If baby boomers are full of anything at all, it is memories (and hold your tongue if you were going to say anything else!). Which is why we like this piece by Redondo Beach, California writer Erin O’Brien. She might be one of the younger boomers, but she is Lost in the 50s.
I might have seen it in a movie. Or maybe I asked my mom and dad. I sure thought I knew an awful lot about the 50s, but I wasn’t even there!
I was infatuated with that time period, though, and loved to look at Dad’s ’55 and Mom’s ’56 senior high school yearbooks. Mom even let me wear her letterman sweater to school for 50s Day.
Some things I remember very well, like 15-cent McDonald’s hamburgers, (well, they were 20-cents when I was in grammar school), metal roller skates, TV dinners, Woolworth’s, Mad comic books, drive-in movies, and 45-rpm disc adapters for turntables trickled down to the 60s.
Grandpa O’Brien had a white T-bird with red interior and that little round window in back. I was only three-years-old, on my mom’s lap in the back seat, but I thought a round window was pretty odd.
My mom had Blue Chip Stamp books with the little squirrel on the front, and my siblings and I took turns licking the stamps and sticking them perfectly in the rectangles in the booklet. It seemed a shame for my mom to relinquish the book for a purchase when finally every page was filled.
I was an expert at playing jacks (up to “twelvesies”) and my friend Elaine had Sea Monkeys, and we were disillusioned when my dad claimed they were just brine shrimp.
There were those air raid drills, because ducking under our school desks at the sound of the siren would certainly protect us from nuclear fallout.
Some of the people who belonged to the 50s I recognized from pictures — the beautiful Marilyn and handsome James Dean — or from reading about them — Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson, Joseph McCarthy, and the Rosenbergs.
“I’m going to miss the 60s,” I worried aloud to my mom one summer vacation. We were running out of them — just a few more to go. Then it would be the 70s — fear of the unknown!
[Someone has produced a nostalgic video of iconic images of the 1950s …]