Tuesday, October 20, 2009

20 October 1955 “Schedules Interrupted, The Value of Things and Canned Salmon-YUM! ”

I have had a rather busy week with out of town guests, my hubby had a few days off, and we had some family visits, and while all of it was fun, it does make a homemaker’s schedule get a little off track. Of course, in so doing, it just goes to show how important the schedule is, in the first place. There were still complete meals made, there was ironing, there was cleaning and desserts, not in there normal pattern of course. childcare 1950s It did help me though appreciate the mother’s out there. It also made me realize for those mother’s who are not able to be a SAHM, it must be so hard. My heart goes out to them.

The chaos that must exist with children must only be compounded by 12 hour work days, day care, and rush rush rush. I have to say, were we ever to make that final decision for a child, there would be, for me, no doubt that I would have to be a stay at home. I can’t imagine any proper boundaries, stability, or calm without one bread winner, one homemaker. That is not to say it cannot be done by others, so please don’t misunderstand and think I am condemning those who do it otherwise. But, for my and my personality and what I have come to begin to expect of myself, my home and the overall quality and tranquility of my life, I would need to be there for the child.

petticoat girls This would probably be me with my daughter more than this image.miley and mum In the previous pic daughter dresses like mum while in the second pic mum dresses like daughter.

Perhaps, it is just a childless view and you with children would like to tell me different (which by all means do!){Don’t you adore that hint of petticoat though? I love the detail in something only seen with a breeze or sitting a certain way. It tells of an importance and value to small special things.}

That does lead into my subject I had begun to think about: The Value of Things. ( I inadvertently published my rough of this idea on yesterdays post and removed it, though I am sure some of you saw some random paragraphs that made little sense!)

For me, it all started the other day when a little porcelain figurine fell from my new box of Red Rose tea.redrose tea I had not bought Red Rose tea in awhile and when I opened the box, the little figurine fell out. It was a nice surprise and it got me to thinking. Before all the mass production (though it was starting in 1950s-then Japan was as to today’s China for mass produced cheap products even the first Barbie Dolls started in 1959 were manufactured there)things, items had a different value. Objects; Possessions had an entirely different meaning.

I remember a scene from Ethan Fromme, Edith Wharton’s tale of the hard life in rural New England, made by PBS. It is actually a really good adaptaion to film. There is a scene when they drop and break a special pickle dish that the main character and his wife had recieved on their wedding. When the main character’s wife, Zinnia, finds out that it has been ‘put back together with the gluepot’, she exclaims, “Not even when the minister himself came to dinner did I take this out of it’s cabinet”. To modern ideals, this would seem silly. Simply pop down to any local shop and grab a new one for $1.00.

So, initially, when we think about this we feel what I believe consumer culture wants us to feel: “Oh, who cares, we can live better and easier, no worries or frets the way they did in the old days, break it, lose it, smear it with dirt, we can BUY MORE!”

Well, there is some truth in that. We are not as some may have been at grandmother’s house, not allowed to touch. Not forced to sit and behave or to, really, care for things. But, I am again beginning to see how this sort of thought not only leads to our continued casual attitude towards buying and spending, but to how we treat not only our things, but one another.

Now, surely is there a parallel between a broken pickle dish and hurt feelings? I don’t know? Maybe. I know with the internet peoples attitudes and anger towards one another is so easy now. You can say the most hateful, hurtful things with no consequences at all. So, how long before it seeps into actual face to face attitudes. And, in fact, at ‘big box and chain stores’ I see horrid behavior all the time. We are not dealing with the local man or woman who owns a shop that we see at school or church or community functions, just endless people in matching shirts with name tags to whom we pelt our bad attitudes and anger because we are not ‘being served as we DESERVE’.

I have touched on this before in this blog, the way we, particularly Americans I find, have this feeling that we, when we are consuming, DESERVE so much. We are becoming a nation of spoiled brats who, when not served immediately or how we think or with the BEST PRICES we stomp are feet and act in a way we would have been punished in kindergarten.

Somehow, what started as a way to look at our children and our lives as easier and not ‘so stuffy like the old generation’ has lead to our current state of mindless tantrums, endless spending and piles of ill made things, easily replaceable so therefore ill-treated!

I have seen this often in adverts pertaining to children, the dirty sofa, the filthy rug, who cares, just wipe it up with this product and this throw away paper towel. Why treat your child to respect the furniture, wipe their feet and have consequences for ill behavior, such as running in the house with muddy feet or throwing a plate of spaghetti at the wall. How do these children grow up? I know how, into generations that think they can do, spend, behave, waste, ignore and have tantrums as much as they want because THEY are the most important thing and THEY deserve to be heard. Look at our politicians and various ‘news programs’ of yelling and accusing and really gossiping people. I honestly am beginning to feel as if the world is being run by great grown babies who better get what they want or else!

