American Life: Growing up in the Sixties

Christmas was always the best time of the year.
Christmas was always the best time of the year.

American life

I was born in 1958, so I grew up in the 1960s. I lived in a small town in the South, along with my parents and my older brother. We were a middle class family, and my childhood was much like the Leave It To Beaver television series. Looking back now, this period seems to me like the Golden Age of Americana, when life was simple, safe, and sane. How I wish my grandchildren could grow up in such a world!

There were lots of kids in our neighborhood, so I had plenty of friends to pal around with. We had a large wooded area across the street from our house, which we simply referred to as “the woods.” There was also a stream that ran through the woods, and a block away were three ponds. We spent untold hours building dams, catching minnows, fishing, blazing trails, and constructing forts. Our biggest worry was stumbling upon a venomous snake – not the threat of running into a pedophile or a kidnapper.

By the time we were three or four years old, my buddies and I had the run of the neighborhood. Few of the moms worked outside the home, and everyone watched out for all the neighborhood kids. If you were playing at Suzie’s house at snack time, her mom gave you milk and cookies. If you misbehaved at her house, she called your mom to let her know. If you skinned your knee while playing at a friend’s house, the mom patched you up. No one worried about getting sued by a neighbor.

As kids, we lived life to the fullest and followed every dream, no matter how quirky or far fetched it was. We invented roller coasters from sliding boards, castles and tunnels from cardboard appliance boxes, tree houses from spare boards, and skateboards from a piece of plywood and an old roller skate. We used our imaginations, our creativity, and our ingenuity. And we played outside - always. If we stayed in the house, our moms found something for us to do, like cleaning our rooms, scrubbing floors, or dusting. When it rained, we played in neighborhood garages or under carports.

Every season of the year held its own magic for us. In the spring, we played in the rain and made dams in the street gutters. When the azaleas bloomed, we spent hours catching bumble bees in Mason jars. On the first day the temperature rose above eighty degrees, we were allowed to take off our shoes and socks to run barefoot through the tender young shoots of green grass, freeing our feet from their winter bonds. As spring neared its end, we eagerly counted down the days to summer and the end of the school year.

The last day of school was a joyous celebration. School let out at three p.m. every day, and we sat there on the last day staring at the clock. When the final bell rang, we erupted from the school doors in an explosion of laughter and freedom. Since the elementary school was only two blocks away, we rode our bikes to and from the halls of academia. On that day, the entire summer lay before us like an eternity – three whole months of fun and independence.

We spent our summer days playing in the sprinkler, picking blackberries, going on picnics, and swimming and fishing in the nearby ponds. Sometimes one of the neighbor kids would get one of those inflatable wading pools, and everyone would take turns jumping in and splashing. Our nights were filled with catching fireflies, star gazing, and playing a game of “ain’t no boogers out tonight.” This was a distinctly Southern version of hide-and-seek.

The local cinema had matinees for kids in the summer, too. A whole gang of us would sit in the dark eating popcorn while we watched the adventures of Roy Rogers and other cowboy heroes. I remember how bright the sunlight seemed when we emerged from the dark theater to ride our bikes home.

When I was eight, a new country club was built just outside of town, and everyone in our neighborhood joined. Now we had a real swimming pool to enjoy. Our parents would drop us off at the pool, where we might spend the entire day. The snack bar provided us with lunch.

That same year, I got a pony, and so did two of my guy pals. Of course, the equines couldn’t live in town, but we trailered them to our houses several times during the summer, where they’d spend three or four days at a time staked out in our back yards. We terrorized the neighborhood playing cowboys and Indians astride our trusty steeds. It amazes me now that not a single neighbor ever told us to keep our ponies off their manicured lawns.

