Simpler Times; Better Times Growing up in the 1940s and 1950s by Jack D. Atchison is now available as a Kindle Book buy it now at:
Many of us who are sixty-years-of-age or older believe that we grew up in an era (the 1940s and 1950s) when life for a child was simpler and better than it is today. Younger people might find this hard to believe because we were certainly less affluent then, as the middle-class really didn’t take hold until in the early 1950s; we suffered illnesses that children do not suffer today; and we lacked many of the devices and products that are commonplace now.
Most of our homes did not have air-conditioning, or even gas or electric furnaces for that matter. We did not have refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, dishwashers, washers or dryers, televisions, CD or DVD players, touch-tone or cell phones, electronic games, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, portable radios or computers.
More than one car in a family was a rarity. There were no school buses; we walked to and from school. We walked to the store and lugged grocery bags home. We walked to the movies or wherever else we wanted to go. At around the age of ten, we started to stand on the curb, stuck our thumb out, and hitch-hiked longer distances or, if we owned one, we rode a bike.
Most yards didn’t have fences. Most people did not lock their car doors or the doors to their homes.
At school, home, or even at a neighbor’s house, if you misbehaved you likely got spanked on the seat of your pants. If you acted up in school, you got spanked. If you continued to act up, you were suspended from school. And if that didn’t get your attention, you were expelled.
When younger people hear about life in the 1940s and 1950s, they tend to focus on what we did not have and the seemingly harsh discipline to which we, as kids, were subjected. But what they don’t focus on, as we older folks do, is how very rich and uncomplicated our lives were in those days.
Our playgrounds were vast and varied: fields, swamps, woods, backyards, parking lots and streets; all safe to play in, day or night. Our games were simple, challenging, and fun, and the only equipment required was a tin can; two sticks and two rags; a flashlight; a ball, any kind of a ball; our feet; or a little snow—no money required; just imagination.
We didn’t have television, but we did have drive-in theaters. We didn’t have fast-food places; but we did have soda fountains, candy stores, ice cream parlors, and ice chests full of cold soda pop at every gas station. We didn’t have big-box stores, but we had five-and-dimes and dairy stores that sold gallon jugs of fruit punch and lemonade.
When we played, we, not adults, determined the game to be played; picked the playing venue; established the rules; chose the teams; refereed the game; and, if we decided to, kept the score. We played not to win or lose; but to have fun. And we played almost every day—snow, rain or shine; sweltering hot or freezing cold—from the time school let out until it was time for bed, breaking only when we had to do homework or eat dinner.
We had incredible freedom to choose how we would spend our days. We had the latitude to try new things, to take chances, to make mistakes and, sometimes, bad choices, and to learn from these experiences, good and bad.
The brief stories in this book describe how two boys lived and matured during those wonderful days and tell about the people who accompanied them during their journey through childhood. The stories were written to show my children and grandchildren how their father’s and grandfather’s childhood differed from theirs.
As with any trip down memory lane, our recollections may vary slightly from the actual events and, while I’m not aware that is the case, some of the stories in this book might be affected by this same affliction. In any event, this was life as I remember it to have been. Hopefully, the stories will entertain and bring back fond memories to those of my age who elect to read them.
Simpler Times; Better Times – Growing up in the 1940s and 1950s is available as a Kindle Book and can be purchases for $3.99 at http://www.amazon.com/Simpler-Times-Better-ebook/dp/B007Z3RRBK/ref=sr_1_10?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1335912264&sr=1-10