Saturday, May 30

Memories of Growing Up

Most of you may not remember the 50s. It was a great era to grow up in. We lived on a farm and had lots to keep us busy, but we did enjoy keeping up with things. Here are some of my memories from that time.

* Mom washing in a wringer washing machine. She didn't give it up until about 5 years ago. Grandma had no electricity, so she heated water on the woodstove, winter and summer. At one time she did have a wooden washing machine with a handle that was pulled back and forth to wash the clothes. I remember pumping that handle until I thought my arms would fall off.

* We had no clothes dryer or dish washer. These things were luxuries that only rich people could afford. We hung clothes on the line, washed and dried the dishes by hand and ironed all the clothes because they were mostly made of 100% cotton.

* In grade one and two, I attended a one-room school. It was 1/4 mile up the road and we walked. Sometimes we were lucky enough to get a ride from the old farmer who lived down the road from us. If he was coming home from town when school was about to let out, we all got a ride in his ancient pickup truck. We road in the back and never once worried about anyone falling out.

* Music was changing. It was the time of Richie Valens, the Big Bopper, Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley and others. And then there was the day the music died in February 1959.

* We listened to the radio. I remember The Shadow, Fibber Magee and Molly, Jack Benny and Burns and Allen. We didn't get a tv until I was about 11 years old.

* We wore poodle skirts, saddle oxfords or white bucks and if we were allowed to go out, we had to be in by 11pm.

* As we got older, we were allowed to go to the drive-in to see a movie. Tuesday was Buck Night and it was a buck a car to get in. It didn't matter how many people were in the car. We used to pack it full. There were no seatbelts so we didn't have to worry about everyone having one.

* When we did get a tv, it was a black and white. Dad told us what we could watch. Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Red Skeleton and Lawrence Welk were favorite shows. On Saturday morning we could watch cartoons for a while. At 6am, Heckle and Jeckle was on and then the rest of the morning was spent watching Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Sky King and The Lone Ranger.

There were many other activities that we enjoyed. In my opinion, the younger generation has missed out on many of these things. I find that sad. We had so much clean, wholesome fun back then. What are your memories of growing up?


  1. Well I don't remember anything from the 50s, I was too young, but I remember a lot of the things you talk about. We had a wringer washing machine, had that little shaker bottle to wet the clothes with and rolled them up until they were ironed. I can still remember the sound of the water shaking out. My older sisters attended a 2 room school house. I remember riding in the back of pick up trucks and walking down the dirt road with our little transistor radio turned on. I remember the shiny patten(?) leather shoes, playing jacks on the linoleum floor and walking down to the little country store and buying penny candy. Those were the good old days.

  2. I was born in 1960, but have always enjoyed the music from the 50's. I think it was a great era!

  3. I was born in the 50s, but in the Borneo where we were probably 3 decades from the rest of the world.

    We had our first TV when Mohammed Ali fought with jo what's his name.
    in 1975.
    Mum had no washing machine till the 80s,
    We had no fridges, no telephones in the 70s,
    Dad flew in a Fokker Friendship in the 50s, I flew in a Fokker friendship in the 70s.

    The list can go on.

  4. Yes, Mary, I remember a lot of those things. I was born in 1945. My grandmother had a wringer washer. Growing up we had a washing machine, but not a dryer for quite a long time. I remember hanging the clothes out on the line and ironing the sheets. No air conditioning, no microwave (not invented yet),only black and white TV and not until I was about 6 years old. Life was good.

  5. oh my, these are fab Mary. When I was very little in the 70's I remember my mother having a wringer washing machine, it wasn't until we were older that she got an electric one.

  6. I'm not sure if I mentioned this on your blog or not but during a recent conversation with my dd, we discussed how she will probably have conversations where they thought the IPOD was all the rage. Imagine what they will have to say about some of the things we think are spectacular now like dreadlocks. :) ROFL!

  7. Wringer washers: not sure when Mom gave hers up -- probably in the 70s.

    No dryer or dishwasher here either.

    We turned the hot water on for Saturday night baths.

    We probably got our first b&w tv ~1957. It was forever on the fritz. Now we can get colour for less than the b&w then despite inflation (at least that's what my memory tells me). And they always work too.

  8. Mary,

    I enjoyed reading your memories of the 50s. I came to the US in the fall of 1951 at age 14, and the 50s were the era of a new, wonderful life for me. My grandma washed with a wringer washer as well, and our TV was black and white, and I remember my first transistor radio. Carried it with me everywhere, listening to the music. I loved all the music of the era. But now, I have to get ready for church. Have a wonderful Sunday. Thanks for the memories!



  9. I did a memory post today, also.
    My Mother only had one automatic washer and she got it after I'd been married 25 years.
    Funny how, as children, walking a quarter mile seemed like such a distance. Now, I walk 3 miles in an hour for exercise.
    I never had a poodle skirt but I did wear those socks that needed a rubber band to keep them from slipping into your shoes. I remember the scratch of crinolines. I remember how hot it was in the summer. It was certainly cooler outside than inside.
    I remember those buck nights at the drive in theaters and riding in the back of a pick up. I saw a couple of guys riding in one that way just a week ago. I'm sure it is illegal to do so now.
    Mama Bear

  10. Oh you did it now!!!! That song about the day the music died will be going through my head all day.

    Boy howdy do I remember all these. Those were the days, my friend.

  11. I love hearing first hand experiences from those who lived in various decades, Mary. Although I wasn't born until the 60's, I have always been aware and facinated with previous decades...and of course, the 50's stands out as such a one of a kind time. Growing up, the show "Happy Days" was huge, and I remember feeling so jealous that I wasn't alive then! :)

  12. Hi Mary,
    I've just spent a delightful few minutes catching up on your posts I missed. Your garden is looking lovely and I think your fairy under that fountain is such a cute touch!
    You're so fortunate to have such a beautiful park nearby. I can see why you wouldn't want to move!
    I truly enjoyed your memories of growing up. I share so many of those!

  13. I remember the poodle skirts,one of my cousins had one.

  14. I was born in the 60's, so don't remember the 50's of course, but always thought I should have been a teenager then. Love the poodle skirts and the fun music. I still listen to 50's music quite often.
    Now, as to some of the other things you listed: We used a wringer washer for a couple of years. My mom got one somewhere and that is what we used. It was pretty fun. We all wanted to help. We always hung our clothes on the line to dry, and even cooked on a wood-cookstove. Pretty sure my Mom was born a generation to late as well!