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A Day in the Life of a 1950s Housewife

Post-feminist revolution, 1950s housewives carry a certain amount of hip kudos. Now that we have equality (or a facsimile thereof) we don't have to be on the defensive anymore. We can wear a stiff, full skirt, vintage aprons, masses of lipstick, absurd hair and play at having afternoon teas and being as ultra-feminine and retro as we want.

Oh, of course it's all in a kitschy, mocking, ironic, fun sort of way; none of us would dream of exchanging our stimulating, economically independent, exciting, blast-a-minute lives for the domestic drudgery, 24/7 childcare and terminal bordeom a 50's housewife had to endure, would we? I said would we...?

Could it be that some of us secretly wonder if life wasn't a litlle easier in some ways for women back then? Certainly there was all that sexism, subservience and lack of power but then on the flip side there was an absolution from financial responsibility - we could stay home with our children and not feel worthless and boring.

Motherhood was at least socially valued...even if 1950s housewives didn't get much tangible reward for it. Wasn't there plenty of time to cook, have fun, do things and develop skills and accomplishments? It's certainly true those stay-at-home wives had to do all the housework and childcare. How lucky we are now to be able to go out and work and still have time to...er, do most of the housework and childcare. Oh I know, they weren't 'stimulated', 'enriched'..they couldn't grow!

I confess,that in my darker days of struggle, I've thought about being a 50's housewife . Were they really Stepford-like, robotic creatures under the economic, social and political thumb? What would a day in the life of a 1950s housewife really be like..? Cue music and fade-out for dream sequence....

(Of course, as in any age, just what sorts of freedoms and privileges you enjoy has a lot to do with economic status but since I want to enjoy myself, I'll opt for a comfortable, middle-class fantasy)


Morning Glory

7.30 AM: An alarm rings and I roll over so I can see the sunlight streaking through the cream venetians - it's a fantasy so of course it's a perfect day. I don't get up though, because my 1950s husband (whom I shalll call Mr. X) always brings me a cup of lemon tea in the morning - he's sweet like that.

Mr. X heads off for the bathroom to shower and get ready for work and I call out lazily after him. "Thanks darling. Mmmm...delicious. Oh by the way, would you mind terribly waking up Timmy and Debbie ? I dont want them to be late for school." It took me a while but I have him well trained.

After my tea I float downstairs in my Hawaiian print housecoat to make pancakes and pack the kids lunches. The kids are noisy and rambuctious, but I remain calm and serene and I even keep cool after Mr. X rejects the pancakes and demands a full cooked breakfast of sausages, bacon and eggs, ground coffee and a squeezed orange juice. After half an hour or so of frenetic activity, culminating in me offloading Mr. X and the kids for 6 or 7 hours, I sit down with a fresh coffee at my pastel pink breakfast nook and flip through a copy of Good Housekeeping. Maybe later I'll watch a little TV; maybe the Home Show or Queen for a Day...a charming little program (sarcasm alert) where corporate sponsored prizes are given to the woman who can tell the most pathetic hard luck story.

10.30 AM: The phone rings and it's my friend Margo asking me out to play tennis at the club, then lunch with the girls afterward, followed by a spot of shopping. I hesitate - I was going to spend the morning making raspberry jam and pottering amid the rose bushes. However the shopping appeals, so I acquiesce. and after some token dusting of the living-room knick-knacks, I float upstairs to get dressed. I'm so relaxed it's crazy.

After a long hot shower I notice the tap wont turn off properly and it keeps dripping. I make a mental note to call Jerry the plumber when I get back from shopping. Of course, I should really call Bob the plumber, since he's cheaper and more experienced but Jerry is better looking and we have a little harmless, mild flirtation thingey going on between us. Margo put me on to him.

I fling open my wardrobe, which takes up a whole wall and am confronted by a bulging mass of flowery taffeta, chiffon, silk and gingham cotton. I rub my chin - decisions, decisons.

a-day-in-the-life-of-a-50s-housewife

Tennis Anyone?

12.45 PM: Tennis went well. It was a close game but naturally I won - it's my fantasy after all. I feel pumped. Plus I think that new Scandinavian tennis coach finally noticed me. I make a mental note to hit on Mr. X to throw some money my way for tennis lessons. I need to sharpen my game. We have a quick shower and I change into my burnt orange suit with the roll collar, mushroom pink beret and matching gloves.

At the mirror I darken my highly stylised, arched eyebrows with a brow pencil, powder my nose and refresh my lipstick. Glancing at Margo brushing her jet black Ava Gardner hair, it strikes me she looks a little artificial and I wonder if I appear the same. Whatever, this is the 50's.

Margo and I decide to walk to the restaurant as it's close by. I notice with a smile that men passing by tip their hat to us. How cute. Helen and Judy are waiting for us and we spend a pleasant hour eating, chatting and gossiping, although I'm a little taken aback by how intolerant the girls are, as their conversation is peppered here and there with racist, sexist and homophobic remarks. I figure it's a sign of their times. Or sheltered lives.

1950's cat glasses..Image from Wiki Commons

1950's cat glasses..Image from Wiki Commons

Roy Roger's yoyo

Roy Roger's yoyo

Neat-o Shopping

2 PM: After lunch Margo and I hit the shops...and lordy, I recklessly spend two thirds of the housekeeping money on an expensive pair of turqoise gloves, a pink girdle (yes, housewives wore them back then), a yellow polo shirt for Mr. X, yoyo's for the kids and a roll of harlequin print material I thought would make great cushion covers.

The service in the shops is fantastic and before we go home we stop off for a strawberry sundae and a quick browse at the book shop next door. I come out with  Look Younger, Live Longer, by Gayelord Hauser. Nothing much has changed in that department, I think to myself.


Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Image from "The Age" Newspaper

Image from "The Age" Newspaper

4.30 PM: Driving home in my 1950 green Buick Roadmaster station wagon with wood panel trim, I turn on the radio and contemplate what Mr X and i should do tonight. Thurston Harris's 's Little Bitty Pretty one fills the car as I go through the options. I could throw on my tan pedal pushers, pop my hair in a pert ponytail and and we could have a barbeque on the patio. No wait on, scrap that...Mr.X doesn't like me to wear pants; he thinks they're unladylike.

So, we could curl up on the Swedish inspired sofa and watch The Colgate Comedy Hour or The Phil Silvers Show.. Or maybe I could get out my hula hupe..now that would be fun. Halfway into the driveway, I switch gear and reverse out. In my reverie, I've forgotten to pick Debbie up at ballet - I'm 15 minutes late, which means I wont get time to lay out Timmy's milk and cookies for him. I feel an out of proportion sense of guilt.