When I was eleven or twelve, I began spending part of my summers with my aunt and uncle who lived in the country, in the house that had been my grandmother’s and grandfather’s. I worked in tobacco for one of their neighbors and earned $10 a day. This was a fortune to me! My cousin Stewart worked with me, along with several other kids our age. We’d rise early every morning and enjoy a farmhouse breakfast prepared by my aunt, then we’d be taken to the fields. The tobacco plants were always covered with heavy dew, and by mid-morning, we’d be wet and covered with gritty sand. At luchtime, we’d be dropped off at my aunt and uncle’s to eat tomato sandwiches and chips, followed by what seems like gallons of cold sweet tea. After lunch, we’d report back to work. The afternoons were long and hot, and by the end of the day, we were exhausted. We’d head back to the house about five and eat dinner.

The repast always seemed to recharge our batteries, so we’d walk the mile or so to the home of the man we worked for to hang out with his two sons. They had a herd of semi-wild ponies that had free range of a hundred acres or so. We somehow always managed to corral them into a pen and toss bridles on them. There were no saddles, and the bridles were crude affairs made largely of baling twine. We usually rode the ponies to a nearby lake that provided a refreshing swim for us and for our mounts. As darkness fell, we’d return the horses to their pastures and head home, where we’d stay up half the night telling ghost stories, mostly about Mr. Turner, who died in my grandmother’s house. Early the next morning, we were ready to repeat the process. It’s difficult for me to believe now that I ever had that much energy!

As August began to wind down, we were ready to return to school. We always got new clothes, and our feet once again lost their freedom as they were forced into saddle oxfords, loafers, Mary Janes, or sneakers. My best friend, Beth, and I always shopped for our school supplies together. We’d gather together reams of notebook paper, crayons, scissors, glue, colored pencils, markers, and any neat little gadgets and organizers we could find. I’m not sure why we found this process so enjoyable, since the actual use of these items proved rather mundane. The beginning of the new school year, however, held the promise of all kinds of fall fun.

The first big eagerly anticipated autumn event was the local fair. We’d save our allowance for weeks leading up to the fair, and our parents would always give us money, too. My family and I always ate dinner at the fair, and then I’d have to trudge along with them through the tobacco warehouse looking at the exhibits. Finally, as we left the last booth of farm produce, the wide open doors revealed the magical midway, where games of chance, games of skill, sideshows, and glorious rides awaited.

Every kid in the neighborhood looked forward to Halloween with extreme excitement. We began planning our costumes and out trick-or-treating strategies weeks in advance. When the big occasion fell on a school day, the large schoolhouse clock seemed to move like molasses. Out teachers droned on and on as we daydreamed about what the night held. Once the afternoon bell rang, we’d rush home and put on our costumes, even though we weren’t allowed to begin collecting candy until dark. When darkness finally fell, we were off. No adults had to go with us, and they didn’t have to check our candy, either. We’d get tons of goodies! The neighborhood moms made special treats for the kids, including popcorn balls, cookies, candied apples, and gingerbread. And of course, there was lots of candy. Sometimes we’d have to come home and empty our bags before collecting more treats. At the end of the night, we’d always sort out our treats and save some for the future. We didn’t get candy and sweets all the time like most kids do now.

November always meant the annual chicken pie supper at our school, which was held in unison with a carnival. There was always a country store, games, a haunted house, a hay ride, and foods like popcorn, peanuts, and cotton candy.

November also meant Thanksgiving, of course. Early on those Thursday mornings, I would awaken to the smells of roasted turkey, pumpkin pies, and the pungent aroma of onions mom sautéed for her wonderful cornbread dressing. Dad would always take me out to breakfast on these mornings. The two of us would walk a familiar trail through the woods to a nearby restaurant for pancakes. I traveled this path practically every day of my childhood, but it always seemed special on those Thanksgiving mornings. The frozen leaves would crunch beneath our shoes as the new sun peeping over the treetops cast long shadows before us, and the woods smelled of smoke from the nearby fireplaces.

