The fifties, in more ways than one

"You are woman, I am man...."
"You are woman, I am man...."

Ever since blogging yesterday about how Fab Over Fifty women crave variety and experimentation, I’ve been thinking about the reasons why. I’m absolutely convinced that the fifties and sixties set the stage for how we’d be living in our fifties and sixties.

Let me explain: I was born nine months after my dad returned from overseas in 1946. He was away three years during WWII and my mom couldn’t wait for him to get back so she could stop working and have a baby. I think my dad could easily have waited, but my mother was determined to start a family, buy a home and get the whole life process moving. Dad’s job was to be provider. That’s what dads did in the fifties. So what if he didn’t have a minute to relax after coming home.

Mom never worked again. She sent us to school in the morning, waited for us to return at 3:30 pm, made us TV dinners (you didn’t really make them, you removed the foil lid and popped them in the GE toaster oven) and then filled her nights with Mah-Jong, beauty parlor appointments and TV. That’s what lots and lots of moms did in the fifties.

Dad worked 12 hour days as a dentist but he found time to push me to succeed in school, (helping me with homework well past midnight), to be social (he encouraged me go to dances even though I hated them and couldn’t dance), to appreciate music (classical music and opera played all the time), to exercise (I had tennis lessons when I was seven, even though I was chunky and a complete klutz).

Please don’t get me wrong.  Mom was talented (an artist), well read (she usually had a book in her hands), a good cook (when she wasn’t involved with TV dinners), and more.  She just wanted to be a wife and mother. That’s the way it was.

And just look at her now
And just look at her now (from a Dove campaign)

I remember fantasizing when I was a teenager about becoming a wife and mother too. By the end of the sixties, we all had learned that the world was a bigger place than we had seen. Our parents were too set in their ways to explore, to experiment, to change. We were poised to shake it up.  I started to see I could have a husband and children, a great job, good friends, and be able to cook, travel, knit and write all at the same time. It hasn’t always gone as smoothly as I would have liked, but I’m proud to be a member of a generation of  Fab Over Fifty women that wants it all and refuses to stop trying.

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