[LMB] OT: Generation Change, was Fun
CatMtn at aol.com
CatMtn at aol.com
Sun Apr 5 03:59:05 BST 2009
In a message dated 4/4/2009 8:30:02 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
jelbelser at comcast.net writes:
>> 50 years ago is 1959
>> Well here's a few that I can think of
>The original 1959 list struck me as European. I was a kid in
>Washington, DC in 1959.
M: It strikes me as more from some 3rd world country. In 1959 I had
graduated from college and taught school for a year. The school I taught in was not
segregated, nor was the college I attended.
>>>Public transport was in far greater use proportionately than it is
today. So were bikes and walking.<<<
>Public transportation, yes. Walking, yes, up to the bus stop. Only
>kids rode bikes for transportation.
M: There was very little public transportation in the part of Texas I lived
in other than school buses, which I don't think is what the person writing
the first comment meant. Mostly we walked or borrowed the family car until we
were out of school, then bought our own.
>>>There were very few multilane motorways.<<<
>Main streets in cities were certainly multilane. So were many
>intercity roads. And the interstate system was starting, as Robert
M: Obviously the person who wrote the first post never went to Dallas in
1959. Or to any major US city.
>>>Cars needed servicing regularly and still broke down frequently. The
good news was that you could generally fix them yourself.<<<
>I never knew ANYONE over the age of 25 who fixed their own car.
M: Neither did I, except for a few hobbyists who rebuilt classic cars.
>>>It was not uncommon to have wood as a major part of a goods vehicle
>Wood on vehicles was strictly decorative.
M: It was, unless the person who wrote the first post is talking about
removable wooden sidewalls on farm trucks?
>>>Horses were still in use in certain areas/tasks as transport<<<
>Only rarely in the US.
M: Well, they did ride them in rodeos and other bits of nostalgia. <g> But
not for transport. In fact, horse trailers pulled by trucks were used to
transport the horses.
>>>The normal way to cross the Atlantic, travel to Asia etc. was by
>Not if you were going on business, or had limited time.
M: Not really, unless they were moving there. And then the people usually
flew, while the family car and furniture was shipped by water.
>>>Credit cards,.... did not exist <<<
>My mother had a credit card for each store she shopped at frequently,
>and for gas stations. The only difference was no "universal" card such
>Also they were not electronic, but had raised letters and numbers that
>made a purple imprint on the receipts when pressed in the pressing
M: That's right. I had a couple of gas cards, several department store
cards, and smaller merchants kept track of charges by writing tickets which were
kept on file until paid.
>>>Supermarkets were rare<<<
>Multi-department grocery stores were around in the 1930s.
M: If we had two of them in Ingleside, which we did, they'd really made it
out into the sticks. And we had two since at least 1939. I don't remember
>>>most people bought from the local shop(s) and made special trips to
city center department stores for special items.<<<
>Suburban department stores existed. One drove to them and parked for
>free right there. Downtown department stores required a bus trip or
>paying to park in a multi-level garage, although stores sometimes
>stamped your ticket so you didn't have to pay. In small towns affluent
>people would travel to a large city seasonally to update their
>wardrobe. Some still do this today.
M: There were a few suburban department stores. Not as many as today, but
the population wasn't as large as it is today, either. We even had a few
malls in Corpus Christi.
>>>The alternative was mail order. Delivery was generally 28 days not
>Non-local mail went by train, and only took a few more days than local.
> First class packages could cross the country and be delivered in a
>week or so.
M: There wasn't any shopping by mail order if you were over 5'4", which I
was. However, there wasn't much in the department stores, either. Women over
that height either learned to sew or found a "sewing lady" to make their
clothes. I learned to sew.
>>>If you went on holiday then sharing the bathroom/toilet with other
guests was normal in most hotels.<<<
>Again, not in the US in mainstream hotels and motels.
M: Even in non-mainstream hotels, I never stayed in one that didn't have a
>>>People still died from diseases like Small Pox or Polio<<<
>Not in the US in 1959. Smallpox vaccine had been around for close to
>200 years and the Salk polio vaccine, which had to be updated annually
>or so was in widespread use.
M: Absolutely not! The polio vaccine came out in wide, free distribution
when I was 16, which was in 1954. I never saw a case of smallpox, or even
heard of one in the U.S. I do recall seeing one recent immigrant who had old
smallpox scars, maybe in 1948 or 49.
>>>Heart attacks were usually fatal, and if not you generally couldn't
recover from them because the surgeries and pharmaceuticals we have
today did not exist.<<<
>Only big ones were fatal. After little ones you took your digitalis
>and nitroglycerin, cut back on starches, and avoided stress and
M: My dad had a very big one in May, 1946, and survived for 17 years after
that. He cut out saturated fats, rested for an hour or so after lunch, and
otherwise lived a fairly normal but somewhat more sedentary life. We still
went fishing and hunting together.
>>>Telegrams were still in common use<<<
>Telegrams were rare and used for ceremonial situations.
M: There was a telegraph office in town, but I don't recall my family or
anyone I knew ever receiving or sending a telegram, and it closed down in the
late forties. We used the phone. I think that was about the time my father
caught my cat having a phone chat with a cousin of mine in San Antonio, and
made some objection to paying the cat's long distance bill, though. <g>
>>>It was usual to use the operator to connect a phone call<<<
>Only for long distance calls
M: I think by 1959 we didn't have operator-connected phones any more. But
it hadn't been long since we did. It was a very small town, though. The
cities had had dial phones for years. Actually the operator connected calls
were handy--the operators usually knew where to find the subscribers, and would
track you down for a long-distance call. It was almost as convenient as cell
>>>Party lines were common<<<
>Never knew anyone who had one. By 1959 they existed only in extremely
M: We were pretty rural, but not THAT rural.
>>>It was common to wait months to get a phone line<<<
>Not so in the US
M: Not so indeed. It took about three days, IIRC.
>>>There was little or no choice in phone,<<<
>True, the only thing you could choose was color and whether it was
>wall-mounted or on a table/desk.
M: There was some choice, right. Not a lot. No cordless phones.
>>>In the US segregation was normal.<<<
>The military had been desegregated earlier by President Truman. Public
>schools were in the process of integrating. Bathrooms and water
>fountains were segregated in some parts of the country but not others.
>I remember seeing signs labeling them for white or colored while on a
>trip, and thinking that was very odd.
M: Not in Texas, it wasn't. I was teaching that year and had Black, Anglo,
and Hispanic students. Restaurants weren't segregated, either. I don't
know where this information came from, but it doesn't sound like the 1959 I
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