I remember 1955 pretty well, considering it was 60 years ago. How could it be that long ago? I was in the fifth grade and my teacher was Mrs. Barlow. Funny how you always remember your teachers’ names. Girls wore saddle shoes, you know the black and white variety that laced up, and white socks that came part way up the calf.
This was the year I had a mishap at the downtown Lazarus store, which was the only one in Columbus at the time. (About 10 years later several more Lazarus stores were added around Columbus and eventually it became Macys.) I was on the escalator with my mother on a Saturday afternoon wearing those saddle shoes and a dress, of course. At some point one shoe came untied and the end of the lace began to be pulled down into the moving stairway, my foot with it! I couldn’t pull free and my mother began to yank on the lace, but it wouldn’t pull out. Everyone on the escalator was concerned and just as we began to loosen the shoes from my foot, the lace broke off. For a 10-year-old child, it was traumatic with way too much attention. But fortunately a crazy thing was averted and the memory has stayed with me all this time, especially as I step on an escalator.
Girls only wore dresses or skirts to school in the 1950s. Pants were never a consideration and that continued until about 10-15 years later. In the fifth grade we elected class officers and learned parliamentary procedure with a meeting once a week. That knowledge has served me well and I have certainly used it often through my lifetime. I am surprised when I encounter someone who doesn’t even know a motion needs to be seconded, usually followed by discussion and vote.
It was also the year I met my first boyfriend, Bob. We had quite a romance for about two years. I then moved on to others at the age of 12.
In 1955, I went on my first spring break trip to Florida. Miami was the hot place in those days and my parents took my brother and me out of school for two weeks for the driving trip (three days in the car, few four lane highways, and car sickness!). You see, there was no spring break for everyone at that time. Now, I doubt anyone would take their children away for so long when school is in session.
Teenagers didn’t have their own cars then as many do today. If they were driving, it was probably the only car owned by the family and was just borrowed from Dad for a few hours. Gas stations had attendants who put in the gas and always checked the oil level.
My mother, and in fact many mothers, didn’t work and had dinner ready at about 6 p.m. every evening. Most families did not go out for dinner as we do today. I also remember just before my father came home she usually changed her clothes and checked her makeup and hair to look special.
Those are my thoughts about the 1950s. How different the world was just 10 years after World War II. The war had been a tough time for many young couples, as my parents told me, and this was a beginning of safety and prosperity.
These memories of those days, some 60 years ago, came after the following, which a friend sent me. It will also give you a glimpse into that time in our history.
Statements heard in 1955:
Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter?
If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.
When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 25 cents a gallon? Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage.
I’m afraid to send my kids to the movies anymore. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying damn in “Gone With The Wind,” it seems every new movie has either hell or damn in it.
I read the other day where some scientist thinks it’s possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas.
Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $50,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn’t surprise me if someday they’ll be making more than the President.
It’s too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet.
I’m afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.
And finally – The fast food restaurant is convenient for a quick meal, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.
In fact, I believe the fast food chains have changed much in our lives today.
(Melanie Behrens – email@example.com)
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