Life in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s
Main household Appliances: The appliances found in houses between 20-50 years ago were a primitive version of what we have today. For example; T. V’s when they first came out were huge, chunky and were only in black and white. There were vinyl records that were large and required a record player to play. I think technology has stayed within the same concept, but has gotten smaller, smarter and more efficient. Size of houses: It was not uncommon to have extremely large families in only one bedroom or two for the wealthier families.
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To have four children was considered a small family, whilst in modern times that many children would be considered a large family. Family activities/traditions: The communities and way people were treated were very different in the past couple of generations. For instance, women were often payed less if they could even get a job, and as soon as they got married they were fired because they knew they would have to be off all the time to care for their children. They believed a woman’s purpose was just to stay home, look after children, cook and clean.
Families were a lot closer and children had more freedom and independence mostly because crime was a lot less common so children could walk the streets and visit neighbour’s kids all day without fear. Methods of Travel: There was a lot of public transport such as buses and trains. Only wealthier families could afford a car, as compared with today as almost every family has at least one car. Public Facilities: Sport was as common a thing then as it is now. Public facilities were gyms, swimming pools, sporting facilities such as basketball courts, and footy ovals, as well as having parks and fairs.
We have much the same things today. But when it comes to roads and lighting, we have a lot more freeways and highways. I know from my grandparents who have lived in the same house since they were 20 that where huge areas of bushland were 50 years ago there are now highways and houses. The roads are also very well lit as compared to back then. Types of Entertainment: T. V’s were in their primitive stages but were still available for wealthy or middle-class citizens. Radio shows were common and people would go to watch the cricket or footy often.
Today we have too much entertainment, in my opinion. In the children of today’s world, small children often have phones, iPods, computers and gaming consoles. When even in my generation’s early childhood those things hardly existed. I believe that this form of entertainment for young children ruins their childhood. They miss out on the fun of using their imagination to create games and activities for themselves. They are also exposed to the negative things that the media pushes today at a young age.
While the entertainment and technology can be a good thing, as it is easier to find information and such, it causes more complication as people often can’t go a day without checking facebook for example. Religion: From what I’ve learnt, almost every family went to church and religion often competed with each other. Catholicism and Protestants hated each other and were not allowed to marry. But religion or at least church was a common and normal thing for those times. Health Standards: People were often a lot fitter those days as there wasn’t as much vehicles and T.
V and jobs often required more physical activity. Though hygiene was poor; you were lucky to get a bath once a week and would only wash your face or knees each day. There weren’t the same kind of toilets back then either. There were outhouses or ‘thunderboxes’ that you seldom accessed at night. Instead, if you need to go in the middle of the night you would ‘go’ in a bucket that you left under you bed until morning. Anyone would agree that this is disgusting and unhygienic but that is all they had back then. Smoking was also a common and accepted habit.
People would say that it would kill you, but since it was a slow process, they didn’t listen to them. Teens would also smoke as well. It’s only been recognised as dangerous and prohibited in public in the last decade or so. Education and Punishment: Schools often hit children if they misbehaved or didn’t do their homework. While if you did that today, you would probably end up fired and in jail. It was one method of disciplining children, but teachers shouldn’t have been able to smack kids especially with sticks and rulers on their backsides.
Also, children with special needs were not recognised and seen to be naughty or plain stupid. Therefore, the schooling standards have greatly increased in the past few decades. Crime: Crime was seldom 20-50 years ago. It was almost perfectly safe for children to play on the streets all day without fear of being kidnapped. If there was violence it was often related to drunken scuffles, and drugs were either not as common or more hidden then they are today. Medicine: There was a fair bit of Polio and TB in the past few decades. There wasn’t many medical treatments as there are today.
Now, you can get vaccinated against things such as hepatitis, tetnis, chicken pox, measles etc. And there are many more and better ways to treat diseases and illnesses. Morals: As I mentioned previously, most families went to church. The main religions were Catholism and Protestants. They kept away from each other and were not allowed to get married. Also, you often got married at a younger age like 16-18. If you hadn’t found someone by your early twenties it was unusual. My guess is that there was hardly any pre-marital sex or related things.
Most families had a religious background and frowned upon things such as homosexuality, whilst today if you disagree with that you are labelled a homophobe. After talking about the above topics, I can now answer these questions: •Were the Olden days better? In some ways, yes, they were. For one, crime and violence was seldom and uncommon. Children appeared to have more fun using their imagination and times were simpler and more family-orientated. Though, hygiene was poor and women had little rights. If we could find a balance between now and then, I think life would be perfect. •Is it better to have less?
Less is more, as my father says. If you let your life become consumed with T. V and games, what do you have to live for? It is nice to have the luxuries of today and I’m not complaining. But often I wish we could go back to the basics. Then you have more time to spend with actual people other than T. V and computer screens. •Did people co-operate better? Well, yes and no. Women couldn’t work if they were married (unless they had no children) and teachers seemed to enjoy hitting children but in the means of neighbourhood communities, people seemed to get along better and were more friendly.
Today, or at least in the city, people keep away with each other and don’t get involved with other people’s lives unless they’re close friends or family. •Was life more enjoyable then? For some yes, but if you were poor, no. I would have loved to have a childhood where I could go out with friends all day without a worry and not constantly fight with siblings at home. The technology we have today is a form of escapism and often becomes an alternate reality. Video games provide another world to escape into and you often get caught up in reality T.
V shows and almost forget it’s not real. We have too much today that makes us become anti-social. But I can’t find a definite yes or no answer for this question. •Is quality better than quantity? I definitely believe quality it better than quantity. At the end of my life I would like to look back and think “wow I really had a wonderful, happy life and helped a lot of people” other than “look at my bed and clothes made of money and my 36 cars in my hugely massive garage”. Which Era Do You believe was Better?
This is a difficult question for me to answer. A few decades ago, life was hard but often simple and enjoyable. Today, life is complicated and full of stress but we have the comforts of T. V, music and games to escape into. I think maybe 10-20 years ago would be a better era. There was still primitive versions of the stuff we have today, like huge desktop computers, brick sized mobile phones. 8-bit games, walkmen etc but it was safer and simpler and women had rights to work etc.
I just think that life today is too complicated and electronic. I see 6 and 7 year olds with phones and iPods and talking about sex when I didn’t even know those things existed until I was 12. Also, things such as pollution and climate change weren’t as prominent as they are today. Today we still have people in developing countries dying of poverty, starvation and disease. With all this technology, couldn’t we have focused on helping these innocent people born into poverty?
The production of goods and services keeps business and the economy alive, but doesn’t help issues such as these as much as it could. With the way were are heading now, I can imagine in 50-200 years people not even talking to each other and being transported around in little vehicles staring at a screen all day. We need to work on progressing as humans, not robots… So I’m going to say that the previous generations were better. Yes, it was harder and not as luxurious but people had actual friendships and were closer with their families. I wish life was a lot simpler.