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queen of glitter gnomes
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I wish that I could help you but, when the 1950s came to a conclusion, I was three years old so my memory of the 1950s is pretty much nonexistent. :^)
 

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There was good & bad. I was born in 1956 so I missed most of it. The good: it wasn't every dog for himself. People looked out for each other. Trust was higher. Stability; You could get a job, keep it for 50 years & retire in the first house you bought. You could actually trust most politicians & scandals were few. The bad: racial equality & equal opportunity was a long way off. I remember hearing my grandad using racial slurs around other adults for laughs. Even at church! Conformity was the social expectation. You just didn't "do your own thing" without getting scorned. I mean, people thought Elvis Presley was evil! : Rock & roll was called "the devil's music", etc. I think life was simpler & more predictable then. And there was probably a little more leisure time. No computers, so we all watched the same TV channel & ate at the table at the same time. In some ways looking back, it was stifled & oppressive but in other ways it wasn't as competitive & fast paced as now. Overall, it was sort of a mixed bag, depending on where you lived & who you were.
 
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queen of glitter gnomes
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The bad parts of the 1950s were the terrible racism and Jim Crow statutes that people were just starting to challenge and the communist witch hunts. I took playwriting classes from a man who had been hounded terribly by the FBI during that time. They never charged him with a crime; they just made his life a living hell. It destroyed his marriage and his career. His wife continued to live with him but she was a broken shell because many of her former friends shunned her and her family. He had been a union organizer until he was black listed. For a while, he had to sell insurance because that was the only job that he could get. Eventually, he became a playwright and a college English professor. He also wrote several books. He was a wonderful, brilliant man. I admired him greatly and was heartbroken when he passed away last year just a week shy of his 98th birthday. He was truly my hero.
I hope that no one ever has to endure what he did.
He said that living a long life was the best revenge for what happened to him.
All of the people who hounded him died long before he did.
 
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queen of glitter gnomes
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Oh, yes, one more thing about Manny (the man who was hounded by the House Unamerican Activities Committee for refusing to talk to them and by the FBI, just because they could): he taught English in the local college until he was about 90 years old and he kept his playwriting workshop going about that long. He jogged in the park every day until he was in his late 80s. After he became physically weak from congestive heart failure, he wrote his memoirs!
 

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queen of glitter gnomes
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You're right about that.
Unfortunately, racial discrimination is still alive and conformity is still pretty much expected.

I would have to say that the two bad sides (conformity and racial discrimination) of it are both reasons i would hate it too.
Although I don't know that it has gotten any better. I kind of think that they are just finding more creative ways to hide it.
thanks guys!
 
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queen of glitter gnomes
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Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat in the 1950s. And E.B. White wrote Charlotte's Web.
:proud:
 

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Well, I am going to attack this from a different perspective. I was born in December, 1947, so the '50s comprised my elementary school years. From a child's point of view, which is what I was, they were a wonderful time!

Now let me begin by saying I was very fortunate because I grew up in a stable, loving family. I lived in the same house from the time I was five years old until I left home at 20. My dad had the same job. My mother was there waiting every day when my sister and I got home from school.

Mom wore an apron and listened to soap operas on the radio as she did her housework. She was a tremendous cook and an especially wonderful baker! She baked all kinds of homemade cookies, pies and cakes. I never tasted a store-bought cake until I moved away from home. I still remember coming home from school and smelling chocolate chip cookies in the oven as I walked into the house!

Dad came home every night at 5:00 pm sharp. Our family of four sat down to dinner together at our kitchen dinette set at 5:30 every night.

In the summertime all the kids would head outdoors to play at 8:00 in the morning and not come home until lunchtime --- and then head back out after lunch. Moms never worried where their kids were. The neighbors watched out for each other. I can still name each family in each house on our half of the block --- that's about 24 families!

On summer evenings we would have huge games of Kick the Can or Hide and Seek that included 15 or 20 kids in our neighborhood. Everyone's yard was fair game for hiding!

When you went to the grocery store all the employees knew you by name. Parents wrote checks without ever showing an ID. The box boys carried your groceries out and loaded them into your car.

When you drove into a gas station the employees filled your tank, washed your windshield, checked your oil and filled your tires with air. They then gave you a free promotional product (like a drinking glass or a dinner plate) and handed you a fistful of S&H Green stamps.

