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A Nostalgic New Year's Look At The 1950s
Forbes ^ | December 27, 2012 | Mark Hendrickson,

Posted on 12/31/2012 6:51:01 AM PST by NYer

New Year’s observances blend recollections of the past, celebrations in the present, and anticipation of the future. For a variety of reasons, I’m feeling nostalgic this year. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the decade of my childhood—the 1950s.

In October, my wife and I saw a play in which people weary of the hectic pace of contemporary life could escape to an “authentic” 1950s community where the more relaxed pace of the past had been recreated. In the play, the benefit of relocating to the ’50s was a simpler, less stressful life, but it came at a price—enduring racial and sexual prejudice. The problem was that the playwright—a man in his 30s—had zero feel for the era. He simply reproduced various one-dimensional stereotypes about the ’50s that he had heard or read.

... snip ....

My view of the ’50s is more benign. I recall it as a happy, safe time—almost a Golden Age in American history. ... snip ... I’m glad I got to be a kid at a time of peace and prosperity.

In the ’50s, homes were smaller, cars larger, attire more formal, and the range of consumer products far narrower. A sense of order prevailed. Neighbors watched out for everyone’s kids. We left our homes and cars unlocked. Kids behaved in school or were expelled. Most of us toed the line, because we knew that our parents would take the teacher’s side. Teachers were respected and principals feared. People accepted responsibility for their actions. If you hurt yourself doing something careless, you never thought of suing the company that made the thing with which you hurt yourself. Most of us went to Sunday school or synagogue every weekend, learning right from wrong and that we are accountable to a higher power.

(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...


TOPICS: History; Society
KEYWORDS: 19502; 1950s; fifties; nostalgia
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first 1-5051-94 next last

1 posted on 12/31/2012 6:51:08 AM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

For those who share these memories and those who wish they did ;-)


2 posted on 12/31/2012 6:52:45 AM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer
I couldn't sleep last night, so I turned the 'puter on, brought up FR and ... THIS
3 posted on 12/31/2012 6:53:51 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: NYer
"In the ’50s, homes were smaller, cars larger, attire more formal, and the range of consumer products far narrower. A sense of order prevailed."


In a nutshell ... a lott'a psychological health in those sentences

4 posted on 12/31/2012 6:59:57 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: NYer

Even with regular Air Raid Drills and gruesome descriptions of nuclear war (”Don’t look at the flash or your eyeballs will melt!) I STILL felt more secure and safe in my Beloved America in the Fifties than I do now.

Remember Khrushchev banging his shoe on the desk? LOL!

The Good Guys were Good and the Bad Guys were BAD. I Loved the Fifties!


5 posted on 12/31/2012 7:00:39 AM PST by left that other site (Worry is the Darkroom that Develops Negatives.)
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To: left that other site

OK...I know the “shoe thing” was probably in the early 60’s. The “Fifties” ended on November 22, 1963. For me, anyway.


6 posted on 12/31/2012 7:02:27 AM PST by left that other site (Worry is the Darkroom that Develops Negatives.)
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To: NYer

I remember when my brother and I were told to be in before the street lights went on guess what we were or else.


7 posted on 12/31/2012 7:05:08 AM PST by Rappini (Veritas vos Liberabit)
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To: NYer

Parents were non existent on any given day ut for aan ankle and foot in a doorway in a distant room. But they knew what we were up to.

Tehere were older siblings, and they were sanctioned if we did something to embarass the family.

And we were not allowed to be in the house during the day. We had to brave a lot for that.

Once, someone fixed the lock on our front door so we could lock it. I was in my twenties.

The teacher was NEVER wrong. But she was a good person, out for my welfare.

Mean, though.

People dressed appropriately. I still do, and I get treated well for it. Dressing well is easy and way underrated.


8 posted on 12/31/2012 7:05:46 AM PST by stanne
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To: left that other site
A great influence on me
9 posted on 12/31/2012 7:10:11 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: NYer

It was a privilege to grow up in the ’50s.

***
Ditto!

During my period of great despondency immediately following the stolen election, I was lamenting the loss of our republic, when one of my elder sisters stated, “We got to live in the best part of it”. Still makes me tear up to type that, as it reminds me of what my grandchildren will never have.


10 posted on 12/31/2012 7:10:25 AM PST by Bigg Red (Sorry, Mr. Franklin, I guess we couldn't keep it.)
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To: knarf

I love Norman Rockwell!

Happy New Year, FRiend!


