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Memories of Growing Up in the 40's and 50's (and since, even)
email | 1/4/01 (this time) | Unknown

Posted on 01/04/2003 12:12:42 PM PST by Dakotabound

"Hey Dad," My Son asked the other day, "what was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?"

"We didn't have fast food when I was growing up."

"C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?"

"We ate at home," I explained. "Your Grandma cooked every day and when your Grandpa got home from work, we all sat down together at the table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I had to sit there until I did like it." By this time, my Son was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer some serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to get my Father's permission to leave the table.

Here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I had figured his system could handle it.

My parents never: wore Levi's, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country, flew in a plane or had a credit card. In their later years they had something called a "revolving charge card" but they never actually used it. It was only good at Sears-Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears and Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore.

My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was because soccer back then was just for the girls. We actually did walk to school. By the time you were in the 6th grade it was not cool to ride the bus unless you lived more than 4 or 5 miles from the school, even when it was raining or there was ice or snow on the ground.

Outdoor sports consisted of stickball, snowball fights, building forts, making snowmen and sliding down hills on a piece of cardboard. No skate boards, roller blades or trail bikes.

We didn't have a television in our house until I was 12. It was, of course, black and white, but you could buy a piece of special colored plastic to cover the screen. The top third was blue, like the sky, and the bottom third was green, like grass. The middle third was red. It was perfect for programs that had scenes of fire trucks riding across someone's lawn on a sunny day.

I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza. It was a Sam's Pizza at the East end of Fruit Street in Milford. My friend, Steve took me there to try what he called "pizza pie." When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down and plastered itself against my chin. It's still the best pizza I ever had.

Pizzas were not delivered to your house back then, but the milk was. I looked forward to winter because the cream in the milk was on top of the bottle and it would freeze and push the cap off. Of course us kids would get up first to get the milk and eat the frozen cream before our mother could catch us.

I never had a telephone in my room. Actually the only phone in the house was in the hallway and it was on a party line. Before you could make a call, you had to listen in to make sure someone else wasn't already using the line. If the line was not in use an Operator would come on and ask "number please" and you would give her the number you wanted to call.

There was no such thing as a computer or a hand held calculator. We were required to memorize the "times tables." Believe it or not, we were tested each week on our ability to perform mathematics with nothing but a pencil and paper. We took a spelling test every day. There was no such thing as a "social promotion." If you flunked a class, you repeated that grade the following year. Nobody was concerned about your "self esteem." We had to actually do something praiseworthy before we were praised. We learned that you had to earn respect.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and most all boys delivered newspapers. I delivered the "Milford Daily News" six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which I got to keep 2 cents. On Saturday, I had to collect the 42 cents from my customers. My favorite customers were the ones who gave me 50 cents and told me to keep the change. My least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut on screen. Touching someone else's tongue with yours was called French kissing and they just didn't do that in the movies back then. I had no idea what they did in French movies. French movies were considered dirty and we weren't allowed to see them.

You never saw the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers or anyone else actual kill someone. The heroes back then would just shoot the gun out of the bad guys hand. There was no blood and violence.

When you were sick, the Doctor actually came to your house. No, I am not making this up. Drugs were something you purchased at a pharmacy in order to cure an illness.

If we dared to "sass" our parents, or any other grown-up, we immediately found out what soap tasted like. For more serious infractions, we learned about something called a "this hurts me more than it hurts you." I never did quite understand that one?

In those days, parents were expected to discipline their kids. There was no interference from the government. "Social Services" or "Family Services" had not been invented (The ninth and tenth amendments to the constitution were still observed in those days.)

I must be getting old because I find myself reflecting back more and more and thinking I liked it a lot better back then. If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your kids or grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they wet themselves laughing. Growing up today sure ain't what it used to be.

TOPICS: Culture/Society
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To: Arkansawyer
21 posted on 01/04/2003 12:35:36 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: Mears
Our big treat was a visit to Howard Johnson's.

Restaurants were something we visited only when on vacation. Who could afford to eat out?

