Growing Up In the 1950’s

My earliest memories are of life in the early Detroit suburbs, a time when families were moving out of the city into the country.  So it was with our family.  My Aunt and Uncle and their sons had bought some land and built a home in the country, about twenty miles or so from downtown Detroit.  My uncle, who was a carpenter, built the home himself, and it was small.  My aunt said that their first winter, there were no walls; they partitioned rooms for privacy by hanging blankets from the rafters.

When my parents decided to move to the country too, I was a baby.  It was

ArtPatRubyJessie1950s

Me, Mom, Grandpa & Grandma

1947, just after WWII.  I was a “surprise” result of a second marriage for both of them, and they wanted me to grow up in a carefree environment.  My uncle and my dad converted a garage behind my uncle’s small house into an even smaller house for our family.  There was a compact living room, kitchen, teeny bathroom with a stall shower, a decent sized bedroom, and a teeny bedroom (no windows) off the kitchen that was mine after I was old enough to move out of my crib.  We lived in that house until I was five years old, then my uncles and my dad built another small house for us next to my uncle’s house.

It was a funny neighborhood.  Next to our property was a street that was lined with houses built after the war.  On the other side of us was a farm, with chickens, cows, and pigs.  We were friendly with the farmers, and I played with their children.  Their mom churned butter and made the most delicious homemade donuts.  Their older brother trapped muskrats and hung the skins in the basement, where there was a giant coal furnace, and a big coal bin.  We played in the corn crib and the barn.  It was fun.  When the pigs got loose, we chased them down (my mom helped) in the neighborhood of suburban houses.  I’ll bet that was quite a surprise to those homeowners!

cowgirlpatsy

The Neighborhood Gang

Mostly we played outside.  That is what kids did back then – built forts, climbed trees, played on the swingset, had water fights, rode our bikes, played tag.  There was a small corner store with a candy counter and a water bath cooler filled with bottles of pop.  My favorites were grape and orange.  Those were for special treats only, though.

The one inside activity I remember from the summer was gathering at 5:00 pm to watch Mickey Mouse Club on television.  TV was pretty new, and when we got our first one, the only thing on during the day was reruns of the fights, and old cartoons from before the war.

meandrobbie1952

Me and my nephew, and the TV, 1952

Eventually, every Saturday night, Mom and Dad and I watched Uncle Miltie – the Milton Berle show.

By the time I was six or seven, I would come home from school for lunch and have “Lunch with Soupy”, Soupy being Soupy Sales, and his pals White Fang and Black Tooth.  We all learned to do the Soupy Shuffle.

768px-Soupy_Sales_Lunch_With_Soupy_1960

The big one, though, was Mickey Mouse.  The first Mickey Mouse Club show began in 1955, when I was eight years old, and ran until 1960.  It was the days of Jimmy, Darlene, Annette, Doreen, Cubby, Bobby, Karen and the rest of the gang.  Every day they would have the roll call, they would sing the Mouseketeers’ song, and there was a special theme for each day.  Monday was Fun With Music, and Tuesday, was Guest Star Day, for example.  Then there were the serials – Spin and Marty, The Hardy Boys and a wonderful one in which Annette Funicello played a young Italian immigrant.  I don’t remember the name, but it was quite romantic for the times!

420px-Mickey_Mouse_Club_Mouseketeers_1957

I have only good memories of those times.  We weren’t rich, but there was love, and good friends, fellowship and good clean fun.  I’m sure I remember those times through the lens of a child’s eye, but I can’t help but believe that those were better times.  We knew what was right, and what was wrong.  There was no ambiguity about that.  Children were treated like children, and we knew what our place was in our families.

Treehouse Gang Circa 1955

Treehouse Gang Circa 1955

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3 Responses to Growing Up In the 1950’s

  1. justfactsplz says:

    Stella, what a wonderful place to come and muse about days gone by. Your story invoked memories from my own childhood. I am so glad you did this. There are times one needs to read about something light hearted with all of today’s bad news. Good luck on your new endeavor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Menagerie says:

    Somewhere I still have my mouse ears. I guess one of my earliest memories is watching Mickey Mouse, and now I watch it with my three year old granddaughter and my two year old grandson. I’m not sure whether I really remember it, or it just seems real from my mother’s stories of my Mouseketeer days.

    I like to spend time thinking about those fun filled summer days of childhood, running barefoot all day long, and ending the day chasing lightning bugs before coming in as night fell for a bath. We spent every moment outside, and on rainy days we spent most of the day playing on the big front porch, or with our noses against the windows. Had our homes been as close together as they build them today, I’m sure we would have seen all our friends pressed up against their own windows.

    I agree. Times were simpler, safer, more my idea of the American Dream.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. texan59 says:

    Ahhhh. How refreshing. Taking a walk back into a time and place that was so much simpler. No iPads, iPods, just us and our imagination and ingenuity. In the last week I mentioned Uncle Miltie in two different settings. The first one was around a group of 30-somethings and all I got was “deer in the headlights. The second time, they responded that “they loved his voice in Frosty the Snowman”. I had to kindly explain to this 45 y.o. that was Burl Ives and not Milton Berle. 😆 😯

    Liked by 1 person

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