Growing up in the south in the 1950s!!!

As I think about growing up in the south during the 1950s, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart. The home I grew up in was somewhat different from other homes. My younger years, until I was married, were always in the shadow of a church. Everyone was watching the preacher’s kids. Therefore, I couldn’t get away with a lot of mischief.

We had no television, so my main source of entertainment was playing the piano, riding my bicycle, playing with the neighborhood kids, and sliding down the red hills behind the church. And you could always find my little buddy, Socks, alongside me. He was a black cocker spaniel that loved to run with me. It was a sad day when Socks ran the wrong way into the path of a car. I didn’t have another pet that meant anything to me after that.

Another thing I loved doing  was hunting with my daddy. We would turn his beagles out of the dog pen and head for the woods. Oftentimes, I would ride my pony, Sandy, and follow Daddy as he went into the woods. I went bird hunting with him often, but I never shot a gun. Daddy wouldn’t let me do that. I was the retriever. Daddy would dress the birds and Mother would cook them up and make bird stew. That was a real treat.

My best friend Ruth lived about five or six miles from me, and I only saw her on Sundays. I always loved going home with her after church. She had no television either, so we created things to do. Paper dolls were our main source of entertainment. Our imaginations would run wild as we created stories, and those little dolls would come alive as we spread them out on the rug in Ruth’s living room.

Another childhood memory I have is the Charlotte Transportation System. In those days, a big city bus would come out to where we lived in Mint Hill. A lady who lived near us took me to the Christmas parade when I was about eight-years-old in downtown Charlotte. What a joyous adventure it was to ride that big bus. As soon as we found our seats, I noticed a sign at the front of the bus hanging over the drivers head…”Coloreds to the Rear.” I leaned over as any curious little girl would do and ask, “What does that mean?” She explained that colored people had to sit at the back of the bus. That was my first introduction to the “Jim Crow” system. Under the “Jim Crow” system, African-Americans were relegated to a status of second class citizens. It was a horrible caste system in the south, that was so wrong. That kind of thinking was prevalent throughout the south during that era. Remember, it was the 1950s. I recall shopping in downtown Charlotte with my mother and seeing separate water fountains for blacks and whites. Those images were indelibly stamped in my mind and are still there to this day. As a child, I never understood any of that, because I grew up in a home where it was taught that blacks and whites were created equal. My father even preached in one of the African-American churches near our home. 

Much has happened over the years in this great country we call America. I have seen many changes during my 72 years of living. My generation, “The Baby Boomers” or “War Babies” has come a long way since then. We never dreamed of carrying a phone in our pocket. We didn’t wear jeans or pants to school. We wore dressed made from flour or feed sacks and were proud of them. We never dreamed of a calculator to help with math problems, and a computer was unheard of during that era. 99% of our clothes were homemade and my mother didn’t even have an electric sewing machine…her’s was the old-timey pedal type. But, we were happy and those were truly the “good old days.”

Life is too easy today. As I sit here at my computer, I’m reminded that this blog is a creation of today’s society. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all the conveniences I have at my disposal today, but sometimes I long for that simpler time.  People were less stressed and took the time to visit a neighbor. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Me, Ruth, and her Sisters!

Charlotte Bus Station in the 1950s

4 Comments on “Growing up in the south in the 1950s!!!

  1. That picture of the bus station and Kings Business College in Charlotte brings back memories for me. I attended Kings in that same building, long before they transferred to a new building. I lived on West 10th Street with one of my cousins and we walked to Kings every morning. The house we boarded in once belonged to Randolph Scott, the actor, and his mother lived there as landlady. I worked part time at a clothing store to help pay my college charges so walked from Kings 12
    blocks to work and then from work to 10th st. after work. No fear then, but now it would be more than dangerous for a young lady to walk that route by herself in the dark. God was surely with me. God was, is, and always will be Good.

  2. Carolyn, through you I get to experience being a PK although, “NOT!” I was a mountaineer and in a very depressed area about the same time you were growing up in Piedmont North Carolina. It was a very closed area being surrounded by ridges of rough terrain, one way in and one way out. I have known you all my life for a few years, and somehow The Holy, Almighty, Amazing, Loving, Sovereign GOD managed to get us on “two roads diverging in a yellow wood” and for that I Thank HIM for the pleasure HE GAVE ME, THROUGH YOU. Your wonderful talent, your solid, steadfast Christian background, your countenance, and your LOVE for GOD, HIS SON and you neighbors everywhere are a testament carried through your words surrounded by HIS WORD. Thank you, and I LOVE YOU,
    Shell

    • Shell, Thank you for your amazing comment. I thank our Heavenly Father for allowing us to become friends. Isn’t it wonderful how God gently leads us along the path of life. Praise be to God for his love and guidance in our lives. I wouldn’t take nuttin’ for my journey.

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