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Ol Smoke

What it was like to be in a "Leave it to Beaver" world

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Believe it or not the "golden age of the "Leave it to Beaver" world was very short lived. It started about 1950 and ended in 1962.  Kind of like the golden age of the Old West, which was from 1870 to 1885.

So much is written and told about the '50's here in the USA and much of it is bullshit.  Take for instance the "Leave it to Beaver" crap.


Mom's didnt run around in dresses and high heels all day.  That was only for going to the store, going to church, or going out to a movie or dinner.  Most women wore a long pair of gaberdine pants, with

low cut loafers or a sailing sneaker.   They had on a cotton blouse most of the time.  The men wore suits to work, if they worked in an office.  But like today, most men worked in manual labor so they wore

denims or overalls.  They wore black and brown leather shoes.  Not jogging shoes or tennis shoes.  Some wore boots.


Because it was after WWII a lot of the guys were post military and loved simple food.  Meatloaf, chicken, chopped steak and hamburger was what was on the menu most of the time.  Steak was never

served at home.  Mashed potatoes or baked potatoes, were at every meal, along with corn, peas,or beans.  A piece of sliced bread, or corn bread finished it off.  For desert most of the time was pudding, 

cake, or pie.  If you made a good living you had some ice cream, but if you were poorer, then you maybe had Melarine. (Which was ice milk)  For breakfast, usually eggs and bacon, or the kids had cereal.

Lunch was usually a sandwich that you brought from home.  Special dinners were ham roast, roast beef, or pot roast.  That was usually on Sunday once or twice a month.


We wore jeans, cotton shirt, black shoes, or Ked's to school.  Ked's, PF flyers, and All Stars were the sneakers of choice.  High tops only.  The jeans were bought one or two sizes too big when you were in

grade school and one size too big in junior high.  Grade School was 1st grade to 6th grade,  Junior High was 7th and 8th, and high school was 9th to 12th.  7th grade and 9th grade were the worst.  Just as

get to be a big 6th grader and rule over everybody else, you start at the bottom again in Jr High.  The again when you get to 9th grade.  One thing that would get you into serious trouble at any level was

flipping your collar up when you were in school.  That meant you were a "hood".  The high school guys would buy Marlboro cigs and when the pack was empty they would fold it up into the sleeve of their

cotton shirts.  You do the flip up collar with the sleeve thing and that told everyone you were cool and tough.  But no matter what,  everyone wore white socks only.  White socks and penny loafers were the

big fashion thing then.  Girls would wear what was called "Saddle Shoes".  They wore crenalins under their dresses to make them puff out.  They only wore white panties back then.  Color didnt come till the

1960's.  The did not wear makeup.  It was against school policy.  Boys had to have their hair short and off the collar.  A lot of kids wore butches or crew cuts.  The tough kids wore a "D A" which was short

for Duck's Ass.  Better language called it a Duck Tail.  They always had a 6" black comb in their pocket. And they would whip it out all the time to touch up the hair do.  When the tough kids would graduate

high school they started wearing blue jeans, black lineman boots, white T shirts, and a black leather coat.  This was made famous in the movie with Marlon Brando called "The Wild One".  That movie

touched off a whole generation of tough guy looks.  The way they talked, the way they acted.  Just like the movie "Valley Girls" did in the 80's.


As far as doing stuff, we weren't that different in the '50's as it was in the '90's.  We road our bikes around, we went downtown and got a coke, we walked around, we played with our toys and we played

ball after school.  Mostly we played baseball or kickball.  We stayed away from girls until high school.  They were creepy and had cooties.  The best toys were the Tonka toys.  Especially the road crew set.

It had a grader, dump truck, a claw crane, and a bulldozer.  We would play with those all day Saturday.  We made roads everywhere.  The other thing we liked was hide and seek, Ollie, Ollie Oxen free, and

Red Rover.  Every kid had at least 3 different guns.  Western guns, Army guns, and Space guns.  We would play all day with those.  Most of the kids were out of bed by 7am and on the go about 7:30.  We

would meet at a certain kids house or a certain play field.  We would break for lunch about noon, and then play some more till dinner time.  Everyone had a different time for dinner.  That was our basic day,

everyday.  Sunday was Church and family time.  Late in the fifties, Walt Disney came on at about 7pm on the TV.  We kids were always home then.  If you didnt have a TV you went to your friends house.

Daniel Boone was huge on TV, as well as Davey Crockett, Rifleman, Mickey Mouse Club, Saturday morning cartoons,  Howdy Doody Club, Sky King, etc.  Our movies were a lot different then.  When we got

to go to the movies, one of our parents would take us down there about 11:00 am.  They gave us 25 cents.  This quarter would get you; two full length movies, 4 cartoons, a serial and a prize drawing.  You

also bought a coke, popcorn and one candy bar.  All of this came to a quarter.  We usually got out about 2 pm or 2:30.  The prize drawing was sometimes a new bicycle, but mostly popcorn or coke.  Me,

my sister and brother would clean the house and mow the grass every week for a quarter.  My brother got an extra dime when he got to be in the 7th and 8th grades, because it was more costly.


We did not have homework when I was in school, until 9th grade.  We always had one free period everyday, so I did all my homework at school.  That left more time to ride bikes and later on drive my car.


In the '50's, life was so much simpler.  Truth ruled the world.  You always told the truth.  Kids were kids and not included in adult things.  We were taught to respect the older people and be courteous to them.

Getting a whipping from dad was a weekly problem.  Later on the principle of the school dished it out.  But it was no big deal.  It was just a part of growing up.  All the guys got whipped or paddled.  We would

never say it hurt or that we cried.  The music was simple stuff to.  Songs had words you knew and would sing along with.  In 1956 or so, Rock n Roll started invading the radio a bit by little bit.  Not a huge

rush of music in one day.  It took 4 years or so before it became another staple of modern music.  Of course we all, especially my sister, liked Elvis.  But I started liking doo-wop. I loved the black street songs,

that would come on some stations.  My dad hated it.  Mom and I would be together sometimes in the car and she would tune the radio in so I could hear some.  We would sing along with them.  My mom had

a beautiful voice and could have been a star easy.  I got my singing voice from her.  I got my musical talent from my grandpa though.


The news back then was only 15 minutes every night for local and 15 minutes for national.  The longest 30 minutes of the day.  Then in 1960 or so, it started getting longer.  Then in 1962, the Huntley-Brinkley report became a whole half-hour all by itself, so the local news took the other 1/2 hour and now no TV for a whole hour!!!  The other day I saw that our local and national/world news took up 2 hours.  One station has news from 4pm to 7pm.  OMG !! when will it end??


Somewhere around 1966 or so there was a revolution in TV that hit the world;  true COLOR TV.  The first color tv I saw was at Missy Freids house.  A bunch of us went over one night to watch Bonanza in color.  It was mind altering.  Thank God we had a Sears charge card back then.  When dad saw the color TV at Sears, he bought us one.  It was a 22" cabinet model.  It cost over $900.  Today about $2500.  But it was the end of playing outside and riding bikes and driving the car and going to friends houses.  It was the end of all that.  The coolest thing I ever saw for a while was Missy's bedroom.  She had her own private telephone.  Amazing.  That stayed with me for a long time.


Well I have company here, so will close this out.  But that was what the '50's were like for me.  Hoped you liked it.


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Wait.... What?


That's not what I learned when Marty went back in time to 1955.

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