Things about my youth

–that I didn’t love

Not my prom but my prom looked similar. Source: Houseofretro.com

Source: Houseofretro.com

I grew up in the 50s and 60s. It was a great time to grow up. Streets were safe and so was my social security number.

Summers were for fun. There weren’t programmed sports so we made our own games and rode bikes until it was too dark.

People sat on front porches and talked to each other (you know face-to-face instead of texting). There were lots of picnics too. All this was great and I miss it all.

However….there are some things I don’t miss at all.

Zit treatments – Oh my God (yes it deserves the full words!) the stuff that masqueraded as zit treatments in my youth made your skin red and flaky. They didn’t work either. So let’s see, do I want to look lumpy, red and flaky or just lumpy and red? There was a brand that “concealed” the bump. In that case your bump would be orange. I don’t know why the manufacturer didn’t think you couldn’t see orange. Prominent bumps came right before a prominent date or party. We have come a long way here.

Face stuff – Eye shadow was neon blue. All makeup turned orange or pink on me. Face cream was Noxzema or Pond’s. Both felt greasy (and increased the zit environment exponentially). There was Vaseline for chapping. Today’s choices are so much better and the formulations are guaranteed (GUARANTEED!) to make you look younger (and lighten your wallet).

Tethered phones you couldn’t carry around – How many hours did you “hang around” waiting for that important phone call. Argh! What a waste of time. Sure you could just take off and do stuff. If you did, you would miss the opportunity for a date or a girlfriend get-together or some other life altering adventure. I’d love to recapture that time and do something valuable (world peace comes to mind)!

Lady products – you know the ones I mean. They felt like a pillow between your legs. Made you look bowlegged. You were sure they were billowing out making for a lumpy silhouette. Mom said to be grateful because she had to use rags when she was a kid. Rags! I can’t even imagine that.

Fabrics – My coats weighed more than I did. I had gray Melton wool coats all through school. Between that and my schoolbag (that was not back-safe, what was my mother thinking?) it’s no wonder I’m short. How could I grow with all that weight hanging on me? (Books were heavier than too.) I bought my first Chesterfield grown-up coat after I got my first job. It was heaven but still wool and scratchy.

Colors – My girlhood wardrobe consisted of navy blue jumpers with white blouses and penny loafers with some “good church clothes” and play dungarees (that’s what jeans were called back then). If I was lucky, my church clothes would be pretty colors but nothing like what you see for kids today. It’s no wonder that half of my current wardrobe is purple and the other half is hot pink. I was deprived of color as a child. (Perhaps I need therapy?)

Speaking of clothing my first ski outfit make me look like the Michelin tire guy. If I fell over, I was done. It took three people to get me up.

I’m not complaining. I had a great childhood. It was just different from kids growing up today. Not better or worse, just different.

Even without the better zit cream (which I know would have changed my life) I’m glad I grew up when I did.

How about you?

 

 

72 thoughts on “Things about my youth

  1. Kate Im remembering the term. Get into your church clothes, that brings back some memories. I don’t think zit treatments have come that far, no one has invented anything that can make that zit disappear in seconds but when they do…… look out! I was one of those kids that never got zits. Yet I got teased for not having them…….you can’t win.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I can’t remember the last time I felt my social security number felt safe. I don’t miss the zits or the treatments. I don’t miss makeup from the 60’s, but I never used it anyway. Well…maybe at Halloween. Really, after reading about lady products, fabrics, and colors I find myself grateful I’m not a woman. What a lot of work.

    Like

  3. Yep! That’s how I remember it, too! One of my fondest memories is how much strategy went into find “alone” phone time. One phone in the house, centrally located, and I wanted my own privacy, which didn’t exist. We had a long phone line, though, and I’d walk until it nearly popped out of the wall. And if I was really caught up in a story I’d forget the privacy and find myself walking with the phone in hand, and then my dad would yell at me later because I had the cord in knots. It was a very different world, wasn’t it? I had a little transistor radio and a small tape recorder. I’d tape record my favorite songs of the transistor and think it was heaven! You’ve made me VERY nostalgic, Kate. Such fun!

