A lot of us boomers were born and raised in the 1950s. Sometimes referred to as frivolous, the fifties decade might have been the best time ever to be a kid growing up. Home was a safe haven---no need for a security system, and if you locked your house at all, the key was in the milk chute! Few of us knew anything about WW II or the Korean War, other than they were something that your dad or uncle already came home from. You could walk or ride your bike alone to school, and your mom would be at home when you got there after school. Homework aside, you could play until just before 6, when the family would sit down together for a planned supper---or was it dinner? Growing up in the 1950s was the best!
If you were as blessed as I was, your parents loved each other and you knew it! If by some chance you had a friend or even knew someone whose parents were divorced, that home was considered "broken", and you weren't quite sure what that meant. But most important of all, you knew your parents loved you, even though at times it might have felt (literally) like a tough love---ever get spanked with a wooden spoon? Your parents were consistent, always wanting something better for you than what they had for themselves growing up.
Remember These from the 1950s?
So we didn't have Nintendo, PlayStation, x-boxes, video games or i pods in the fifties. No cell phones, computers, or tv's in our bedrooms. No idea what the internet, chat rooms, or My Space would be! But remember what we did have growing up in the 1950s...
- friends your own age you could play with, as close as just next door
- high speed was the wooden go-cart you built from scraps
- 15-cent hamburgers at McDonald's
- roller skates
- record players for your 45 RPMs
- trees to climb and fall out of, without suing anyone when you did
- big cardboard boxes to build forts in the back yard
- snow to build those forts in the winter, along with ice to skate on and hills to slide down
- a playing card pinned to your bike frame to clatter with the spokes, sounding way cool
- packets of baseball cards, with a slab of gum the same size
- candy cigarettes you could "smoke"
- hula hoops
- dell comic books
- your cowboy holster with a shiny six-gun in it---were you the fastest draw in your neighborhood?
- your first Chatty Cathy or Baby Tears doll
- PF Fliers
- the exhilaration you felt when first getting your balance on a 2-wheel bike
- the Mickey Mouse Club and Howdy Doody Time on TV
- your lunchbox with chocolate milk in a carton
- a garden hose in the back yard you could drink from
- a one-foot deep plastic swimming pool that took forever to fill
- clouds in the sky you imagined were dogs, or horses, or...
- your telephone number with a lettered prefix you had to memorize, like SUnset 2- 4848
- milk in glass bottles delivered to your house each day
- your baseball, bat, and glove
- board games like Candyland and Monopoly
- chalk for the sidewalk and a game of hopscotch
- TinkerToys, Lincoln Logs, and Erector sets
- Bazooka bubble gum with a comic inside
- your own wrist watch, with maybe Davy Crockett, Mickey or Minnie Mouse on the dial
- a 25-cent allowance each week if you did your chores
- Cracker Jacks
- your Brownie Bullet camera
- Running so hard you were out of breath
- Water balloons
- Running through a lawn sprinkler on a hot day
- your first Disney movie at the theater and riding a bus with you mom to get there
- watching a blank screen on your family TV set forever, or at least for two minutes while it warmed up
- cartoons like Popeye, Woody Woodpecker and Mickey Mouse
- puppet shows in the back yard
- playing cowboys and indians
- family vacations and road trips each summer
- laughing so hard it made your sides hurt
- waiting an hour before you could go swimming
- playing outside after supper each night in summer until you dad called you in
- S&H green stamps from the grocery store and gas station, licking the backs and pasting them in a book
- the first smell of mimeograph paper
- cars with the biggest fins
- saddle shoes
- your first 3-speed bike with hand brakes
- sharing the back seat of the family car with your siblings, watching a drive-in movie on a Friday night
- Kool-Aid with sugar
- the dime under your pillow from the tooth fairy
- praying for enough snow the next day to close school
- not playing soccer---who played soccer in the 1950s?
Things Your Parents Might Have Said in the Late 1950s
- "Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long before $5000 will only buy a used one."
- "I'm just afraid the Volkswagen car is go- ing to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business."
- "Kids growing up today are just impossi- ble. Those duck tail hair cuts make it impossible to stay groomed. Next thing you know, boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls."
- "I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. Now they're making electric type- writers."
- "I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $20."
- "If they think I'll pay 50 cents for a hair cut, forget it."
- "Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?"
- "If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit. A quarter a pack is ridiculous."
- "When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would some- day cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage."
- "Too bad things are so tough these days. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet."
- "It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone else to watch their kids growing up so they can both work."
- "If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store."
- "Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to Congress."
- "There is no sense going to the city anymore for a weekend. It costs nearly $15 a night to stay in a hotel."
- "Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the president."
- "No one can afford to be sick any more; $35 a day in the hospital is too rich for my blood."
- "The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on."
- "I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying 'damn' in 'Gone With The Wind,' it seems every new movie has either 'hell' or 'damn' in it."
- "Marriage doesn't mean a thing any more; those Hollywood stars seem to be getting divorced at the drop of a hat."
- "I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas."
What Are Your Strongest Memories from the 1950s?
Memories from the 1950s--they might be your parents, your siblings, your grand- parents or other relatives if you had them. Maybe the house you first lived in? Your neighborhood and the friends you found and played with? Was it your first day of school? Your favorite teacher? Your first crush, or first date? One of those social milestones in high school like your first dance, or dressing up for homecoming or prom? Your first car, first job, or first ______ might also be in that mix. But in all cases, those times of our lives - the 1950s - indeed shaped us and made us what we are today, and quite likely we are stronger just for having lived them.
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