I can see this idea really starting now in my 1950’s magazines. I found this advert for aluminum that at first seems innocent enough.aluminum ad 2 aluminum ad 1 Certainly, the ad with the crayon drawings aren’t saying don’t scold your children for this, but it is beginning to show that maybe ‘who cares’ the lil’ scamps, it’s easy with modern technology to wipe it clean. The same for the little boy, of course boys will be boys and you shouldn’t hang from the window, but with the strong new technology, it won’t hurt it. Here, I see a promise of a freer childhood and less stressful life without as much worry, but really this is sort of idea that has lead, I honestly believe, to our current state of no consequences, we can buy new, wipe it under the carpet, no worries.

I think this generation, the war generation, really bought into this idea and liked that their children could live in a world more free and less restrictive. They had fought and lost so much in WWII and the world had changed. The old ways seemed bad to have lead to what it did, so permissiveness and lax attitudes were beginning towards children. The very way of raising kids were brought into question with modern psychology and Dr. Spock.dr spock book Yet, in their zealousness and love for their kids and for all things new and better than the bad old past, they started something that I think has not turned out as they had hoped. Of course, human nature stepped in and mixed it up a bit and the intentions of  safer more loved children has turned into our generations of people unaware of consequences or real responsibility for their actions.

So it seems odd to me that our modern world, which has  so many things and are over-filled on items and products and stuff, value it so little. Our free time with time saving devices seems to not be realized. We have so much so easily and yet treat what we have so poorly, that certainly we must not care that much for it.

Back to the little porcelain snow man from the red rose tea box. He had a certain quality to him. A special feeling that was imbibed from knowing I would have to wait until the next tea box came out and/or I ran out of tea. I toyed with plans in my head to build a little knick knack shelf for them in my kitchen. There it became a little goal for me to work towards: not just a thing piled with countless others in unopened drawers.

In a way, the acquisition of things in this old way, through patience and work, makes not only the item have importance, but the process. Then, my modern self popped in and I checked ebay and of course there were many sets and varieties of the figurines to be had at very little cost. But, were I to do that, to just order a bunch of them, they would mean very little. They would indeed just sit in the back of a drawer and collect dust.

Now, when I see things held dear and passed down over generations, they had a sort of spirit or joy to them. Rather it was a well known oil painting a well off relative bought on the grand tour or an impoverished old aunt who, though she had very little, saved a few cents from her pin money to collect up those spare buttons and collect some little china figurines. Some how, having everything cheap and available makes everything, well, cheap and available. It’s intrinsic value that we perceive as a human is skewered. Rather than our need for things going away and we just being happy with little, our innate “want to have” goes overboard and we are left with acres of things:plastic toys to recapture our youths, endless items piled and piled, closets full of cheap clothes worn once or not at all. In this way, the item almost has more value than the person. When the item was hard wrought few and meaningful, it reflected in our opinions of ourselves.

There seems to be, then, more of a backlash than I originally thought concerning our ideal of “buy more its cheaper” and the over production of  cheaper goods. I know it hurts local business and of course the environment through the endless garbage, but it also hurts us: People.

We don’t care about one another as much because we also don’t care for our the things.

I just really feel as I approach the end of the year, all the various ‘realizations’ I have come to in 1955 are starting to come back together and form the intricate pattern that is really the root cause of our country’s problems. The economy, the environment, our weight problem, our community relations or lack there of each other, the seemingly two-sided fight of democrats and republicans: It is all part of this same idea, this same concept. We must not have too much too easily and without consequence. We must treat one another and our things with care and maintain them and care for them and not feel they are disposable. We must think and act accordingly and know there ARE consequences for our actions.

So, more things cheaply is not only bad, it is the very poison in our society. We want to have an evil that is tangible: A person or a group of people to point the finger at when really, it is all of us. We are the problem AND the solution and unfortunately I think only if we each consciously make the decision to not buy buy buy and to make the things we do have more well built and then take care of them, we will continue down this path, but even though we are told we can go on forever like this, lower prices more products better life, I feel we are heading to a horrible conclusion.

So, when we hear such slogans as “Save Money. Live Better” we can understand that it is a lie. Spending wisely, supporting locally, and always asking why and caring for what we have, that makes a better life, not a simple trip to the local shop.

