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A Day in the Life of a 1950s Housewife

Updated on June 14, 2016

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.

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.

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

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      ddddddddhhhhhhh 4 months ago

      great

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      The Honest Truth Again 10 months ago

      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.

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      The Honest Truth 10 months ago

      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.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 13 months ago

      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 profile image

      Chantelle Porter 24 months ago from Chicago

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

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      Dr. Pamela M. Kaminski 2 years ago

      "A mind is a terrible thing to waste!"

    • nathalia27 profile image

      Nancy 2 years ago

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

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      PMARTIN 2 years ago

      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!!

    • Adriennemarie profile image

      Adrienne Lawton 3 years ago from Deptford, NJ

      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.

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      sid 3 years ago

      nice article,thoughts flowed back.

      http://www.westbrookmontessori.ca/

    • jponiato profile image

      jponiato 3 years ago from Mid-Michigan

      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!

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      Bethany 4 years ago

      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.

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      Randi 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Randi 5 years ago

      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.!

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

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

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      jeanine 5 years ago

      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 profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      thanks very much bob

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      break up books 6 years ago

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

    • Jane Bovary profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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 profile image

      Gypsy Willow 6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      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 profile image

      HartMurengu 6 years ago from Nairobi

      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 profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

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

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

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

    • Jane Bovary profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Thanks Kate

    • KateWest profile image

      KateWest 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Delightful, thanks for the read!

    • Jane Bovary profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Oh thanks RH.

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

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      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 profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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 profile image

      ajcor 6 years ago from NSW. Australia

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

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 6 years ago from NSW. Australia

      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 profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

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

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

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

    • Jane Bovary profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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 profile image

      James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

      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 profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

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

    • Jane Bovary profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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 profile image

      SaiKit 6 years ago from Toronto

      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.

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      sarahredhead 6 years ago

      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

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      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

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

    • Jane Bovary profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Thanks Mrs. J B.

    • Jane Bovary profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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!

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      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

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

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      Beyond-Politics 6 years ago from The Known Universe (beyond.the.spectrum@gmail.com)

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Amy I feel the same. Thanks for visiting.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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!

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Amy @ Paint Zoom 6 years ago

      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.

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      Katharine 6 years ago

      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-...

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      P. Thorpe Christiansen 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      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.

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      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      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!!

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      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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?

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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?

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

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

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      Nancy McClintock 6 years ago from Southeast USA

      I loved it!!!

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      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

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

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      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      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...

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      Pkwebhost 6 years ago

      I really enjoy your this post thank you Jane Bovary

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      Beth Godwin 6 years ago

      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. :)

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      Beth Godwin 6 years ago

      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.

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      secularist10 6 years ago from New York City

      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.

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      Liz Elias 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      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!

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      Melanie 6 years ago

      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.

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      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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?.

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      secularist10 6 years ago from New York City

      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.)

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      vietnamvet68 6 years ago from New York State

      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.

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      secularist10 6 years ago from New York City

      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...

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      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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...;)

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      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

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

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      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      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!

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      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.

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      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      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.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Lol Susan, thanks for reading.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Rod,

      Problems, problems..the world is full of them. However I don't think you can blame immigration for the wealth divide in Australia. If it wasn't for post-war immigration, we wouldn't have been able to develop what we have. The divide is caused by too much pie going to too few. Yes, mining has driven the boom and if we had the mining tax more Australians would have benefited from it. What do you mean by the "stupidly indulgent poor"?

      I suppose many of those immigrants leave their own country because of terrible conditions/low standard of living or even, in the case of asylum seekers, conflict and persecution. it's only a happenstance of birth that someone is born anywhere, in any country. it's not like it's a personal achievement that one is born an Australian or an Englishman etc. and thus they are deserving of a better standard of living than anyone else.That's what immigrants are looking for...a better standard of living and who can blame them? But having said that, I don't want to see our population swamped either...I'd like to keep it small but I don't know what the solutions to these global problems are. It seems selfish to just pull up the drawbridge but nor can we open the floodgates because, as you've pointed out before, we can't sustain too big a population,

      The problems you mention about manufacturing relate to the great sweep of globalisation and can't be laid at the feet of one labor government that was only in power between 1972-75. That's the same government that withdrew our troops from Vietnam, gave us a universal health-care system, women's rights, land rights and free tertiary education (nice while it lasted.) I despise the 'business model' of education now.

      Our government schools were good Rod...but there's been a systematic destruction of the system for decades, along with a sucking out of funds and a kind of ideological brainwashing that if you don't send your kids to a private school you'll be messing up their lives. Private schools don't take *problem kids*...I fear our public schools will become desolate wastelands where only the poor and troubled go. That's only going to widen the divide. I don't support taxpayer funding for private schools at all..if people want them, let them pay for it themselves.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Forrestdrake,I was pretty impressed wrh the buick too

    • SUSANJK profile image

      SUSANJK 6 years ago from Florida

      OMG, this was my mom's life.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      Jane, my parents bought there home in the 1950s and what you have said is true. They didn't expect to be able to pay off their home for decades and it was only when my dad retired that this was finally completed. Growing up I shared a bedroom with my brother and my sisters shared a bedroom. Even so, it was a house and, though not a mansion, we did have a nice backyard with a large garden. It wasn't a series of tiny boxes as in a modern flat or unit. We had a place to play outdoors and the bush was nearby.