Like most kids around the world, Christmas was the best day of the year for us. Every Christmas Eve, my immediate family would join my grandparents, my aunts, my uncles, and my cousins in a big party at my grandparent’s farmhouse. We’d stuff ourselves on a huge meal, then one of my aunts would play carols on the piano as we all sang along. My cousins and I were always in a hurry to get this part over with because we’d already been snooping under the tree and had found gifts with our names on them. We always got a couple of toys, along with the dreaded underwear and mittens. On the fifteen-mile drive home, I would always lie in the back seat and stare into the night sky, sure that I could see the Star of Bethlehem.

I always had a hard time getting to sleep on Christmas Eve, and I always woke up around four and crept into my parents’ bedroom. They’d throw on their robes and follow me into the living room to find out what Santa had brought. I was a real tomboy as a kid and always asked for a cowboy suit, cowboy boots, cap pistols, and toy rifles. Mom was determined to make a girl out of me, so along with all the “boy toys” under the tree, there would be a lone doll. I usually ended up using it for target practice.

After opening all my presents, I’d walk over to Beth’s house to see what she got. We’d play with her new stuff for a while, then I’d return home for Christmas dinner, which we ate at noon. A few days later, mom would take down the Christmas tree, which was always a sad occasion for me. It always looked so abandoned and forlorn lying there by the curb, awaiting pickup by the garbagemen. We didn’t know about recycling back then.

After Christmas, the rest of winter was usually uneventful and boring, except for the year it snowed. Snow was a real treat for us, and I had never experienced it before. We spent the entire day making a huge snowman, having snowball fights, and creating snow angels. We instinctively knew that we wouldn’t see another snow for a long, long time, so we had to take every advantage of our good fortune while we had the chance.

My life as a child was simple and rewarding, filled with things I knew and that I could trust. I could trust all adults to be good. I knew if I did something wrong, I would be punished. I knew if I did something good, I would receive praise. I knew I could always count on my parents for love, support, and proper guidance. I knew that my teachers had my best interests at heart.

Many kids today don’t live this kind of life. Even if they have wonderful parents, as my grandchildren do, today’s world is a scary place. I would no more let my grandchildren roam this neighborhood now than I would cut off my arm, and I actually live in the same house in which I grew up. It’s not my neighbors I worry about – it’s the strangers who drive through. They could be drug dealers, child molesters, muggers, or kidnappers.

What happened to the American life I grew up with? Where did we go wrong? It deeply saddens me that so many wonderful traits of Americana have died, with new frightening attributes taking their place. How I wish I could give my childhood world to my grandchildren!

More by this Author


Comments 82 comments

Vanne Way 6 years ago

An absolutely moving tribute to the life that once was. I remember I had to be home by dark, so it was always the last minutes before the sun said farewell that I wasracing home on my bicycle with banana seat and butterfly handlebars that got me safely home. We knew we were loved, no one went to rehab, and family was everything! My 3 year old granddaughter lives in a lovely neighborhood, but I don't think her parents let her out of their sight. Gone are the days, sadly, never to return. Excellent story!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi, Vanne! I need to write one about the 70s, too - the adventures of the cowgirls and the Carmichaels! lol. Did you see my FB post about Brooklynn??


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

We almost always lived on a farm or country road with no houses in sight and Dad worked until 2 or 3 AM and we never locked a door! I never remember a door being locked the whole time I lived at home.


kowality profile image

kowality 6 years ago from Everywhere

Your story is much like mine. Born in 55, with 2 older sisters and an older brother. We felt safe around the neighborhood and everyone knew who we were. "Leave it to Beaver" for sure!

I still can see the milkman roll up with his horse and milk kept cold in the back of the wagon with huge blocks of ice. We raised chickens and rabbits. Us kids finally figured out when we got older that rabbits could in fact taste like chicken. Thank you for the memories Habee.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

Habee, you evoke the memories of childhood so clearly and so well. I was born in 58 also, and we had few concerns growing up. Safety wasn't an issue--everyone knew each other and, as you said, everyone looked out for each other. It was a wonderful time and kids today don't get to experience that--at least, not in the same way.