Mouseketeers

Mouseketeers

Honey, I'm Home

5.00 PM: When Debbie and I get home I notice Timmy is wearing mouse ears. He's sprawled over a powder blue pouf in the living-room watching Mousketeers...M-I-C....K-E -Y....M-O-U-S-E! Good lord, it's 5 o'clock already and I still haven't got dinner organised. There's barely time to hide my shopping and fix M. X his pre-dinner martini. I know he'd kill me if he knew what I'd spent today.

I race up the stairs, chased by Debbie, who asks me if I've finished her swan costume for ballet and didn't I know she has to have it by tomorrow? Whaat...? I have a moment's panic , then realise I'll probably be out of this fantasy by the morning. Phew!

I stuff the shoppings bags under the bed to sort out later and just have time to powder my nose, squirt some spray on my Grace Kelly-like hair and touch up my Revlon Peach Blossom lips before I hear Mr X's car crunching the driveway. Like a maniac I shoot downstairs and start shakng the cocktail. Shoot - as soon as X walks through the peacock embossed double glass doors, I can see he's had a bad day - he looks stressed and weighed down with responsibility, like he's lugging a camel behind his back..

5.30 PM: "Hi Honey. bad day?" I say sweetly as I shove the cocktail under his nose".

X grunts something incomprehensible and loosens his tie. We kiss perfunctorily. He ruffles Timmy's hair and says "What time is the babsitter coming?"

"Eh?"

"Wilikers...sweetpea, don't tell me you've forgotten about Redkin's retirement dinner tonight? It's important . Old man Smythe will be there. You haven't even called the babysitter have you?" Mr X frowns severely, looking at me like I'm a three year old. For a moment I thought the was going to wag his finger at me.

"Of course I have!" I say huffily and involuntarily find myself pouting like...yup, a three year old. While X is distracted with the kids I run into the den and flip through the teledex. I find LAST-MINUT SITTERS R'US and dial the number. A saccharine voice informs me someone called "Tammy" will over in an hour and a half. I race upstairs to get dressed then race back again because I realise I have to feed Timmy and Debbie first. I whip up some milk and sandwiches and plonk the kids at the kitchen table.

Back upstairs I flip through my clothes rack and decide on a black silk Dior dress with cutaway V-line back. Rummaging through my Chinese- themed jewellry box, I find a marcusite brooch in the shape of a clipped poodle and pin in on my dress. A quick squirt of Chanel No 5 and I waft downstairs looking like a million dollars. I'm feeling proud of myself - there's nothing to this 50's housewife lurk.

a-day-in-the-life-of-a-50s-housewife

Asparagus hors d'oeuvres and Polite Conversation

7 PM: Redkin's retirement dinner is excrutiating. I spend the evening in a haze, divided between polite chit-chat with stiff matrons and fending off old man Symthe's groping nicotene stained hands, which I am forced to endure because he appears to be Mr. X's boss.I'm amazed at how polite everyone is, except for Smythe, who seems to think he can do whatever he likes.

Throughout the evening I barely exchange two words with X, who is busy flirting with a bevy of nubile secretaries in bulbous floral dresses, though every now and then he shoots me a heavy frown whenever I look like I might be anything less than enthralled with Smythe's company. A waitress who looks like Jayne Mansfield is weaving her way though the throng, offering colourful hors d'oeuvres with little toothpicks sticking out of them. As she passes some of the men snigger lewdly behind her back, including X. Somehow this fantasy is slipping from my control and I can't seem to do a thing about it.

10.30 PM: Mercifully the evening ends and X and I gather our coats and exit. Mr. X's breath reeks of whisky and I politely suggest that I should drive, lest he be breathalysed by the cops. He looks at me like I'm a Martian and we drive home in silence, except for Mickey and Sylvia singing Love is Strange on the radio, which seems appropriate.


A Mild Rebellion

11 PM: While X drives Tammy home, (I offer but he insists on doing it) I wash the dishes and clear the debris that has accumulated in the kitchen. I figure since I'd been such a good girl all evening and he's still a bit tipsy, now might be a good time to ask him about the tennis lessons, so when he gets back....I do.

"Why do I want tennis lessons" he says with a scowl and "Didn't I want a washing machine? Isn't that more important?". I have to admit he has a point. I don't fancy washing the clothes by hand, so I suggest maybe I could get a part time job and use that money for frivolous items like tennis lessons. Well, you'd think I'd aked him if I could sell my kidney. He asks me if I'm casting aspersions on his "ability to provide" and besides a job would be "the ruination of you", though he doesn't explain why. I tactfully question his logic but he says with authority "and that's the end of the matter!" and apparently.. it is.

Mr.X

Mr.X

Time for Bed

11.30 PM: "Now turn out the light..it's time for bed." I'm about to ask him why the heck I have to go to bed when he does but he's already climbing the stairs and mumbling something about the "the man of the house" and "I wear the pants". Gee Whizz. I dutiifully follow, almost against my own will. I could argue but I don't want anymore friction. I just hope he doesn't find the shopping under the bed.

Upstairs, he's already in the bathroom brushing his teeth. Absentmindedly, I pick up X's shirt, which he's carelessly thrown on the floor. My eye is caught by an apricot coloured smudge. What the..? Is that lipstick on his collar? I have a weird sensation of being crushed like an ant under a tractor wheel but a gruff voice from the bathroom overides my ponderings:

"And what's the matter with the shower tap? it wont stop dripping...you're supposed to take care of these things! What do you do all day?"

Gosh...I forgot to ring Jerry. I throw myself on the bed and bury my face in the pillow. With one eye I glance at the bathroom door, just in time to see X come toward me wearing a leer and a striped pyjama top tucked into matching baggy bottoms. I click my Roger Vivier kid leather polka dot stilettos with accented bow together:

There's no place like the 21st Century

There's no place like the 21 st Century

1950's shoes by Roger Vivier. Image by Masayuki Hayashi

1950's shoes by Roger Vivier. Image by Masayuki Hayashi

Comments

Ben on November 16, 2019:

Thank God for most of the women back in the old days that were totally different, and real ladies altogether compared to the very awful ones that are everywhere today.

Me on March 03, 2019:

There's no way a woman of the 50s would have time to spend gallivanting around like this. Most houses didn't have the things that make our housework so much quicker today. Even a modern housewife doesn't have time to randomly run out for a game of tennis just because. A 50s woman would have to wash clothes pretty much daily because it was all handwashed. Dishes had to be done after each meal, they were hand washed too. Refrigerators are expensive so many didn't have them in the early 50s. Women had to get what they needed daily from a shop of near one, or from their own garden or farm. Some foods like meat and sugar are even still being rationed, post ww2, into the 50s. These women worked hard. Probably harder than some of the men unless your husband was a farmer. Housewives still work tirelessly. I can see from this that you've never been one. If you were truly a feminist, you'd respect that a housewife is a legit option for a woman. It's not a lower position. You continue to make it thankless by mocking the position, but who raised you? Who made sure you are? Helped you with homework? Made sure you had clean clothes? Even with dad's help today, that's mostly mom. It's a natural tendency, not just some social construct. It's true across all nationalities and peoples.