    Like

  4. Hi Kate,

    Great read! As a 29 year old, it’s always nice to see the contrast to nowadays versus when my parents were growing up. One thing that struck me was your Noxzema comment. I have been slathering that stuff on my face before I go to sleep every night for the past 10 years. I have not had an acne problem since I have been doing it and I still look like I am 21. Maybe it’s good genes, but I really have to swear by the stuff. It’s great!

    Like

  5. I remember Clearasil and the temptation to squeeze pimples, the same temptation then as now, I suppose. We lived on a dead-end street that ended at the river. We were told not to fall in the river, but other than that, we were free to roam, even sometimes a bit after dark so we could play “Starlight, starbright.” Starting in first grade, I walked a mile to school alone. I wonder if we were safer then or we just worried less.

    My mom sewed a lot, so I always had lots of colorful clothes. Looking back at the photos, they were definitely unique, sometimes too much so.

    Like

    • I think it was safer but also the media didn’t report as widely or sensationally. There weren’t as many “copycat” crimes because no one heard of them. I sometimes wonder if the first school shooting didn’t get as much sensational coverage whether there would have been as many others.

      Like

      • I think there are fads even in crimes. Remember when hijacking a plane was so popular? They say one of the main reasons it fell out of favor was that when they caught the hijackers, they they started marching them away in a straight jacket. And I definitely do think that coverage of school shootings gives the next potential shooter ideas.

        Like

  6. What an interesting post. I hadn’t spent much time thinking about what I didn’t like (other than stuff with people–parents, bullies, etc.), but more about what I miss. But then maybe I moved into junior high at just the right time for things to liven up–1967. I hear you on the tethered phones, though!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    • This post started out with things I missed evolving into improvements that I didn’t have (like cell phones for those “important” calls), then again into what the improvements replaced. That turned out to be easier to write. My writing is very convoluted until I get to the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Somehow my two brothers and I survived our youth even though our parents weren’t involved in every single aspect of our lives. We’d leave the house after breakfast and not come home until dinner. I think the most trouble we got in was when we found an unopened package of cigarettes and tried smoking them. The gagging and upset stomachs we all experienced was much worse than any discipline we received. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!

    Like

    • I know. I wasn’t supervised all that much but never got into any real trouble. Of course the neighbors had permission to yell at me if they caught me doing something. Things were very different then. No one worried about my self esteem.

      Like

  8. Ah … The memories. Mine were a bit different in Scotland … No pools or much warm weather. But we did have good times on the beach hiding behind the windbreaks to prevent sand getting into our picnic food. We always brought extra sweaters and a Brillo just in case!

    Like

  9. I was a kid in the 70’s and I loved every single second of my freedom. That’s all you needed was an imagination and you were good for the day … the possibilities were endless.
    Great post Kate! My oldest sister still complains about those lady products. She refers to them as mattresses…lol

    Like

  10. I had acne during high school in the 1970’s. Instead of the OTC creams, my mother made me see a dermatologist whose “treatment” was to rub dry ice on my face each time. I remember that and a lotion called “Sulfacet” that I had to put on at night and made my face brown. I haven’t thought about any of this in 40 years! 🙂

    Like

  11. Yes, yes, those were the days!! Today’s kids would be doing giant eye-rolls at this but it was the best time ever to be a kid back then. Except when your itchy wool coat got wet from snow. Or when the crabby lady on the party line told you to hang up the phone. Or . . . nah, it was the best time EVER.

    Like

  12. Great trip down memory lane. Life was a lot more simple then. When I heard my mother talk about the really olden days when she was a kid, I realized we had come a long way, baby. We’ve seen a lot of changes in our lifetime.