11 posted on 12/31/2012 7:16:03 AM PST by left that other site (Worry is the Darkroom that Develops Negatives.)
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To: NYer
Something else missing about the ‘50s, and with the current gun debate I can't believe no one has brought it up.

As we have been told, the cause of all of the current shootings is ‘the easy availability of guns.’

Well let me let everyone in on a little secret:

GUNS WERE ONE HELL OF A LOT MORE AVAILABLE DURING THE 1950'S THEN THEY ARE TODAY.

Most of the households back then had a father that had been in World War II. There were three M1 Garands in my neighborhood alone. One owner would load up all the kids in the block and take us out to the range to shoot his. Many houses had a 1911 Colt or some kind of wheel gun. None were locked up, and most were loaded.

And if you wanted to buy a gun, who here remembers, “Service Armament”? They were one of many MAIL ORDER gun companies. Just a money order and the Postman walked right up to your door and delivered.

My Dad said if I made all Bs in my sophomore year I could buy a pistol.I picked and Astra 9mm (I thought it looked neat, but it is really a poor design). I filled out all the paperwork and saved my money. To make a long story short, I still have the gun, and somewhere I may even still have the box it came in, addressed to me - a 15 year old.

If easy availability of guns was the problem, the 50’s should have seen daily school blood baths. It didn't. And that alone PROVES that the availability of guns has NOTHING to do with the causes of the current madness.

12 posted on 12/31/2012 7:19:38 AM PST by I cannot think of a name
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To: I cannot think of a name

If you had said let’s take God out of the school system you would have to say, “how are you going to guard against the onslaught of the enemy?”


13 posted on 12/31/2012 7:24:36 AM PST by stanne
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To: stanne

“If you had said let’s take God out of the school system you would have to say, “how are you going to guard against the onslaught of the enemy?”

Not quite sure what you are trying to say, but if in the 1950’s you had said, “let’s take God our of the school system” my parents and a whole bunch of other very angry parents would have shown up - and been VERY LOUD.

The liberals are a lot smarter then we give them credit for. The work like water, just slowly wearing away the morals and sanity that creates a good society. They’ve been at it for the last sixty years. It’s just now that we are really staring to see the effects.


14 posted on 12/31/2012 7:30:05 AM PST by I cannot think of a name
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To: I cannot think of a name

I remember one shooting at school in the fifties. A guy brought his shotgun to Massapequa HS and killed some other guy over a girl. The teacher who disarmed him was Alex Baldwin Sr.


15 posted on 12/31/2012 7:32:24 AM PST by wtc911 (Amigo - you've been had.)
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To: I cannot think of a name

Yes, those were the good old days for firearms. My dad owned over 200 firearms at that time, all easily available in the home and you know what? With the exception of when we went out hunting or to the range or to clean them, I knew if I ever put my hands on one, they would stay on them...no joke, I just knew better.

The rest of the 50’s were pretty calm to, once the Korean War was over. Schools were places to learn, not day care centers. I went to a local church grade school taught by mostly nuns. We were praised when we did well, and if we did something wrong, well, I always felt the principal nun was hiding out from Nuremberg for having run a concentration camp. Frightening woman. I don’t recall the police ever coming to school except to hand out the safety patrol badges and gather them up at the end of the school year. A big night out was when the family went to the movies. One TV, a few channels and no filth on it. My parents decided what was on and when we went to bed. Yes, “go outside and play” was a daily thing, no hanging about the house playing video games and the like. Touch football ran from october to March and baseball from April to October, either at the park or in the street. Water ballon fights and tag games....a wonderful time to be a kid.
Meanwhile, we had chores to accomplish too. Mostly helping out but nonetheless we were involved. Minor plumbing, painting, car maintenance, cleaning game both fish and foul. We were taught how to do things besides checking Angie’s list.


16 posted on 12/31/2012 7:38:13 AM PST by Mouton (108th MI Group.....68-71)
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To: wtc911
“A guy brought his shotgun to Massapequa HS and killed some other guy over a girl”

Yes, I remember at least a couple of those kinds of shootings as well.

But I'm talking about a kid just showing up and indiscriminately shooting people for no reason. Two guys having a beef with each other - yes, high school kids killing people just for fun - no.

17 posted on 12/31/2012 7:41:38 AM PST by I cannot think of a name
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To: Rappini; stanne
remember when my brother and I were told to be in before the street lights went on

It was a time when doors were left unlocked, children played outside until dusk and what few television programs shown, were entertaining, informative or faith based. Even our Jewish neighbors appreciated watching ...


