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Memories from the Baby Boomer Years of The 50's

How did we survive 50 years ago?

We drank water from the tap not a bottle and nobody knew about the dangers of lead poisoning so even cribs were painted with brightly colored lead based paint. Medicine and Bottles with tablets did not have child proof lids

No seat belts or air bags in cars, nobody knew or if they did told our parents smoking and drinking was bad for the baby, kids shared coke from one bottle, soda had masses of sugar and we ate real white bread and butter and everything else including full fat milk that we are now told is bad for you

Parents couldn't reach us ( no mobiles ) and most of the day we would be out playing with friends and parents knew we would be safe with hardly any weirdos wandering the streets. If we got caught doing stuff we shouldn't the cops would take us home and we may well have a got a hiding for breaking the law ( but no do gooders saying mustn't smack children ). And if we played up in school the same applied.

While playing we got cuts and bruises and the occasional tear in jeans but it was just part of being a kid and no visit to the hospital.

We had no fancy games but could play for hours making a Go cart or a new tree swing and for other games most times we would find a ball and whatever we could use as a bat. or in the summer all jump into the nearest place we could find and if the water wasn't that clean we just didn't swallow it.

We rode our bikes with no helmets and doing whatever stunts we could ( bikes were so much heavier and hard waring ) and always had punctures to repair or get dad to help with.

If we didn't get in the team we were not good enough and that was that.

But most of all we were allowed to be kids

To dream, to invent and to play.

It's no wonder that the generation that grew up then created some of the most innovative and exciting technology we have today

Thanks for those years and all those "BAD THINGS" that is why we are who we are today

Memory Posted By: Boomer Boy

My Special Christmas 1959 UK

With Christmas just round the corner and seeing all the parents at the shops picking presents for their children reminded me of my best ever Christmas as a child

My father was in the Navy and many Christmas times he was away , but I remember the year 1959 because he was home for most of December and my parents were acting very secrative .

Anyway Xmas day came and normal toys and sweets in my sack at the end of the bed and I started playing with them as any normal kid does, and go in to wake my parents up to show them what santa had left ( I still believed in Santa at 8 ) and my dad tells me Santa left a note with him about something he couldn't get down the chimney and I would find it outside.

Still in PJ's I rushed outside to find the coolest blue bike I had ever seen in my life with a bell and lights .

Now you must remember my parents were quite poor so my dad had bought an old bike and spent the month of December cleaning it, fixing it and painting it , that present sticks in my mind more than any other because I can now imagine how much work and time my parents spent on it and how much love must have gone in to it

I would like to thank my parents so much for that and all the time and love they gave me as a child


Memory Posted By: Alex

Growing Up In Australia In The 50s Australia

In winter we used to have crumpets for breakfast with good lashings of butter. We used to cook them on a toasting fork over the hot coals in our combustion stove. Doing it this way also made us warm as it was our only form of heating apart from the open fire in the lounge which used to go out overnight. What a wonderful life we had as kids, not a worry in the world

Memory Posted By: Teresa

A Child of The 50s U.S.A.

I think about those days a lot!! The days when we knew and trusted all of our neighbors, when we either walked or rode our (one and only) bicycle everywhere we went, band concerts at our local park on Friday nights, also many, many times going to this same park to watch the "boys" play baseball, the local movie theatre, the sock hops, and on and on and on. I am ever so grateful to have been a "child of the 50's"!! Some wonderful memories!!

Memory Posted By: Great Times

Joining the Navy at 17yrs Old U.S.A.

The proudest day of my life was 1 July 1958. I was barely 17 years old when I arrived at the Great Lakes Naval Training center for basic training. The Navy changed my life forever by giving me a sense of belonging and the pride of accomplishment. I will be grateful, and proud of my service, for as long as I live!

Memory Posted By: Jim W

Imaginative child in the 50s U.S.A.

I was an imaginative child and felt like one with nature. I was the mouse in the garden but I was also the hawk in the sky. I had to either sneak away and hide or spread my wings and boldly display myself. I learned through nature which to be and when to be the mouse or the hawk. My love of animals was great but my instinct knew that death was life for another. I did not want the mouse to be killed but the hawk needed him to survive. It was fate. At times if I had the chance I would intervene, but mostly I learned to look away and allow nature to take its course. It was the right thing to do and I couldn’t fight that fact.