    Like

  13. Jugs of Dippity Do! (and tales of girls dying from black widow spiders living in their huge ratted hair styles – which I never rally had as my hair is so fine and hairspray mades me sneeze)
    Purple was so artsy on the eyelids – went well with the foundation that did always turn orange of feverish orange red. Rubbed off, too.

    Like

  14. 50s and 60s for me too. Music was great, cars were classic shapes, motorbikes were shiny, and we were safe to play out in the street. Picnics and nature rambles, blackberry picking, candy floss and Punch and Judy on the beach.
    I was lucky though, didn’t need the zit cream, but those swinging hammocks on P days were the pitz. Bro found they were pretty terrific for polishing the chrome on his motorbike though!

    Like

  15. Pingback: Who is that Girl in the Photograph? | Virginia Views

  16. “It was the best of times…” But it really was the best of times. We were lucky enough to have had wonderful families that protected and loved us. Our biggest fears were the dreaded air raid drills (where putting our faces to the wall and arm over our necks would protect us) and the wrath of our parents if we screwed up in school. Technology dwelled pretty much within the walls of IBM and our phone was a party-line. Would I take those days over today…you bet I would! Bring back poodle skirts and saddle shoes.

    Like

  17. What a time we had! Your memories are mostly mine Kate and now they make me laugh “out loud.” And even with the zit cures and bulky “lady products” I too loved growing up in those simple more innocent times.

    Like

  18. I loved playing outside all day in the summer.
    And diving into piles of leaves in the fall.
    And snow ball fights and forts in winter.

    But I hated being told to “drink your milk.” 😛

    Like

    • I think the saddest part about growing up today (and there are so many great things) is the “staying inside” mentality. The fear of abduction or the preference for electronic toys rather than physical exercise. They compensate with gyms, organized sports and tanning beds but I liked our way better.

      Like

  19. There were still landlines when I was growing up, but then…answering machines! Yay, unless the guy you were waiting on was too shy to leave a message. And they were all too shy. (I’m sure of it, undoubtedly thousands called and we just weren’t home.)

    We had loads of colors. Too many really. Too ugly, most of them. I mean, there is no white person who looks good in neon ANYTHING. You need melanin for that.

    At least in the NE, you still looked like the Michelin Man — or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man — when skiing. Nylons, long underwear, leggings, snow pants, ski parka, and hat are required when it’s -20 on the chairlift. 🙂

    Like

    • You are so much younger than me! I was in my own place when answering machines came along. I remember all the goofy messages people would put on them. My girlfriend bought a message that sounded like John Wayne. There has to be something between only navy and too much color. You need sunglasses to go in my closet now.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. We didn’t have many choices did we? I was in high school in the 70’s and didn’t have a blow dryer until ’73. We had to hang out head upside-down in front of the fan to dry it and then there was that ironing of hair! What were we thinking? I’m glad I grew up when I did too. Now it’s all taken for granted. ~Elle

    Like

  21. I loved my childhood summers. We would ride our bikes to the pool and stay there until dinner time, come back after dinner and stay until just before dark. We ate frozen candy bars from the concession stand for lunch. At night I would read until the wee hours. So bike, books, pool and no real responsibilities. The best!

    Like

    • I too loved the summers of my youth. Every day was a discovery. The pool was too far (we had to be carpooled so we didn’t get there every day) but we played a lot of badminton and biked to the stores for candy or ice cream. Good time.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. This all sounds about right. There’s a girl in the picture that I might be mistaken for. I wore the very same hairdo. 🙂
    I look exactly like her except for the cleavage and the arms around two cute guys. 😦

    Like

  23. Oh, those zit creams! The smell used to make me gag. I look at the clothes (yes, they are modest) that my granddaughters wear to school and they are so colorful and fun. I was in heaven, fifty years ago, when my wealthy cousins gave me a pair of pink Capezio flats that they had outgrown. I wore them until my feet ached in them. I inherited the practical gene though and haven’t bought a pair of pink shoes myself. Time to do that – TODAY!

    Like

Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s