When bullying even creeps into the isolation of the Internet, you know the world has changed. When kids are more familiar with online "Guild War" missions than building a fort or fishing, then society has taken a turn for the worse. I wish today's kids could know the fun we had when we were children. Back then, kids were allowed to be kids.

Well, thanks so much for such a wonderful hub that brought back so many good memories, and I apologize for my rambling comments in response!

Mike


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Beautiful wonderful heartfelt thought provoking story! “What happened to the American life I grew up with? Where did we go wrong? It deeply saddens me that so many wonderful traits of Americana have died, with new frightening attributes taking their place. How I wish I could give my childhood world to my grandchildren!” I share your valid concern for my many grandchildren as well. Not just for them but for this next generation. What is their barometer for what is right or wrong! As an adult you can choose whatever you want regardless of the consequences? But so much has changed this generation has a slimmer chance of recognizing those core traditional values that I believe are important, Look how much things have changed in these last decades! It is alarming I really do not know what I would do if I did not know the Lord!

I do believe that by passing down to the “Grands” family values and a sense of respect for self and others makes a huge difference. Encouraging them to be the “best you!” This helps them to develop healthy boundaries! I realize that the world we live in is very imperfect…. They need to know that as well and that you just cannot trust everyone…That they will make some poor choices such is life, but I pray that their good one’s always outweighs their bad ones. That they have less emotional baggage and will become loving thoughtful, responsible and well rounded! I am confident that they will… This is also why I encourage knowing the Word of God an developing an ongoing relationship with Jesus! Great hub! Thank you for sharing, In His love, Joy, Peace & BLESSINGS!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Habee, you really excelled yourself with this great hub. You hit the nail on the head with saying -- simple, safe and sane. None of this excists anymore and that is what we progress? I think from the mid 50s to the mid 60s was such a wonderful time. Then the hippies started, with that the drugs and down hill it all went. Music in all.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

I am glad to read this hub. Thanks you very much. Very well written. Thumbs Up for you!


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Habee I always enjoy your hubs - I got so much from your life in the 60's and from life in America in the 60's - thanks for sharing and can't wait to hear about the '70's.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Thanks for sharing your memories. My childhood was similar but we were not middle class. Money was always tight although Dad always worked. Like you I have innocent fond memories though


Jean Kotzur 6 years ago from Southern Europe

What a childhood, wonderful. This was the picture of the 'American Way of Life' that we, in England were always presented with. I was born one year before the end of the second world war in London. We spent more time playing in the ruins of bombed buildings than in green pastures, but everything else, the security and the freedom, was the same as yours. Crime was low and neighbourhood help and togetherness was high. We lived according to the seasons and we lived in a tightly knit extended family. The man next door was a person to be trusted, not to be feared. As you say, habee, we were privileged it will never come again. Wonderful hub.

Jean


viryabo profile image

viryabo 6 years ago

This is a beautiful story habee, telling us how wonderful, pure and simple life was when we were young (born in '55 so it was my time too)and growing up.

We were all our brothers keepers and from where i come from, every neighbour was 'your parent', looking out for our own good and safety, and as you rightly said, not from muggers, kidnappers or even killers, but from falls and bruised knees and such simple things like that. And sometimes scolding you if you fall out of line.

Really enjoyed this habee. Another great article.

GodBless


barthoraimundo profile image

barthoraimundo 6 years ago from Brazil, São Paulo, Praia Grande

Sixties. A beautiful old time. Thanks girl.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

What a delightful hub!!! I loved every bit of it! Isn't it so strange how things have changed....even in the last 20 and 30 years..hell...even within the last 10 years! I loved that you worked in tobacco for $10 a day. When I was young and lived in Canada I detassled corn every summer and I will say it was the hardest work I've ever done in my entire life and I appreciated every penny I made...which for the physical labor should have been a lot more but how wonderful it was to wait for that bus every morning that would pick all the workers up at the designated parking lot to drive us out to our chosen field for the day. Children today would not be caught dead doing such work! lol LOVE this hub habee!!


