I wasn't alive in the 50s, I heard about it though. And I didn't hear too many rosy stories. My relatives were not ones to sugar coat things. We had
(some) money too. Despite the fact that most all of them were divorced.
My neighbor friend here, who came over to hoist a few, would tell you very similar tales. We are both from this general area, have similar back
grounds, and like that. US Great Lakes region. Presently in Chicago.
And we and most of our relatives did work in manufacturing. This was a very common occupation here. In our case we were in the office, engineering.
Yes that wasn't seen as overly weird for women, either. Most of our relatives worked in mfg. too. Back in the day. In some kind of tech, admin, biz
capacity. People forget that the decline of US mfg. affects people in the office too.
And while tech work might pay a bit more, it was never a huge lot and mom (and grandma) always worked too.
Men might take off too. Everyone worked. In my case - I think my relatives were at best middle class. My friend here, I think they might've been a bit
upper (they belonged to a country club) - but as she says - that was before dad split.
I don't know of anyone who got any child support either. Often, men would just take off.
This is what they told us about "back then" and we witnessed it too when our own fathers took off. And never paid a dime in child support. I
find this especially appalling on behalf of my friend here because it sounds like they did have more money, and the guy just chose to be an asshole
about it? I think my father did too. He went right out and had more kids. Which is stupid when you can't afford the ones you've got.
And from what I have heard, from most of the people I know, we all had sim circumstances and this goes way back beyond "the 50s" - it's been going on
forever, probably. Most of us know at least some of relatives going back to the 20s, 30s, and it wasn't some Happy Time back then, either.
Drugs and crime? Sure there were drugs and crime! My family tree has junkies going back to the 30s.
Not to mention alcoholics. And criminals.
As someone else said - the locale of a person shapes their life too. This is an international shipping area. There's always been LOADS of drugs
available here. Friend is nodding along with this. Yeah in MI too, they toss it right off the boats before they get to port. "If you have a cigarette
boat, you will be looked at with suspicion". - Says friend. Also heard from my relatives who went to live in the country in IN - "If you have a small
Heard from somebody else that there were cops involved with coke trafficking right from the one airport.
Yep. And it's been going on here forever.
Crime and murder too. Even in "upscale suburbias". I personally know of numerous criminals. People looking to hire hit men, drug dealers, people in
biker gangs, shifty biz operators, - I should say I have heard of, because I try to avoid dangerous and shifty people. My friend here who's even more
of a yuppy snob? One of her brothers is in prison for a violent crime and the other one's a junkie.
It doesn't sound like people were too much "nicer" then, either. Plenty of mayhem back then, and just plain assholery.
Don't be fooled by TV nostalgia.
I have been thinking more on this, and it seems that you maybe yearn for a "simpler, easier, time"?
What I was thinking of too is - I will guess that you're a guy. And how I have seen so many men (online) (and some IRL) say the same sorts of
Which to me boils down to: You want to get married, have an easy but well paying job, move to suburbia, and have a wife with model looks, who's also
sexy, but is somehow also "mommy".
I'm not trying to judge here, or maybe I am, but I do feel that people should do what they wish. I'm LIBERAL AND PRO CHOICE like that.
I suppose what gets me is - how is a woman supposed to be all these things? And the men also, those are pretty expensive homes you see on the Perfect
Famblee TV Show.
Who can do this? It is pretty crappy also. Too much work. Rarely turns out like the TV version. Or old peoples' nostalgic memories. Some old people do
tell it like it was too. And all sorts of people have differing experiences. Open your mind to them, too.
I find it weird that so many men are hell bent on the "traditional home and family" - when - I don't know, don't you think that sucks? Who wants that?
It really is boring and stifling for male or female. As a kid I wasn't all that thrilled with it either, nor knew many who were.
Maybe what I'm trying to say here is - consider other points of view.
I find it odd that so many men want this "traditional lifestyle" too. Especially when all that failed among my relatives, and just about everyone I
I was a kid in the 80s, 90s. Who disparaged Grunge here? Noooooo! Open your mind! Alternative was and is HUGE here, but some don't like such things
because they make you stop and think.
(Some) Men seem to be yearning for their mothers. And times that never were.
People like me, who come from broken homes and have always hustled to get by, live for yourself, work hard - you think we want to take on any more?
When we saw what our relatives went through?
And for people like me it wasn't any type of "Feminist Indoctrination" - like I said - most of the people I know are in tech work - it was our mothers
and grand mothers who told us.
And again - if you do want a more traditional life - you need to start with some self reflection as to what YOU have to offer. To bring that about.
You should probably start with asking yourself if it's really what you want. And weigh the pro and con. And there's enough of con too, which is why
there is so much divorce.
I'll gladly smack the hornet's nest and go so far as to say perhaps in terms of family, they had it right for their time with women being home back
then. Doesn't mean we need rewind all advances by any means, but those of us taking up the stay-at-home parent mantle do see a huge difference between
dual-working parent households and stay-at-home parent households.
