Remembering the 1950’s and 60’s

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In our earlier hilarious article on aging, we shared 50 funny issues that point to your getting older! Now, we take you back to the 1950’s-early 60’s to re-visit the “Age of the Baby Boomers.” If you lived during these times, and you can identify many of the following 129 memories, you know you’re “fading fast!” Do you remember?

Swanson TV Dinners, AM radios with a few channels, 25-cent movies, 5&10 stores, Outhouses, 14-year-old drivers, TV-rabbit-ears w/Aluminum foil, 5-Cent bottled Coca-Colas, Jack Benny, nickel Lay’s peanuts, ice cream sandwiches, Roy Rogers, Tang Drink, 3-cent-first-class-stamps, catching lightning bugs in jars, black-and-white television stations (no profanity) with midnight test patterns playing the National Anthem, Air Raid School Drills, S&H and Greenbax Stamps, Ben Hur, Alaska and Hawaii becoming states, Matt Dillion (Gunsmoke), Jack-in-the-Box, clipping cards to bike spokes to mimic motorcycle sounds, Bonanza, World Book Encyclopedias, Davy Crockett, milk-in-glass-bottles delivered to our homes, Lassie, Rotary telephones, packing people in car trunks at drive-in-theaters, Wyatt Earp, homes costing $7,000 and automobiles $2,500, James Dean, Atomic-Cinnamon-Flavored-Fireball candy, Marlboro Man, candy cigarettes, 45-78 RPM vinyl records, Sky King, 20-cents-per-gallon leaded gas pumped by station attendants, leaving drive-in theaters with window speakers still attached, ice-cream-sandwiches, Superman, cars without safety belts, Mickey Mantle, phonebooks, 3” Sears catalogs, transistor radios, throw-away camera-flash-bulbs, typewriters, soda bottle deposit returns, piggy banks, A&P, Bob Hope, wood-paneled station wagons (Woodies), nosey neighbors’ telephone party lines, police officers were respected, Leave it to Beaver, teachers and principals were honored and fully supported by parents or there were “serious consequences,” 5-cent telephone booths, Andy Griffith, Lone Ranger, Roller Skates w/keys, (Sammy Davis, Jr.,  Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra—"The Rat Pack”), restaurants with small table-booth juke boxes, glass-bottled soda machines, Kirk Douglas, farmers and mules plowing fields, Willie Mays, homes without electricity or running water, many dirt roads, the “ice plant,” mail delivered by trains (hooks would snatch mailbags as they raced by towns), neighborhood ice cream trucks, Howdy Doody, Arnold Palmer, soda fountains, jawbreaker candy, Wringer washing machines, saying the “Pledge of Allegiance” and prayers in schools, “The Twist” dance, cooking with lard and fatback, Lawrence Welk, cigarettes (portrayed as glamorous and safe for 25-cents-a-pack), firearms primarily owned by police and hunters, South Pacific, Flash Gordon, Sunday-family-gatherings after church, Grace Kelly, car-light-floor dimmers, Honeymooners w/Jackie Gleason, Steve Allen, trash carelessly thrown onto roads, people burning their own garbage, Grandma’s annual family reunion, Tupper Ware parties, Moonshine, segregated human races, Ed Sullivan Show, Korean War, Snipe Hunting, The Twilight Zone, John Wayne, polio vaccines, Wing Tip shoes, James Stewart, Penny Loafers, Jerry Lewis, The Ten Commandments w/Charlton Heston, 12 Angry Men, Marilyn Monroe, Singing in the Rain, I Love Lucy, telephone booth body cramming (record—25 people stuffed in one phonebooth), Elizabeth Taylor, Capri Pants, Some Like it Hot, Rebel Without a Cause, Marlon Brando, outside clothes’ lines, Yogi Berra, Gone With The Wind, Amos n’ Andy, Mouseketeers, Divorce rates (20%), Elvis Pressley, Rock-n-Roll, Volkswagen Bug, Maverick, Lil Abner, 1950—nine-percent of American households owned televisions (90% in 1960), and the infamous 1957 Chevy Bel-Aire. While political parties vigorously debated issues, they eventually compromised to solve problems, but didn’t sow hatred towards one another nor were there “extremist nutcases” in their ranks!

The Bottom Line: As I researched the 1950’s and early 60’s, I compared our culture today versus back then. As I re-lived my childhood in rural Darlington, SC, I thought how simple life was and the few choices we had versus families today, racing with exhaustion, from one activity to the next. I remember walking to school where we felt safe and playing outside with friends (we could just be kids) or flying with my Grandfather in his J-4 Piper Cub airplane. Today, we have more technology on our bodies than the world experienced in the 1950’s. We marveled at Dick Tracy and his watch radio; little did we know that an Apple iWatch would become reality. Our news came from “trusted” Walter Winchell, Edward Murrow, and Walter Cronkite. They delivered unbiased information by radio, weekly newspapers (which included society gossip columns), or black/white TV. I remember my great grandmother’s red, manual water pump in her kitchen with no running water and an Outhouse.  She threatened my great grandfather’s life if he installed that “nasty toilet” in her house! I smile as I see her wash basin and pitcher in my office, thinking back to those early times of my relatives washing up before meals.

While I enjoy today’s luxuries and advancements, I wouldn’t want to re-live my life—the 50’s and early 60’s were pretty-good times. There were many experiences and cultural values from those earlier times that would benefit us today such as respecting authority and our elders, displaying manners, valuing peaceful behaviors, God being more visible in our lives, practicing courtesy, and slowing down our crazy-driven lives to “smell the roses!”

Oh well, as the Rolling Stones sing, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you might get what you need!” Perhaps all of us need to sow more from Apostle Paul’s wisdom—Galatians 5:22-23: Fruits of the Spirit are “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Need I say more?

Mike DuBose has been an instructor for USC’s graduate school since 1985 when he began his family of companies. He is a contributing guest author for Midland's Biz and is the author of The Art of Building a Great Business. Please visit our blog for additional published business, travel, and personal articles, as well as health articles written with Surb Guram, MD.