BrianS profile image

BrianS 6 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

I was born the year before you and lived in a place called the Royal Forest of Dean in the UK. When we were kids we could wander all around the village and our front door was never locked with no worries about either of those situations. Can't imagine that these days, everyone keeps a close eye on their kids and there is no way a house would be left unlocked if no one was in. We definitely had more freedom than today's kids, but we also had some pretty mad haircuts. Still can't have everything.

Nice bit of nostalgia.


entertianmentplus profile image

entertianmentplus 6 years ago from United States

How times have changed. Those were the good old days for sure.Thanks for bring back all of my child hood memories. Just a beautiful hub.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

No matter when we were born, our youth usually becomes the good old days. Great Hub as usual.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

Though my parents were city, they moved to the country when I was little, so my early years were very similar to yours, except they were in Connecticut and in the 50's. The freedom we had is such a good memory. How else could I have enjoyed the wildflowers on that particular hill, and ice skating on the frozen brook? It's so true, our grandchildren are missing so much.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

habee, this is a great hub, I grew up late seventies to early 80's and still it sounds hauntingly familiar to your youth of the 60's. Most importantly today's parents can find ways for kids to learn life skills and lessons. There are opportunities for them to work and although they will never know childhoods like we did they can learn to work and earn a buck to pay for what they NEED and want! Hopefully they can have some fun like we did as well. Great HUB I rate it up and call it a must read! thanks and peace :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Habee, I feel like you told much of my childhood also as I grew up in the late 50's and 60's. It saddens me to know the world we grew up in is gone. I remember going to school and proudly putting my hand over my heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. Now many scorn the pledge. We didn't lock our cars and our bikes weren't stolen. Parents have to work hard today and have great communication with their children as there are so many ways they can be hurt. This was an excellent hub.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

What a wonderful hub and so refreshing to hear of others like yourself who lived through the fifties and sixties and did very similar things. Playing in the streets, no video games to distract us. Being called in when the time was up and moms and dads wanted us in to clean up and get ready for bed and school the next morning. It's interesting to read that children around the world are not that different. Kids are kids and fun is fun. We all were safer back then, doors were never locked, neighbors watched out for one another and each others children like you described. Life was so much easier.The last of the innocent years was the sixties. Today it's a struggle for our kids and deadly in to many cases. Thanks for the share, I really enjoyed it, brought back a lot of pleasant memories. BIG UP from moi.


samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

Thanks for this glimpse into your childhood. It was enjoyable.


KFlippin profile image

KFlippin 6 years ago from Amazon

A really special hub,thanks for sharing your memories I grew up in the same period, and it seems like a suspension of time in memory, something we surely saw on television rather than lived, so different is the world today.


nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Thank you for sharing this story about your childhood. I really enjoyed reading it. It made me remember all the good times I had as a child. I wish my children could have the same experiences that I had as a child, but I know they won't. Today's world has become a scary place and parents have to teach their children to be cautious.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Polly, that's hard to imagine now, isn't it?


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Fabulous childhood memories here! Thanks so much for sharing a magical time.

Love and peace

Tony


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Johnny, I'm glad you enjoyed the memories!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Mike, since we're the same age, I know you can easily relate!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Deb, you always leave such thoughtful comments, and I truly appreciate them!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I grew up then too although my memories were a lot different but it was a fabulous time to grow up. At least we did not have most of the worries kids growing up have today although I guess we had our own set. Wish I'd been in YOUR neighborhood!


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

What a marvelous hub. I love the walk down memory lane. Thanks.


tony0724 profile image

tony0724 6 years ago from san diego calif

Habee I can so relate. Life was definitely alot safer and saner back then.I am almost the same age as you and I grew up In Virginia at that time. I do truly feel sorry for today's children. The kids are adults so I do not worry. Their kids I am fearful for them. What the heck happened ?