18 posted on 12/31/2012 7:45:20 AM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

Remember when I was in the eight grade about `62 the

school took us on a field trip to the local jail..8 cells

Today we have a jail built about 8 yrs ago to hold 500,now

they are triple bunking them because of over crowding


19 posted on 12/31/2012 7:47:36 AM PST by Harold Shea (RVN `70 - `71)
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To: Mouton

“A guy brought his shotgun to Massapequa HS and killed some other guy over a girl”

Bingo - first correct answer.

Almost every home back then with kids had a Mom AND a Dad. Mom was kind but strict, and Dad had a large leather belt. And there was order and politeness in society, from the home, to the neighborhood, to schools. But as the liberals will tell you, those were ‘terrible times that restricted children’s growth and development.’ Never mind that those kids went on to build the largest free market economy on earth and STILL pay a huge percentage of the takes.

Since then we have been taught that there must be ‘freedom’ and ‘understanding’. That under no circumstances should a parent ever strike a child. And that all of the bedrock American beliefs are wrong and must be torn down.

Working out really well, isn’t it?


20 posted on 12/31/2012 7:47:36 AM PST by I cannot think of a name
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To: left that other site
The Good Guys were Good and the Bad Guys were BAD. I Loved the Fifties!

Ditto! And it was reflected in television programming.


21 posted on 12/31/2012 7:50:40 AM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: I cannot think of a name

The shooter in Massapequa in ‘58 was already a ‘troubled’ kid and being treated by a shrink. It was such an anomoly that we remember it 55 years later.


22 posted on 12/31/2012 7:55:01 AM PST by wtc911 (Amigo - you've been had.)
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To: knarf
In a nutshell ... a lott'a psychological health in those sentences

Because those sentences reflect a society based on civility and respect for God.

23 posted on 12/31/2012 7:56:06 AM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer
Overall the 50's were far superior to today.They weren't perfect,far from it but they were more peaceful,more civilized,simpler (and I mean that in a positive way).Then,it was "moon,swoon,June".Today it's "bend over,b*tch".Then it was "wake up,little Susie".Now it's "let's spend the night together".Then,perhaps 90% of black households had a productive adult male present.Today it's probably 5%.Then,perhaps 4% of children were born out of wedlock (5% black,3% white...just a guess).Today it's 75% black,66% white.

I firmly believe that *everybody* was better off,overall,back then...even the perverts (AIDS was unheard of then).

24 posted on 12/31/2012 7:58:31 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (When Robbing Peter To Pay Paul,One Can Always Count On Paul's Cooperation)
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To: NYer

I remember there was the Korean war, lots of tobacco related deaths, polio vaccines, beginning of VietNam problems, communism, women had fewer rights, pollution, no seat belts, McCarthyism, atomic bomb drills, LSD treatments for psychiatric problems, TB hospitals, lousy tv.

I think every decade had good things and bad things.


25 posted on 12/31/2012 8:00:00 AM PST by stuartcr ("Everything happens as God wants it to, otherwise, things would be different.")
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To: Bigg Red
During my period of great despondency immediately following the stolen election, I was lamenting the loss of our republic, when one of my elder sisters stated, “We got to live in the best part of it”. Still makes me tear up to type that, as it reminds me of what my grandchildren will never have.

Ironic that we lost the election to our peers. God bless you, friend. Safeguard those memories and share them with your grandchildren.

26 posted on 12/31/2012 8:02:06 AM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

We’re all a bunch of knuckle-dragging neanderthals just for clicking on the thread title.


27 posted on 12/31/2012 8:06:34 AM PST by Attention Surplus Disorder (This stuff we're going through now, this is nothing compared to the middle ages.)
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To: stuartcr
Depending on your age, I'd guess you heard about those things, but they didn't matter to you ... you were too busy playin' until dark.

Maybe in the 60's when we sort'a discovered our brains those things mattered .. but not in the 50's.

I was born in '48 ... "woke up" around 53,54,55 ... caught some terrific doowop before the beatle invasion ... etc., etc.

28 posted on 12/31/2012 8:10:50 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: knarf

I was born in 1950. I remember iron lungs, polio vaccine on a sugar cube, Ike’s election, hiding under desks at school, and yes, getting yelled at for coming in after dark.


29 posted on 12/31/2012 8:16:15 AM PST by stuartcr ("Everything happens as God wants it to, otherwise, things would be different.")
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To: stuartcr

I was born with a physical deformity and I remember Ma going out on the March Of Dimes and filling cards with dimes from door to door donors.


