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Remembering Summer Time in the 1950s

Updated on July 4, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

I'm carrying on my mother's research into our family history. I've self-published some family memoirs & learned a lot about different eras.

Me and my sisters pause for a moment for a picture back in the 1950s.
Me and my sisters pause for a moment for a picture back in the 1950s. | Source

Let Your Mind Drift Back to the Fifties

Lazy summer days... I grew up in the 1950s and maybe that was the era of your childhood too. Now and then, I enjoy a little trip down memory lane to all the summer fun we had.

I'll share with you some of my experiences of that long ago time. I hope it triggers some memories from your youth too. Try out some of the writing prompts I've provided to get you started.

(Photo from my family album - the six Martin kids... I'm the one standing by our brother in the back)

Playing Outside - Carefree Days from a 1950s Childhood

I remember sun-filled days roaming the Kansas prairies. We ran barefoot to the creek to look for crawdads. Turning over rocks, we squealed when the small crustaceans shot out from hiding.

They tried to pinch you when you captured them but their small claws didn't hurt very much. We would build small dams to create a side pool. There we would corral our catches including the crawfish and little minnows.

My Friends' Memories of Playing in the Creek

gottaloveit2 - I used to live by a creek and crawdads and tadpoles were my joy. I'd always catch them and then let them go. Lots of great memories. I'm so very glad I'm not one of the plugged in generations. They miss so very much.

Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA - For a few years we lived in a small town where the kids often took off to a nearby creek to catch crawdads. My sister and I were not often allowed to join them. I think my mom was afraid we would drown, although as I recall the water was only 3 inches deep. Pretty fun on the days we were allowed to go!

Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC - I didn't have a creek to play in the 50's but sure enjoyed playing in our creek with our son and grandson more recently. We did spend a lot of time in a pond at my friend's farm.

Karnel 4 years ago from Lower Mainland of BC - I grew up in the 60's and most things were simple back then, we also used to catch tadpoles in the creeks here in Canada. We spent a lot of time outside without a care in the world mostly playing in the neighbor's potato fields.

Videos Filled with 1950s Memories - Enjoy Some Nostalgia

Remember some of these TV shows, music, ads, candies, cars with tail fins and other vintage things from the 1950s?

Memories Shared by My Friends

burntchestnut - I loved the video of kids from the 1940s and 1950s. Although I was more a child of the 1960s, I had those clamp-on skates and had many falls. It's a wonder I didn't kill myself.

Let These 1950s Cars Spark Some Memories

I Was a Middle Child

Those were the lucky years, the golden times in the 50s and 60s as we grew up. We didn't know it then, that it wouldn't always be that way.

Despite recessions, family setbacks, childhood injuries like my brother's broken arm or other mishaps, the family regrouped and went on.

(Photo of the Martin children before Shannon was born. I'm the blonde one with the pigtails in the 2nd row.)

Country Kid? This Will Bring Back Memories

Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl
Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl

I grew up in the country and remember feeding the calf from a bucket, climbing a mountain of hay in the hayloft, and wading in the creek. This was a real trip down memory lane for me. Read this to see what memories it brings back to you.


Remembering Summer Cook Outs

from the Fifties

Since we lived in the country, we didn't make picnic excursions to a park. Mom would get fed up with fixing food for eight people in a hot kitchen during the Kansas summer heat waves. She would load our arms with the meal fixings and we would have a cook out under some shady trees between the barn and the alfalfa field.

I remember a small pit dug in the dirt to contain the campfire. We roasted weiners on sticks over the flames and finished by toasting marshmallows. It was tricky getting them brown without it catching on fire.

Mom varied the menu by putting sliced potatoes, onions and hamburger in a large coffee can and burying it in the coals. She had been a den mother for the boy scouts once, so I'm guessing she learned that from scouting.

It's hard to imagine a Coke for just 15 cents (or maybe it's the hot dog that is 15 cents). Either way, quite a bargain by today's standards.
It's hard to imagine a Coke for just 15 cents (or maybe it's the hot dog that is 15 cents). Either way, quite a bargain by today's standards. | Source

Did You Grow up in the 1950s?

