings. While there, she and her fellow relief workers often played the board game Buccaneer,which was created in the 1930s by Waddingtons in England.


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