Well, that is enough of my soap box banter-onto the kitchen and VICTORY WEEK:

I purchased two cans of canned salmon as part of my weekly groceries. I know, when the week is done, buying local fresh fish might be more, but will help my community and I can simply buy less. This week, however, is about trying to use less so here are some fun recipes for canned Salmon. They are from my 1950’s magazines, so they are not war-time recipes, so you can use them as you choose. I am going to make the soufflé, but am going to only use one can of salmon and some other filler to stretch my food out this week. I hope there is enough left for hubby, as it is using up two of my precious weekly egg rations.

They can be clicked on and will be large enough to read and print out for your own recipe boxes. Let me know if you try any of them and how they work out.salmon recipes 1salmon recipes 2


  1. Granted I am a child of the 70s, but I remember these green stamp books from the grocery. Whenever my mom spent X amount, she received stamps. I remember looking through the catalog and my mom would allow me so many stamps to save for a toy. I cherished it all the more.
    A little off tangent, but not so much.

    I agree so much with you. My husband and I often comment how entitled, bratty and spoiled folks are today. I think kids think all of their lives should be like those horrible shows like the ones that placate 16 year olds with 100,000 parties?! What have we become?


  2. lpm-it is sad, is it not. I would find it very hard to raise a child today, however since my year I have probably been the closest to wanting a child than ever before, maybe to try and make a 'new kind of responsible child' that could live somewhat outside the media drive consumer world. Of course, he would probably then be sad or disconnected from his own time and dispise me for my actions, one never knows with children I suppose. I do know that our current WANT over NEED and INSTANT over WORK HARD TO ACHIEVE system is not a very good one for most inovolved (except for the few at the top making the money). I can't imagine in can last forever, can you?

  3. I don't see how it can last.
    I see those graduating college, and have seen especially over the last decade, and they expect to make big money immediately. Very few expect to actually have to work their way up a ladder. It is generations of those being served anything on a silver platter. Pardon the robbed term, but the decline of civilization to me.

    It is funny how I so tried to veer from the way my mom was raised and taught me. Yet, here I am right back to embracing those old school values and lessons. =)


  4. Thanks 50sgal for this great post again! I too could only have been a stay-at-home Mum. This was the way I was able have a productive, peaceful, serene, organised family life totally enjoying my children 24hrs, 7days. Wonderful!! (Hats off to the ladies that can 'do it all' but I know my limitations.) (You'd be a wonderful mother and any child brought into such a thoughtful, loving family WOULD be very happy. Truly.)

    My parents always cared for and protected their possessions (while still using them)and it's only been the last few years I understand the value of such a mindset. (Like 1pm I too am learning to live the many wise parts of my dear parent's ideals.)

    Thanks Donna... more soap box banter eagerly awaited. Linda

  5. Allow me to smudge your rose-colored glasses a bit. Look at the story of the pickle dish a little closer. That woman valued a thing (the pickle dish) so highly she never used and enjoyed it all, even for her most formal and important occasions. When it broke, she was angry and upset about something which had value but no use, no love and no memories. I remember this type of attitude quite well from my own childhood. Many people lived in terror of their "good things" and never took any pleasure from them. Certainly a saner attitude must be to enjoy your "pretties" while you have them, but accept that all things crumble to dust eventually. Maybe you will pass some of your possessions down to your grandchildren, but some of them will not outlast you. Take care of the things you have, but take better care of those people you love.

  6. oh beth-I never implied that things should be more important than people only that when we don't care for things somewhat (as in we just buy cheap and throw away) it affects our concept of one another as well. I think now is the time to value both in their right place and I think we value bargains more than people now, that was my point, really. I don't want to relive 'pickle dish' times.

  7. It's funny. I remember always happily going to my grandparents' house, but being respectful of everything when I was there. I didn't go into their bedroom or Grandma's sewing room unless she told me I could. I didn't touch anything on the shelves or in the cabinets, or even play with Grandpa's "one man band" unless I was given permission after I had asked politely. One Christmas, Grandma asked me what I wanted. I knew at this point that her mind was going, and I wanted a piece of the past we shared before she'd forgotten it all. I got what I'd asked for; one of her sewing creations that I loved to play with when she opened up her sewing room to me so many times all of those years ago. I treasure it still.

  8. I just want to say, too, that I am never trying to say that the past was always better or that it was perfect, only that I think we can learn from the good bits of it and that it often sheds light on things in our current time that might need adjusting. A better tomorrow is always wrought with the tools of the past.