      We were far from wealthy but we could all have a holiday up north once a year.

      The banks hadn't been privatized and so they weren't out to rip off customers to feed shareholders like they do today.

      Not all government schools in the late '50s and 1960s were very good. I remember a particularly sadistic teacher in kindergarten. She would whack the ruler across my knuckles every time I used my left hand to write with. This put me behind in my studies. In high school the math teacher I ended up with was an alcoholic. What is lacking in schools today is discipline. Schools back in the 1950s and 1960s could be bad but they are a damn sight worse now because teachers are severely limited on how they can discipline children. A harsh word from a teacher nowadays and the child can claim psychological damage and the teacher could be then in trouble. Private schools are really only better because a misbehaving child can be outed from the school to protect the other children and allow them to continue to learn.

      We have had two decades of uninterrupted economic growth thanks to the mining industry. I would say a lot of the wealth has gone to mining shareholders. If you have super and you probably do then you are one of them. Yes, the divide between rich and poor has grown.

      Back in the 1970s an idiot labor government thought it was a terrific idea to get rid of the tariffs that were protecting Australian industry and allow imports such as clothing to become cheaper. End result? We lots a lot of our secondary industries. Manufacturers here could no longer compete with overseas companies and so went belly up. It is very hard to find an Australian firm that makes ordinary leather shoes. Boots made here are of excellent quality (Ug and Williams for example) but not cheap enough for everyone. Jeans used to be made in Australia are now made in China. And so it goes...Lots of jobs were lost and lots of local industry went overseas. We no longer make as much steel as we used to. I should know because I live near Wollongong.

      As for the song popular in the 1920s, the actual words tell a truer story..."The rich get richer and the poor have children." We don't have a problem with the number of children per couple in this country so far but the government has seen to it that this is made up for by immigration. The poor are burdened with growing numbers both in Australia, the USA and the UK and it is no longer the fault of the poor being stupidly indulgent. It is the fault of too higher levels of immigration. The high levels create a larger work force pool to pick and choose from for the rich or those determined to become rich and leaves the poor worker less likely to complain about his or her lot because they can be easily replaced.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      All that's true Rod -I think aspirations were different too. People may have been able to pay off their houses but it took them a long time and most didn't have 'investment properties' . Houses were smaller and kids often shared a bedroom -they didn't live in Mc Mansions. There was less debt; they tended to spend their money on things like washing machines, fridges and family holidays not superflous toys and gadgets. Services weren't privatised and there was a government bank. Most kids didn't go to private schools - they didn't need to because government schools were very good.

      We've had two decades of uninterrupted economic growth in Australia..so where's all the wealth going? There are more millionaires than ever before and more poor people, with an estimated 2 million living below the poverty line. Apparently it's even worse in the US, with the top 10 per cent of income earners pocketing nearly 50 per cent of total income. If we complain about this we're told we're indulging in the 'politics of envy'. So...as the song goes, *the rich get richer and the poor get the picture*.

    • Rod Marsden profile image

      Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

      marcoujor and Jane, the energy concerns we didn't have in the 1950s we do have now and in spades. The rapidly rising price of petrol everywhere, the putting a price on carbon related energy in Australia wasn't around in the 1950s.

      Also America and Australia didn't have soldiers and other resources in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. There was the fighting in Malaya (soon to become Malaysia) and there was the Korean conflict but neither ran on for a decade or more. Neither drained resources quite like these modern affairs.

      Houses were affordable. There was once no question of being able to pay off a home loan. Interest rates in the 1950s were quite reasonable even when put up against the lower wages of average people of the time. People could expect to live in real homes with their families in Australia at any rate and have decent sized backyards. Not any more. Many low income families struggle nowadays to secure a flat or a unit. Yes, the working poor do exist and in greater numbers nowadays.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      Thanks sleppers, I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      marcoujer...it's called the "working poor". Thanks for that.

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      sleeppers 6 years ago

      Good hub.

      i enjoyed your hub ^^

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      Maria Jordan 6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Not much different in the USA, Jane, and I agree with you... much hooplah on the news the other day, I believe it is 50,000 jobs across our country in one day to be given out by MacDonalds (average salary 17,000/ annually). I am torn as people needs jobs yet a parent cannot raise a family on this (even times two...) I will close by agreeing that something's NQR.

    • Jane Bovary profile image
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      Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

      marcoujer..a great comment.Mine was a lightweight fantasy and I'm sure many women did have it very hard back then. As you point out,for one thing, we weren't on an equal footing as far as education went..only a minority of women went on to university. In many respects..it was terrible.

      On the other hand, I look at my Grandmother who had so many accomplishments that are now lost. There doesn't seem to be any time for these things now. Women still make up the greater percentage of low paid jobs...and many are still carrying the bulk of the burden for child-care and housework.I don't envy men either..they too, seem to be working harder and longer..at least those are the stats in Australia. Something's NQR.