Memory Posted By: Cindy B
Steve The People History

I think one of the reasons I truly love running this site is when I get two memories one after the other seperated by oceans, gender and generation but still giving an insight into growing up which others will find interesting to read. So Thank You Cindy and Mogues for taking the time to share your childhoods

A sinking LST North Korea 1950s Korea

The ship had been abandoned and nothing working. Man there was one hell of a lot of noise as things were banging around and the crunch/grinding of the metal bottom being torn away on the reef. We started to actually walk down into raw gas. I told Shorty there was no way we could start an engine in these gas fumes without blowing all to hell. It was one of those really eerie situations where it was so dark we were actually going by feel as we went down the stair well and all the banging noise. Shorty and I had to go back to the ship and wait until daylight and we could see.

We did. As daylight came we were sent back over. This time when walking down the stair well we could see a bit better but still dim. We waded down into the gas and I timed the ships roll so the banging "junk" drifted away from the hatch and opened it to look in the tank hold and could just see a jeep tied to the back of the hold and 50 gallon gas drums flying all around loose and leaking gasoline, and the jeep was getting beat all to hell by the gas drums. I quickly closed the hatch and told Shorty we needed to get the hell out of there. The Ship had a hole in the bottom that the jeep could have been driven through. The reef was all that was holding her up. We went back to the Ship, reported to the Chief. With Whale boats and a series of lines, we got a cable on the LST, jerked it off the reef and made a run with it for the beach to shallow water and let her sink there..

Memory Posted By: Don B

Early Memories From School in The 50's UK
I am getting ready to take my daughter for her first day of real school and it made me think back to all those 30 years ago and remember my early time at school.
Looking back I think I enjoyed every day and all the things we did
Painting great works of art which my mother had to tell me were wonderfull ( and I always wanted my mum to display them )
Pretending to Sleep during rest time with my head resting on my crossed arms ( now I wonder was it to give teachers as much a rest as the children )
Listening to the teacher reading a story
Learning to write my ABC
Opening up my desk where I kept my colouring pencils
All having our own coat racks where we had our name tags on
Running our little shops
Playing with building bricks
Learning to read the first books
Our small bottle of milk we were given each day ( I think the Government Paid for it not parents )
And then the special times like Christmas Plays and Carol Singing, Sports Day, Easter
Many years later I went back to a school with my niece and can remember looking at the little tables and chairs realising just how little we all were They say school years are the best years of your life and looking back I think they were

Memory Posted By: Jane

Anonymous said... You forgot

Mum Sewing in name tags on all your clothes

Your Birthday when all the other children would sing happy birthday

Playtime in the playground

and pulling the little girls hair who sat in front of you and pretending it wasn't you

Kevin67 said...

I was born in 67 in the US and all of your memories sound very familiar. One big one I remember is the metal lunch boxes that we had. Which ever one you had said a lot about who you were.

Life Was Easy in the 50's U.S.A.

Stationed at Mcgiure AFB in the 50's and hitchhiking home on week ends thru thre Poconos just to ride my 50buick at home with my girl then back to the base again life was so easy then.

Memory Posted By: ray c

Boomer growing up in the 1950s UK

My Memories from the 50's I was born in 1950 , and grew up with a dad in the Royal Navy and my mum didn't work , fairly typical as most of my mums friends didn't work. By to days standards we would be considered poor some foods including sugar and eggs were still on rationing and most dinners were based around beef mince, and up till I was 8 we lived in Navy married quarters . The shops were very different to today most housing estates would have a local butcher, a greengrocer, a sweet shop, A hardware shop, a newsagent and general store. Things like TV were just starting to appear but it was quite a while before my parents could afford one so I went to friends houses who had a TV to watch, more often than not all that was on was the test pattern. My mum's contribution to family income like many other thousands of others was selling Avon as an Avon Lady, Toys were fairly basic and as kids some of the games we played included Uckers ( navy name for Ludo ), Snakes and ladders, Patience, Gin Rummy and other card games or board games, any bike I had as a kid was second hand which my dad would fix up and would be my Xmas present. Many may be surprised to hear that Christmas was very different in those days to today , things like oranges and nuts were considered a luxury due to the cost and not being readily available and were a major part of my Christmas presents in my stocking Food consisted of anything made of mince and any vegetables that were in season, no such thing as frozen foods or fast foods available in those days. The other memory that I recall is when we would take a trip to visit relatives ( Aunts, Uncles Grandparents )etc. who lived 120 miles away my dad would do a full service on the car including oil water and would carry A large toolbox in case of breakdowns , and so that the car didn't overheat we would stop half way to give the car a chance to cool down. Like most families we were a one car family and my mum didn't drive so any time we went to the nearest town it was on the local bus or walk or cycle I suppose the other major difference was the amount of discipline parents exerted over children if I did anything wrong my mum would send me to my room and if I did anything really bad my dad would wallop me with a slipper , rules in our house were to be obeyed at all times. I thought I would just mention one other thing that strikes me from my memories and how unusual it would be by today's standards , my dad was a Radio Operator in the Navy and during the nuclear testing done on the Christmas Islands him and many other ordinary sailors were put "on a safe place on the island" to describe the nuclear explosion to officers many miles away in safety on the ship. And when the sailors came back and were all discovered to have a form of radiation poisoning the navy were surprised. Well I hope you enjoyed my memories af my life from 1950 - 1959 if I get time I will write something about my time in the 60's

