How Did We Survive Growing Up In The 50s And 60s?

First of all, we survived being born to and raised by mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and then exposed us to second-hand smoke on an ongoing basis.

There were all sorts of things we dealt with that would be frowned on today, but somehow we survived.

  • We took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
  • Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
  • We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
  • As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags.
  • Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
  • We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
  • We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
  • We ate cupcakes, white bread, and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!
  • We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
  • No one was able to reach us all day, because cellphones weren’t invented yet,  And we were O.K.
  • We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
  • We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms……….WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
  • We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
  • We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
  • We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
  • We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!
  • Little League baseball had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t make the team had to learn to deal with disappointment or practice to get better. Imagine that!!
  • The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
  • And last but not least, we played on Jungle Gyms to our delight and somehow we able to survive.

The True Story Of “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”

After reading the story below, the next time I sing or hear the song ‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ it will have a lot more meaning.

A man named Bob May, depressed and broken-hearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night. His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing.

Bob’s wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer. Little Barbara couldn’t understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad’s eyes and asked, “Why isn’t Mommy just like everybody else’s Mommy?”

Bob’s jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob’s life. Life always had to be different for Bob.

Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he’d rather not remember. From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in.

Bob did complete college, married his loving wife, and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn’s bout with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938.

Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn’t even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn’t buy a gift, he was determined to make one – a storybook!

Bob had created an animal character in his own mind and told the animal’s story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again, Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling. Who was the character? What was the story all about?

The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose. Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn’t end there.

The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book.

In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter. But the story doesn’t end there either.

Bob’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore, it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of “White Christmas.”

 

The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning back to bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn’t so bad. In fact, being different can be a blessing.

Dolly Parton’s Buddy Program

In 1990, the high school dropout rate for Dolly Parton’s hometown of Sevierville Tennessee was at 34% (Research shows that most kids make up their minds in fifth/sixth grade not to graduate).

That year, all fifth and sixth graders from Sevierville were invited by Parton to attend an assembly at Dollywood. They were asked to pick a buddy, and if both students completed high school, Dolly Parton would personally hand them each a $500 check on their graduation day. As a result, the dropout rate for those classes fell to 6% and has generally retained that average to this day.

Shortly after the success of The Buddy Program, Parton learned in dealing with teachers from the school district that problems in education often begin during first grade when kids are at different developmental levels. That year The Dollywood Foundation paid the salaries for additional teacher assistants in every first-grade class for the next 2 years, under the agreement that if the program worked, the school system would effectively adopt and fund the program after the trial period.

During the same period, Parton founded the Imagination Library in 1995: The idea being that children from her rural hometown and low-income families often start school at a disadvantage and as a result, will be unfairly compared to their peers for the rest of their lives, effectively encouraging them not to pursue higher education.

The objective of the Imagination Library was that every child in Sevier County would receive one book, every month, mailed and addressed to the child, from the day they were born until the day they started kindergarten, 100% free of charge. What began as a hometown initiative now serves children in all 50 states, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, mailing thousands of free books to children around the world monthly.

On March 1, 2018, Parton donated her 100 millionth book at the Library of Congress: a copy of “Coat of Many Colors” dedicated to her father, who never learned to read or write.