Monday Memories: Chicago in the ’50’s

5 Feb

Growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1950’s was a blast. Well, at least I thought it was.To quote my mother, “We were poor, but everyone else was, too, so we didn’t know we were poor.”

Kids weren’t plugged-in and tuned-out back then. Everyone walked to school without earbuds blasting from an iPod or texting their every thought. After school, we played outside until we dropped from exhaustion or the front porch light flashed on and off, signaling time to come in for dinner and a bath.

Did you ever play steal the bacon? We used an old scrub brush as the bacon. Do you even know what a scrub brush is? Just kidding! We had two teams, each assigned a number. If the number one was called, the two kids who were ones, ran to the middle of the sidewalk, and one kid would try to grab the scrub brush and get back to home-base before getting tagged by the other kid. When we had a large group, we played in the middle of the street. Not much traffic back then. After 6pm, most everyone was home.

If you were a little girl, you played hop scotch and jump rope. Then, there was the complicated art of double dutch. I vaguely remember being able to jump between the two ropes, but I wasn’t that great at it. I spent endless hours playing with my Barbie doll. I made clothes for her with scraps of fabric and yarn. They didn’t have Barbie dream houses or pink convertibles back then. No Ken doll either. I think my Barbie was going to join the convent and become a nun. Can you imagine? Sister Mary Barbie?

Yes, life was simpler back then. I’m not sure if today’s technology and modern conveniences have really changed the world for the better. The jury’s still out on that one. Wish I still had my Barbie!

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