Saturday, March 27, 2010

Life was good in the 50s

It seems to me that being alive in the 50s was pretty good and carefree....but then what would I know of troubles. I was a kid.

Chronologically I don't know exactly what order these pictures belong in, but they are fairly close in time

When my parents first moved to Indianapolis, they rented a duplex. When I was around 4 years old, they bought their first home. To me, as a child, that meant a number of changes, one of which was adopting the world's laziest dog. I don't know who named her Candy. Some of her best tricks was getting her paws all muddy and then jumping on me when I was all cleaned up ready to go somewhere. I think this did not endear her to my mother. For some reason she preferred sleeping outside instead of in her doghouse, so she'd drag her blanket outside to sleep. When it started to rain, instead of going back inside her house, she'd cry out there in the rain on her soggy blanket. Not the brightest dog I think.

(Notice the dress styles for little girls then! Were they trying to save on fabric?)

candy.jpg picture by nali49

When I was about 5 we went on a vacation. I was still an only child then though I often wished I had a brother. We got to go on a boat ride on Bear Lake.
bearlake.jpg picture by nali49

During our vacation we visited an old friend from when we lived in Kansas. He became a professional photographer. This picture was taken near the entrance of Minnetonka Cave near our friend's cabin.
nancy5yrs.jpg picture by nali49

My first years of school were also about this time but were oddly divided. Because of my birth date, I started school in January instead of September. My first semester of kindergarten, the school I was supposed to attend was too crowded. They were building an addition onto the school, but in the meantime my kindergarten class was held in the basement of the Forest Manor Methodist Church. After summer vacation, the new addition was completed and I attended my 2nd semester of kindergarten in the Fall.

Kindergarten was not for academics! Certainly we had no homework. Parents were told they should NOT try to teach their children to read...or even let them learn on their own. Parents were not trained and apparently not thought to be smart enough to help their children with academic work. I don't recall learning letters or numbers at all that year. We played with the toys, sang little songs while our teacher played the piano, had milk and graham crackers for snack, and endured a ten minute 'rest time' on little rugs every day.

nancy6.jpg picture by nali49

Back then, little girls always wore dresses to school. Pants were just not proper! Sometimes I wore dresses that my grandma made for me. This dress, however, was mostly for Sunday. It was plaid taffeta and rustled nicely when I walked.
school1.jpg picture by nali49

I think my school looked rather dreary. The part to the left was the new addition that was made. The bathrooms and gymnasium for the school were in the basement. The upstairs was for the older kids, so I never did go there....or want to! It was scary to think of going up there! If the older kids needed a bathroom, they had to go all the way to the basement. Of course, no child in the school was allowed to go to the restroom unattended. We were expected to wait until the teacher took our whole class downstairs together once we reached 3rd grade. The K-2 classrooms each had a restroom in room, so in those grades we could long as the stop/go sign on the door said 'go'.

It is funny how some things stick in the memory while more important things fade into oblivion. The bathroom incidents always seem to stick around. When we had school in that church, we were busy working one day when a boy named Barry went into the bathroom. Soon we heard a huge crash. The teacher went running to see what had happened. Apparently Barry was a curious boy who wondered how a toilet worked. His attempt to lift the lid of the water tank did not go well and it smashed all over the floor. Another time, when we had class at the school, the sign on the door said 'stop' so we knew someone was in the bathroom. Blood-curdling screams were coming from the bathroom. Again the teacher went running. This time it was a girl named Priscilla. She had worn a special dress to school that day. It had a fancy detachable collar. When she turned and flushed, the collar detached itself and whisked right down the toilet.

The cafeteria of the school was also in the basement, but I was never allowed to eat there because we lived too close to the school. We lived only 3 blocks away. Only the few children who had to ride the bus to school were allowed to eat in the cafeteria. The rest of us were dismissed to walk home for lunch and then walk back to school for the afternoon work.

Times have surely changed.

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