The 1950s: What was NOT to like!
Halcyon Days of the American Dream? I guess the Fifties were that!
Were the 1950's really as great as a lot of the Baby-boomers seem to remember? Yes, life seemed to be easier, safer and more innocent.
I do remember the 50's in a fond way, but that decade was not perfect. In fact, there were some just awful things about the 50's that I am glad are gone! Yes, it is true that time passes quickly, but I remember so much about my 1950's childhood. Admittedly, my mind might be "fuzzy" about those halcyon days of the American Dream, but I hope you enjoy the nostalgia collected here.
Below you will find pictures and posters of what I do not miss from the 1950's!
(Miss ICBM used w/permission: georgelazenby)
"denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful"
What was an ICBM?
No, it was not a bodliy function in 1950's terminology!
The subheading refers to "Let Us C You Pee". Do you remember that joke? "Say lettuce and spell "cup". Oh we were so innocent!
Just the thought of an ICBM would make us just about have a "B(owel) M(ovement)" in our underwear!
When I was a child, I remember the "Cuban Missile Crisis". We were all afraid that Cuba would launch nuclear missiles toward the US and we would all die a horrible death. When all was said and done, we as a country were extremely proud of our young president, John F. Kennedy. Yes, this "crisis" happened in the early 60's, but we were preparing for a crisis like it in the 50's. That is why we were scared out of our wits when JFK confronted the Russians!
My father was in the military and those times were very stressful for us. To this day, I continue to be proud of being a citizen of the USA. Sometimes I do not agree with the wars and politics, but I am still proud.
So, what is (or was) an ICBM? According to wikipedia, "An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a ballistic missile with a long range (greater than 5,500 km or 3,500 miles) typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery."
The Red Menace!
Being a Baby Boomer, I remember the practice drills and hiding under my desk at school.
Since my father was in the military, I was very aware of the possibility of a war in the 50's. I was always so grateful that we had huge oceans between the USA and the countries that seemed to have the most animosity toward our government. I never really thought that those enemies did not like the people who lived here, just the politicians and generals. In this new century oceans are not a protection any more, are they?
Books to read about the 1950's - The more you know....
Amazon has several books about this era in America. If you are interested in learning more about (or remembering) the 1950's lifestyle, you will enjoy the books below.
As a child of the 1950's I thought the " red menace" referred to communism - specifically from the USSR . Originally it was called "The Red Scare". Read about it at Wikipedia.
Duck and Cover 1950's Style
A public service announcement that tried to teach everyone what to do if the USA was attacked by a bomb.
Living in the Atomic Age of the 1950s
Interested in watching movies from the 1950s that told innocent children how to act in case of nuclear attack? Well, here is the DVD for you.
Remember hose with seams?
AKA-Nylons! Fashion from the 50's you can live without!
I never owned a pair of these nylons. As a child during the 1950s, I wore white anklet socks; when I became a teen in the 60's, pantyhose became popular.
And the girdle one needed to wear the hose! - I do not miss the gymnastics it took to attach my nylons!
And Oh--those 50's Bathing Suits
I remember having a white one-piece bathing suit that always needed to have the straps sewn back on. I learned to have a safety pin on me whenever I went swimming.
The black 50's style suit was available for purchase at the following online store. They seem to specialize in retro stuff. Go check them out and tell them that I sent you! Search on the Plasticland for your dream retro bathing suit!
1950's Fashion Rules for Women:
No trousers in public and white gloves were required!
In my current closet, you will find very few dresses and no white gloves. Our modern-day lifestyle is more relaxed. I am glad, because if I had to wear white gloves today, they would not remain white for long. I must say, though, perhaps there would be less need for "hand sanitizers" if women wore gloves more often.
To see some of the cute 50's fashion, visit Fun Fifties Fashions.
I remember the "teas" that my Mom took me to as a child. I had a hat and white gloves. These items were also required for Easter, too.
Hairstyles from the 1950's: - What was your cut?
The 1950's inspired ponytail is back in style in this century, but at least we can say that hairspray has improved! My mother had a cut just like the one in the image below. She looked just like a movie star to me. That cut was inspired by Shirley Maclaine(that is a link and will open a new tab) and Audrey Hepburn. Both were in a movie called "The Children's Hour" (1961, I know!) and you can find it on Amazon if you keep scrolling down.
See a gallery of 1950's hairstyles at Fifties Web!
What was expected of a woman in the Fifties:
Some of it was very unrealisitic!
When my grandmother died, I got her aprons. My girls loved wearing them for dress-up play. I would probably save a lot of my good tee shirts if I wore an apron today. I do lots of cooking! I could visit Flirty Aprons and buy one!
To see more sexist ads from this era, you can visit this entertaining website: Found in Mom's Basement.
I love to remember the good things about the fifties!
But, not every "bless-ed" thing!
Lots of posters may be found on the internet! I found some on a site called Allposters.com
It was quite common for children to ride behind trucks that sprayed a cloud of DDT (an insecticide). We thought it was quite fun to do that and we did not know that DDT would eventually cause all kinds of health problems.
A really good book about the era of segregation is The Help. Check out my review of this best-selling book at The Help
Even though the posters were colorful, the movies were usually in Black and White--or "gray movies" as my granddaughter calls them.
Frosted Flakes from the 50's?
Don't know if these bowls are from the 50's, but if you loved Frosted Flakes, these are for you! Remember the good ol' days.
Black and white '50's TV (NOT the shows, just the box!)
Image of the kid and TV above is from a Creative Commons search and Flickr user gbaku.
Early TV was not the greatest. As stated, the picture was shades of gray. And remember, there was no remote control. Thirdly, there were not many shows, either. At least, the statement "There is nothing on TV to watch!" was more true then than it is now!
Please do not get me wrong. I loved growing up in the United States in the 1950's. It was indeed a time of innocence. I felt safe (until I had to practice hiding under my desk at school). Even after I learned about the "Red Menace", I never really felt insecure. The world was still a huge place; friends were close and "enemies" were far, far away. Life in the USA was a good thing.
Today, we feel that the world is closer and not so small. We hear about evil things almost immediately. Our television shows are "reality" as decided by the entertainment industry--with no holds barred. If it is weird, sexy or shocking--make a show about it. Yeah, "Leave It To Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" were not about real families, but at least they gave you ideas about how good life could be and did not show one how to be mean, selfish or shocking.
Just my opinion, now what is yours?
© 2009 Mickie Gee