Monday, December 21, 2015

Back in the Day, Ain't What It Used to Be!

Little Alan in 1964 after building a snow man.
His parents' 57 sunning in the background.

Back in the Day, Ain't What It Used to Be!
The Fifties and the Tri-Five Chevy Era
       -Alan Arnell

As time goes by, many things stay the same, however many things change. Change sometimes is not a bad thing. Other times change it is not so good. It all boils down to your perspective looking back or looking forward.
Yet, as the years go by, the human condition has the inclination to forget the bad stuff. Forgetting the
Everyone was proud of his spouse and car.
So you had to take a picture of both
darker sides of the Ti-Five's heydays is why I believe that many Chevy Classic enthusiast love the Fifties. While the Fifties did have its painful memories, such as discrimination, little or no auto crash safety, the Cold War (The Bomb!), acceptance of tobacco products and the legal banning of sexual expression.

So the Fifties was not a Utopia. Few things are perfect, you will find out as you live your life. Utopia defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary is: “an imaginary place in which the government, laws, and social conditions are perfect.” When the word Utopia was first coined in 1597 it was taken from the two Greek words “ou”meaning in English not, and Topes”meaning place or put together: “no-place.”

Nevertheless, the Fifties did have its good points and its best points. Most most people felt that in that
Why take the bus when you had your own wheels!
great time it was far much simpler than now. There was more emphasis on family and family values in the Fifties. Folks felt then that there was a less imposing media system to inform us of every thing bad going on around us. Because of those facts or maybe despite of them people in the Fifties had lots of fun. I can say with certainty, that people did not see then the daily flaunting of the lack of respect for right and wrong.

Many Americans feel life started to go down hill in the mid Sixties, coincidentally the same time most Ti-Fives ended their service life. At the beginning of the Sixties everyone had their own set of wheels. Just ten years before the one car per family was the rule. World War II put the ownership of cars down, along with WWII's gas rationing, tire shortages and other limiting factors. Owing a car had many road blocks in the way towards ownership, making a family only to have one car.

Everyone was taking a car trip.
So it goes without saying, that when the war's stifling effects wore off there was a lot of pent-up energy in the car buying market, and that was just the Moms. Think of all the veterans coming back from the horror of war with money in their pockets and a new forward thinking look on life. Everyone was raring to go and they wanted 4-wheels and a tank of gas to get them there.

The auto industry and the businesses centered around the car skyrocket in the Fifties. The buying
public now had drive-in theaters, drive-up service restaurants, drive-through everything and even drive-in churches. All those things and more had a huge impact on society as a whole. Some say the impact was monumental, because you could save time and was presented more personal freedom. It also made many good memories for those who lived during that time.

I was born in 1958, even so, I fondly remember going to the drive-in theater with my parents, then having my first date there. I will not go into details, however going in the drive-in on a date was more fun and perceived more scandalously fun as well. Of course, I only went to see the films, which were three cartoons, with a double feature and it all only cost a buck.

Having your own car in the Ti-Five era was what everyone wanted, and I mean everyone. From your

Grand Mother to you baby sister. New model car introductions was a major event during that time. Everyone talked about the new cars coming. All the new TV shows came on at the same time of the new model cars. Many of the running TV commercials were for the new Chevrolets and those other models. Once revealed everyone wanted to go to their local car dealership to see the new car models for themselves. My friends and I collected all the new car brochures and dreamed about owing one of these great eye-catching new cars. I can still remember the excitement of owning a 1957 Chevy with its chromed tipped rear fins and its low sleek lines.

Cars and everything from homes to furniture got a new futuristic look during the Fri-Five Era. We
were in a new, maybe the most, modern, fun and forward thinking time in US history. The baby boomers were just kids then and who does not want to look fondly on his or her childhood.

I really didn't get to live in the Fifties all that long, only 2 years. However, where I grew up in Illinois I really lived the Fifties twice. (“Field of Dreams”-1989 movie reference) The Sixties did not start for me until 1968. The big change to hippies and flower power along with a change in design and thoughts finally got to Mossville years later than the more progressive parts of the States. At least in my home and with my family.

If there is anything true, it is that “the times are always a changing.” First they put the white line on
the right side of the road, then constructed the interstate highway system, color TV and the start of it all, the touch tone telephone. I could write a whole blog about how life as we know it started going down hill when the push button phone came into homes 50 years ago. Do your own research, you will see I am right! My dad on the day we got the new push button phone went out in our Adobe Beige and India Ivory 1957 Chevy four door Bel Air sedan to come back with a ugly green pickup truck. A F@&d no less! Also, on that faithful day the Ma Bell repairman came to install a new touch tone phone on the wall of our kitchen. A bad day in history. Not the baddest day, but no less a bad day to me.

Yes, so the Fifties slash Tri-Five car era was not as perfect as we would like to remember, but they
were memorable. I loved that time, because the fifties and early Sixties were truly a great time to be alive.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.