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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Was It Easier To Be A Kid, In The 50's?

Saturday mornings, were great in the 50's.   No school, you could wear your pj's all morning. I had to wear slippers, because the floor was always cold. I do not remember cold floors- oh yeah, I was wearing slippers. Saturday morning I watched cartoons. Mighty Mouse had a great song, " Mr. trouble never hung around when he heard this mighty sound". I can sing the whole song, ask me who the secretary of state is??? I watched The Adventures of Superman, who disguised as a mild mannered reporter for a great Metropolitan Newspaper... He was very cool, Lois not so much. There was Bozo the clown, I have met a lot of clowns since then, most of them did not even know they were clowns, but he was my original.

Like all children we ate at small tables called snack tables, or T.V. tables. They would sit in the living room waiting to be used.That is how you ate and watched T.V.  I was an only child,  I had to go outside for company. I took my pink spaulding ball to bounce, catch or play punch ball with. I wore play clothes, and a woolen coat, nylon was not invented yet. I remember always forming secret clubs with my friends . They were well kept secrets since I have no idea what their purpose was. We planned for the day, and did not worry about tomorrow.

Some families lived in what I now call Pleasantville. They believed nothing ever went wrong. Their parents never argued, and they never had problems. If you saw the movie, you know fantasy does not last, or exist.
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I know now that my cousin lived with an alcoholic step father who she later accused of molesting her. Did I know this as a child? Would I have understood? I had an uncle who has M.S. and was confined to a wheel chair. Another relative had electric shock treatment, after a nervous breakdown. Did I understand this then?

I believe life was made simpler for us.  Children were kept children longer. Parents drank, and smoked, children didn't. Parents wore provocative clothes, kids did not. We were excluded from adult conversations, and there was no sex or cursing on T.V. Was it better? Abuse illness and disabilities existed, we were told not to think about them. We were only children, and we had time to grow up.





2 comments:

  1. One of my favorites was Winkie Dink - I had the whole WD set and drew on the plastic sheet that covered the TV. I had absolutely no idea that I had absolutely no artistic talent. CCCCCCC

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  2. Hmmm, "easier" and "better" are emotionally-fraught words, "different" is more accurate. Like the "tree in the forest" question about whether or not awareness and witnesses are needed for an event to occur in reality, dangers and challenges of growing up are not always apparent or remembered, although they exist. But you point out how the truth of these problems were hidden from most children in the '50's. So the main differences that you are pointing out is the less media coverage and absence of the Social Media that now thrust children into awareness of so many more (and disturbing) concepts, cutting short their naivete. But by the '60's scary footage of the Cold War threats, the Viet Nam War, and beatings during protests blazed through the media. Even before the technology made hiding near impossible, our innocence was violated with harsh reality. But some of that had to have started earlier, when post WWII, the Nuremberg Trials and the revelation of the horrors of the Holocaust shattered the world's ostrich act, and yet, children were shielded as much as possible.

    But more kids had chores, responsibilities, and consequences for their actions. Corporal punishment was the norm. The homes were protective (to a point) but rarely child-centric. The adults ruled the roost. "Because I said so" was considered a reasonable explanation.

    Therefore, my response to your question, "Was it easier to be a kid in the '50's?" would have to be "yes and no." My jury is still out on that one and glad that I don't have to relive my childhood to make the comparison valid. You really made me think.

    Barbara

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