I have a real thing for the 1950s. I lived through this golden era and remember the poodle skirts, tail fin American cars…and Elvis. Especially Elvis. It’s my love of everything about the decade that motivated me to write The 1950s Adventures of Pete and Carol Ann. This is a chapter book series for middle-grade readers consisting of short stories set in the 1950s.
With that fifties passion in mind, I’m collecting a few activities that might constitute an average weekend’s goings-on during the Eisenhower era.
You can credit the GI loans following the end of World War II. Or perhaps it was the baby boom generation and the need to house all those newborns. Or credit the bustling economy that inspired perhaps the most significant housing boom the country has ever seen. Lots of young families spent their weekends with real estate agents, mostly looking for new construction in parcels of land outside of city centers. This became known, for the first time, as suburbia.
Weeknights and weekends were made for television watching. On Saturday night, that might mean a TV party. TV trays were meant for dinner while watching your favorite program. That dedication to the tube doesn’t seem quite so exciting today, but the TV was brand new for most Americans in the 1950s. At the beginning of the decade, television ownership was something just for the rich folks. By the end of the fifties, ABC, and CBS were household names. To pick one particular year, the 1950-51 programming season, weekend choices included The Frank Sinatra Show, The Perry Como Show, Your Show of Shows and Kukla, Fran and Ollie for the kids.
Rocking and rolling
This genre of music goes back farther than the 1950s, but radio disc jockey Alan Freed was generally credited with inventing the phrase to describe the young people’s music he was playing in Cleveland as early as 1951. The ’50s were the decade in which the term teenagers gained popularity and kids in that age group began observing different lifestyles than their parents. One of their pursuits was music. They bought records, went to dances and planned weekend sleepovers where the new music blared from record players as loudly as their parents would allow. Favorite stars of the era, in addition to Elvis Presley, included Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Ritchie Valens, and Fats Domino.
You can learn and teach your children more about the era through my 50s nostalgia books for kids, the series The 1950s Adventures of Pete and Carol Ann, and through my fifties coloring books. Just visit my website, here.