Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
What does “fall” mean to you? We know, at this age, that word has medical connotations. But we mean “fall” as in “autumn,” the only season with two names. For homeowners, it can mean raking leaves. For seniors moving into retirement villages, it means leaving rakes. Fall is a time of change. Leaves change colors, kids change grades, governments change during election years, menus change with the harvest, and people change clothes with the weather. Remember when TV stations changed programming with the “new fall schedule”? Let’s take a look back to see what befell us in autumns gone by.
In the 1950s, the focus was on summer attire (and those who wore them). Ladies liked the feel of wearing summer clothing all year long, so halter tops and fitted waists were popular. Remember those rompers and high-waisted pants that complemented swimwear? The 1960s brought a chaos of fast-moving change in culture that was reflected in the clothing of the moment. The decade began with loose-fitting coats over matching dresses with coordinating hats, gloves, and short heels. When First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy came on the scene, so did tailored coats, strapless gowns, and elbow-length gloves. As women entered the workforce, bow collars were their answer to the masculine shirt and tie. In the mid-60s, coordination went down the drain as the British Mod Movement crossed the ocean. Fitted clothing gave way to looser tailoring and bright colors in sheer fabrics. Mod men donned tailored suits and sophisticated ensembles while women enjoyed polka dots, paneled dresses, and boots. Mini skirts, and tight, colored hosiery followed by men’s pinstripe “Bonnie and Clyde” suit and solid hats. Women’s kneehigh boots stepped in, and paisleys, tie-dyes, broad collars, beads, and whatever else you could throw together made an anti-establishment statement.
The 1970s was the decade of Me. People dressed however they liked, and bell-bottom pants, leisure lounge suits, and platform shoes were a mercifully-short trend. Open shirts, jumpsuits, traditional suits, torn punk jeans, and leather closed out the decade.
Remember automats, those machines where you dropped in some coins and were rewarded with dry sandwiches and cold soup? No wait, no waiter, no guarantee that the food was fresh. With the space craze of the 60s came Space Food Sticks, forerunners of today’s energy bars. They
crash-landed in the 80s. The FizzNik was an ice cream soda in a straw. You put ice cream in it and used it like a straw, with the soda blending with the ice cream and fizzing all over the floor. Screaming Yellow Zonkers, Fiddle Faddle, and Poppycock were popcorn treats as crazy and mod
as the 60s. Spam® (SPiced hAM)was introduced in 1937 and is still around. If you have a can from your youth, it’s probably still good.
Boomer kids and TV heavily influenced fun in the 50s and 60s. Kids had money to spend and plenty of places to spend it. Eating at those new diners was not complete without playing your favorite hits on the jukebox. There was one at each table! Music was measured in RPMs before
gigabytes. You could go home in your station wagon or banana bike and watch TV shows (some in color!) for juveniles, like Batman and The Monkees, while playing with your troll and Barbie dolls. Collecting baseball
cards was “Topps” then, and selling them can be profitable now! Wham-O made up to 170,000 Super Balls a day. Did you have one or more? What about an Etch A Sketch? Could you make circles on it? Dancing cheek-to-cheek gave way to twisting the night away and disco fever. Who needed partners?
Before the age of cell phones, people sat on the porch or stoop and held actual conversations, looking at each other face-to-face, for hours. World problems were solved, relationships strengthened, “likes” were genuine, and the only cost might be a home-cooked meal.
If you’re hungry for nostalgic foods, toys, and other old-timey items, check out Cracker Barrel (shop.crackerbarrel.com) and Vermont Country Store (vermontcountrystore.com).