I do think there's a positive deep-seated, fundamental psychological aspect for one parent -- of either gender -- to be a houseparent and not a
working one, both for the marriage, and the offspring. We can debate the pro's and con's thereof til pigs grow wings and fly, but we do know the dual
parent work distraction has resulted in shorter, more dysfunctional marriages (if they occur at all) and more dysfunctional kids.
Edit: Before some feminist gets their panties in a twist and blows a gasket, my take here on dual-parent working households refers to those who aren't
living hand-to-mouth for it, and thus boils down to money, wants and how the two influence social norms outside of necessity.
So for general family dynamics (general, not counting the occasional horror story family anecdote) yeah, it was probably a lot better back then than
we give it credit for.
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Im a laughing so hard, this post is literally member berries
I registered just to post (long time lurker).
Race, sexuality, and genders are related to the OP because there are all kinds of people here (not just white) that will not relate those times being
so good or better than what they have now.
As someone already mentioned, he/she is black and mentioned how it would be hell. Yet someone basically responded
"Well I mean its not like its much better your still segregated yourself in ghettos and killing each other lol"
Like what the F***?
Then some of you are crying because it was mentioned the times would not be well for any non white, homosexuals, and women compared to now? It not
some liberal crap, its the truth. Just because its not relevant to you. Im quite sure other countries would not agree with those times being great
I sure as hell know that if I lived during those times I would not be reminiscing about it now with fond memories.
All that aside, if it wasn't for race, sexuality, or gender then yeah pretty much seems like those times in the USA the economy was great since it was
much more possible to raise a family, buy a home, go to college, and live comfortably on a single house member's wages.
Im quite sure there was a sense of community in those times, I sure as hell know I have not seen any of that in the neighborhoods I have lived in.
More like random greetings then spending the rest of the day talking about others and judging every neighbor for the smallest things.
Then theres parking. Theres no respect for neighbors property, where I am currently living we have reserved spaces but neighbors or friends of
neighbors constantly take up my spot. At least 4 times a week I have to honk for 5 min to get someone to leave my spot and the occasional exchange of
words because theyre so dense.
Like others have mentioned, I believe its the exponential rate at which technology advanced. Hell, Im quite sure even gossip bridged some neighbors
together in those times vs now social media is where they share it resulting in no real human interactions.
I would love to be able to afford a home and college myself but thats just wishful thinking
I love browsing ATS because I actually learned quite a few things here however the passed year or so I've seen a huge change. Theres no spectrum in
arguments, just black and white, "Youre a liberal snowflake blah blah vs You racist pos blah blah", and such.
Its your way or the highway, even with simple discussion. Everyone likes assuming the other guy is 100% on the other side just for mentioning one lil
Most of you guys certainly lost it for the last circus. I mean election.
Member when we used to look for truths and answers? I member
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In some ways I would argue that yes life in the 1950's was pretty straight-forward for some, perhaps Harold MacMillan was right in 1957 when he said
"You've never had it so good":
Housing is now dramatically more expensive, getting a decent house could cost over 10 times a person's wage, compare that to 1950 when it was 2.2
times. Clearly nowadays a person can work hard all week and it won't give them their own place.
Inflation since 1950s
Tuition is now dramatically more expensive, and education is far more competitive, as is admitted in this paragragh about UK students:
There was one way in which our lives as university students were much easier than those of students today: it was in managing money. The only
money that I ever handled was what my parents gave me for pocket money. Local authorities were generous in those days, but perhaps they could afford
to be because only 2% of the population went to university. There was some sort of sliding scale according to how much parents earned, but I never
knew much about it. As far as I was concerned, I never had to arrange or handle fees for my hall or residence or my course. My parents bought my set
books second hand in vacations. No one had to leave university with a debt.
Inequality is far worse now, in 1950 CEO's earned around 20 times more than their workers, now in some companies it is over 200 times their worker's
wage. And yet governments say they have no idea where all the money has gone?!
CEO - worker pay
The 1950s is known as the decade of prosperity, and people always like to compare young people then to this decade, which is living in the shadow of
one of the largest financial crises ever. Young people are frequently tarnished with negative judgements about apparent laziness, or work-shyness. I
think that just reveals more about the people who make those judgements, and it is that type of thinking that governments love people to have as it
distracts from the reality that top-level decisions have led to a much harsher world.
Despite all that, 1950s was clearly extremely hard for others, it was far more restrictive and people were no-where near as informed as they are
today, which allowed them to be more easily controlled (you wouldn't have young lads being made to fight in Korea these days. You also had Nazis
working for the government (Operation Paperclip), and the CIA were testing mind-control substances on humans, so it wasn't all good. Plus in the UK we
sytematically deported thousands of children to Australia.
Interestingly, suicide rates were higher in the 1950s than this decade, so perhaps the picturesque white-picket fence of middle-America wasn't what
That is a perfect answer as to why it was different: "We lived in ignorant bliss".