The neighborhood movie theater had kiddie shows every Saturday at noon. They would show a kid's movie (like Tarzan or Abbott and Costello), Crazy Races, and 20 cartoons. The last cartoon would be shown upside down and backwards! The manager of the theater (which was a professional position in the '50s), would get on stage with a birthday cake. Every kid who had a birthday that week would get a piece.

Don't get me wrong --- I know there were social problems. I also know that, even though ours was a very middle-class family, I was very privileged.

But you asked what the 50s were like --- and those are MY memories.

They were great! That's why I love remembering my childhood and why I started a blog for that purpose at boomerboulevard.com
 

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Considering I was born in late 1963 and the golden age of the 1950s ended around mid 1964, I do not have any personal experience, however from what I heard from the slightly older baby boomers about the early 1960s it was an eden. Even for blacks and women (such as myself) it was actually better. In reality white on black violence was much rarer than its depicted in the history books. (More black people today die from black on black violence than did from lynchings in the last 150 years). Also I sure wish I was a housewife nowadays. I'd love to cook and clean and let my husband take care making money for me. I also don't like the fact so many people are divorced nowadays, seems like there's more kids with divorced parents than married ones.
 

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I was born in 1958, so really don't have any actual memories of the 50's. However, my parents surely fit the typical 50's family model - mom was a housewife at home raising kids and dad went to work. I thought that was a good model for life. We had everything we needed and I don't remember ever lacking food or clothing or a nice place to live. We had a privileged life in many ways. I am not sure that most young people have the opportunities now that were around then. I don't think you necessarily needed a high dollar college education to make it.

I found out later that the life my mother had was something that I couldn't do. I am not good at housekeeping, and I resented having to do chores everyday that my brothers didn't . I had a hard time finding my way into a reasonably good paying career for a number of reasons, but I think certainly a major factor was that I really had no working woman role model. I think every grown up woman I knew was a housewife, with the exception of my teachers, of course.

There were good and bad things about the 50s.
 

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Was it really as good as its reputation? I always wished I were from the 1950's.
What damfool says it was good? No central air, most did not have window units, a 5 minute telephone call could run close to ten dollars, half the country discriminated against, 3 TV channels was about tops except in large cities, Minimum wage was $1 per hour, medical care was poor, interstate system was way short of finished - Oh, man.
I finished high school in 59.
 

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Its funny how things change so much that they don't really change at all.
I know I have changed. . . And many others also. In 1950 I entered 4th grade. We lived in the country and our shool was on its last few years before consolidation. All white. White janitor. A lot of negative comments from the teachers.
During the decade, George Wallace, a populist who espoused any opinion that would get him elected, found his issue.
Graduated in 1959. Still a segregated school. In that year for an English assignment I wrote a story from the perspective of a little girl starting to school, hurt deeply that people hated her and called her names. No one would talk to her. . .based on the actual event of desegregation in Arkansas. A+, no comments from the teacher. If she had, it could have cost her her job. Maybe she has deep conflicted feelings. In part, all this was in rejection (for other reasons) of my old man, a racist at home. . .
In 1960? James Meridith started to UM. Big riot, two deaths -

I see it thus: people are resistant to change, sometimes violently so. The adults of the first generation,in the years of the changes, cannot themselves change. That is true whatever the change, and a that is a general, not specific, statement.
The second generation bears the brunt of the social upheaval, adjustments, ambivalence. During that time, George Wallace publicly embraced equality - privately, only he and his God will ever know.
Third generation has no idea what the fuss was about. Social mores have not settled completely and there are segments that have not changed at all. The old guard, both the agents of change and the resistors of change, cannot themselves change, and a phantom battle continues.
But the old days are over.

Imagine a seashore. There are periods of calm, stability, order. Then a new wave crashes onto the beach, and as it retreats, there is a new order of things on the sand, which will remain until the next wave. . . Human society has many generations between the crests of the waves. Change, rapid or slow, is the only consistancy.
 

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queen of glitter gnomes
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@OldManRivers, the way that you share your memories of the 1950s is brilliant. You really made me feel as if I were there with you, in that sort of environment, with the blatant racism and the way it affected you and how you overcame your own upbringing.
You are one heck of a writer!
Thank you for telling your story.
 
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