Memory Posted By: Baby Boomer

Corner Drugstore in the 50s U.S.A.

I remember the corner drugstore where you could get a chocolate Coke for a nickel. And a Malt for 20 cents. And get to sit next that pretty girl from Algebra class, at least for a while

Memory Posted By: Catmoves

Anonymous said...

what is a chocolate Coke I have never heard of it what is it made from

Anonymous said...

Walking home from high school (1956-1959) we would stop by Duval's, the local soda shop/drug store. One of the favored drinks we enjoyed was a lime ricky (not sure how it's spelled)also root beer floats. I loved being a child of the 50's!!!

Sherry D. F. said...

We had a corner store in Terrell, Tx. called Rutledge Drugs. I love their limeades and floates. I loved to go there. That was a treat to walk there on Saturdays.

Coke Cost U.S.A.

cokes cost just 5 cents in Athens, Ga in 1950's

Memory Posted By: Betty

Grandmothers 50s Clothes Back in Style U.S.A.

I still dont why all these things that my grandma use to wear or use are coming back in style. but you know i like it.

Memory Posted By: Jennifer

Grandma and the 50's U.S.A.

Man i still cant believe that my grandma use to do 50's things, just two years ago i had to do a play of the 50's and then all those things my grandma use to do or wear are coming back to style.

Memory Posted By: Brenda Lynn

Boomer memories from the 50s U.S.A.

gunsmoke, rifleman, rin-tin-tin

saturday shopping at the new mall,

sunday mass and big noon dinner.

going to the movies eating juju beads, big charm sucker.

roller skates you put on your shoes with a key that hung around your neck.

ghost stories, swimming in the summer, red light green light at nite.

coming home when the street lights came on.

learning to drive stick shift.

brush rollers ratting your hair sprying with adorn hairspry,

ambush perfume canoe for men aftershave.

sweater clips mohair sweaters with matching skrits.

smoking was not evil.

Memory Posted By: Boomer

A F said...

Good times sadly missed

50'skid said...

there is nothing like the growing up in the 50's. I was a 50's kid and we had pure fun. all of us neighborhood kids played together. potsie,war,hide an seek,building snow forts in the winter,(no more snow anymore)watching american bandstand,or mickymouse club. i remember watching my father watching tv. and all of a sudden he would say look at that tomatoe lol i never quite knew what he was so excited about. my father just passed aug 14 age 90. one generation passes and another comes in its place. im in my 50's now and time is going faster then ever I cherrish those old time days.

Buying our first home U.S.A.

My husband and I bought our first house in the mid-1950s. Actually, we bought our first AND second house during the same year. It was 1956 and we had just moved to Michigan from Missouri with our three children. The automobile industry was taking off (no pun intended) during that decade and there were a lot of southerners moving up into Michigan to get an envied job with General Motors. Back then, a job at General Motors meant that you were set for life. They offered great wages, benefits, and everything that a person needs to run a family. Those were the days.

But our first home was on the east side of Flint, which is about one hour north of Detroit. It was a new neighborhood that was sprouting up and new homes were going up all over the place around us. The house we bought was more of a temporary home. We actually had our eyes set on the one being built across the street. It was larger and it had a basement.