Kp on January 15, 2019:

There are so many incels in these comments

To Back In The 60's on December 21, 2018:

Unfortunately most women nowadays altogether are just very pathetic to begin with, and they just want men with money which most of these loser women are just Golddiggers as well. Not like the old days at all, that is for sure. And for the women that have their Careers today which they really think they really are all that too. What a real joke.

John Doe on December 11, 2018:

The i950's housewife back then really did put these women today to real total shame altogether since they definitely had much better manners and a great personality as well, something most women today don't have at all. Just unfortunately too many very stuck up loser women everywhere nowadays which is why many good men like us just can't meet a decent normal woman anymore today.

anonymous on November 22, 2018:

shut up Darry, nobody cares

Darryl Curtis on September 17, 2018:

It's interesting...in the pre-feminist days, women were never oppressed...women were bored...men invented labor saving devices for the home...washers, dryers, dishwashers, microwave ovens, now computers, tablets, cell phones digital personal assistants...and when men did so, women no longer had to WORK around the house...think f the difference in work between scrubbing clothes on a washboard and hanging them on the line and putting them in the washer, taking them out, then putting them in the dryer...so something happened in the 1960's, and women no longer had to work at home...women were not oppressed, they were bored...but rather than finding something interesting to do to stimulate their attention, women decided that they needed to be liberated from the men who oppressed them by making their lives so easy...so now, according to recent studies, women are MORE unhappy than ever...the real problem that women have is their requirement to find someone to blame for their boredom/unhappiness rather than just improving themselves...when women have to have someone to blame for their dissatisfaction, they cut themselves off from relationships that will make their lives better...they surround themselves with people who are dissatisfied and unhappy, and doing so certainly does not make them happier...and then they find out that all the problems that they have are not problems, but simply part of life...women cry sexual harassment in the workforce, then they cry when supervisors won't mentor them for fear of being accused of sexual harassment...women want men to stop doing exactly what they want men to do...women wanted their husbands to help with housework...now young men don't want to marry or to go to work...women would be much happier if they just stopped complaining...try to get attention in other ways than pretending to be "oppressed" when you just aren't getting what you want...

elle on July 17, 2018:

great work

BIG AL on July 16, 2018:

I wish life could be like on Leave it to Beaver. And, there's nothing wrong with wanting that.

Back to the 60s on March 27, 2018:

The Honest Truth, you are sooooo right! What is even worse is that nowadays we think that the world is evolving that everyone is smarter, better...it is not true! They are just ...rude, insensitive with no common sense at all! People don't know what respect and admiration is anymore. Greedy and unappreciative with no thankfulness no faith no God :(

Sarah Spradlin from Little Rock, Arkansas on November 30, 2017:

I couldn't love this anymore. What a great idea!

ddddddddhhhhhhh on March 23, 2017:

great

The Honest Truth Again on October 10, 2016:

Just to add more Truth to my comment which there are many women that now have a Career making a Six Figure Income which has totally Changed them for the Worst unfortunately. Most women now are very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, greedy, picky, narcissists, and so very money hungry too since they will Only want the Best of all and will Never settle for Less. They will Only want men that make Mega Bucks and God forbid if they ever went with a man that makes much Less Money than they make which is very Unlikely to happen. When you compare the women of the 50's and 60's to today which is quite a Change now. Most women and men in those days had to Struggle to make ends meat since they Hardly had any Money at all and they Accepted one another for who they were since they were either living with their Parents or other Family Members at that time too. Today with so many women now that have their Independence which they really Don't need a man to Survive anymore since they really Can make it on their own do to their Greed And Selfishness that these women have today. Most women now making a very high salary have the Worst Attitude and absolutely have No Manors at all that i have noticed which makes it real sad how Most women now have really Changed since back then. So this is a very Excellent Reason why many of us Good men out there are having so much Trouble finding Real Love today since this certainly has a lot to do with it unfortunately. I have friends that i know going through the same thing right now and wish that they Could've Have been all settled down as well. Born at such a very Wrong Time for us.

The Honest Truth on October 09, 2016:

Well back then i would say Most of the women of the 50's and 60's made a great wife and Most men made a very Good husband as well. Women in those days kept the house clean and made dinner for their husbands and Most men helped out as well. It was so much Easier finding Real Love in those days for our family members since many of them are still together today as i speak which is very Amazing when you think about it. Most women had a very Good Personality and were very Pleasant to meet which is why it was Easier. Today are totally Different Story unfortunately since the times have really Changed and so have the women. Avery Excellent Reason why so many of us Good men are still Single today and Not by choice. I certainly wish that i Could've been born back then since i Definitely Would've been married with a Good Wife and a family of my own since many of us men are Still Single today.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on June 30, 2016:

Jane, your hub is a very good depiction of the '50s that we see on TV.

Glad it's only in your dreams, but I guess that was because our household was in the lower level of middle class and we couldn't afford for me to take piano lessons, much less tennis lessons for my mother. Pretty good impersonation of "the man of the house" and who wore the pants. Those days look pretty good to girls who haven't experienced them, but I was in school then and remember the sexism. I also remember the 60s and how we women struggled to put that behind us. Young women of today have no way of appreciating what we went through to get where we are today. I can't imagine why some of them actually want to revert us to those days of masochistic macho men and their submissive wives.

Chantelle Porter from Chicago on August 25, 2015:

What a clever and entertaining article. I really enjoyed it,

Dr. Pamela M. Kaminski on March 24, 2015:

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste!"

Nancy on December 04, 2014:

I have no idea of what a 50's housewife was like so, I'm lucky that you give me a picture it.

PMARTIN on September 10, 2014:

All the single, independent working women I know complain about their life. They wont admit it but would actually like being a simple housewife, cleaning, watching soap operas and preparing meals. lets not assume that men had a sweet life back then while women "suffered" through drudgery of house work. the men back then dealt with and had just come out of the worst war in history, watched friends die, and then went into the Korean war. They worked jobs without nearly the job security, safety or benefits of today's workers (gotta do whatever needed to take care of that family). Men worked hard, broke down--died early and no one cared (there was no "wear blue for awareness"). This is why it grinds me to hear baby boomers complain about how "un cuddly" their dad was---he was busy!!

