the 1950's and 60's

I remember when.....

clotheslines and clothesline poles.. I remember when every home had clotheslines and clothesline poles. The biggest effect they had on my growing up was they affected how you laid out your baseball diamond for playing in the backyard. And when you went for those foul balls with your eyes in the sky, you had to "sense" where the clothesline was, or get "clotheslined". I remember getting clothes off the clotheslines for Mom after the temperature had dropped and all the clothes were frozen. I picked them up like pieces of cardboard to carry back into the house and we had to finish them off by hanging them inside the house. The first home we had with a "machine" to dry clothes was about 1956 or so.
home-made ice cream.. Oh boy, homemade ice cream. Even today, with Baskins Robbins and all the rest, I'll still take home-made ice cream. You had to have dry-ice and salt (no, not table salt, salt like they put on roads when it's icy). You put this around a cannister with the ingredients in it and then we kids would take turns turning and turning and turning the spindle inside to keep mixing the ice cream. Boy, was it good. Later, of course, there were electric mixers.
our first TV set.. I can still remember the day of delivery of our first TV set. It was sunny and I was in the third grade. It would have been about 1952. It took a couple of hours because the delivery men had to install the antenna on the roof. The first program I saw on our set was Superman with George Reeves. We had a test pattern until five o'clock, then programming until about 10 or 11:00 pm, then a test pattern again. The nearest station was in Hutchinson, KS, about 150 miles away. The antenna had to be "aimed" just right to get the signal. That network was CBS. It was another couple of years before we got ABC, out of Wichita, and another couple of years after that before we got NBC.
radio before TV.. Being the oldest of five, I can remember radio before TV. My next sister after me can too, but I don't believe any of my other brothers and sisters do. I remember Sundays were the best: Our Miss Brooks, Amos n Andy, and Jack Benny. But, I believe it was Tuesday's that wasn't far behind: Fibber McGee and Molly and The Great Gildersleeve (Leeeeeroyyyy!).
window air conditioners..I remember when we cooled the house with a "box" installed into a window of our house. It had a water hose hooked up to it and the water would drip through, yes, I do believe it was asbestos or maybe fibreglass type material on each of the three sides of the box. Then a fan would attempt to "force" this "cool" air into the room. Ahhh... what a modern luxury..
one bathroom homes.. Most homes in our neighborhood had one bathroom.. and we had five kids and two adults. I don't remember how we did it.
stick shifts..ahh yes, the good ole stick shift car. Am I glad they are about gone now! But, they were fun to learn to drive. And to learn how to "gear down" for a stop sign... now you were cool, man, cool..
petticoats.. You girls won't believe your mothers and grandmothers wearing all those petticoats, but in the 1950's, in junior high... petticoats were in.. layer upon layer of petticoats.
my first trip on an interstate highway.. I had read about them in the paper, I had heard about them on the radio, I may have even seen one on TV. I believe we're talking about 1957 or so. I had been on trips with the family to Colorado, and of course, Salina, KS, and other neighboring towns on regular highways.. but here was a road where all the people on the road went the same way! And you didn't have to wait on a hill to pass! Wow, now this was somethin..
roller skating in an indoor roller rink.. there may be some parts of the country that still have indoor roller rinks, but here in California, they're just about gone. (In-line skating outdoors has taken over here.) A couple of old ones around town, but nothing like they were when I was growing up. All Skate! Backwards Only! Trios! The Grand March! Couples Skate! (with the lights turned low). Ahh, what fun. I could get in for free Friday nights if I helped put on skates. Yes, they were rental strap-ons that took a key to "fit" to the shoe of the patron! (But, I was a big deal.. I had skates on regular skate boots, man.., none of those strap-on skates for me!)
the Kennedy assasination (1963).. I was about a sophomore, maybe junior in college. I had just entered the fraternity house from class about noon. I noticed a somber atmosphere the second I walked into the house, but didn't know what was going on. I was by our mail boxes when one of the guys came out of his room and slammed the door. I looked to the right as another brother was coming down the stairs with a very upset look banging his fist on the stair rail. I asked what was going on. He said: "Somebody just shot my President!", and continued walking at a brisk pace into the living room, where the TV coverage was going on. I'll never forget the emphasis he placed on "my" President. About out an hour or two later, it seemed like half the school was in the student union. It normally was a hustling, bustling place with everyone laughing, babbling, and playing bridge between classes. Now it was quiet as church as everyone was on edge about what the final news would be. Then, it came over the loudspeaker. After the announcement, they played the Star Spangled Banner and everone got up and stood at attention with their hands over their hearts and everyone was crying and sobbing.
I was in the house, two days later, when Oswald was shot on live TV. I remember that a couple of the guys tooks a bus to Washington to be at the funeral.
When I first saw Elvis Presley.. I first saw Elvis Presley on an all-night telethon on television. Boy, was that cool. Normally, we got nothing but a test pattern at night. But, during a telethon, you could watch TV all night. I think he was on at around 3:00 in the morning. This would have been mid-50's, I believe.
Garbage Disposals.. I can still remember getting our first garbage installed in the '50's. We were told by the installer not to forget to put a glass down it every once in awhile, "to sharpen the blades". My goodness, won't wonders ever stop? Before garbage disposals, garbage was collected in a container by the sink and simply burned with the trash.
Dress for Success.. I interviewed in college in 1966. I remember one Big Eight accounting firm telling me that white shirts with a suit were required. When I inquired at my next interview, I asked about that firm's dress code. The interviewer sat back and smiled and announced that their firm had "given in" to the times as far as a dress code was concerned and light yellow and light blue shirts were now allowed! But, he said, as he examined my sideburns with his eyes... no sideburns below the middle of the ears.
Milkmen Delivered Milk.. in Real Glass Bottles.. You had a certain schedule with the milkman, and you left your "empties" on the porch for him to pick up. I think our milkman came three days a week. They needed to know if you wanted homogenized milk or pasteurized milk (with the cream on top). And they came in a white milk truck with white uniforms.
Modern Day Convenience Stores: 7-11's..We didn't have modern day convenience stores when I was growing up. We did have small, neighborhood markets, but they would close early. I recall my first 7-11 in 1968, when I came back from overseas and was stationed in Augusta, GA. How impressive: a store to get something in the middle of the night!
My First Quarter Cup of Coffee.. I was in the Army, going overseas in 1966. I had a cup of coffee in the airport cafeteria in Seattle, Washington and it was the normal dime. (Reach Out and I'll Be There by the Four Tops was tops on the Hit Parade then.) Thirteen months later, late 1967, I came back from Korea and had a cup of coffee in that same coffee shop - my first taste of America after being gone for a year - and coffee was a QUARTER! What in the world happened while I was gone?
The Car Hop.. From: "John StrongL One for your remember when: "Car Hops--We had several of them here, north of Boston. Pull in in your "hot rod" next to the speaker. Give your order through the microphone, very
similar to the speaker at the drive in. Soon out came the waitress with a tray of burgers, hot dogs, fries and some Cokes. Great place to hang out, meet girls, listen to rock and roll over the drive in speakers. Those were
the days!!" ... And I recall how the guys would drive through the drive-in showing off the latest addition to their hot rod and their latest girl friend. Girls wanted a drive in the "hottest" cars. Engines grumbling, front ends lowered, flourescent colors (remember cherry apple red?).

Music of the 50's
1950's prices
Inventionsof 50's
Nifty Fifties See links at the bottom
Fad's
50's TV
Oldies TV

60's TV
Music of the 60's
In the 60's
Groovey 60's
Fads of 60's