Native Writes: The ‘50s weren’t that bad


I was recently asked if I would like to return to the 1950s.

You bet your sweet bippy I would, but I’d also like to take along some of the conveniences we have, now.

The 1950s were a simpler time here in Alamosa. There were lots of stores and businesses, all downtown and all within walking distance of the rest of the small city. Those who had to travel farther called the taxi to get there.

Several car dealerships and used car lots addressed that dilemma, but that was just for adults. I was in hog heaven when I got a bike with a headlight.

I miss wholesome TV programming, such as Saturday morning cartoons which were enjoyable. I miss the old westerns and the laughter I enjoyed later, as an adult, when I watched the good guy, who was the one with the white hat and long fringes on his sleeves, wrestle a bad guy down a hill, tie him up and stand up, hat intact, fringes in place, dust himself off and ride off.

The bad guy was tattered, torn and dirty when a sheriff somehow appeared from somewhere to haul him off to the hoosegow.

The good guy got back to camp, ate beans and bacon ladled out of a big metal pot, then began to sing. A large orchestra appeared in the background to help him sound good.

It was all unreal, but it was something to see and not necessarily believe in. Before we got a TV, my aunt, uncle, cousin and I would do our chores so we could go to The Grove and watch the cliffhanger. Every week, the “hero” or a lady in distress was in deep trouble the week before and we had to see what happened.

My grandfather laughed about it. He knew from experience that it would turn out okay. We weren’t sure.

It is this gullibility that drew our mothers, aunts and grandmothers to watch soap operas on television, read “True Confession” magazines and gossip over afternoon coffee or tea.

Grandpa lit his pipe and laughed.

I think he is what I miss most about the 1950s. He read, researched and thought before making a comment. In 1956, Dwight Eisenhower promoted a platform that covered those less fortunate and it sounded good. Grandpa wrote checks to Boys Town, an Indian mission and polio research, but said theirs were never-ending battles and we all needed to help others however we could.

I still have a thermometer mounted on a fish skeleton he received as a thank you gift.

He never took it out of the box and appreciated the gesture anyway.

Most adults in the 1950s had survived “the Great Depression” and told their families about the deprivation and sacrifices that came with survival.  Those who had plenty shared with those who did not.

Those who share and help often feel badly if they aren’t adequately appreciated. I would love to return to the simpler times when even the smallest thanks were valued and the nicest things were done without seeking accolades.

Can we blend the best of the ‘50s with our lives today?

More In Opinion