Musing about life in the ‘50s

My Dad with Mom and my brother Conrad 1937If you’ve taken time to review my website, you already know that I’ve written two books, and my latest one is a book of fiction. A coming-of-age mystery that takes place between 1953 and 1973. These were the good old days of my youth and early manhood. A lot of great memories from those years.

I grew-up in a middle-class neighborhood very much like the one that’s the setting for my book Three Whistles. Actually the book is based on many of the experiences I had growing-up, however, I did embellish the stories a bit.

Life in America during the 1950s was so, very different from life in the US today.

Milk was delivered by a man in a truck who arrived before sunrise and deposited fresh milk on our doorstep then collected the empty milk bottles from the prior day’s deliveries. Can you imagine that happening today?

Outdoors was our playground, and we’d be outside with our friends shortly after breakfast, breaking for a short lunch, and back out until dinner. Frequently, we’d be back outside at night playing hide-and-go-seek, kick-the-can or just hanging out. We ran barefooted in the summer with an occasional cut or bruise on a foot and an occasional bee sting to the sole of a foot. My dad’s remedy for this was to put a wad of juicy tobacco from his cigar on the wound. I don’t know if tobacco helped it or not, but it took my mind off the wound.

Some of the families on my street had television, but not everyone. We had two or three channels, and the programs were limited. Many shows were performed live, and mistakes would sometimes create dead space or worse. Before I moved to our new neighborhood in 1953, I’d often get up on Saturday morning and watch the TV pattern until the first show of the day began. On Saturday a number of shows for kids were broadcasted; like Buster Brown, The Adventures of Sky King, and Roy Rogers. They also started showing baseball on TV during the 1950s, and my dad and I were keen to watch the Yankees beat-up their opponents with Mantle and Berra leading the way.

I remember in the early ‘50s watching the Presidential Conventions with my dad. I mention this because of the all the political dialogue that dominates today’s media as we prepare for the 2016 presidential election. My dad was a Democrat, because he said they were for the working people, so, I was a Democrat, as well as a Yankee fan. Kids tend to mimic the people they admire, and I admired my dad. He was my hero. Unfortunately, he died in 1964 at age 57–to early in his life and in mine.

In the 1950s, I remember the Democrats as being conservative as well as looking out for the working man. My dad was very conservative, and I wonder what he’d say about the Democrats of today? They still focus on the working person, I think (today’s Democrats and educators would prefer person to man), but conservative is not part of today’s party language. I think I know what my dad would say and how he’d feel about that party today. Oh well, lives and things do change.

I wonder what the boys in Three Whistles would say about the politics today? Some of the guys were definitely conservative while others were more liberal. Speedy and Tank were liberal. You can see those leanings by their actions and choices in the stories in my book. I’m not offering a political opinion here–just some food for thought.

The picture is of my Dad, Mom and brother and was taken around 1937

2 comments on “Musing about life in the ‘50s

  1. Hello,

    Ah you are stirring up some wonderful memories of growing up there. I am a first year Boomer, 1946. I recall the neighbors in Philly moving all the cars off the street, raking all the leaves into huge piles, and the sweet aroma of them burning. I recall the Mom and Pop store at the corner; the milkman; the coal coming down the shoot at my grandparents.
    If your book does this for others, well it should be a wonderful success.
    Miz’ Remy

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