Adrienne Lawton from Deptford, NJ on March 18, 2014:

I found this story to be an entertaining and interesting look at a day in the life of a 1950's housewife. Many of the things that took place in the story prove to be fairly accurate (but a bit exaggerated). Sometimes I feel that I would like to live in a simpler time such as the 1950's. Life would be less hectic as both women and men had their places and their specific duties. There is not enough time in the day in today's world. I remind myself that I don't want kids and don't have time for them. If I lived in the 1950's, I would have to be married with the obligatory couple of kids and be confined to the house all day. These thoughts make me grateful for the fact that I live now and not then.

sid on February 28, 2014:

nice article,thoughts flowed back.

http://www.westbrookmontessori.ca/

Joe Poniatowskis from Mid-Michigan on December 17, 2013:

Well, that was a fun romp through the past. Thanks for sharing it. Fortunately, not all families were like Bethany's. Yes, in ours the women did the cooking and the cleaning, etc. But nobody expected house-cleaning every single day, and the men-folk did help out sometimes. Children were certainly not waited on - far from it, we all had our chores to do and were expected to do them!

Bethany on October 04, 2012:

This article was pretty good with the fashion and etc... but where i come from things were a tad bit harsher. I've heard the stories many times from my grandmother and mother in law. First of all the woman is up and dressed and ready for the day at 6:30 a.m. she never allows her children to see her in her night gown or "house coat" that was inappropiate back then. Secondly the man would never wake his children up for school that was all the mother's responsibility let alone make tea! Men hardly knew how to boil water back then they never did anything! The woman waited on her husband and children like a servant she was always the last to sit down and the first to get up to clear off everyone elses mess. Also the woman would always clean the house top to bottom everyday dust, sweep, mop and vaccum and clean her kids' rooms and do laundry every single day before any fun activities were done. Then she might enjoy the day with her friends. She would never forget to pick up her kids or have dinner on the table by 5. Also it was the woman's responsibility to remember activities planned such as dinner with the husbands boss etc... I have listened to the stories many times of my grandmother and my mother in laws mother. Other than that everything said was pretty good. This was a pretty good article.

Randi on June 09, 2012:

And just because some WOMEN still accept this does not mean they're transsexuals. As I said, to each his own!

Randi on June 09, 2012:

To answer your question of "would we", I would. What a housewife endured to me was awesome and I won't say 1950s wife because there are still present day housewives that still live this way. Nothing wrong with it either. I say to each is own, and as a present day housewife, this lifestyle has the highest payoff than any business job could pay.... PRICELESS!! Great hub.!

Suzanne Sheffield from Mid-Atlantic on March 13, 2012:

I want those blue polka-dot shoes. Dig your hubs.

jeanine on February 29, 2012:

I loved this hub... very funny and there is a group of wives that are readily accepting of this kind of behavior... it is young transsexual women who have found husbands... and will do anything to feel more feminine... interesting to see your take on it... the group I speak of... have suppressed their feelings so long that they consider it a joy to serve their man... sad but true... or hey maybe the new woman is really the new man with an up do...lol... enjoyed the read...lol...

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on August 09, 2011:

thanks very much bob

break up books on June 30, 2011:

Voted up! You are a beautiful writer, you had me hooked from the first sentence.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on June 02, 2011:

HartMurango, thanks very much. I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

You too Gypsy Willow...and yes, I'm sure there were many women who didn't fit the 1950's mold. I think many women too, got a taste of independence during WW2, when they took over alot of the jobs. Then of course, when the men returned, they had to go back to the kitchen.Obey? No way!!

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on June 02, 2011:

Great podcast and hub. Thoroughly enjoyed stepping back in time. I think life was more ordered then but I know my stay at home Mum hankered after going out to work. Dad's words were gospel and I feared him for many years. Glad I didn't have to obey a husband. Thank you for a great story even if it was a fantasy!

HartMurengu from Nairobi on June 02, 2011:

Fantastic! I listened to the podcast and and also read the original hub, wow. I felt like I was in the 50's reading and listening to it.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on May 28, 2011:

Hey Will, nice to see you in here..and thanks.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on May 28, 2011:

Well done, Jane! As 50's kid, I can vouch for at least some of that.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on May 18, 2011:

Thanks Kate

KateWest from Los Angeles, CA on May 18, 2011:

Delightful, thanks for the read!

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on May 17, 2011:

Oh thanks RH.

Looks like they breed them tough in Nebraska...:)

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on May 17, 2011:

I just stopped in to say Congratulations! I got the FB link! So cool and I think it should have won before. It's superior writing and so entertaining.

Lucky you - I got lots of spankings in St. Louis - in Nebraska you didn't get a spanking you got a beating. Now either way, my rear was smarting:) lol - have a great day!

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on May 17, 2011:

ajcor, thnks for that lovely comment and insight into your childhood...and yes,all the comments have been great.

I can't ever remember getiing a spanking (maybe I blocked it out) but I do remember my older sister getting one as I watched in horror. It was a very unusual event.

Your mother sounds like a very strong woman. To be widowed with six children at 34 couldn't have been easy, especially in those days and considering you were obviously little monsters...:)

Ah yes, John Howard. Nice thought maybe but of course we can never turn the clock back.(though I'm sure he would have liked to!)

ajcor from NSW. Australia on May 16, 2011:

I forgot to mention all the wonderful comments that were also very entertaining and memory jogging! cheers

ajcor from NSW. Australia on May 16, 2011:

I really, really enjoyed your hub. Played the music as I read and remembered how it was for my mother who was a very glamorous wife and mother. I too used to love watching her get ready for Balls and parties in her long gowns.

I know that at this time my siblings would get up to so much mischief and get spanked by our father but it was all a part of the growing up process...I suppose it could be said that it was just not done for my twin and myself to set fire to the wood heap which was situated right on the fence next to the Presbyterian Church (we were four at the time) ..so spanked we were and with justification - I know that my boys did wild things in the 70s/80s., but thankfully not to the same extent as my brothers and me.

Having said that she did rule the roost but it was in those moments after she left the house to go to work that our imaginations or maybe just the course of the day, took over. Half the time she never knew what was happening back at home because one of us would be invariably watching the clock and say it's 4.30pm. That would be followed by the mad scramble by all of us to get all the jobs done before she walked in the door none the wiser as to the events of the day.Fires lit, dinner started, beds made etc.

My mother was widowed early - she was 34 years of age with six children, the eldest being 12 years old,the youngest 18 months and so she could not keep as close an eye on us as no doubt she would have liked. But we all survived well, grew up happy, educated and as she has often said no one succumbed to the current scourge of today, the prevalent source of escapism, the taking of drugs!

thanks again for your hub - took me back to where John Howard was heard to quote " That Australians needed to be safe and secure in the 1950,s" or words to that effect re the turning of the clock back to the 1950s.