I completely echo your sentiments !


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

HH, I agree - it's been downhill since the 60s!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you very much, Prasetio!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Billy, the 70s hub might be rated R! lol


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Ethel, it was a great time!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Jean, that's why the memories are so bittersweet.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

viryabo, I'm so glad you stopped for a read!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks, Barth!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Right, Herbi - few kids today have to do manual labor!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Brian, I'll trade a good haircut any day for the security we had back then!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you, Entertainment!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

But Suzie, these really WERE the good old days!! lol


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Sheila, we were so fortunate to grow up then!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Katie, thank you for your kind words!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes, Pam, there will never be days like those again. Sad.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Saddlerider, it was truly an age of innocence.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Sam, thanks for reading!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

KFlippin, I never thought of it that way, but you're right!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes, Nancy, it's a real shame!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Tony, thanks so much for reading!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Audrey, if you'd lived in my neighborhood, we woulda been best friends!!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Audrey, if you'd lived in my neighborhood, we woulda been best friends!!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Bpop, I'm so glad you liked it!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Tony, I really do wonder what the heck happened!????


Myriad profile image

Myriad 6 years ago from the bottom of your heart .. ie chennai!

So what wrong ! May be media ? Does rapid explosion of information happening everywhere , Does it reinforce the criminal in us ? Do you think that going back to simple primitivity - The way thoroue describes in his book - Walden help us ? Are we marching back to glorified and electronic savage with the way civilization is going now ?


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

Nice to remember the bygone days of childhood.


liswilliams profile image

liswilliams 6 years ago from South Africa

what an awesome hub, I always wished I had a taste of the the 60's. wow,even the 80's was a lot of safer when I grew up. Thanks for that, habee :)


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Myriad, I think it's due to moral decay.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

HP, thanks for stopping by!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Lis, it seems that every decade gets a little scarier!


mahoganyrose 6 years ago

I am also a child of the sixties. you are absolutely right about your memories. I grew up in the lincoln park section of washington DC. and the north east sector, as well as the (sw) section. everything you said nailed the era (to the wall)! you forgot one of the best parts of growing up in the fifty and sixties,( the drive in movie's. sock hops,poodle skirts and the five and ten cent store. remember the soda fountain at the lunch counter,and woolworth's. roller derby,and playing endless games of (jack's and ball). and you had better not allow the streets lights to come on before you returned home from play or hanging out with your friend's. awwwww the good old days. 1-2-3-red light.mama may I? hot beans and butter, come and get your supper!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Oh, Rose, we played 123 redlight all the time! In fact, I just taught it to my grands. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment!


Lottie 6 years ago

I don't agree with some of the things you put. You kind of over-exaggerated some parts. Sorry habee.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Sorry, Lottie - everything I wrote actually happened!


Lottie 6 years ago

yeah and I'm saying you exaggerated. And no offense but you seem like the typical generation who bangs on about kids of today. You need to get a grip and stop overlooking everyone as if you're superior to them. Every generation had it's problems so shut it with your harping.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Lottie, where did I "bang on" today's kids? I feel bad for them. Our world is much scarier and more dangerous than it was when I was a kid, so today's youth don't have the opportunity to do all the things we did. On the other hand, my grandchildren and students have many more of some types of opportunities than we had, so I guess it's a trade-off.


BlueRose 5 years ago

Hey habee. I haven't got an account so I hope this will accept anonymous reviews. But I saw this and I must say, I totally agree with everything you said. Ignore Lottie, she obviously wasn't around at that time. You haven't exaggerated anything. I agree that kids these days are missing out.

The 50s and 60s were a blast!! When you could go outside without being worried about being burgled or mugged because laws were really strict back then and "RESPECT" was the key word and we all stuck by it. You didn't see anyone being beaten up on the streets at all, no drunks or violence. Well, the only time you DID see people drunk was on New Years Eve but that was happy drunk, not violent drunk.