22 posted on 01/04/2003 12:39:49 PM PST by mountaineer
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To: Dakotabound
Born in 1937 in Newark, NJ.......can't go home again.
23 posted on 01/04/2003 12:40:45 PM PST by OldFriend
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To: Chancellor Palpatine
"Le Chateau Blanc (for 5 star dining and the finest in French cuisine)."

LOL! I went to school at the Culinary Institute of America and there we used to call Ketchup "Sauce Americane" :)

24 posted on 01/04/2003 12:41:58 PM PST by volchef
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To: Commander8
I grew up in the 60's. The entire article rings true. The first calculator I saw was in a college chemistry class in 1973. I was an expert with the slide rule and the requisite scientific notation as we all were. I remember diagraming sentences for my English teacher. I actually had phonics in the second and third grade. I used to love going to a field and blowing the heads off of gophers with my trusty semi-automatic 22. Mom would say, "Be careful and have a nice time," as I went out the door with a couple of boxes of shells. I had Hunter's Safety when I was 12 so It was OK. Kids were kids and we weren't scared of nothing except for anyone who was older than we were. If the person was way older, we actually used the words sir or maam.

However, I am now 48 and I love my X box! I don't have any respect for kids these days because they don't have any respect for me.
25 posted on 01/04/2003 12:43:41 PM PST by montomike
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To: Dakotabound
Thanks for the chuckle and the memories, especially that tri colored screen that was taped to the tv. We always went over to my Aunt's house every Sunday evening to watch "Ponderosa" because she had one of those.
26 posted on 01/04/2003 12:44:26 PM PST by Conservababe
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To: Commander8
I remember the '80s as a simpler better time.


Man, I must be getting old. I remember the 50's ...How annoying is that?

Speaking of annoying, how about gettin' your hands off my Rogain!

27 posted on 01/04/2003 12:47:15 PM PST by The Citizen Soldier
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To: carmody
"Don't ever wish to go back!"

Born in 37. I'd give up computers, calculators, TV, etc., if I could return to the early days of the 40s and 50s.

BTW, there was a Mc Donalds in Glendale in the early 50s that served something they called a hamburger that they charged 13 cents for or $1/dozen and they wern't worth half of that!
28 posted on 01/04/2003 12:48:11 PM PST by dalereed
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To: Willie Green
I'm going try this tonight, if they come close, I will be forever indebted to you!
29 posted on 01/04/2003 12:48:36 PM PST by SAMWolf
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To: carmody
But times were much simpler then, people looked out for each other and technology had not transformed us into "Do unto others before they do unto you".
30 posted on 01/04/2003 12:48:47 PM PST by rooster1
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To: Dakotabound
Born in 1943, at the New Jersey Shore. Used to walk 1/2 mile to Hwy. 35 and catch a bus (10 cents) to Asbury Park and the amusements. My paper route paid me almost a dollar a week!

There was Little League, but no Pop Warner football or Biddy Basketball, and only foreigners played soccer. We fished, clammed, swam and played "guns" all summer.

We didn't have a telephone, but our neighbor did. Being "on relief" was shameful; military service was honorable.

We bought milk with a beautiful layer of cream on top by the gallon direct from the dairy farm a mile west of home.

We didn't have much, but since most of the folks we knew were in the same boat, we didn't think of ourselves as poor.
31 posted on 01/04/2003 12:51:13 PM PST by JimRed
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To: Conservababe
...that tri colored screen that was taped to the tv. We always went over to my Aunt's house every Sunday evening to watch "Ponderosa" because she had one of those."

We have to be related!

I can still remember my Aunt "Liz" calling to invite us over to watch color TV. It was not until some years later that I realized that faces in color were not half red - half blue!

32 posted on 01/04/2003 12:51:17 PM PST by The Citizen Soldier
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To: The Citizen Soldier
March 28, 1947 to be exact. Yep, that was a very good year.
33 posted on 01/04/2003 12:53:37 PM PST by rooster1
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To: xJones
That's right!

And ... only the liberals have made a connection between abuse and discipline.