Although re the safe bit he obviously didn't live at our house during cracker season where it was not uncommon for exploding penny bungers to be placed in glass milk bottles!!

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on May 07, 2011:

Oh, music to my ears RH..thanks very much!

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on May 06, 2011:

Hilarious and oh so perfect! With writers like this who needs books? I loved this!

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 26, 2011:

Hi James, thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. I'm not sure about that though...while there were many nice things about the 1950's, just reading some of the comments on this page, from people who's mother lived through those times, it clearly wasn't a happier time for all women. We had fewer rights then as well as fewer options. Plus, there were lots of people left out of the loop...not so good for minorites. If you didn't fit the mold, you were in trouble.

Not that things are so perfect nowadays...they're not.

Cheers

James A Watkins from Chicago on April 26, 2011:

I enjoyed your fantasy of the fifties. It is beautifully written.

Women were happier in the 1950s. Broken homes were rare, sexually transmitted disease even rarer, illegitimate children 2%, our daughters were not having sex on the internet, the F-bomb was rarely said and surely not in public, people had manners, they loved God and loved their country and loved their communities, women were more cherished by men then, hardly any women even considered killing their own offspring, people didn't lock their doors at night, they left their keys in car all night, crime was incredibly low compared to today, there were things that were common among the vast majority: decency, wholesomeness, propriety, virtue. Yes women nurtured the next generation with great attention; this was considered quite important at the time. Now we have the freedom to be fools. Look around.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 24, 2011:

SaiKit...thanks for reading and your comment. Yes, a little positivism about relationships might be a good thing.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 24, 2011:

Happy easter to you too Mrs.JB

sarahredhead...thanks for that. I too, like the kitschy element but totally agree, that realistically the 50's left a lot to be desired for many women.

SaiKit from Toronto on April 24, 2011:

Good work! Although today feminism's influence is everywhere and that most women couldn't imagine what it was like to have traditional nuclear family and be a housewife, we do need a lot of positive imagination and creative stories that promote some good old family values. There are too many betrayal, break up, divorces, doubts, and everything on the screen and in literatures. We need a lot of books and movies with positive imagination and some good values to counter the negatives.

sarahredhead on April 24, 2011:

As smitten as I am with the kitsch and glamour of the era, I cannot imagine the ridiculous limitations which were involved. My father was a throwback to that era, and my mother endured some harsh marital years - with we kids as witnesses!! I am very thankful to live during current times! (Even if we do get funny looks from the neighbors when I wear my shirtwaist dresses!)-Sarahredhead

Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on April 23, 2011:

Your are so welcome. Happy Easter!!!!!

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 23, 2011:

Thanks Mrs. J B.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 23, 2011:

BP, you say that like it's a bad thing! Lol.

Thankyou for reading. If you're feeling a little emasculated by the social changes, don't worry...;) There's still plenty of testosterone around - in politics, in the boardroom and in every major war and conflict around the globe.

That's a good point that men are now often portrayed as 'comedic morons', particularly on TV ads, while the woman raises her eyebrows condescendingly at his stupidity. It's insulting. I don't agree though, that women, in particular, believe, *feelings are more important than facts* ?..as though we just dismiss evidence and work on some sort of touchy/ feely thing? What..? No!

Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on April 23, 2011:

LOL to Beyond's comment... Everyone as you can see loved your hub. Great job.

Beyond-Politics from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com) on April 23, 2011:

Now the pendulum has swung completely in the opposite direction. We now live in a feminized society where female values, once exclusively held by females, are the universal norm..."feelings" are more important than facts; children are more important people; and men are portrayed as comedic morons and women the "level-headed one" in relationships.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 22, 2011:

Amy I feel the same. Thanks for visiting.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 22, 2011:

katherine, I had a peek at that link and it looks interesting...what a task! I'm going to add the link, since it's 100% relevent. Thanks.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 22, 2011:

duffsmom, thanks for visiting...yes, I'm sure the 50's were great for everyone. It's great to get these comments from people who actually lived through that decade.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 22, 2011:

Lucky Cats, thankyou for that lovely comment.I'm a sucker for nostalgia...the 20th century is so interesting because there were so many rapid changes over the decades and each era had its own charms (and faults).

If I do ever manage to squeeze out a book, you'll be the first person I send a complimentary copy to!

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 22, 2011:

Ms J B, thanks for popping back. I too, wonder about modern kids lack of outside activity. Actually I worry about my OWN lack of activity.I spend way too long sitting at this machine. There does seem to be a lot of rudeness around...manners matter!(Oh my..it's official. I've turned into my mother)

Maybe kids today face extra pressure...things don't seem so secure anymore. In the 1950's there seemed to a greater optimism about ourselves and the world, than there is now. There's a lot more cynicism and gloom and doom around these days.

Amy @ Paint Zoom on April 22, 2011:

Glad we live in the 21st century. We have come a long way for women to have the same things as men do now and I wouldn't want to go back to that. But I can appreciate the history.

Katharine on April 22, 2011:

What a fun article! Another girl did something similar, but she did if for two weeks (and then a couple other 'returns' to her 50s Housewife Experiment), using her vintage magazines and books as a guide: http://www.jenbutneverjenn.com/2010/05/welcome-to-...

P. Thorpe Christiansen from Pacific Northwest, USA on April 22, 2011:

Fun hub. I grew up in the 50's and I wish it had been like this. Maybe it was for some. Great job creating the 50's.

Kathy from The beautiful Napa Valley, California on April 22, 2011:

What a GREAT story/fantasy! I thoroughly enjoyed this. I remember my mother, quite well, behaving in this manner..going through all of these scenarios..you have truly captured the era. I love it!! How many of us can recall the brands, the tv shows, the cliche's? This story is chock full of so many memories. I believe you should write an entire novel about the 'year' of a '50's housewife...you could do it !!!!! I'd buy...or download. This is really fantastic imagery and dialogue along with the main character's thoughts. GREAT!!! UP! AWESOME, LIKE of FB and FUNNY!!

Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on April 21, 2011:

I think though I would have rather of lived as an adult in the 50's when things seemed so much easier. I think back to my childhood in the 60's and remember how much fun we had as kids finding something to do without anything. How every child spent every moment outside. Being inside? Oh you had to be sick or grounded. I see what my kids have faced through the 90's and think how can a color of clothing be a reason for being hurt, if someone asks where are you from? That does not mean Boston.. I am blown away with how rude the kids are today, how 911 is on speed dial and the lack of interest kids have in outdoor activities.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 21, 2011:

Thanks pkwebhost.

Mrs J B, the 50's had it's downside but there were some nice features too, I agree.We have a lot more choices now...but choice can bring its own anxiety.