  9. Off topic but this reminded me of some of your thoughts... Posted by Leila from Like Mother Like Daughter, http://ourmothersdaughters.blogspot.com/ on Mon Oct 12, 2009 she had a link to a paper called Against School by John Taylor Gatto. Interesting. eg On page 6 "Maturity has by now been banished from nearly every aspect of our lives. Easy divorce laws have removed the need to work at relationships; easy credit has removed the need for fiscal self-control; easy entertainment has removed the need to learn to entertain oneself; easy answers have removed the need to ask questions. We have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgments and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults. We buy a televison, and then we buy the things we see on the television..." and it continues.. Sound familiar? I think I've read some of the same ideas from your writings. :) Linda

  10. Thanks linda-I am going to check out her blog when I can. I am glad we have others who feel as we do. Apron Revolution!

  11. Bravo 50's gal, I agree with your sentiments exactly, from infancy I have taught my boy's to respect my little Shizu (sp?) dog Gizmo (since when is it okay for a child to pull on a dog's ear?), as well as my things on end tables the coffee tables etc.

    The problem with kids today is that parents are afraid to set boundaries, well my boys have them, if they act silly on the couch trying to kick each other I shoo them off of the couch and explain to them that what they are doing will ruin it and we don't have the money to replace it. So they go off to play in their playroom or their bedrooms.

    Parents need to talk and explain things to their children, I've taught them to respect their toys because no broken toys are allowed in this house, and it costs money to replace them which I won't do.

    I have no problem being a 50's mom in the twenty first century at all, if we do not teach our children to respect the things in our home and in other places as well let's say my parent's home this does not bode well when they become adults.

    And I have to say for the most part my boy's have kept their toys' in good shape too.
    Everything has consequences for actions, as well I do not allow my four year old to have crayons or pencils unless I am there right with him helping him do a craft.

    It's just common sense in my opinion, I have some very old items that I cherish like my grandma's wedding china (a complete set) in my corner hutch that I never use because it is fragile, and I plan to pass it on, an old quilt from my great great grandma who died in 1934, an old family photo album which is 150 years old.

    My boy's know not to touch the above, they occasionally ask to look at the photo album and I help them turn the pages.

    I value many things in this house, it took us along time to pay off our house (we are mortgage free now in our thirties), and darn well my boy's will respect the home they live in.

    I love being at home, surrounding myself with my little men, hubby and dog, there is no other place I'd rather be. I used to work in day care with school age children, and most would say that they would want to be at home.
    Babies and young children belong in the home period, not in some institutionalized setting, since when is it normal to have others raise our children. I even had my day care kids tell me they wish I could be their mother, because essentially while they were in my care I would take on that role.

    That in and of itself convinced me to take whatever lengths I needed to be there for them. To witness the smiles on my boy's faces when I pick them up for lunch (no they don't eat lunch at school because they have like 15 minutes to wolf down their food), or at the end of the school day to help my son with his homework so he can go outside and play at 3:15 makes it worthwhile for me to stay home.

    Contrast this with a friend of mine who works 5 days a week, rushes the kids off to instrument lessons after 4:30, and does not come home until 6 p.m at night where she must rush to cook dinner, watch them do homework and then put them to bed.

    My friend and her children are never home, they are always being shuttled about, although we have many outside activities ie. hockey and swimming lessons we are primarily home, and in this homelike environment they are being raised.

    What a great post 50's gal :)
    Mom in Canada

    PS Please I am not putting anyone down for working and having to put their kids in child care, I am very blessed to be in a position where I can put my life on hold, and to hold my life still so my children can grow and to move on :)

  12. I have to disagree on a point here. I do not think that making certain things easier to clean or stronger is exactly leading the way to allowing your children the freedom to run wild. Children, no matter how well parented, supervised or taught in respect, will always break things, damage things and in other ways get into trouble. That is why they are children. To have the time to learn that this is wrong and that is right. A product that makes life a little easier to the parent who must suffer through these trials with their child is fine by me. I must boast a little and say I believe myself to be a good mother, but I have a kid who will write on a wall, tear something apart, pull out the pieces of something every chance he gets. Am I supposed to put him in a corner until he is 15 in order that I do not have to deal with this and force him to learn “responsibility”? Doesn’t quite work that way. And I am sorry, I don’t care how good of a parent you are, these things will happen. You CANNOT watch a child 24 - 7. It is impossible.

