A Walk Down Memory Lane: 1961

A lot of people can remember way back… in this case 50 years.

Fifty years ago, in 1961, we lived in a world that was quite different from the world of today.  For example, when I was a little kid, I was required to address my friends’ parents as Mr. or Mrs. such and such.  There was no way that I could call them by their first name… in the unlikely event that I knew what it was!  There was no bad language on TV or radio or in newspapers, and a little kid only said a bad word if he wanted his mouth washed out with soap.

So right off the bat, it would seem that we lived in a more polite environment then than we do now!

Here, let’s review the state of things in October 1961:

John F. Kennedy was President (you can click on any of these pictures for a larger image)

In fact, 1961 was his first year in office…

You’ll never guess who won the World Series that year!

Yep, it was the Yankees…

And in December, the Packers won the NFL championship

Fashion was much more “modest” than it is today, it seems that the ladies preferred to keep the guys guessing just a bit more than now:

The guys look quite a bit more “spiffy” too; gotta love that hat!

And everyone seemed to dress up a little more when they went our; even if it was just for a Coke.

So let’s see, society was more polite, the President was a classy guy, people were more concerned about looking good… oh yes and the Yankees were winning it all. People also spent a lot of time watching TV.  Of course everybody watched old Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights

Yep, it was always a really big sheeewww

The commercials in those days were classic.  Here’s one they pulled…

The most popular song in October of 1964 was “Hit the road Jack” by Ray Charles.  I can assure you that they didn’t need an edited version for the radio; no F-bombs in that song!

I remember that my Mom always dragged me with her to the grocery store… there was only one redeeming factor about going there: Our store had a cookie aisle that was full of freshly baked cookies in glass bins, and there was a “cookie lady” who would take your order and bag the cookies for you.  She would always give a little kid an extra cookie for free; that kind of saved the whole thing from my point of view.

I also remember that my Mom would go to the store once a week and buy groceries for a family of four and pay with a $20. bill… and get change back!

Read ’em and weep:

And you know what else?  They drove cars made from actual steel!

It may sound crazy, but these cars were made by a Company that was owned by actual shareholders, not by the taxpayers; imagine! Want to get even crazier?  They were completely made in the USA!!!

The winner of the Oscar (they could still say “winner” in those days) for Best Picture was…

So I guess the big movies were about people who left the gangs for the girl they loved…

Yes sir, it sure was a different world 50 years ago!

You know what’s really sad?  Most of the people on earth today have no personal memory of a time when parents could let their kids go out and play and never even think about them being abducted.  They can’t remember a time when people knew how to behave in public, or when people conversed without swearing or ever talking trash.  Would our kids believe there was a time when there were no gangs or drugs or violence in school?  And finally, they cannot possibly conceive of a time without cell phones and texting… and understand that we were actually better for it!

OH, did I forget something?  Yes, I think I did: you could also pray in public without having to worry about being sued.

My kids always seemed to think that I reacted badly to the things they thought were “cool” and new.  They simply couldn’t know that I could see how far we had regressed over my lifetime.  They also couldn’t know that many of their new discoveries were things that I had seen long before… and know how they turn out.

Funny thing is that my kids always rolled their eyes and guffawed when I told them that there was a time like 1961; they simply can’t believe that I’m not making the whole thing up.

Now if we remember 1961, we also remember that a few years later there was a bunch of talk about the “generation gap”.  I guess that maybe there really is a “generation gap” but now we can see that what it really is comes down to different frames of reference.  If you have lived a long time, you have way more references than the young do.  The only question that remains is this: Who makes the adjustment so that communication can take place: the person with more references or the person with fewer references?

Thanks for reading this!  We’ll be visiting some more times in future blogs.  For now,

God Bless!

Postscript: If you would like to see more about 1961, here is a vintage “Year in Review” show:

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in History and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Walk Down Memory Lane: 1961

  1. shaunelle says:

    Very well said. Enjoyed your comments.

  2. Allan Smith says:

    Thanks Don

  3. Pingback: A Trip into the Past: 1936 « Life Reference

  4. Old Jules says:

    Nice blog. I graduated high school and went into the US Army in 1961. Quite a year, it was. Brink of War year because Krushchev announced we had to be out of Berlin by October or there’d be war. The National Guard and Army Reserve were activated and every military compound in the country filled up with tents and trainees.

  5. WendyJC says:

    a 1967 baby here and from Australia but a memory of most of those events, perhaps through highlights over the yrs of my youth .. It’s very sad to look back and see where we are now .. i think i prefer the past when real face to face communication and respect and compassion and oh yes, the modest fashion .. a great blog!
    Thank you and God Bless 🙂

  6. dabneyland says:

    Great post. So wish I could have lived in that time. Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

  7. isaiah43123 says:

    First, Thank you for stopping by My Hmmm Collection. I hope you come back again.

    1961 grabbed my attention… I was born in the Fall of that year and do remember much of what you have shared. It is sad to see how far from those ideals we have drifted. However, in looking back we can see where we began to go wrong and as individuals begin to influence others in the right direction.

  8. Pingback: Ambassadors, part 2 « Life Reference

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