Thanks nancynurse.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 21, 2011:

Beth, thanks for that great commnent. Apart from the spankings, I envy your childhood...sounds lovely.

Yes, I do think children had more independance back then..parents weren't so paranoid.

I should have had a maid in my fantasy. Oh there were some amazing cars in that era...I'm picturing that cadillac with fins.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 21, 2011:

secs...we need repression so we can enjoy the excitement of rebellion. That theory makes sense, except there was an extra element at play in the 60's - ie; a more generalised affluence. Else why didn't they rebel in the super-repressive Victorian era? Maybe it also had something to do with the creation of *teenagers* as a demographic. For the first time youth began to be marketed and pandered to. Also I guess, the world was shrinking..it was easier to travel and thus for ideas to spread. Mass communication was on the up...and rock n-roll was stirring the pot.

Yes, the pendulum does swing...where to now I wonder?

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 21, 2011:

DzyMsLizzy...lol...thanks for your comments. We do tend to take equality for granted these days ...most of us would probably get one almighty shock if we were transplanted back to those sexist days.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 21, 2011:

Hi Melanie, you make a good point. Women who do choose to stay home and look after children these days tend to be sneered at/regarded as boring...yet what was feminism about if not choices?

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 21, 2011:

Thanks Mrs. J B..and may I say, what lovely intiials you have.

Nancy McClintock from Southeast USA on April 21, 2011:

I loved it!!!

Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on April 21, 2011:

The 50's seemed liked the time to live...

Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on April 21, 2011:

I too was born in the late 50's but I still would have loved to live in the era... Pearls no... But the simple life, the family traditions etcs... I would have enjoyed so much...

Pkwebhost on April 21, 2011:

I really enjoy your this post thank you Jane Bovary

Beth Godwin on April 21, 2011:

I forgot to say how much I really enjoyed reading your article. And yikes, typo in America in the last sentance of my last comment. :)

Beth Godwin on April 21, 2011:

I was born in the late 1950's in a real " leave it to beaver" lifestyle. I grew up in the deep south. My mother wore full shirts, wasp waist, and a french twist bun with plenty of red lipstick. Her life was a whirl of garden club, bridge club, country club, shopping, hairdressers, dances and parties. I still remember the thrill of watching my mother dress for a dressy dance or party. She was beautiful and sophisticated. Summer days were spent at the country club pool. We had a maid who came daily to clean. We were middle class . We vacationed at the beach for at least a week out of the year and my mother always drove a Cadillac. Still does. Yes, the 1960's model had fins. lol My best friend,Holle, and I roamed the woods and neighborhood at will. There were few abductions of children in those days. We stayed outside as much as possible. Children were spanked in school and you could expect another when you got home. School children were therefore well behaved for the most part. Money and gas were plentiful. I am thankful I had such a wonderful childhood. While I am sure women across America are thankful they can wear sweats to clean rather than a dress and heels, I think Amereica would benefit from regaining some of this lost era.

secularist10 from New York City on April 21, 2011:

Jane

And then from the anti-establishment chaos of the 60s and 70s came the Christian Evangelism of the late 20th century, and against that arose the New Atheism of the early 21st century. The pendulum is always swinging isn't it, lol. It was more complicated than all that, of course.

I heard a theory once that the great youth culture and popular music of the 20th century arose from the US and UK because young people in the anglophone cultures are more repressed and restrained than the youth of other cultures like the Latins/ Mediterraneans.

That repression causes a rebellion, which often manifests itself in culture and music. Since our cultures have become looser in recent years, maybe that helps to explain why so much of popular music is crap nowadays.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 20, 2011:

Lived through the 50's as a young child--not the 'fun' teenage years as portrayed by the "Happy Days" TV show.

My mom was very relaxed, did none of the things in your fantasy--but then she was a homebody by nature. We never had repairmen in--my dad was "Mr. Fix-It": he was a machinist by trade and could fix or make most anything.

As for the décor, the colors, the kitsch..I didn't like the 50's the first time--"retro" does not interest me.

Thanks, but I'll stay in the 21st century where I can speak my mind and give the Mr. what-for if he has it coming. After all, turnabout is fair play! ;-)

Fun hub.. voted up!

Melanie on April 20, 2011:

I like the life of a housewife. I think gender rolls aren't too bad. I'm no big fan of cooking and cleaning, but they have to be done anyway, why not stay at home and enjoy yourself most of the day and still have the energy to do that than slave away all day at work and come home to more work. Plus I love 1950s styles, they look good on me. I wish I knew how they did their hair that way, that's always been a big mystery to me.

Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on April 20, 2011:

Well written, very interesting and funny to boot. I would have loved living in the 50's as an adult. I prefer the simple life. I loved this hub.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 19, 2011:

Omg..ha, I didn't see that exclamation mark at all, yet it's so obvious. I've got *grammar blindness*. Thanks.

No doubt the 50's bent for stability was a response the upheaval wrought by two world wars. They say the 60's revolution could ony have grown out of a period of stability and relative affluence. The theme of that decade was definitely 'anti-establishment..interesting isn't it?.

secularist10 from New York City on April 19, 2011:

The same Prime Minister for 20 years sounds a lot like Eisenhower, who had the maximum two terms from 1953 to 1961. People did value stability. Then the 60s came along and messed everything up.

I think a lot of it comes from the fact that, at least in the US, there was more agreement on what was "good" or "preferable" in life. The straight semi-Christian middle class life with the 2 kids and white picket fence was considered ideal, even by gays and non-Christians and those who didn't want kids. Then later on, new sexual mores and attitudes toward women and homosexuals crept in. Suddenly a more relativistic and tolerant attitude (which is actually more consistent with a free society) was established.

People had always been having extramarital sex and there had always been women wanting more respect, but now people were being explicit about it and unafraid to argue against the "establishment." By contrast, the 50s were all about buying into the establishment.

(Sweetie, I think you meant to type a 1, but accidentally made an exclamation point:

!0.30 AM: The phone rings and it's my friend Margo...

Happens to me all the time :) I thought it was kind of attention-grabbing.)

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 19, 2011:

vietnamvet, thanks for dropping that dose of reality on us. I did say I wanted a nice middle class fantasy..;-)..but I'm sure you're spot on - it wasn't tennis, shopping and leisurely lunches for most 50's housewives.

Cheers

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 19, 2011:

Thanks secs,

Haha...what exclamation mark? Do you mean that rogue semi-colon? I fixed it, you grammar Nazi..(but thanks for drawing my attention to it).

You're right, there was a lot going on politically.And yes, the big cars, cheap fuel, cheap electricity...you could have the sprinkler on all day, wasting water by the bucketload. It was an age of excess without guilt. My how things have changed.