We moved into the first home in 1955. It was there before the neighborhood really sprouted, so it was more rundown and it was older than rest of the homes. As soon as the one across the street was built, though, we sold that one and moved into the new one. We had a family to think about and the new home had several bedrooms that we would be able to utilize. A year after we moved to Flint, the new home was completed and we moved in. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law lost his job and we offered to let him and his family stay with us until he got on his feet. He had seven kids. Even though our home was spacious, most of that family ended up sleeping on the floor and stepping over each other in the middle of the night. That lasted for a few months, but it was a great way to break in our new place. Now, 50 years later, I am still in this home that has come to be an important part of our family.

Memory Posted By: anon

Changes in Where We Live UK

Of the many changes I have seen in my life the biggest are those where the places I grew up as a child have changed

I grew up in a small village on the South Coast of England called Portchester and the two towns either side of us were Fareham and Cosham

I used to cycle from Portchester to Fareham and nearly all the road had farms on one side of the road this was in total about 12 miles , when I visited back many years later there was not one bit of empty space , every part of both sides of the road were filled with houses , It makes you wonder where does Portchester end and Fareham begin.

This was not really a local problem as now on that part of the South Coast every city is joined to every other city by rows and rows of houses. They Should Just Change The Name of the south coast to SOLENT CITY

This is not even just a UK problem although I think it may be slightly worse

When I first came to Lovely Elkhorn in Wisconsin the main route between Elkhorn and Chicago still had many green fields for farming and each time we take the trip to Chicago there is less and less greenery and more and more houses to be seen

I would be interested to here other peoples memories of how where they live has changed

Memory Posted By: Webmaster

Strange But Trus Pope Pius X11 Malta

Strange but True

In 1958 while only 8 years old and living with a Maltese family in Mosta Pope Pius XII died , like all Maltese people the family I was with were very staunch catholics and in the front room in pride of place was a photograph of the pope. On the morning he died I as I was going out their son called me in to the front room and showed me the photograph of the Pope which had gone a strange purple colour, to this day I can not think of an explanation.

Memory Posted By: graham

Ryhl In Wales Holidays Wales
When I was a child my whole family would go to Ryhl in Wales on holiday Whitsun weekends with my brother and sister, Parents and Grandparents.

We stayed in self catering rooms at the Prestatyn end of the town. The beach was always crowded as most everybody went to seaside towns across the UK not over to the mediterranian in those days.

There was an old arcade where we used to have a full three course meal for six shillings and a social club where there was bingo and a singer.

As a kid I hated it as we just had to sit there for hours while the oldies had fun and enjoyed themselves.

3 years ago my husband and I and 2 children went for a weekend and even the kids enjoyed it, it has changed but the beach is quieter the facilities and entertainment are better and we have been back each year since.

Memory Posted By: Dawn

Traditional Bakers Malta
My favourite job as a child was going to the local bakers after we could smell the bread being baked , my mother would send me to the local baker and the bread would still be hot as it had only just come out of the oven , I would carry it in my arms and bounce it up and down so it did not burn me, when i got home we would break bits off and eat it while it was still to hot , I am glad to say that traditional baker is still in the same place it has been for 50 years and when i visit my mother I can still smell the bread baking and it is one of the nicest smells in the world and reminds me of my childhood.

Memory Posted By: Joseph

Younger Brothers UK
I was always close to my younger brother even though because he was younger and smaller than me I tormented him a lot when we were young. But things always seem to work out in the end, the one thing I was not allowed to do under any circumstances was to hit him or there would have been hell to play from my parents and for many years all was fine until he worked out that he could hit me and was immune from punishment by me and my parents. Anyway when he was 8 and I was 12 he went to far as we were larking around and he pushed me down the stairs and I broke my nose, I never did forgive him to this day even though we are still quite close. My brother is some years younger than me and never lets me forget it but the thing I have noticed is as we have got older the difference in age appears to be less and less, it may well be once the grey hairs and the wrinkles appear unless you have time to count them the difference in age shows less, "sorry kid"

Memory Posted By: Steve

Thanking An American Soldier For Gift Italy
I was born in Italy in 1952. I can't believe it's 55 years ago already. I can hardly remember the days of my childhood but two things I remember clearly. Like many kids in the '50s, I was born at home and next to my mum in labour was the dog that would eventually become my greatest companion. A female dog, called Pilou. She had been given to my mum from an American soldier when Americans freed Rome at the end of the war. I have always hoped to find that soldier one day. Assuming, as I hope, that he still alive he should be maybe in his eighties by now. Well, I would really like to thank him for I was not yet born but that dog was a great gift. I have grown loving animals very much and, thanks to this, with a good character. The second thing I remember is being a very lonely little girl that never got tired of cutting paper and making paper-dolls. While I spent entire days on this, the voices of old people chatting on the balconies kept me company. Well, practically each family in my building had lost one or two sons or other relatives during the war. I think war is a disgrace, I was only a small girl but the tales were so painful I still remember quite clearly how deep was the pain of the mothers that had lost a son. I have a 24 year old boy and I know now how unbearable it would be if anything happened to him and really it would break my heart. Please stop making wars. The pain a war can inflict is simply unhuman.

