Posts Tagged ‘1950s’

Putting a Price on the Past

Friday, October 24th, 2008


Today’s marketplace moves at the speed of light. It offers both speed and convenience, allowing us to free up a little more precious time throughout the day. While much can be said for the modern way of doing business, it also comes with a price attached. The cost of today’s speed and convenience is the loss of yesterday’s personal service and interactions.

Unlike the generations of our children and grandchildren, as Baby Boomers we have been lucky enough to experience the benefits of both times. This is a double-edged sword, however, because we also felt the loss of something valuable from our childhoods when the old ways of doing business ceased to exist. Back when we were kids, the closest thing to superstores was the department store. Unlike today’s department stores, however, many of the department stores of the past were independent and locally owned. This was even truer of your hometown’s grocery store, bank, and gas station. Of course, some cities had multiple stores that sold the same things – groceries or gas, for example – but each one was owned as a separate “mom and pop” store.

One of the rare exceptions to the individually owned department store during our childhood was Woolworth’s. There was one in almost every town, and many of us ate at their lunch counter as kids. Remember when lunch cost you less than a dollar? (If not, check out the menu below to refresh your memory.) You were able to buy lots of other things with a dollar, too. In the late 1950s, it was the price of a movie ticket, four gallons of gas, or five loaves of bread. Then again, the average yearly salary was only about five thousand dollars. Regardless, it boils down to this: the prices of our childhood no longer exist, but the time period they belong to will always be priceless.

Have a memory you’d like to share? Continue your trip down memory lane at Boomer Yearbook.


Fashion Trends: Everything Old is New Again

Friday, October 24th, 2008



It’s no big secret that fashion recycles its old trends. Ask any fashion slave, and she’ll be happy to confirm that the styles are cyclical. Currently, this fashion practice seems to be taking place more than ever. Recent fashion is taking its clothing cues from numerous 20th century styles, running the gamut from the 1950s through the 1980s.

What does this mean for us Baby Boomers?

Whether you once wished you were old enough to be a Beatnik or a teenybopper, or as a teenager turned into a hippie or a Mod, you’ll easily spot some of the fashion elements from your formative years in today’s trends.

Still have a pair of cigarette pants stashed away? Go find them, because they are today’s skinny jeans. Same goes for 1960s-era pyramid coats, A-line shift dresses, and pea coats.

If tracksuits, tweeds or fringed boots from the 1970s were more your style, you’re in luck. Those are back in, too. You might also want to look through your closet for 1970s granny skirts, peasant blouses, and anything resembling the hippie look. It’s all the rage again, only now it’s called bohemian style.

Feel silly wearing this look? Give it to your trendy daughter in college, she’ll know what to do with it.

All of this fashion “borrowing” from past trends may seem to cast current style makers in a lazy light, but it has been common practice for ages. The hippie and Mod looks of the 1960s borrowed elements from the 1920s flapper style. The 1980s “big shoulders” look was a throwback to the 1940s.

Yes, the term for hip huggers is now low-rise jeans and Mohawks became faux-hawks, but everyone knows they come from our generation. Remember what your mother said? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Baby Boomers, consider yourselves complimented.

Have something to add to this story? Continue your trip down memory lane at Boomer Yearbook.

The Beat Goes On

Friday, October 24th, 2008


Will I joke around and still dig those sounds

When I grow up to be a man?

- Beach Boys, “When I Grow Up” (1964)

Say what you will about the Baby Boomer generation, but one thing is for certain: our formative years were accompanied by an awesome real-time soundtrack. True, many of us were born too late to see the dawn of Rock and Roll or Elvis in his prime. That is a small price to pay, however, for being just the right age to appreciate the new Motown Sound of the 1960s or to catch the wave of the surf rock craze that the Beach Boys rode in on.

Even if you weren’t a fan of “Surfin’ USA” or Diana Ross and the Supremes, you could still count yourself lucky for being on the front lines during American music’s British Invasion. In February 1964, a quartet of chaps known as the Beatles made their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show and ushered in Beatlemania. Less than two months later, this boy band from across the pond was dominating the Billboard charts, and all of the nation’s Top Five hits were Beatles tunes. The band would produce many more hits until its breakup in 1970; their top-selling 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album would be released just in time to welcome the “psychedelic era” of pop culture, along with the albums of fellow Britons and bad-boy counterparts the Rolling Stones, who would return to their hard rock roots by 1968 with their single “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

Whatever your musical tastes were at the time, you could find a plethora of excellent music being performed by an unusually large pool of talented musicians. This was true even if you were barely out of diapers. Remember “The Chipmunk Song”? It won a 1958 Best Recording for Children Grammy, and in 1960 the award went to the follow-up album “Let’s All Sing With the Chipmunks.” Any way you slice it, our childhoods came with a great soundtrack.

Care to chime in? Share your coming-of-age musical memories with others at Boomer Yearbook.

Riddle Me This: Good-For-You-Gaming

Friday, October 24th, 2008


See if you can answer this riddle:

What fun activity can you participate in while lounging in your pajamas that also relieves stress, reduces pain, delays mental decline and can make you a better surgeon?

The answer is playing games, and if you solved this riddle it is probably because you already classify as an avid game player.

The benefits linked to game playing have been confirmed in multiple studies led by credentialed researchers from a variety of medical specialties. If you think I’m pulling your leg, look below for a couple of examples:


A study led by Dr. Robert S. Wilson that was published in the February 13, 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who engaged more frequently in brain-challenging activities were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. The study also listed playing games and solving puzzles among the list of beneficial cognitive challenges. Go HERE to read the entire JAMA publication.

A March 19, 2007 article on entitled “Gaming’s Health Benefits” includes the results from several studies that linked game playing to a variety of benefits, including pain management, fewer surgical errors, and even sharper eyesight. You can read the entire article HERE.

All of these studies linking mental health benefits to playing games means a win/win situation for you, because while participating in a fun activity you are also giving your brain a boost. Best of all is that whether you prefer brain teasers, board games, puzzles, or Pac-Man, every single type of game is linked to at least one brain benefit. Be warned, though, Boomers – six hours of PlayStation every day won’t help you to ward off dementia. It’s brain teasers such as the optical illusions and psychological games found on Boomer Yearbook that will keep your brain at its best well into your Golden Years. Now that you know where to find these games, there’s only one thing left to say: Game on!

Intrigued by the research linking game playing to brain benefits? Puzzle it over at Boomer Yearbook.