I wish I lived in the 1950s


Caitlin Walsh

What if you could take an exclusive voyage anywhere in our great nation? Not just any voyage, but a time traveling voyage. What era would you visit? The roaring twenties? The birth of our nation?
I would choose to visit the 1950’s. The ‘50s were a time of change. After the second World War, America emerged as the most powerful and wealthiest nation on the planet. Families were growing, neighborhoods were developing, style was transforming, and the economy was booming. Despite the fact of the 50’s being a great change in America’s history, what specifically draws me to this decade?


  The fashion and hair back then is a big reason why I admire the ‘50s. During World War II, clothing was limited towards fashion due to the lack of stylish clothing. Once the war ended, a new availability of different fabrics allowed a new type of fashion to evolve. Women typically wore dresses that embraced their natural curves, large coats, batwing jackets, and blouses. It was common for men to wear suits, hats, vests, cardigans, and sweaters.
As for hair in the ‘50s, once WWII ended, new hair care products became available and women started experimenting with new looks. The classiness of the females short hair to the men’s neatly trimmed hair – or for the teenagers culture: the “greasers” hair – were mainly influenced by the mass media. Instructor Patrick Foley said, “One thing I really liked about the ’50s hair was that it took a turn towards being really different. People of the ‘50s became more stylized. Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn were all celebrities from that time period that had remarkable hair.” I agree. Despite the 1920’s dramatic change in fashion and hair, the ‘50s was when the style started to become something really different. The sassy and elegant looks that took place in the ‘50s were and still are greatly adored.


  The ‘50s was a great decade because of the more personal lifestyle without electronics. In the ‘50s technology like smartphones, tablets, and laptops did not exist. Obviously, the ‘50s was not the only decade where electronics didn’t exist – this is just a plus to choosing this decade as my time traveling voyage.
I acknowledge that our advanced technology today can be extremely convenient; who doesn’t love the ability to check someone’s Facebook and learn almost everything about them with the quick click of a button? However, does anyone else wish they lived in a time where people got to know you in person rather than through a phone screen? Soph. Anna Jelsema said, “I agree that electronics can be really annoying. I sometimes wonder what it would be like living a life without them, like how it would be in the ‘50s. Although I think I would miss my phone, I do believe that life would be more personal without electronics.” A lifestyle based around family and friends, where instead of instagramming your meal, you sat around the dinner table talking with those you love.


  Another factor that draws me to this era was the big economy boom. After the war, Americans had reached a level of prosperity that they had never known before. The economy grew by 37% during the ‘50s, while other parts of the world struggled to rebuild from the tragedy of WWII.
One of the reasons why there was such an increase in the economy of America, was the rise in consumerism. People had more money to spend after saving during WWII for so long. Instructor Teresa McCrumb said, “My grandmother lived through WWII and she was married to a man off fighting in Europe. At the factory she was working at, there was someone encouraging everyone to put a large percent of their paycheck into a savings bond that funded the war. Since her husband was off fighting in Europe, she didn’t want to leave him without materials to survive, so she partook in having a savings bond. By the end of the war when he came home, she had all this money saved up through these saving bonds. They cashed those bonds towards their first house. There were a lot of people doing that after the war.
A flood of money in the ‘50s made it where people were finally able to spend money since they were always conserving during the war.” For the most part, people were enjoying life; they were going on vacation, buying new homes and starting families. After the depression, plus the second World War, it was time for a celebration. If I were able to experience this, I know it would have been remarkable.

  The 1950’s would be a fascinating era to visit in our great nation. I admire the fashion and hair, the more personal lifestyle back then, and the big economic boom greatly. It would be a life-altering experience.