The 1950s were a much simpler time. Food was cheaper, the music was good, and then there were the movies… There was always something to do! It was a decade when you could call in on your neighbour unannounced just to see what they were up to. Yep! If you were a child of the ’50s you’d know these things to be true.
Here are a few other things that cement your place as a child of the ’50s.
Forget about each member of the family having a phone of their own, most families only had one telephone (if they had one at all). What’s more, in some situations you wouldn’t just have to wait for your mum or dad to finish with their call, you might have to wait for the neighbour to clear the line too as some phone lines were shared.
Children playing in the ’50s made their own fun, and your parents seemed to be happy to leave you to your own devices. For some, that meant building go-carts to go racing down hills, for others it meant heading down to the banks of the town river to go fishing, climbing trees, eating the watermelons from old Mr Johnson’s farm, making perfume from rose petals, playing cowboys and indians, and generally living life outdoors.
And forget about the toys of today with their flashing lights and annoying tunes, you know the best fun was had with Etch-a-Sketch, Chatty Cathy, Easy Bake Ovens, and Play Doh.
“We’re happy little Vegemites, as bright, as bright can be…” were the opening lines of what has become a household tune across Australia. In 1954, the first Happy Little Vegemites jingle was used to advertise Australia’s iconic Vegemite spread. The term ‘happy litte Vegemite’ also entered the Australian vernacular as a somewhat ironic way of describing those who are generally satisfied with a situation.
Other food and drink related happenings in the ’50s included the launch of soft drink vending machines in 1953, the chew liquorice-flavoured toffee bar known as the Choo-Choo Bar, the debut of Birds Eye Fish Fingers in Australia, and the launch of Streets Gaytime — the combination of ice-cream, chocolate and strawberry shortcake making up the original.
Chances are you had a handheld transistor radio that you took to bed with you and tuned in to the local station when your mum and dad thought you were asleep. The radio DJ was the authority on the hippest most happening music and if they said the Beatles or Elvis or Chuck Berry song was the next hit, you’d race down to the local record store on your bike as soon as you could to buy your 45″ before returning home to play it over and over again. Who doesn’t like that scratch and crackle from a needle on a record?
Instead of popping into the supermarket on your way home, the milkman (probably with his horse and cart) would travel from house to house dropping off fresh milk in the early hours of the morning for you to enjoy. You might have heard the horse’s hooves clip-clop down the road, or perhaps it was the unmistakeable sound of glass bottles clinking as they were placed on your doorstep.