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Reconstructing Suzy Homemaker

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by MrsH, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. I was thinking, There are bound to be groups of senior citizens that get together for various activities in your town, or a home for older people. They would LOVE it if you went and talked to them. You would hear some amazing stories and have all your questions answered.
     
  2. Same with me. "Going out to eat" was a very rare thing, and it usually only happened if we went out of town for some reason. Once a year we'd go to Bangor -- the closest good-sized city to where I grew up -- and it was a big thing to go to Freese's, the downtown department store. They had a little restaurant in the store, a bit more upscale than the Woolworth's or Newberry's lunch counter, and we'd have lunch there, feeling very ritzy about the whole business. Or, we might go to Sing's, the Chinese place, for lunch. I never had a sit-down dinner in a restaurant with tablecloths until I was in my twenties.

    Franchised fast food, as such, didn't exist for us except for the one McDonald's in Bangor, where you sat in your car and fed french fries to the pigeons. We might go there once a year for a special treat, but it wasn't at all part of our daily routine. If we wanted pizza we'd go to a family-owned "pizza parlor" in the next town, and if we wanted ice cream, we'd walk a block up the street to the Dairy Joy -- the first place I ever went to alone, at the age of five, and the first time I ever bought anything with money I'd earned myself.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2012
  3. I think eating out as a regular thing didn't develop in the U.S. until the late 1990s (where I lived at least). You *might* go out for your birthday, anniversary, or something like that, but unless it was an event of some sort (and children's birthdays often didn't count, but grandma's might) you ate at home. I remember once in my childhood going out for breakfast in my hometown. Some people who had a lot of money would go out once a week, but that was it. Now everybody goes out all the time.

    I can remember as a kid, even when we traveled, we'd stop at a grocery store and buy a loaf of bread, a bottle of pop, and some baloney and eat that for lunch, because you simply didn't go out to eat lunch every time you traveled. My father called them baloney parties, and we'd eat in a local park or at a pull off. We carried a mustard bottle in the cooler whenever we went on a trip. If was really good (and the store had them) I'd get one of the awful sweet half pies in the little package with the white frosting on top for dessert. I always chose cherry. He did the same thing with his family when he was young in the 50s.

    Of course, this was much later than the 1950s when I experienced it. I suppose in the cities life was different. I do think that traditions tended to hold on in the country and small towns longer. But I was also raised by people who thought that "lunch" was a city word.
     
  4. Yup, we ate dinner at noon and supper at night. Only summer people had lunch at noon and dinner at night.
     
  5. MrsH

    MrsH New in Town

    Idledame, that was perfect, and exactly what I was looking for! Thank you very much. And I hadn't even thought of checking out the nursing homes and senior centers, perhaps because in my full time job, I see a lot of them, and most of the residents aren't in any more of a position to talk about their life than my husband's grandmother. But, you are right, there's bound to be some that aren't as bad off and just itching to have someone spend some time and talk with them.
     
  6. 1961MJS

    1961MJS Call Me a Cab

    Hi

    We were somewhat of a different family in some respects (based on the comments so far). Both my parents were teachers. We drove 30 miles to the state capital to go grocery shopping on Friday Night after we ate supper out. We only had one car until 1978, and Dad didn't have one until the mid 1950's. In Illinois, you could take the train in my hometown until 1966 when the depot closed. My Kindergarten class was the last to get to ride the train to the next town and take the school bus back home. We lived in a small (under 1000) farming community. One reason we drove to the store was because it was actually less expensive than shopping downtown.

    Our school had a cafeteria and had it since the early 1930's when the school was built. I miss the morning cinnamon rolls and the toll house cookies that the cooks made back then. My dad has some pretty cool hats based on the old pictures, but the last ones he wore (1970's when his mother-in-law said that they looked silly) were stingy brimmed. My Mom's father wore wide brimmed fedoras.

    My Mom taught school until she got pregnant and stayed home with me until I was 4 years old. I stayed with the lady who had rented both my parents a room (not at the same time) in her house 1 away from the school. There was an opening and she took it. My dad retired in 1984 and my mom in 1995, we always lived close enough to the school that they never drove to work. This saved them serious money. Our 1977 Plymouth only had 60,000 on it when I got it in 1982.

    Done ramblin'
     
  7. Tatum

    Tatum Practically Family

    Idledame, I loved reading about your memories growing up! They were so vividly written and gave me a great visual in my head. :)

    As far as eating out goes, even my family didn't do it much (reference: HS class of '96 here). We were upper middle class, but most of the disposable income went to the lake house that was an hour north, where we spent weekends and most of the summer. We ate out maybe twice a month for dinner (when home, never ate out at the lake). Fast food was a treat, and some of my best memories as a kid (when we weren't at the lake house) were biking with my friends to the ice cream parlor and blowing my allowance on ice cream sodas. Going "out" for dinner usually meant going to a friend's.

    Much like Lizzie, I was twenty the first time I ever had a meal in a nice restaurant. I remember it well, I ended up marrying my dinner companion!
     
  8. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

    Geez you make it sound like the fifties are as remote as the Pyramids. But someone born in 1950 is now 62 years old and would have memories of growing up, and be able to tell you about their older relatives who were born before 1900.

    We are talking about someone the same age as Jay Leno, Cybil Shepherd, Bill Murray and Morgan Fairchild (I looked it up) :)
     
  9. As I said, I was born in 1949, but I was suggesting she talk to people in their 70's and 80s who would have more detailed memories of what a woman's life was like in the late 40s, early 50s. I was 6 in 1955 so my memories of what my mom wore and did obviously would not be as clear as the memories of someone who was 20 or 25 in 1955.
     
  10. RebeccaMUA

    RebeccaMUA One of the Regulars

    Idledame, reading your post brings up memories of stories told to me by my parents! My father was born in 1943 and my mother in 1949. My father was born in California, but my mom was born in Texas and they moved out here when she was 7. My husband and I drive by the old Helms bakery building in Culver City and lament that it's now furniture stores instead of the bustling bakery it once was. We were literally having a conversation the other day that it's sort of reverting to the "old way" where you can have groceries, laundry and drugstore good brought to your door with just a few clicks of an app on your phone.

    Your story of having to play outside all the time was very much like my childhood...probably because my maternal grandmother (who was born in 1915 and lived to the ripe age of 96 almost 97) took care of us during the day because my parents both worked. Just like you said, we were forced to play outside unless we were sick. There were only 3 other children in our neighborhood so we only got to play with them sometimes after homework. During the summer after breakfast my sister and I would be ushered outside to swim in the pool allll day until lunch, and then back into the pool until my dad took my grandma home or until almost dark. She said it was unhealthy to stay inside all day. On a side note, having lost her mother to tuberculosis at the age of 12 must have deeply scarred her because I swear every time we got sick it was like the world was ending and we were going to die. My grandpa would then come over to calm her down and joke around with us to show her we were indeed NOT on death's doorstep.

    Anyway, thank you for bringing up such fond memories of stories told to me as a child and those of my own :D
     

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