Australia too, had that mask of homogeneity - we were very conservative, conformist and *nice*, as Barry Humphries puts it, though I don't think he meant it as a compliment. Slaves to the status quo, we kept the same Prime Minister in power for 20 years.

vietnamvet68 from New York State on April 18, 2011:

I love your little dream world here, but you have no concept of how the 50's were really like for women. But like you say it's a fantasy dream. Women busted there buts back then to run the household.

secularist10 from New York City on April 18, 2011:

Ah, the 50s. Smoking was still good for you, political correctness was unheard of and Eisenhower was President. Oh, and everybody had a gigantic car.

People often think of the 50s as a simpler time, but actually they had plenty of cultural and political complications on their plate: racism/ segregation, communism, Elvis' dancing, rock n' roll, Christian Evangelism, the beatniks, and others. Here in the US, the greater cultural consistency and homogeneity of the time kind of masks things.

But if you were a white 1950s father, and your son was listening to rock n' roll and your daughter wanted to date a black kid--that must have been pretty jarring! But at least you had a job for life and pension with Registered Industries Incorporated.

I love your writing here, Jane. Really puts you in that world. And congratulations on getting on the Hub Pages homepage.

Now, you know I love you, but about that exclamation point around 10.30 AM...

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on April 17, 2011:

Yes, Jane there was paranoia in the '50s.

Yes, Nita Talbot was stunning. I was impressed but she never got the big roles I thought she deserved. I think it was a case of height. A lot of leading men didn't want a woman they are sharing the spot light with to be taller than they are. It isn't the same nowadays which is good.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 16, 2011:

Rod, I'm guessing that's why they (road movies) worked so well - the adlibbing. Those films must have been a riot to work on.

Jeeze...the faintest whiff of a communist connection in the 50's could have destroyed a career. Paranoid times. I wasn't familiar with Nita Talbot but I just looked her up...she's stunning. I can see why you were impressed...;)

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on April 16, 2011:

A non-conformist ant or one without a road map or one with a road map that's out of date...Hmmm! Perhaps further study is required.

The Untouchables was and remains a one of a kind show. A lot of people that went on to become stars got their first break on The Untouchables.

Elizabeth Montgomery before she was a domesticated witch in Bewitched was working in a gambling joint on an episode of The Untouchables. The first Darrin Stevens (Derwood?)Dick York was the brother of a man heavily involved in the prostitution racket on an episode of The Untouchables.

Nita Talbot who played the sexy Russian spy in Hogan's Heroes was a prostitute in the same episode of The Untouchable that gave Dick York his break. Nita was always tall and imposing but I always liked her. She had a marvelously vamp like quality. If she appeared in something you would know that that particular episode or movie would be worth watching. She should have been promoted as America's answer to Diana Rigg.

Yes, Desi and Lucy worked well together then they got a divorce. That was unfortunate for them but also for audiences around the world.

During the '50s the powers that be decided Desi needed to be investigated because he came from Cuba. Well, one episode of I Love Lucy has Desi actually coming out of character and telling his audience that the only thing Red about him and his show is Lucy's hair.

The Marx brothers had a different off the wall style to Bing and Bob. Though, mind you, I would say Bing and Bob learned a few things about breaking the fourth wall from them. Both the Marx brothers and Bing and bob were know for their ad-libing. Each of the road movies came with a script which wasn't followed religiously at all.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 16, 2011:

Rod, I can see how observing nature could reveal things about ourselves. Ants can be riveting...I've got an ant superhighway on one of the posts on my pergola out the back. It's a two-lane highwayand the ants go up and down with amazing confomity, though every know and then there's traffic congestion. I have noticed too, that very occasionally one ant will stray off the road in seeming confusion and I wonder what the story is there. A non-conformist ant...can there be such a thing?

I've never watched 'The Untouchables' but I hear it's a classic. Desi and Lucy were a good foil for each other.

Haha...yes, I know what you mean about Bing and Bob.I remember in one road movie a guy suddenly walked across the screen in hunting gear, carrying a shot-gun, which he aimed and fired toward somewhere off camera...it was completely unrelated to the story. Bing turned to the camera and said "that was my brother Bob...I promised him a shot in the film". Lol. They'd broken the fourth wall, which was pretty innovative really, though I guess the Marx Bros. had done it before them.

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on April 16, 2011:

Ants are very industrious. Why not teachers? Some naturalists have claimed that a study of other creatures can reveal all sorts of things about humans and our place in the world we not only inhabit but share.

I love Lucy was a top comedy series. With her Cuban born husband she shinned. This was in the 1950s.

The production studio they financed not only produced comedies but some of the best dramas around. Growing up, I loved The Untouchables. The First episodes which were about Al Capone were also put together into a movie version for the cinema. The episodes originally came with an intro by Desi Arnaz and Walter Cronkite (the man who was on radio during the years of prohibition). I believe it was Desilu's first venture away from comedy but, man oh man, what a venture!

Desilu productions was really something. The original Star Trek was shot there so it did have a prestigious history.

I Love Lucy was pure comic genius just like the movie The Long, Long Trailer. All that is gold. Whereas Here's Lucy is virtually unwatchable. Time and tide I suppose.

The Fuller Brush Girl basically proved to the world that Lucy could do comedy and do it well. It is worth checking out.

What I liked most about the road movies was the little bits of weirdness like coming across Humphrey Bogart and the African Queen or Paramount Pictures famous mountain logo. Then there's the relationship between Hope and Crosby. They were forever turning up in each other's films as cameo trouble makers. In real like of course they were the best of friends and enjoyed playing golf together. If a cinema goer was watching a Bob Hope picture that did not co-star Bing Crosby they'd be wondering when Crosby would suddenly pop up and the reverse was also true.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 15, 2011:

Haha @ ants as teachers.

I love those old 'on the road' movies..they're hilarious.I really like Lucy too...but perhaps by the 70's that series was getting a bit tired. I picked up an old "I love Lucy" dvd a couple of years ago in a 2 dollar bargain bin and god, it was just so funny. She had to babysit for a some chimpanzee 'children'...needless to say they were little monsters.

Haven't heard of"The Fuller Brush Girl"...I'll jkeep an eye open for it.

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on April 15, 2011:

Well, I'm just saying you can learn something from ants. I suppose you can learn something from anything if that is your passion.

Mind you if the government could hire ants for councellors and teachers they would. You could pay them in lumps of sugar and the occasional bread or biscuit crumb and throw them a picnic at the end of the year.

One thing about the 1950s was off the wall humor. Jerry Lewis began his career with Dean Martin in the 1940s but I reckon their best film was the 1955 masterpiece Artists and Models. In this movie they send up child psychologist Frederick Wortham on the subject of comic books by mercilessly agreeing with him that comic books are bad for the developing mind.

