Memories of A Baby Boomer
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Showing of 75 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I was looking forward to reading this book after reading some review that compared it to Bill Bryson's hilarious book on growing up in the 50's.
There is nothing wrong with the writing. The problem is the author simply recounts facts and statistics and often repeats himself about what life was like in the 50's, with frequent very superficial passovers about his family's involvement in the period. Aside from a couple of half-funny quips there was no humor nor was there a whit of personal introspection of his own experiences. I too grew up in the 50's and I could recount dozens of funny experiences, heartfelt events and could easily give a better showing of what it was like to live during the cold war, the exhiliration many of us felt when the torch of the presidency passed to a dynamic young President that signaled the end of a bunch of old and creaky fuddy duddy leaders.
I could have more personally and poignently described the joyousness of youth who were not distracted by sex and violence on television or peered pressured to use the plethora of drugs pushed at our youth today. I could have expressed both the fear of Sputnik and the pride of our budding space program. Essentially, it is as if the author us somewhat anal retentive and just is not willing or capable of injecting his personal experiences into the book, as Bryson could and did.
The book could have been so much more but, alas, is as impersonal as a Wikipedia article on the 50's. My two star rating is rather generous. The book was not even worth the discounted price. Being a baby-boomer, when I starting reading this book I thought it was going to really bring back the memories.
Chamber's politics and political correctness views. This took the book totally away from what the 50's and early 60's were about as seen then and not as viewed from today's world. It was almost like the author was trying to apologize for the South's actions while he was growing up. Still, like I said it did re-introduce me to my growing years!
Given a copy of Jim Chambers' "Recollections: A Baby Boomer's Memories of the Fabulous Fifties," shortly before taking a flight out of the busy Atlanta airport, I read every word of it in one sitting. Chambers brought back many memories that I had lived during the fifties, and I found myself smiling, chuckling, and laughing out loud in places. I also discovered I had forgotten or misplaced so many valuable things. Loved reading about the famed Magnolia Tea Room, which was an eating event back in the day, riding the Pink Pig at Christmas, and the popular TV programs of our generation.
Chambers wrote his "recollections," and doesn't claim to have authored a research novel, although many hours were surely put into getting it right. Neither did he claim to have included all phases of this vast, happy for the most part time period when so much was changing every day.
He did, however, give anyone who cares to read his writing, a glimpse into what made the 50s the special time it was and what was happening in everyday America.
Eighteen Special Years Between 1946 and 1964
Chambers also touches on enough world and American history to set the tone of the time frame in which we lived safely and quietly in our neat row houses. And, he has humor, often veiled in serious study, but I gather that is the good man's personality.
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One thing about this book will forever make me sad. My heart hurts to realize that our children and grandchildren will never know this era when backdoors were seldom locked, moms cooked a big meal every night, and no one thought of leaving the family for long. School, church, community, and people themselves were different in the 50s and I miss that some days. Chambers, for reminding me of the good times Jim Chambers' delightful Recollections: Chambers' memories match my own closely, although I am almost ten years older and spent the s in a suburb of Washington, D. Clearly, he supplemented his recollections with a lot of research into popular culture: Speaking as a professional historian, I must say that I found no major and only a few minor issues over which to quibble in this book.
For example, early on, Chambers regards the Korean War as fought in in South Korea, whereas in fact it lasted from to as he later acknowledges , and involved fighting largely in North Korea as well as in the South. In the larger sense, some readers might prefer to read more about the s' darker side, as, for instance, the economic troubles of the recession years, and It was a much maligned decade, and often justly so. Granted, Chambers does mention such problems as racial segregation, and other, less Norman Rockwell-like aspects of the time.
Should he have dwelt more on such matters? It depends on his intent. He has given us a faithful account of his Fifties, as he meant to do, and it is inappropriate to criticize an author for failing to write some other book from what he intended. There were no comparable Hanukkah booklets, but if a teacher knew this holiday's one favorite song, we would sing it, i. Annually, the schools staged Christmas pageants until in high school years, when they recognized both holidays in the program.
Homes that celebrated Christmas were full of holiday activities from decorating the tree, often with homemade ornaments. Mothers baked cookies shaped like bells, Santa, snowmen or Christmas trees. No inflatables or plastic figures. As it is presently, Christmas morning was full of excitement when kids scrambled to see what Santa brought them that he left under the tree.
Stockings were filled with candy canes and lots of other goodies. Families enjoyed Christmas dinners and attending parties as well, Adults sought elusive mistletoe as they imbibed on spiked eggnog and joked about fruitcakes heavy enough to anchor a boat. In Jewish homes, kids cut and pasted strips of colored construction paper to form daisy chains to decorate a family room.
From pop culture to fashion, these memories will take you back in time
Mothers made latkes, potato pancakes eaten with sour cream or applesauce. Children sang Hebrew blessings as they lit orange candles, adding one on each of the eight nights to celebrate this Festival of Lights. Kids would spin the dreidel to win gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins, or gelt, and of, course, open a gift each of the nights. As a youngster, I enjoyed the non-holiday winter activities almost as much as the holiday celebrations.
Jim Shulman | Baby Boomer Memories: Pittsfield streets have stories to tell
Bundled up in outfits that somewhat impeded movement, we were still able to build snowmen and snow forts and engage in snowball fights. We looked forward to going to Clapp Park to maneuver wooden sleds down what seemed like a mountain. Ice skating at one of a half-dozen city rinks was special, but the best was at night at the well-lit Common.
The more adept skied at Osceola Plark playground, and those who could afford it frequented Bousquet. Pittsfield had winter carnivals that were kicked off with carnival queen contestants selling pins. The activities were all kinds of winter sport competitions, e. I also recall car races on Pontoosuc ice and ice fishermen with heaters in their shanties. Neither activity seemed to break through to the water below.
These days, I often hear baby boomers say that the holiday time is not as exciting as it was when they grew up in Pittsfield or elsewhere in the Berkshires. But for sure, through the eyes of today's youngsters, the holiday magic is just as great as it was for us!