    I believe that the thing that has been worse for children is the attitude of “I want to be my child’s friend.” WRONGO! My mother once told me that when it comes between being your child’s friend and their parent you had better dang well choose being the parent. You might get told “I hate you” but in the end, you kid will be better for it. People have no guts to stand up to their kids. They treat them as pets. I will have the career, the fancy cars, the titles, and the 2.3 beautiful children that I can show pics of at company parties. Even though those kids are being raised in day care by basically strangers who are being paid to WATCH your child. NOT to instill morals and values into them. And then, after working all day we get the guilt trip from the child because you are too tired to do this or that, so we make up for it by buying them stuff.

    I know, I am stepping on toes here. I also know there are parents who don’t have a choice. Many of those that THINK they don’t have a choice, do however. THIS leads back to the whole overspending thing.

    Sorry about my own little rant here, but sometimes it seems saying that advertising is evil is avoiding the real issue of SELF ACCOUNTABILITY!. Yeah, advertising is a bucket of lies. We all know that. It is when we allow ourselves to become wrapped up in material possessions that it becomes evil. Things are not evil. It is how people behave that can be good or evil.

  13. mom in canada-you sound a wonderful mother and good examples of a modern day balance of 'antique ideals'
    Lori Bronson-Of course children will be children that goes without saying, I think my point was not that it is advertisings fault, my observation was perhaps it was part of the whole puzzle that has lead to our general atitude that we do not have to have responsibility. The very root of it all, all the problems, money, weight, etc, is all on us and accountability. Yet, by not being accountable, that is where things go wrong, and certainly I think that media is a major part of our life and in many ways, media raises modern children as much as or more than some parents actually do, so it just feeds back into that idea that we can 'do what we want'. I like products that make life easier, as well. I love my washing machine and dishwasher, so don't get me wrong. And again, I am not saying this is the right or wrong way, in fact I am saying I honestly don't know and am just observing things that come to me. I think my point also was WHEN the child breaks or writes on the wall, even if there is a product to make it go away, the act should still be discussed and the consequences explained to the child, so they don't do it a second time? Does that make any sense. I mean I still break things and accidentaly write on something, but I want to learn from it. I have never raised a child and would NEVER EVER give advice on how to do so, as not having a child I have no idea. I might be the worse mother, shouting and ranting, who can tell. So, please, any mothers don't think I am judging or giving advice. But, as modern mothers, even with easier to clean fabrics, cleaning products etc, do you think it still important AFTER the spill, or soiled sofa, or broken plate from running in the house should still be discussed and shown consequences for? Or do you feel it is better for the child and yourself to just ignor it because it is true you can go to walmart and buy a new plate for a dollar or wipe up the mess easily? I am not judging but HONESTELY asking. It is very interesting to me.

  14. Also, I think there are special cases when a child is autistic or has a learning disability, obviously they cannot understand consequences in the same way. To them the world does not work out that way, they cannot help it, but if a child is developmentaly normal (if that is what you call it?) then should the child be taught the consequences of say writing on the wall even when it is easy to clean? Again honestly asking not judging and am always interested in hearing from mothers. You have the most important job and career there is for the world, raising the next generation, so what you say is very important, so let's share.

  15. Never mind talking, I make my kid fix his messes. If he breaks something I either make him fix it or I make him clean up the pieces and throw it away if it can't be fixed or it's worth fixing. If he spills he cleans it up. If he can't find a toy because he hasn't put his stuff away neatly then that's his problem. He has letter of the week day today at preschool and wanted to bring in a special car for the letter C but it wasn't in his toy box and he couldn't find it so he just had to bring in a different one. He was mad about it but maybe next time he'll listen when I tell him to go put the item in his backpack instead once he decides what to bring.

    I love having things that are easier to clean and I use them when they're appropriate e.g. I use a plastic placemat at meal time if we're having something potentially messy (basically anything when a 4 year old is involved!) so I can just rinse it off rather than having to take off the whole table cloth to clean it. I just keep the nicer things out of reach and teach him that he's not allowed to touch them without me helping him.

  16. It's true you can't watch your children 24/7, but I keep crayons, markers and paper where my four year old can't reach, if and when he wants to colour with his older brother I only allow it when my oldest can watch my youngest.

    When doing a craft I am right there, and pretty much I have to keep on top of my four year old and watch him all the time, but I make a point of him not knowing I am checking up on him. ie. he is in his room and all of a suddent it goes quiet in there, well I just tiptoe down the hallway glance through the door and he is quietly reading a book to himself.

    I pretty much know my kids by now, when my oldest is quiet, I don't worry about him, but my youngest watch it, he's probably trying to get into something.

    Our days are pretty much routine around here like clockwork, I find it works well for my family, they know when things are going to happen and my children thrive on that.