Red Skelton did some of his finest work in the 1950s and Lucy Ball was actually funny in the film The Fuller Brush Girl (1950)rather than the incredible yawn she became in the 1970s.

Maybe Bob hope's best movie without Bing Crosby was The lemon Drop Kid (1951). It has that great Christmas song 'Silver Bells' in it. I would say that The Road to Bali (1952) with Hope, Crosby and Lamour (better known as Dotty on the set) was the most bizarre and fun of the road movies. Maybe I like it because of the little bit of silliness in Australia.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 15, 2011:

Stick with the ants you think? ...;-)

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on April 15, 2011:

Give the funds to the schools and let them decide is probably the best answer even though I would prefer the money to go toward hiring councellors with no specific religious tie-ins.

Ethics being taught in school would be good. Simple things like proper manners being taught seems hard enough to get across.

Yes I would like subjects covering the art of living, philosophy, science and just plain citizenship to be ventured into by teachers. Not sure what world citizenship would entail or if it could, would or should be covered in Social Studies (now part of high school Geography).

A humanist by the name of Benjamin Franklin once studied some ants on the move. He found it very insightful. He was also a naturalist, what you might call a renaissance man of his day or a genius who was a jack of all trades including printing.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 14, 2011:

Rod, I guess they could be trained as counsellors but why not just have the counsellors? Or give the funds to the schools and let them decide.

There's actually no constitutional separation of church and state in Australia. Apparently the humanist society is launching or has launched a legal challenge re the teaching of religious education in state schools - not on constitutional grounds but because they claim it's discriminatory against kids who don't do RE and have to spend that time playing leggo or twiddling their thumbs. The premise is, they're not receiving any education while RE is being taught....they are not ALLOWED too.

The society wants an ethics based course to be taught as an alternative, from prep to year 6, covering subjects such as the art of living, the environment, philosophy, science and world citizenship. Yet, the way things stand at the moment, this is not allowed. because it's not deemed a religion:

"The education minister declared that humanism's ''world-view philosophy [sic] cannot be defined as a religion'', and that the Humanist Society was ''not registered as a religious organisation'' and therefore could not ''provide instruction in government schools''

The Age, Nov.

Hmmm...it's apparently ok to indoctrinate children with alot of ..let's face it...very dubious and often tediously repetitive Bible stories, yet the kids that don't do RE can't have this, (what I think is a great,) alternative? They have to watch ants crawling up the wall? I agree with the humanists -that is disciminatory. It doesn't seem fair.

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on April 14, 2011:

Yes, private schools pay better so if you are a teacher and are offered a place you would be mad to settle for a state school. I would like to believe that public schools can guarantee an education but few can. There are exceptions. Yes, there is that welfare for the rich angle and you are right when you say it isn't fair.

People don't so much want private schools as they feel they NEED them to give their kids some kind of fighting chance in life. You can get a mix of types and a diversity of backgrounds in private schools as well as state schools. You don't need to be Catholic, for example, to have your child in a Catholic school. You just have to have the money. There are couples who break their backs getting the money together because they really don't trust public education.

Since the 1920s people in the USA, Great Britain and Australia have known that the rich have fewer children than the poor. That song "Ain't we got Fun" says it all.

Forms of contraception we are now all familiar with just weren't available to everyone in Australia the way they are now. It was in the 1950s that progress was made. The pill leveled the playing field and with the pill being so available the other forms of contraception became more available.

Yes, education is important. And ignorance is growing.

Maybe the chaplains could be trained as counsellors? Well, it wouldn't work for me. Wow! 440 million dollars!

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 13, 2011:

Rod, well of course the good teachers are monopolised by the private schools. Private schools "the only way"...? I cant agree with that.I do object to public money supporting schools run by the likes of the Exclusive Brethren and I'm equally irked by Scotch College receiving funds so they can add *wild asparagus omelette* to their lunch menu or some such thing.How many parents will ever be able to afford to send their kids to these top schools? I call that welfare for the rich.

I don't mind private schools if people want them...I just don't believe they should be paid for at the expense of the public system. The other thing is, when government schools are the norm you get a diversity of backgrounds mixed together which is much more conducive to an egalitarian ethos.

I wouldn't say it's indulgence that causes poor people to have more children -it's lack of education.The statistics are clear on this...the lower the standard of education, the higher the birthrate. So expect to see larger families among the disenfranchised as our public education system sinks futher and further into the mire.

Also what's with the 440 million dollars for school chaplains? Schools need trained counsellors..not chaplains.

Rod Marsden from Wollongong, NSW, Australia on April 12, 2011:

Jane, there is a time in any nation's history when immigration is helpful and useful and there are times when it is not. What made post WW2 immigration helpful and useful was the planning that went on before it came about. There was the snowy mountain scheme and also our clothing industry. The big or growing names in clothing manufacture actually met the migrants with skills in clothing on the docks to make sure they got a good welcome and were well looked after. There has been zip zero planning for the future since then and it tells. I don't actually blame the present day migrants but the government for this.

As for the stupidly indulgent poor, I mean couples that have large families. This is indulgent and it not only keeps them poor but assures that their children grow up in poverty. Four children max and the average low income wage can cope and give everyone a reasonably good life. More than that and its financial suicide. Simple economics. The Japanese understand this and most couples have no more than two children. The Anglo-Saxon English also understand this.

It may not be a case so much of pulling up the drawbridge but coming to the conclusion that if we try to get more people into the lifeboat we will all go under.

We have a pretty good standard of living that is being undermined by having thrust upon us a larger and larger population base not of our own making. I think this is unfair.

Perhaps it is time these countries with poor standards of living were mended. It has just been too easy too shuffle off excess population to places like the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand without much thought to actually fixing the problems.

The labor government abolished the protections, the tariffs that were protecting Australian jobs. They did good in a lot of other areas. Yes, they did good things like bringing our troops home from Vietnam and opening up serious peace talks with China. I appreciated free tertiary education while it did last and sure health care did improve. Also women got a bigger stake in the future and so did Aborigines.

I have been around long enough to know that there were problems in the old system. A left handed boy should not be tortured into writing with his right hand. A teacher with a drinking problem should not be teaching. Even back in the 1950s and 1960s the private schools tended to get the cream of the crop of teachers. They still do.

Yes, there has been a systematic destruction of the school system which as gone on for a great deal of time. Various governments have simply thrown more and more money at it. It is true that many in the community see private schools as not only the better way to educate their children but the only way. There is some truth in that.

Jane Bovary (author) from The Fatal Shore on April 11, 2011:

Lol Susan, thanks for reading.