Vote in the poll

See results

Writing Prompts

to trigger memories of long-ago summers

Three Writing Prompts to Get You Started

Eating Outdoors - Write about it. Think about picnics and outdoor eating experiences from your childhood. Where was it (backyard, park, a lake, scouts, camp, grandparent's home, family reunion)? Was there a picnic table or a blanket on the grass? What foods did you eat (deviled eggs, watermelon, cupcakes, homemade ice cream)? Tell how it was prepared, include favorite recipe, and tell who fixed the food. Did you cook a hobo meal in a coffee can over an open fire or did Dad grill over charcoal? Did you make s'mores or toast/burn marshmallows? Have a wiener roast. Any mishaps (rain, bad food, ants, injuries)? Was there a picnic basket?

Write about these and also memories of picnics with your own children.

Fun with Water - Write your childhood memories. Children are greatly attracted to water. Was there a fountain, a creek or pond where you could sail toy boats? Write about making paper boats or creating a raft. Did you swim, wade, fall in, build dams, hunt for crawdads or any other activities around the water? Tell about any restrictions there were about being around the water or if you had total freedom.

If there was no creek, did you play in a washtub of water or a kiddy pool? Did anyone in the neighborhood have a pool?

Seashore or Lake Memories - Write about them. When you were a child, did you go often to a beach or a lake or was it a major outing? Tell about the family's preparation for the day and what was taken along. Describe your swimming outfit. What food do you associate with the beach or lake? Try to remember what was fun about the day and put in sensory memories like the grittiness of the sand or the feel of the waves or the sound of the seagulls. If you didn't have this kind of excursion, write about what you thought the ocean would be like.

English Memories of a 1950s Childhood

A 1950s Childhood: From Tin Baths to Bread and Dripping
A 1950s Childhood: From Tin Baths to Bread and Dripping

This one is British, so I found it fascinating to see the similarities and the differences to my own American childhood from the same time period.


The Martin Kids in the 1950s/1960s


I Hope I've Encouraged You to Write Down Your Memories from Childhood

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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      @Virginia Allain: Thank you for suggesting that, Vallain. I hadn't thought too much about putting my memories down where the children and grandchildren could find them some day. Indeed, I don't believe I've ever written about them formally, except for one lens on Squidoo, and that was in response to a quest. But what is more important than knowing the people who came before us? Well, the present of course, and the people we love. Still, I so wish my grandparents--and theirs--had left such a legacy.

      Thank you again. I'll add it to my list.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @ecogranny: Grace, I'm glad you wrote this memory about Little Rock and race relations. That's one you should pass along to your family.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I have loved reading "old-timer" stories all my life, and I love hearing other people's stories of their childhood to this day, so yes, keep them coming, and I agree, we should all be telling our stories, whatever they may be.

      On the video about "race," I must admit that my experience, and perhaps the experience of many other white children was much the same--until Little Rock. I was in primary school in an all-white town in the Midwest when Little Rock happened. My teacher brought newspaper clippings and magazine articles to school and taught us about race issues and about the brave little girl who every day walked a gauntlet of white taunters shouting horrible threats as she entered her otherwise all white school. I've never forgotten it.

      Our school had eight grades plus kindergarten in just three rooms, with one teacher to each room. Today I bless that teacher for taking the time to educate his students about something so important going on in our country. He awakened me to the plight of an entire people who were treated cruelly routinely--harassed, cheated, sometimes beaten and killed, all because their skin color was different. Impossible to forget.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      @AlleyCatLane: Capture the memories as they come. Later you might not recall them. We were born in the same year.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      You certainly jogged my memories. I was born in 1948, so the 1950s was the era of my childhood. Maybe I'll write a companion to my Memories of a Key West Childhood.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I really enjoyed reading about your memories of growing up in the 50's. I sure have a lot of them and need to start writing down more. I was born in 48 so was able to thoroughly enjoy the 50's.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I was 11 years old in 1950, so my teens were spent in the 50s...and I particularly love that 50s Ford on this page. It brought back a time now gone, when cars were not copycats of each other, but had individual character. I love the writing triggers and they do help me remember times I could write about, but the drawback is not always having the personal photos. Still....something to consider.

    • Shoputopian profile image

      Karnel 4 years ago from Lower Mainland of BC

      I was born in 1959 so I missed all of the 50's but I gotta say the 60's and 70's weren't all that bad either at least not for me.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 4 years ago

      I was born in 58 to older parents and much older siblings. My first memories were of singing along with Peter, Paul and Mary and John Denver. I'm stuck there!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I was born in the 1950s, but grew up in the 60s. I have a few memories I could probably write down.