In 1953, I was 5 years old and anxiously waiting to start first grade the next year. There was no kindergarten, no Head Start, no play schools, so you just waited until you were 6 and could start first grade.
Here I might add that in Athens, Vermont, there was no bus, so transportation was walking and in good weather biking.
My granddaughter was here the other day, which got me to thinking of what she has been privileged with at 5 years of age. In ’53, there was no TV, no internet, no cell phones (for my family anyway), no computers, tablets. You get the idea. We had what is now called a “landline,” which the line part was shared with about five other houses. Every group had at least one person who had the time (or took the time) to monitor the calls. Everyone had a different ring, so you would become accustomed to who was getting a call and I guess you would decide if you should listen!
We were a one-car, one-bathroom family, a washer with no dryer, no dishwasher. (My sister and I became the dishwashers and the clothes dryer by helping hang them on the line or, in bad weather, the wooden bars near the stove.) There was still snow in 1953 but no snowblower, just shovels for us, and Grandpa would plow with the tractor. The insulation at our house was lacking so hay bales and piles of leaves went around the foundation. The storm windows were put on every fall and removed in the spring.
My mother had a huge garden and would can, pickle, and store up everything we needed in that line for the winter. I don’t recall having a store-bought vegetable, pickle, relish until I was 13 when we left the farm to move five miles to Cambridgeport, where there wasn’t room for such a big garden. I remember about that time we were “gifted” with a loaf of Wonder bread! Mother always made her own bread and rolls. As kids we were thrilled with that loaf of store-bought! How mixed up that was?? My uncle tapped five trees and Mother would boil the sap and get about three gallons of syrup. In her “free time,” she made a good share of my sisters’ and my clothes. My two brothers wore jeans and shirts, and they were bought or handed down (can’t recall).
I should mention here that Mother was a bookkeeper in a retail store in Bellows Falls while doing everything she did for us at home. I get tired just thinking about it!
I won’t be around to see what another 70 years will bring and I guess, being truthful, I don’t want to!
DO I REMEMBER 1953?
Not really. I was twelve years old (now you know how old I am), taking piano lessons and ballet lessons, riding my bike all over town sometimes with someone sitting on the seat or handlebars, roller skating, playing stick ball and jump rope in the street in front of our house, and getting ice cream from the Good Humor man when he came by.
My father drove a 1947 Dodge, and when he had two weeks of vacation, we headed to Vermont. By then, we discovered The Pines in St. Albans Bay where my father’s employer had a camp. He had some connection to St. Albans. My father rented a camp for the summer, and I spent the days on the lake, biking up to the Bay to the store for ice cream and watching ball games on Sunday mornings in the field next to the camps.
We had a beagle named Buttons. Buttons was still around when I met Gael. Gael didn’t like Beagles or Bassetts. I think Clark Wright’s parents might have owned one and it bit Gael once, so he said. He didn’t like horses either. One bit him once, so he said.
It was a good time to be young.