’50s Flashback


Enjoy the tinny sound of a live performance pretty much like it sounded before the advent of digital sound.

We need a break from politics and it might be fun to try a taste of the wonderful ‘50s. Rock & Roll was young and new, just like us kids turning 11 & 12. Cars were laden with chrome and power, but not much else. There were no seat belts, shoulder harnesses, air bags or interlocks. Only Caddies and Packards had power steering and air conditioning. Misbehavior in school earned real stinging “swats” from a wooden paddle wielded by the Vice Principal. Most neighborhood men were WW II Veterans who smoked Lucky Strikes and Camel straights. Girls jumped rope and played hopscotch in the street while boys refought any war they could think of in the woods.

Computers were called “electronic brains” and were the size of a small house. All telephones had a dial instead of buttons and were firmly connected to a wall or phone booth. We dialed numbers like: AD 1410 to call someone. “Radio Dispatched” on a truck or taxi let us know the company was high tech. There were no fast food joints and sit down restaurants were expensive so we “dined” at home on salmon patties, fish sticks, hot dogs, or hamburger gravy over potatoes.

The badge of honor was getting that first part time job babysitting, mowing lawns, or delivering newspapers. The only bicycles we knew were one-speed fat tire Schwinns or Huffys. We all stood awestruck when an older kid earned enough to buy and own a Whizzer. There was no chlorine in the water and the frequent appointments with the dentist were often begun without Novocain. The older boys loved to invite us over to “play” football where; in street clothes with no helmet or padding, we were used as practice tackling dummies.

Ritchie Valens became a star and those of us whose parents would allow it, tried mightily to grow and comb our hair like he and Elvis. Brylcreme was the only answer to even attempting to keep it in place. We enjoyed the new music venue on the big Zenith radio in the living room while our parents were away. Otherwise we listened on an Admiral portable the size of a lunch pail with a dry cell as big as a milk carton for power out in the yard.

Ritchie helped make those years such a wonderful time to grow up in. May he rest in peace.

The Family Zenith

The Family Zenith

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One response to this post.

  1. Nice piece. Thanks for sharing. Those days seem a long time ago but I love hearing the kids play in the street. It reminds me when I was young.

    cheers,

    Reply

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