Memory Posted By: bianca

For me Coolest Period was the 1950s United States
In 1952, I was 7. Life was simpler then. Kids could play outside all day and not get snatched off their front lawns by a pedophile. The crime rate was lower; gas was cheaper; we were happy with simple things (e.g., when we had a birthday party, we only invited the kids on the street, not the entire class. We didn't go bowling, or to a theme park, or anywhere else. We had cake and ice cream in the kitchen and we (at least girls) were happy with our gifts: Crayons, coloring books, bubble bath, etc. We didn't get digital wristwatches, DVD players, Game Boy, remote-controlled dinosaurs (if those items had been invented then, we wouldn't have gotten them anyway), etc. In the summers, we had a clubhouse that a neighbor's father built, and we'd hang out there or under "the big tree" reading comic books and waiting for the Popsicle truck, with our nickels in hand. My parents would dress me in my pajamas and we'd go to the Star Drive-In for a double feature, and we took our own refreshments. No, we weren't poor. We just did things that way: Fewer material things, more togetherness. The music of the 50s and early 60s was relaxing: Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Patti Page, etc. all crooning about fnding and losing love. Whatever movies we saw on Sat. afternoon at the Sunshine Theater, the same stars were always in them: Bob Hope, Debbie Whatever...Movies were OK for kids, with no gruesome bloody bodies, homicide scenes, etc. and we had cartoons in between the features. We had the first TV on the street and my friends and I gathered in front of it each afternoon at 4 p.m. to watch the test pattern turn into Howdy Doody. We used to talk about what we wanted to be when we grew up; by the time I was raising my daughter, she talked about what she wanted to be if she LIVED to grow up. Also during the 50s, it was a time of innocence. Media technology wasn't as evolved as it is now, and there were fewer things to nag our parents for. We saved boxtops. We thought Davy Crocket and Rin-Tin-Tin were the closest thing to Heaven. Now that I'm 63, I pine away for those sweet, simple songs of the 50s, when life was uncomplicated and people were nice to each other.

Memory Posted By: Anonymous

The 50's were the boomer years and the children from those years are now the parents and grandparents who caused that boom in the birthrate

The 50's also were one of the last decades where the traditional roles of the woman staying at home and being a homemaker and the man as the sole breadwinner for a family.
Due to these family dynamics it was also the heyday of the TV daytime soap opera which a drama shown during the day when the man of the family was at work and the ( Soap Manufacturers )advertisers could target a very specific audience " the stay at home mum.
Following on from the end of World War the cold war became a grim reality because both sides had the power and technology for a Nuclear holocaust, but equally both knew any war could not truly be won.
This is also the first decade where the worlds economy was driven by consumer demand for the goods that were now available and were produced in large numbers in Japan for consumption by the rest of the western world and many of the household names that are part of our daily lives including Sony date from that period.
This is also the decade that many of inventions and technology developed during war time could be adapted for peacetime including harnessing nuclear energy for use as electricity with first nuclear power stations built towards the end of the decade and the groundwork for today's digital revolution with the invention of the microchip and the computer modem.
Towards the end of the decade the cars continued to get larger with bigger front and rear fins and nobody worried about MPG gas was a mere 25 cents
Music: At the beginning of the decade the crooners were still popular but by the end of the 50's a new genre of music was born and some of the greats who started at the end of the 50's included Elvis ( the Pelvis ) Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley and the Comets setting the stage for the groups of the 60's
This was also the decade where the Television became a major part of most families lives and the birth of "Rock N Roll"
Please try to speak to parents and grandparents to try to understand how different it was in the 50's where after the war years many families were started while sharing a home with parents because of the lack of housing and the boom in children , if your parents are willing to share memories on The People History please do but if not at least they will have been passed on and not lost.

What do you remember ? Tell us your experiences from years ago post your memories