    Basically communication is key, by talking to your children you can convey your morals ie. they notice graffiti on the park across the street, so we have a discussion on how that is wrong and what the consequences are.

    I know eventually my boys will grow from little men to big men, but I hope that by instilling values into them while they are young, it will help them make wise decisions when they are older.

    And I can honestly say I can take my boys anywhere and they will be well behaved even among the 100 knicknacks in my mom's living room and not one has been broken by my boys, nor will they whine at the store for a candy bar, because I've never boughten them one there, as that what their allowance is for.

    My mom's greatest advice was "Never start something you don't want to have to continue with."

    Mom in Canada

  17. This is all so interesting. We seem to have some very smart mothers. As I said, I can imgaine what I might do if I had a child but those of you who actually do have the child know how it really is to deal and raise them. I am so glad you are sharing. I am also glad to see there is some common sense out there as well.
    Learning my example is so important too and I know many children must learn by the examples of their parents. IF they see their parent getting short with the sales clerk, or shouting at other drivers for being 'stupid' or generally not being kind, I am sure they will follow suit in their own right.
    My hubby told me of a man with a 5 yr old son asking to please leave a store as he was loitering and sleeping there (book store) his response was to give the finger to the employee and shout at him, all while his young son watched, I am sure we can guess what sort of atitude that young boy will adapt. Sometimes it seems parents, again only my observation as I am NOT a parent, they seem to think they can act one way and then be surprised when their children talk back to them or also act in such a bad manner. Certainly example is a big part of parenting, what do you say to that parents? Is it? Or am I off again?

  18. I meant learning BY example not my-oops.

  19. I would like to apologize for the tome of my previous post. It was motivated by my day yesterday more than anything.

    My oldest (11 years old) wanted to stay after school for chess club. That is fine, but his dad is working late, and I had not arranged for him a ride. I told him no, there is no ride, maybe next time. This is the one who is autistic. And it took 6 teacher to pull him inside after the fit he threw and refused to get on the bus. So, then I am on the phone talking to tachers, the pricipal, and THEN I still had to arrange for someone to go get him (my dad, thank God). All the while, my 20 month old thinks it is his mission to climb out of his crib or playen and get into EVERYTHING. And THEN my 4 year old is going through an argue with mom about everything age. And he thinks he doesn't need to go #2 in the toilet. It was just one of those days, and I ranted a bit...I am sorry if I hurt any feelings. That wasn't my intention.

    They point I wanted to make was there is a vicious circle going on of parent obsessed with money and possessions, allowing TV and day care to raise their kids with no morals or ethics. These kids then become obsessed with material items for that is what they had learned has value from their parents. These kids repeat the cycle with their kids. And the media feeds right into it. Where to break the cycle??? I wish I could say....

  20. Lori-I don't believe we mistook your comment to have a bad or ill tone. You have your opinion and it is as valid as any of ours. We are all here to support and share and yet learn. Now, I have no children, so the story you just described is so beyond my comprehension, that my heart goes out to you. I also remember you saying you had a boy with autism, which must be a hard road (I once worked in a gallery where the owners son was autistic and they had such a time with him, such a situation can wear on anyone's nerves and takes great strength of heart and fortitude and love, which it sounds like you have in spades!) So, please don't feel any of us feel that way. And, of course, a child with autism's behavior is hardly comparable to a child without it. No judgement here, only discussion, learning and understanding. After all, I think as women we do that best. I love that we can disagree and still be rational and calm and sometimes we even change our opinions or try something new, that is why I love our coffee klatch comment moments, don't you?!

  21. I think the big shift in attitude over things is because of their ephemeral quality - it used to be that possessions were to be cherished, cared for, and eventually passed down. Now almost everything is considered disposable. I know one lady who buys all new christmas ornaments every year, throwing out her previous year's batch. How sad that she can't appreciated history and sentiment over novelty.

  22. Gabriel-this is a sad state. I was similiar to this in my pre 1955 state,though I love antiques and want to keep old things, the holidays would often illicit a new tree theme and therefore new ornaments. My new atitude is that I have some old 1950's ornaments and lights that were my family that I have been lucky enough to get some of recently and the rest will be those I can buy at resale shops and church sales. It is true, I am buying them, but not cheap new things from big stores and then, next year, these same items will come out again and maybe every so often one 'new' thing added. I think no matter what happens next year rather it is 2010, 1956, 0r 1946 I am loving the idea of having a particular decade to 'attach' my modern need for things to. This way, my clothes, furniture, and decorations will never go out of style and I will not need to always 'shed' last season for 'new'.