Christmas was everyone's favourite holiday and going to the mall was so exciting and seeing the huge tree in the market square and a model Santa and his reindeer!

No one I knew said they hated Christmas. Everyone seemed to love it! It kept it's tradition back then.

TV was nicer. No cable, only three channels and black and white, colour came in the mid 60s. Music boxes were a favourite for presents and so were the Give A Show Movie projector, records and the mini tv boxes which played music and look through pictures!

Children behaved at school and were better mannered.

There was no foul language used. If you were rude to a teacher, you got a clip round the ear or got isolation for the entire day. If you bullied someone your treatment was even worse. You got sent to the headmaster's office and got a cane on the hand until you understood how to treat other people nicely and it worked! The reason why there are a lot of bullies now is because they don't get the punishment they deserve.

And the obvious, we had no internet so we were not paranoid of people's statements, no cell phones, no xbox etc. Tv, radio and books and board games and all that were our entertainment. No one felt left out in not having the "latest gadget" updates as there were hardly any new and completely different things. Everything was blantly the same and stayed like that for a long time.

Now there are too many gadgets on the shop, like plasma tvs, newest ipod, iphone etc. and if you aren't up to date you feel a bit left out. It's a hard world now. But of course just because YOU don't want it doesn't mean you HAVE to have it. But that's the sad thing now. People don't appreciate others for who they are now.

I just want to say, I wanted to back you up on that and a great flashback for those who lived in the 50s and 60s! :)


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Blue Rose, I REALLY appreciate your comment and your thoughts! We were so lucky to have grown up in America's "Golden Age." I wish my grandchildren could just experience a month or so of the 50s or 60s. Do you have a time machine I could borrow?? lol. Nice to "meet" you!


BlueRose 5 years ago

Lol If only I did have a time machine! But I wish we could go back like that in the world now.

Make TV entertaining again, none of this reality stuff, bring back rock music, everyone can have work, bring back the flower power, and let's not forget, maltshops!!

Maltshops are the memories! So much better than any snack shop you would see today!

Nice to meet you too habee! ^^


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Rose, at least we have our memories! lol


ElwoodBlues 5 years ago

Nice hub habee. Don't pay attention to anyone who says you're lying or anything like that. I was there in the 50s and 60s and I would do anything to go back! :)

Everyone was so laid back, there was no rush hour, jobs were everywhere and we were paid a lot, no health and safety so we could do whatever we wanted like play in the open fields even when there was a tractor farming and guess what? We never injured ourselves! In this day and age you would be sued if you let your kids do that now. I remember climbing on a traction engine when I was three!


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks, Elwood! It was really a wonderful time to be a kid in the USA!


ElwoodBlues 5 years ago

You're welcome habee :) I don't have an account but your hub was nice to read. I feel really bad for today's kids as they don't have the opportunity to be independent.

Also everything's becoming more and more complicated by the minute. Remember when we went into town and bought collections of records, books, and the many Viewmasters and Give A Shows? Especially at Christmas time you were given a voucher and you could buy all for a good price!

And the candy and comic book stores and we always shot in the next minute we heard the newest update.

You could get everything from shops in those days, most products were cheap. Nowadays, although I do appreciate amazon and ebay, the wait is not always worthwhile and he discount price from various sellers, from one or the other, they could rip you off and the service could take longer to update. I once ordered a cupboard from ebay and it's arrival was 3 days super save delivery and it hadn't yet arrived the next two weeks!

Everything is changing, that is very true. There are hardly any drive ins, maltshops, sock hops, groove style stores, they're all going. I have no idea what's wrong with society today but it isn't going well.


dusy7969 profile image

dusy7969 5 years ago from San Diego, California

nice hub.I agree with you.Thank you for sharing this story about your childhood. I really enjoyed reading it.It made me remember all the good times I had as a child.


