Do you remeber the time of the Hula Hoops, Poddle Skirts and Elvis Presley?
I’ve heard people say the world was better back in the 1950s and we’d be better off if America was still like that.
Well I’m sure it seems that way for those that didn’t live in the 50s. We hear about how simple and innocent life was then. And in ways it was. In 1951 local phone rates were 10 cents, but there was also only the old slow dial phone, there wasn’t any such thing as a cell phone that so many think they can’t live without now.
In 1955 the first IBM 752 computer shipped in February and was the first IBM business computer. Though it was nothing like the computers we have now. And no one knew anything about the Internet.
On December 1 American Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, and it resulted in a city-wide boycott of the bus company and stirred the civil rights movement across the nation.
In the 1950s, racism was deeply institutionalized. 50% of black families lived below the poverty line; migrant workers suffered appalling working and living conditions; people of color were not permitted to take part in the American dream. Here it is 2005 and thankfully racism is all but gone in that aspect. A black person has the right to what they want in life and is living the American dream
The U.S. federal minimum wage was $1. Amazing isn’t it that hasn’t changed much and it should have. Minimum wage now in 2005 is only $5.15 and hour. Seems like we aren’t to far from the 50s on that.
From 1950 to 1959, 257,455 cases of polio were reported, mostly in children; 11,957 died of it. Thank God in 2005 thanks to vaccines polio no longer threatens the life of our children.
Wife-beating was not really considered a crime. Many psychologists explained that battered wives were masochists who provoked their husbands into beating them. A husband raping his wife was not a crime at all, but a sign that the woman was deficient in fulfilling her marital obligations. Could you imagine someone getting by with wife beating and raping you just because they are your husband?
The labor force ratio for male/female was 5/2; average yearly salary was $2,992. Women that didn’t live life as was expected taking care of her husband, kids and the house because she wanted a career or to get a better education was considered to be something less of a true woman.
There were Bomb shelter plans like the government pamphlet “You can survive” that became widely available. I guess that’s another thing we go though even in the millennium, remember everyone being scared after 911 and rushing out to buy duct tape and gas masks?
Gasoline was less than 10 cents a gallon. Don’t we wish we were close to that!
In the 50s Elvis Presley came on the scene and changed music forever. The girls loved him, the boys wanted to be like him and the older generation hated him saying he was a horrible influence on the younger people. Little did they know that in 2005 Elvis would still be well know even after death and that he would be The King of Rock and Roll, and considered to be a good person for the teens to admire. After all he was a very generous, helpful and caring man, abused by the doctors and people who were supposed to help him just for the money they were receiving.
Now we have people like Michael Jackson, Eminem and Marilyn Manson. Do you think they will be to the future what Elvis is now?
It was safe to send a six year old to the store to get a loaf of bread. For a quarter, he could get the bread and enjoy a candy bar on his way back.
There wasn’t air conditioning, so you left the windows and doors open. And you weren’t afraid to do so. You knew every person in the community and their children. When a neighbor needed help, the neighborhood was there to lend a helping hand.
You had teachers who really cared and parents who were thankful for those teachers. If you got a paddling in school, you knew you were going to get another one when you got home. And you could go to school and not worry about someone having a gun.
And the only drug you had to worry about was being “drug” out of bed in the morning.
You could go down to the theater and watch an Elvis Presley movie, enjoy a coke and popcorn, all for 25 cents.
You enjoyed fresh veggies from the garden, and the chickens ran loose in the yard.
You were taught patriotism and Christian values in school. You had prayer, pledged allegiance to the flag and the teacher read from the Bible!
Kids played hopscotch, jump rope, baseball, dodge ball, hula-hoop, read books and hung out at the local malt shops. Now kids watch TV, play video games, talk on the internet (get stalked by someone pretending to be there age). Go to school and worry about drugs, violence and teachers that aren’t to be trusted.
So as you can see life in the 1950’s did have some simple things that made life better but in 2005 even though we have lots to worry about we have made a few improvements.
Now a black child can go to school with a white child and be treated the same and get the same education. We no longer worry about Polio. If a husband abuses is wife he will be punished for taking what is supposed to be a loving relationship and turning into a place where the woman is scared to death of him.
Many things are different from the 1950’s some for the good, some for the bad, but would we really want to go back to the 50s? Would you be willing to give up Cell Phones, Computers, and Air Conditioning? But most important would you give up the freedoms we’ve gained or the medical advances that have been made?
We can get are life back to the 50s somewhat if we choose. Have dinners with all of you there. Monitor the TV kids watch, have Family Game Night, take away the play stations and computers instead teach the kids the basic of hopscotch and jump rope. Save money and raise a garden. Buy a few chickens to get your eggs and have a chicken dinner with that same chicken later. Make cookies with the kids. Just make time for one another.