  23. The more I read this blog, the more I realize how our modern world is! I was so used to modern times of course that it never crossed my mind to think differently!

    I'm glad we can share our opinions here! I've tried to talk about this with people, but they just respond with everything they find wrong about the past and how we have much better technology. Oh well! And of course I get negative comments all the time because I'm a housewife.

    I too would want to stay at home and even homeschool my future kids, no way around it. I would limit TV time and teach them good manners and respect, while staying calm but persistent. I do not like how many kids are kings and queens nowadays, bossing their parents around! If only we enjoyed the simplier things in life, so many folks would not need to buy excessively in order to fill a void...That's not what life is about for me!

    And every time I go to the park, I see almost every little girl wear clothes that are way too showy, and I'm talking about kids that are only 7 years old, sad. Plus that hideous "Toddlers and tiaras" show in which parents showcase their daughters into pageants, ugh. And I've only seen commercials, I would never waste my time on this.

  24. Growing up, it was my observation that the WWII generation who maintained frugality the rest of their lives were approximately my grandparents age born around 1892 to early twentieth century. When I went to their houses and their friends houses, it was obvious that they lived frugally. Some of these people were "flappers" and enjoyed an outlandish lifestyle, but as adults, they experienced the Great Depression. They were old enough to learn.

    My parents generation, born around 1925 or so, felt deprived, rather than consider their childhood a learning experience. They embraced consumerism at the close of the war. The new, disposable products flew off the store shelves. They bought more toys than their parents did. Unfortunately, what the parent does in moderation, the child does in excess. Few parents *didn't* have paper towels, paper plates, or vacations. The seaside vacation shack with no AC first gave way to the rented condo, and now has given way to the rented mansion. Boy scouts of my era were happy with camping at a local park or Boy Scout camp. Today they fly to raft the Grand Canyon.

    Many parents during the 1950's on *did* spoil their children. Unfortunately, it has produced a generation that wears the "T-shirt." You know, the one that says, "It's All About Me."
    During the 80's I believe the saying was, "The first person who owns the most toys before they die, wins." Pretty sick, isn't it? Then we were constantly pummeled by the media on what to buy, how to raise their children, how to act, etc. Very sad.

    It isn't just the value of "things." It is also the value of life. I am sorry to be politically incorrect--a condition that has afflicted me before the label, but I am referring to the unborn and elderly. I am talking about putting a price tag on the sanctity of life. I look at my total care mother as I write this. I can assure you,I am speaking from a first hand experience.

    No Idle Hands

  25. housewife07-I am glad my realizations are informative. When I think back to the person I was in 2008 I am sometimes amazed at myself. SO, no matter where you are in your life or thinking, if you feel you need a change and want to understand the world it is very possible and the past and the 'why' seems to be the best way to get there. When I think of the billions of dollars I am sure that is spent in the 'selfhelp' world when we can, for free, look to our own past through books, internet and people and begin to realize our place in the present and how best to find and take the direction to the future, really wonderful and amazing.
    concerning future children, hubby randomly said the other day 'If we ever have children we can't even have a television' to which I said, Hallejula! And as to what young girls are wearing, I am continually shocked.I am glad to know others who are not immersed in 1955 also find it shocking and appaling when 5 year olds are wearing jean mini skirts and cropped tops and worse. I have heard of Toddlers and Tiaras, and I honestly...I just can't even think about it. It hurts my heart, quite honestly.
    No Idle Hands-great run down of the generations and I, too, seem to have found this same system. And yes, the spoiled children of the 1950s mother are the spoiled aging of today. I know not every baby boomer is that way, but boy as a collective, it scares me they are to be the new 'oldest people left'. It is good that you can speak from your own experience, for you have more to say. The present state of children seems sad, but when I think that really generations of unraised children who had somewhat childish parents, it is no surprise. I am glad to see there are some 'sane' mothers out there.

  26. Also, just as an aside, do any of you think you might try those Canned Salmon recipes I posted in this blog? And if so, be sure to share with us. The souffle was quite good.

  27. I have to say that from my family experience that none of my parent's were from the spoiled 1950's generation.

    My father was a farmer's son, and my grandparents struggled from day one and were frugal to the core. So although my father had his own pony at a young age, he learned the value of a dollar in the fifties and thought nothing of going to milk a cow at the age of 5 or mucking out stalls at that age either.

    My mom was from a solid middle class background, but she never had much toys as my grandparents did not believe in spoiling their kids.

