The Saturday Evening Post is a venerable American magazine, founded by Benjamin Franklin as The Pennsylvania Gazette. It was most popular from about 1900 through the 1960s, featuring distinctive cover art by Norman Rockwell, and short stories from top American writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald (whom J.D. Salinger admired) and Ring Lardner (whom Holden Caulfield and J.D. Salinger both admired).
The publication entered difficult times with the age of television, but has been reinvented with a focus on health by the Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society.
Sally wants to see how she'll look in a skating skirt. Pretty damn cute.
A half gainer is a dive where you start off facing forward, do a back flip in the air and enter the water headfirst now facing the board.
The Rockettes are a precision dance group of disturbingly lookalike women, famous for their chorus line of perfectly timed, high-kicking legs.
Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) was an English poet known both for his talent and his good looks. He wrote idealistic sonnets about war, but never saw combat. Though he sailed with the Royal Navy to Gallipoli in 1915, Brooke died from sepsis in Greece before they arrived. He was 27. He was buried on the island of Skyros.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was an American poet who lived a quiet and reclusive life, but wrote extensively. Only a few of her poems were published in her lifetime, and they were highly edited to fit the conventions of the time. Not until 1955 did her work appear as it was originally written, and the true extent of her talent become apparent.
In comparing the two, D.B. is suggesting that the poet who wrote idealistically of war but never experienced it did not grasp its horrors, while the more thoughtful recluse (living in the time of the American Civil War) did.