I'm about to go off on a tangent so bare with me here because I've had a lot of pent up frustration with many different people in this world lately
and the older generation is one of them. First off, I want to point out why the people whose comments about race absolutely make a difference in the
way you might see things. I keep on hearing a lot of comments like "Things used to be better 'back then'" but generally the people who said that are
just lucky. There is no way around it. It is the luck of the draw being born in the place where you are and to the families that you are and with the
skin color that you are. Recently I've heard a lot of women, many much older than I, saying things like "Well I've never felt like I don't have equal
rights compared to men". Like, that's awesome. That is amazing that so many women can honestly say they have never felt less than than their male
counterparts. But they say it like it negates the ones that have, like because they don't understand that feeling it doesn't exist therefore all of
the women fighting for women's equality are wrong. The same thing goes for race. It is ridiculously lucky to be black in this country and never have
any discriminatory anything happen to you. But that doesn't negate the experiences of the ones that have. So when you say "Things were better back
then" what you are really saying is that things were better for you specifically, in your tiny world and surroundings. But things were not better for
everyone. That's what people are saying when they talk about privilege.
Now as far as the comments about the way people are today I have some confusion because when I hear older generations say things like that it sounds
like they're trying to blame "us", the new generation. But as far as I'm concerned you raised us, or you raised our parents who then in turn raised
us. We learned everything we do from watching YOU. I always hear that "Millennials feel so entitled" spiel. For some reason the whole "Everyone needs
a participation trophy" thing comes up a lot which is a funny argument because your generation were the ones giving them to us or fighting with other
people who are also in your generation because your kid didn't get one. So once again, if you feel as though your kids or grand kids act "entitled"
they learned it from watching you. And the technology thing. My generation did not get the ball rolling on the computer generation. My generation did
not put in the place all of these limitations where you now need an email to do just about anything or basically require everyone to have a phone so
whoever is trying to contact you always can. These things were set in front of us and now we're persecuted because of it. Do I think it's ridiculous
that 7 year olds have iPads now among other crap? I guess, yea. But that's the fad now. It's no different than when I was a kid and my parents got my
sister and I one of the first leapfrog computers in the late 90s. You could literally only play learning games on it but it was AWESOME. And before
that kids had beepers and walkmans. And before that they had 8tracks and VCRs. And before that every kid was hoping their dad was going to come home
with a cool new color television. And before that, well they were lucky if they had a radio to listen to. It is the way of the world now. C'mon, have
a little perspective. Yea sure, you can say my generation needs some perspective, us "entitled, smart ass, daydreaming, lazy millennials", as I've
heard far too often, but to be completely honest I rather be called that for the rest my life than have anyone group me in with a generation who has a
large amount of people whose idea of a "better time" is only existent because they happened to grow up in a white middle to upper class family in a
relatively crime free neighborhood.
For my entire life my dad has told me stories about the people in his neighborhood (which is a part of your run of the mill American town, has its
good and bad parts, rural, suburban, and urban parts), the people you refer to as "hard working with calloused hands and strong backs" were all drunks
by the 70s, a large majority were in loveless marriages, they were divorced by the 80s or became crotchety old grandparents who don't sleep in the
same bed anymore, a lot of men were suffering from terrible PTSD that was left untreated because of the awful way we deal with mental health here so
they took it out on their wives and children which had a horrible effect on the next generation and is probably a contributing factor to the rising
divorce rate of people within the age range of 40-55 who clearly don't know what a healthy relationship looks like. It was a better time because you
were a blissfully unaware child. You can't blame the state of the world on younger generations because most of us that actually have any pull in any
careers such a computer technologies, politics, education, etc. have been doing it for such a short period of time we haven't even had a chance to do
anything substantial. I can't completely blame you though, you're all just products of your environment. As were your parents and their parents and
their parents and so on.
I recall the exact same feeling when thinking about the nostalgic memories unfortunately times have changed and the unity we once had dissipated
through the ages then again we are programming our children to find friends and now a days they do that by twittering face-booking and playing call of
duty, occasionally i see kids outside and actually wonder where does the time go and where did it go wrong ? the age of the computer and game
consoles has taken over a time where everything use to be so swell and so fur filled and just one good friend was good enough to play soccer with...
this is how talent starts from a young age by actually practicing whatever you did back in the day, kids now think why play soccer outside if i can
play FIFA inside not even considering that practice takes time and that time creates skill if you practice long enough... ce vice to say that people
these days have become lazy... no more hide and seek no more strolling around and do pranks no more respect for the outdoors.... The day the earth
stood still because of a generation that learns there education by playing computer games.
I think it's important, too, to remember that the country was re-building itself after WW2.
People needed that sense of community and camaraderie to get the job done. After the bombings and threats of invasion it must have been a relief to
let the kids out to play in safe streets and with neighbours to keep an eye on them. No more worrying about sirens and rounding everyone up to get
them to a shelter.
I posted earlier about the children's afternoon radio programme and I've thought about it a lot since. How grateful the mothers must have been to be
bringing their children up in a time of peace where they could have that short time of day together to listen to stories and sing nursery rhymes. It
really does sound enviable.
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