30 posted on 12/31/2012 8:21:20 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: knarf

I remember those cards with the little slots.


31 posted on 12/31/2012 8:25:22 AM PST by stuartcr ("Everything happens as God wants it to, otherwise, things would be different.")
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To: left that other site
I know the “shoe thing” was probably in the early 60’s. The “Fifties” ended on November 22, 1963. For me, anyway.

The "shoe thing" was in 1960.

For me, the fifties ended chronologically on December 31, 1959, a sunny and cold and snowy day in Big Bear Lake, Calif.--the lake was frozen, so we could walk out onto it, and the ground was covered with snow. Politically and culturally, I would say the fifties ended on January 20, 1961, a cold and overcast Friday in Whittier, Calif.

32 posted on 12/31/2012 8:30:14 AM PST by Fiji Hill (Fight on!)
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To: Harold Shea
Remember when I was in the eight grade about `62 the

school took us on a field trip to the local jail..8 cells

I visited the jail in Whittier, Calif. in 1960, and it was about that size. We were allowed to tour it because there were no inmates. It's a safe bet that it's always full these days.

33 posted on 12/31/2012 8:36:26 AM PST by Fiji Hill (Fight on!)
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To: stanne
If you had said let’s take God out of the school system you would have to say, “how are you going to guard against the onslaught of the enemy?”

The whole point of getting God out of the school system was to make sure that there was nothing to guard against the onslaught of the enemy.

34 posted on 12/31/2012 8:42:05 AM PST by Dunstan McShane
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To: knarf

“the range of consumer products far narrower”

Sometimes a walk through Walmart (and other stores) reminds me of just how much “stuff” I do NOT need. Less IS more; but we just have to discipline ourselves in that way; I feel a bit dazed at times when I have to choose among 25 different versions of the same product. Of course, we’d probably complain if we only had one choice in an item.


35 posted on 12/31/2012 8:42:31 AM PST by Twinkie (The WICKED walk on every side when EVIL men are exalted. Psalm 12:8)
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To: Twinkie
Larry the cable guy has a commercial that touts the fact that we sell you things you didn't even know you wanted.

I'm amazed at the amount of programming (psycological engineering) that goes on with American television.

There must be four or five each of talent searches, survivor series, races and bachelors, bachelorettes, and a few etcetera's that constantly bombard the viewer with ..

"Well, the way I see it, Brad is SO selfish and ...


So what IS reality?

Well Bill ... the way I see it ...


God will not be mocked.

36 posted on 12/31/2012 8:53:30 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Twinkie

It would have been hard to complain...all there was back then was mail, telegraph or telephone, and phone calls were likely to be party lines and cost money just to call across the country.


37 posted on 12/31/2012 8:56:14 AM PST by stuartcr ("Everything happens as God wants it to, otherwise, things would be different.")
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To: knarf

How else do you give people jobs if you don’t sell stuff?...more stuff for sale, more jobs.


38 posted on 12/31/2012 8:58:31 AM PST by stuartcr ("Everything happens as God wants it to, otherwise, things would be different.")
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To: stanne
"People dressed appropriately. I still do, and I get treated well for it. Dressing well is easy and way underrated."

The 50s was before my time, but I have no doubt it was a much better time.

You've hit upon a pet peeve of mine, and that is the fact that it's fashionable to be a slob these days. I'm in my 40s, and if I go out wearing boot cut jeans, a decent top, and heeled boots, I'm way overdressed compared with many. It's even worse during the summer. Most people look like they just came off the beach. I really do despise flip-flops.

Hey, ladies, here's a newsflash---exposed bra straps are not an accessory. They're meant to be covered up. Strapless bras have existed for decades----get one.

As for men, a Freeper (can't recall whom) was right when she said that many of them dress like oversized Peanuts characters. I've never forgotten that description; it was completely on target.

Rant off.

39 posted on 12/31/2012 9:00:34 AM PST by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: stuartcr

Thank you for your post. I believe that every generation can look back to a past period with a feeling of nostalgia. Every era has positive and negative aspects to it. We live in our own times, wishing for something or sometime else doesn’t change anything.

BTW, I remember duck and cover, Howdy Doody, polio scares etc. I even came down with Scarlet Fever one summer. I wonder how many cases there are of that every year in the US.


40 posted on 12/31/2012 9:07:19 AM PST by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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To: knarf
I was born in '48 ... "woke up" around 53,54,55 ... caught some terrific doowop before the beatle invasion ... etc., etc.