My dad was a strict disciplinarian - I can remember having company and my mother putting out a dish of candy on the coffee table in front of us (as we always sat with our parents on the couch). As the dish of candy was passed to our guests, they in turn passed it to me - I looked at my dad, and only when he nodded his head in approval did I reach for A PIECE of candy. It would never have occurred to me to take a piece of candy without his approval.

Although I was always the rebel in the family, I adored my dad and followed in his conservative footsteps. My dad always regretted he was too young for WWI, and too old for WWII. He sadly died at 49 of a heart attack in 1953.
34 posted on 01/04/2003 12:55:49 PM PST by CyberAnt
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To: Dakotabound
Grew up in the fifties.And there was fast food, it just was not as prevelant as today.But going out to eat was for special occasions.We did have a TV and bought our first color set about 1960.And i can remember if ya moved the color TV the guy had to come out with this electric magnitized ring because moving it screwed up its color adjustment.

I do remember the forts, digging holes in backyards, having orange fights in the orchard,riding our bikes everywhere are what occupied out time after school. Oh yeah the first car i remember my folks had as a kid was a 1947 Ford and I remember my favorite place to ride in it was on the ledge behind the back seat and the window with no child restraint devises.And I survived to write this post!

35 posted on 01/04/2003 12:58:36 PM PST by lexington minuteman 1775
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To: Dakotabound
I must be getting old because I find myself reflecting back more and more and thinking I liked it a lot better back then

Me too.

With 50 TV channels to watch today I still can't find anything that compared to "Terry and the Pirates", or "Paul Lavalle and the Cities Service Band of America." or "Fred Allen" or "Amos and Andy"....and so many other radios greats.

I swear I got more education from 9 years with the Sisters of Mercy than some kids today get after 4 years at some liberal diploma mill.

My wife and I got our first Sears 'credit card' in 1960.

I cut it up and sent it back to them a few years ago when their interest charge hit 22%. They used to be a retail store now they're loan sharks.

Cripes I was even a Democrat back then when they stood for something other than getting re-elected every couple of years. Anybody remember Cong. Freddie St. Germain from Woonsocket, RI.

He coulda been Clinton's guru!

Ah, well....onward and upward!

36 posted on 01/04/2003 12:58:47 PM PST by JimVT
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To: Dakotabound
....we were expected to say thank you, please, I'm sorry, Pleased to meet you Mr., Mrs., or sir or mam.

Our aunts, uncles, teachers, priests, nuns, were allowed to correct us and we were made to listen.

We had no dishwashers but ourselves, and every night took turns washing, drying and sweeping the floor.

We had no showers so every morning we would take turns, oldest one first, and stand in the tub to wash ourselves off.

Saturday we got a full bath, but warm water was limited because of the small water heater so we were forced to top off the past bathers water to keep it warm.

We were woke up every morning by the sound of my father knocking the cold coals from the heater and refilling it with the coal in the coal bin.

We had to stand over the heater vent and dress, because there was no forced air heaters at that time, or we were to poor to own one.

Cokes were a dime and served in a fountain glass at the dime store, and twinkies were a nickel.

37 posted on 01/04/2003 1:00:11 PM PST by GrandMoM
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To: The Citizen Soldier
Nope. My Aunt's name was Rachel. She was an old maid who had a good job and could afford fancy stuff. I well remember sitting on her nice new furniture, which she covered totally in clear plastic that stuck to my legs. LOL
38 posted on 01/04/2003 1:01:18 PM PST by Conservababe
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To: Dakotabound
Born in 1950; this all rings true. Thanks for putting it up!
39 posted on 01/04/2003 1:02:10 PM PST by facedown
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To: Dakotabound
First American space flights. Our school did not have TV. But, I took my transistor radio to school, and teacher let me listen to the reports and scrawl them on the chalkboard.

First time I saw color television. Next door neighbor's house. We watched "The Wonderful World of Disney" At 7:00 EST on NBC.

Mickey, and Goofy, and Donald and Tnkerbell on small screen, just like in the theater was a big deal.

40 posted on 01/04/2003 1:03:01 PM PST by don-o
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