ThomasRydder 5 years ago

Hi Habee...you know the saddest part? I was born in '57, and have some of the same memories, more or less. And soon, all the ones who have those treasured thoughts will be gone, and all that will be left are those who grew up playing playstation, fighting for survival in their neighborhood, and wondering when in heck the job market will open up. Sad...a time gone and never to return. Thanks for a very poignant reminder to all my great memories. Definitely a vote up, m'lady!!


WeasleyWaltz 5 years ago

I miss the sixties. Everything was so up and running. The good thing about that time was that nothing closed down, they were still going strong.You're right that we had more freedom back then. You could get out and cycle and not fret about manic drivers or drunk drivers. Road rage was uncommon, so were street fights, and we knew we were safe with friends. We always had such fun together. Christmas kept it's tradition and we always spent it together at the dinner table and after dinner, we would watch the Rudolph Christmas Special at 6pm. The Snowman wasn't thought of back then which was a shame but then you can't miss what wasn't there. I also remember getting so excited seeing what Santa brought and my favourite all time was the little record player tv set with Disney 45s. What a great possession! You could see all the pictures like a live read along thing. Show and Tell I think they were called. It's sad to see what has become of nowadays. Children not interested in playing some real games outside and just wanting to be couch potatoes. Obesity was nearly unheard of when we were kids because we were always outside playing with each other. We got bored staying indoors all day. Of course we had our toys and books and tv and everything but that wasn't enough to keep us in. There was no daytime tv and if we did stay in then our parents would tell us to help clean the house which we hated so we just went out and came back in the afternoon to have our lunch and then played inside. Thank you for a wonderful hub habee. :)


SB 5 years ago

Wonderful sentiments. I loved when you said you always played outside, it was true, we did also (I was born in '55).


OrionMan6098 4 years ago

Hate to break it to you, habee, but America's been going down the plughole since the 60s and that was when you were young. The best time for America were the 50s, the very late 50s that is. Basically you only had a few years of propsperity. This country lost it's essence when the 60s arrived so I would not call it a great time at all.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

I had to write ...because what you say is so true. Our kids did not have to worry about all the treacherousness that is out there. Those who grew up in the 50s and 60s did not have to deal with fear. Kids today are harnessed from life. Seatbelts, helmets, antibacterial everything. Somehow we grew up and lived to tell the story. I see my grandkids today...of course they don't know any different. Well written and of course very interesting.


PaisleeGal profile image

PaisleeGal 4 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

A good walk down memory lane. I was born in 1950 so most of my memories are mid 50's to late 60's. I can remember the changes that where so rapidly taking place in mid-late 60's. Our country lost a lot of innocence and security. Like you, if there was one thing I could make happen for my only grandson who just turned 2, it would be to be able to grow up with the freedoms I took for granted as a child.


JImbobjake 4 years ago

I was born in january 1960, As a child we played ball outside, played army, built forts and tree houses and fished and had rumbles. all in fun.

today's children play with computers and are on cell phones. Its so sad. But i cant change the world. I can only be grateful I grew up in a time when people trusted each other and people were not as uptight and paranoid. And we played real baseball, not on a computer.

We are living in very troubling times in America now, economicaly, politically, socially. I think things will get much worse before they get better. But there is the old saying the more things change the more they remain the same. I just read in yesteredays paper that between the years 2020-2030 the world will be brought back to the "romantic Age"

What is said was that the electrical grid thoughout the whole world, which is controlled by computers will permanantly be brought down .by malware. No electricity, no more cars or phones. We eventually will be back in the stone age. Its guaranteed. man is to smart for his own good. The more things change (all this technology) the more they remain the same (stone age). Its sad to see America and the world in this very frightening slow but steady downward spiral. I think nothing can be done and the human race to slowly destroy itself. I AM GLAD I GREW UP IN THE SIMPLER TIMES AND HAPPIER TIMES, THE 1960'S

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