I was born somewhat later, but didn't hear much doo-wop with the exception of Peanuts by Little Joe & the Thrillers and the Flamingos' I Only Have Eyes For You. Our radio station of choice was usually KFI, now Rush Limbaugh's home in the Southland.

In the fifties, KFI featured variety shows such as "Hit the Road," a morning show that included a lot of popular music. Their play list included songs like The Ballad of Davy Crockett by Walter Schumann, Round and Round by Perry Como, and True Love by Bing Crosby, but occasionally a rocker such as Rock Around the Clock or Eric Nelson's Poor Little Fool would break through. We would listen to "Hit the Road" over a portable Zenith radio that usually sat on the gray Formica kitchen table beneath the big GE electric clock that was mounted on the wall.

41 posted on 12/31/2012 9:09:09 AM PST by Fiji Hill (Fight on!)
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To: stuartcr
Hmmm good point

Let's make steel and sell it all over the world

Let's make refineries and sell the refined products all over the world

Let's make stuff made in America

42 posted on 12/31/2012 9:10:25 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: NYer

The fact that liberals are always howling about what an evil time the 50s (and early 60s) were is proof of how good they were. TV shows with names like Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, and Have Gun Will Travel were on the air and nobody had a cow over it. Little boys openly played with toy guns.

I saw an old commercial on youtube for a cereal called Kellogg’s Sugar Corn Pops. The child actor (actually, the guy who grew up to be Micky Dolenz of the Monkees) had toy guns in the commercial and said, “bang, bang,” and the slogan was “shot with sugar through and through.” Yes, they bragged about the cereal having sugar, and guns and shooting were the theme of the ad! But there were few if any school shootings then, and less obesity.

I’ve even heard of high school kids in the 50s leaving guns openly visible in their cars in school parking lots because they planned to go hunting after school. Yet if two kids got into a fight, nobody ran out to the parking lot to get their gun. They settled the fight with fists. I’ve even heard of kids bringing guns on the school bus because they’d brought them for “show and tell”!

People are nostalgic for the safety and the morals of the 50s. I get email forwards all the time saying, “Remember the good old days when we didn’t have to lock our doors and the schools didn’t have metal detectors?” But nobody ever discusses why things aren’t that way anymore. That’s the elephant in the living room!


43 posted on 12/31/2012 9:13:04 AM PST by Nea Wood (When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.)
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To: Fiji Hill

Yes, I hear you.

I was only 8 years old when the fifties chronologically ended, and was still quite politically naive.


44 posted on 12/31/2012 9:14:43 AM PST by left that other site (Worry is the Darkroom that Develops Negatives.)
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To: knarf

Hopefully we will again in the future. In the meantime, we need to sell something, even if people don’t know they need it. I don’t think the world is a better place if the biggest $$$ things we can sell is munitions.


45 posted on 12/31/2012 9:15:30 AM PST by stuartcr ("Everything happens as God wants it to, otherwise, things would be different.")
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To: CatherineofAragon
You've hit upon a pet peeve of mine, and that is the fact that it's fashionable to be a slob these days.

Ditto!

When I attended my last high school reunion, I wore a slacks, a sport jacket and a tie--and was way overdressed. In fact, I was the only one with a tie, and several came in shorts and sandals.

46 posted on 12/31/2012 9:16:30 AM PST by Fiji Hill (Fight on!)
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To: Fiji Hill

That is just completely unacceptable to me. I don’t know what people are thinking.


47 posted on 12/31/2012 9:18:46 AM PST by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: ops33

I forgot about Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob. That was the beginning of tv as a babysitter. I don’t know anyone that could watch that stuff nowadays, even kids.


48 posted on 12/31/2012 9:19:08 AM PST by stuartcr ("Everything happens as God wants it to, otherwise, things would be different.")
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To: stuartcr

“McCarthyism” is a term that was invented by leftists who know that Joe was onto them.

Just sayin’

of Course the fifties weren’t perfect. No era is. But it sure was a lot nicer than the world we live in today.


49 posted on 12/31/2012 9:20:29 AM PST by left that other site (Worry is the Darkroom that Develops Negatives.)
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To: Nea Wood

All of us Baby Boomers no doubt remember Tony the Tiger, who flogged Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. I met the man who did his voice—he lived in my mother’s retirement complex. He passed away a few years ago.


50 posted on 12/31/2012 9:21:04 AM PST by Fiji Hill (Fight on!)
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