Retro Dee is a regular contributor to The Grooveyard’s website, writing about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s. Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every week.
What was Summer like in the 1950’s? Well, I wasn’t there, but from what I’ve heard, it was fun, carefree and, of course, romantic.
Like everything in those days, simple joys were appreciated. Just going for a swim or down to the corner for ice cream were the makings of a lovely lifetime memory. Of course there was plenty of excitement too. Let’s have a look at some of the highlights of a 1950’s Summer:
Family Road Trips
The 1950’s were very family-oriented. Typical families then consisted of a Mom, a Dad and several well-behaved children. In the summer when the kids were out of school, the Dad would take time off of work to go on vacation with his beautiful family. Families in those days would pack up, pile into their big car, and go for a traffic-free drive to the nearest location of interest. Classic car ads would often feature families going on trips!
Most vacationing families stayed in motels. Motels in the 50’s were nothing like the shabby, run-down flea bags of today. No, sir! Motels in the 50’s were a treat to stay in! They were new, clean, comfortable and had many amenities. They were less expensive and easier to access than the large Hotels, and plenty of fun! Today, these retro motels are a view into the past. Many still sport their iconic 1950’s-styled signs which were once bright, colorful and new.
Campers were also gaining popularity in the 50’s. Hitch a camper to your ’56 Chevy and you were off! Today these adorable campers are constantly being renovated and coveted by vintage-lovers for their kitschy-cuteness. They might not have had all the technical amenities of today, but vintage campers were novel in their time, and perfect for the family on the go or for whomever wanted to sleep surrounded by nature.
Some families had built-in pools, just like they do today. But the 50’s were the beginnings of the inflatable, above ground pools, such as those made by Doughboy. Inflatable wading pools were an exciting, less expensive amenity that a middle class family could have added to their yard…
… And some folks would opt to socialize in community pools that were new, clean and a friendly place to gather in Anytown, USA.
There’s just something charming about a beach in the 50’s. Was it the ladies’ bathing suits that harken back to modest glamour? Could it be the care-free, yet well-mannered folks who congregated by the water? Or maybe it was the line of beautiful classic cars that sat parked by the seashore. Whatever it was, there’s just something about a beach in the 1950’s! Personally, I’m not much of a beach-goer, but when I see a photo of people on the beach from yesteryear, I just want to don a retro one-piece, grab a towel and walk right into the scene.
Parades & Picnics & Cookouts
Yes, I know parades have been around long before and long since the 1950’s. But nothing was like a parade back in the 50’s as far as showing spirit for your home town.
Cookouts in the 50’s weren’t interrupted by cell phones or video games. Everyone enjoyed being outside, being together and playing games in the yard.
In a less rushed world, picnics were not only more common in the 50’s, but more charming as well. Ladies were adorable dresses on picnics too!
The Ice Cream Truck
Of all the fond memories of the era, one of the most beloved is the ice cream truck on a warm summer’s afternoon. There wasn’t a neighborhood where the Good Humor man wasn’t welcome. Kids could get a large variety of ice cream treats for only a little bit of change.
I hope you enjoyed this post of Summer in the 1950’s.
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