    As for myself, I have to admit yes I did have alot of toys, as do my children, but the difference is that I was taught to respect my toys......my children are taught the same thing.

    Just to give a different perspective of things here and my opinion :)

    Children may have alot of toys, but it is how the parents raise them that makes a difference from a child valuing and cherishing an item as opposed to a child who is truly a spoiled brat.

    I often wonder how my grandma could raise three children with no running water, and an outhouse, my father did not have electricity till he was ten years of age in 1953, and my grandparents did not have an indoor toilet till 1967.

    But she did, as well as working in the barns, raising livestock and helping to toil in the fields and the ironic part is that we call working women today Supermoms, I happen to think that the pioneer women and the generation of my grandmother who were farmer's wives were actually the Supermoms.....not only did they work like a man but they also had to keep house and bake pies. Truly amazing.

    Mom in Canada

  28. Oh and 50's Gal, I have never bought a Christmas ornament in my life, all of which were handed down to me by my mother, some of the Christmas balls belong to my great grandparents and although they may not sparkle like new I feel a deep connection with the them as I decorate my tree. The rest of the ornaments are from my childhood. So the Christmas tree my children witness every year, is pretty much the same as the one I had as a child :)

    I also cherish the ornaments that were given to me by my day care kids a decade ago......I love decorating the tree with old ornaments and think of the old Christmas days when both my grandfathers were there to celebrate with the family, and I think how proud they would be of my little men :)

    Mom in Canada

  29. Your husband is a very wise man...if children, no television. Linda

  30. I have made my own variation of creamed salmon on toast baskets. It was creamed salmon over biscuits. The recipe, however, is approximately the same for my "Sausage and biscuits," or "Hamburger gravy over corn muffins/cakes.

    I saute onions in a little butter, and remove when translucent. I make a white sauce using butter, flour and milk. When thick and bubbly, I added the flaked, skinned and de-boned salmon, and served over fresh biscuits from the oven. I cook either the loose sausage or hamburger first, seasoning to taste. I remove the meat and proceed with the rest of the meal. I usually cook the meat, remove, make the biscuits/corn muffins and put in the oven, then make the gravy--in a large frying pan--the one I cooked the meat in.

    I thought the creamed salmon tasted just fine. The fish did not remain flaky; it became salmon gravy. Everyone else was not thrilled. I like variety, but they don't. I don't know if I should make it again. Why waste good ingredients?

    The other gravy over biscuits/corn muffins recipes are very popular with my "clientele," except the last time I made it. I used sour milk. When raw milk gets a little sour it really is just fine to eat. In fact, according to "Nourishing Traditions," in days of yore, they purposely soured the milk. I can understand why. It is more "tasty." It had a sour taste more on the order of sour cream. It was different, but pleasant. My "customers," however, balked, and because they are adults and not children (except for the teen), they refused to eat it. DH thought it was passable. I was a bit annoyed, as I was being frugal with great nutrition. This eliminated an option. I finished the rest for two days of lunches.

    I usually make patties out of the salmon and most cans have a patty recipe on the label. Now that I say this, they probably won't. I have also purchased jack mackerel. It is cheaper and makes a fine patty. The patties appeal to DH as they are crispy on the outside.

    Tonight I made macaroni and cheese with what I thought might be a bit sour milk. It has a bit of a cheesy taste to me, and with the added cheddar, I thought it would work. The milk didn't sour in one week, so the experiment will be repeated another time.

    I make six cups of milk gravy/white sauce w/cheese for two pounds of macaroni. I make six cups of milk gravy and about 11 biscuits for five. There are some left overs for the gravy, but not much. There are always left overs for the macaroni.

    Out of desperation one day, I made the cheese sauce and instead of macaroni, I had gotten two heads (really good price) of cauliflower, making, of course cauliflower with cheese sauce. I served it with rice. Surprise. It was good and filling as a meal, but not very colorful. (I was into monochrome that day)! With the leftovers for the next day, I thinned it with a bit of milk, and with a hand blender, pureed it. Voila! A cheese and cauliflower soup.

  31. Texas Accent In SydneyOctober 22, 2009 at 1:07 AM

    Hello, 50s Gal and her fun friends! ... have just now discovered you, in October, and have been reading posts and comments ... have read January, February and March, working to catch up to you ... loving it so far ... Regards.

  32. I always felt people got divorced or split up easier over the years too. Don't like your wife? trade her in for a newer model. People are like microwaves, you dislike it, throw it our and replace. People have lost respect for everything.
    I actually hate that phone batteries need to be replaced more. Why can't stuff last?

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