Saturday, April 10, 2010

Indiana - Life In the Fifties

Hey, Y'all,
Yeah, I'm reaching way back for this one - almost sixty years ago when I was a brand new bride, green as a gourd. My first husband and I were married at my home church in Knoxville in January of 1952. I was only 18 and 1/2 and didn't know beans. After the wedding which only close family attended (mine, not his), we went back to my brother Bill's home, and my mom made salmon patties and something else (I don't remember what) and we ate. Soon after that, we left and went to the train station, where we got on the passenger train, and headed for Kendallville, Indiana, where Charlie's brother lived. We rode in the day coach, and sat up all night, arriving some time the next day at our destination.

We stayed at his brother Harold's house. Harold and his wife, Alice, had three children, but don't ask me their names. It has been too long since I saw any of them. After a few days, Harold had found Charlie a job at the same place he worked, a factory making refrigeration units, and we found an upstairs apartment. Harold helped Charlie find some good used furniture and we settled down to married life. The dinette set was one of those chrome and plastic sets that were so common in the fifties, with the tubular legs, and metal trim around the table top. The chairs were made of chrome and covered with foam rubber, which was covered with plastic matching the table top.

We lived there for some months and then moved to Fort Wayne, into another apartment. By that time I was expecting our first child, Carol, and Charlie had found a job as a meat cutter (butcher). He had learned the trade of meat cutting while living in Knoxville and working at East TN Packing Company, before he went into the army, where he had served four years in Panama. He had all kinds of stories to tell about his time in the army. I have no idea how many of them were true and how many he embroidered upon, but he was pretty good at spinning yarns.

Some time after Carol was born, we had moved again, into another apartment, and we bought our first television set. It had a round screen, which was maybe thirteen inches in diameter. We thought we were really "uptown" with that television. I remember watching the "Show of Shows" with Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, and the "I Love Lucy" shows. Folks, I saw the original shows, before the reruns ever came along.

Three years after Carol was born, we moved to a little town called Warsaw, where my daughter, Teresa, was born. During all those years we never owned a car. When Carol was a baby, Charlie rode to work with a fellow worker, and I walked everywhere. I used one of those carts that you pull along behind you to carry my groceries home in. I remember when my sister, Margaret, came up to help me when Carol was born. We were just getting ready to go to the grocery store, and had taken the cart out to the alley and had to go back into the apartment for something. We came back out and someone had come along in those two minutes and had taken the cart. Margaret became so very incensed over that, she talked about it for years. You see, we were raised to be trusting of other people and had never dreamed that anything like that could happen. Both Kendallville and Warsaw were such small towns, the Sears store was a catalog store and if you wanted to buy anything from them, you went to the catalog store and ordered it. In Fort Wayne, one took the city bus to get where they wanted to go except to the neighborhood grocery store.

Winters in Northern Indiana were terrible. The first snow usually fell in October and you didn't see the ground again (all of it anyway) until late spring. Brrrrrrrrr! I certainly don't miss those winters!

Well, now you have it, a little slice of my early days in Indiana. We lived there for about 7 years and then moved back to Tennessee. We were not together for more than a couple of years after that, and we split up. A few years later I met Gramps, and as they say, "the rest is history, too."

The pictures at the top are of course, of big sister Carol, and little sister, Teresa and the other one is of their mama and daddy just a day or so after the wedding on Harold and Alice's living room couch.

Well, that is about it for today. We had a lovely time at Imazo's with her and Mae. We went to Applebee's and we all had steak for lunch. Yum! I couldn't eat all of mine and they didn't get it cooked to my specs, but I ate at least half of it. Of course, they asked if I wanted another one, but no, I did not. We brought about a fourth of Gramps steak home. They serve a LOT of food with a meal, don't they? Anyway we went back to Imazo's and watched a movie called "The Coneheads", an old movie based on the Saturday Night Live's show, starring Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtin. So funny! Imazo had a box of brownie mix, so I mixed and baked them and we had some hot with coffee. Yum, yum!

Well, this is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today. More later. Much love to each of you. Can't wait to see all the other postings for today, but it will have to wait til afternoon. Bye for now. Everyone is doing a fantastic job in the A to Z Challenge! Thanks to Arlee Bird for suggesting it! Bye.



This is wonderful Ruby, I could imagine as I read what you went through in those days, it was so graphic, every detail I was spellbound. I too can't wait until the next letter.

Enjoy your week=end,


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>He had all kinds of stories to tell about his time in the army. I have no idea how many of them were true and how many he embroidered upon, but he was pretty good at spinning yarns.<<

Ha!-Ha! Grammy, That's a funny way of saying "exaggerated".

You do a nice job of painting a way of life that now seems rather alien. Austere is the word I'm thinkin' of.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen

Unknown said...

I love reading these kind of accounts of day to day life and how it used to be. You really bring it to life.

I'm already getting telling my kids about how it was when I was first married and how different it was from now.

Thanks for sharing!

Survivormama said...

I love lucy is my favorite show! Thanks so much for sharing this lovely story...I always love to read your stories...can't wait to read your next one!

Grammy said...

Hey, Y'all,
Thanks for the uplifting comments. i look back at life then, and it is amazing how much life has changed in those 59 years! Back then, we didn't make phone calls back to TN, we wrote letters instead. I wish I had some of those letters now! I've got a lot more stories about life back then, and maybe I will share some over the next few months.

AiringMyLaundry said...

What a wonderful story. I got married at 19 and didn't know beans either.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this. What a young age to get married. My twins daughters are 18yrs old. To me they're still babies. :o)

Grammy said...

Hi, Niki,
I was still a baby too, but thought I was grown up. Ha. If I only knew then what I know now....probably I wouldn't have the two wonderful daughters I have, so, thank God, for ignorance, eh?

Diana Ferguson said...

Well, hello there Ruby. Thanks for introducing yourself. I am probably just a little over an hour from Bedford!

Enjoyed the story. Have a good weekend and stay in touch.

Just Wendy said...

Delightful tale of days gone by. How different life is now. Like an alien planet planet almost.

Look forward to your next post. They always make me smile :)

PS. Love the pics!

~Bry~ said...

This was very interesting and enjoyable to read! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Lisa said...

I loved where you said you were "green as a gourd." :)

Ms. Ruby, I've really enjoyed every single one of your posts - truly.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Rebecca T. said...

The picture of your girls is adorable. Glad you had a nice day... I had brownies tonight too. Mmm Chocolate :)

Fun post!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What you wrote reminded me so much of some of the memories recalled to me by my mother.

If you have the time, please come to my entry into the murder scene blogfest {It is from a historical fantasy set in 1853 aboard a transatlantic steamer bound for Paris.}
Thanks, Roland

Patricia Stoltey said...

I enjoyed reading about your time in Indiana, Ruby. From 1969 until 1985 I lived in Muncie, even finished up my bachelor's degree at Ball State University at the age of 32. Nice memories.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks for the suggestion to look for worms at a bait shop. It's been so long since I've been fishing that the thought hadn't crossed my mind. But now I'm thinking it's time to go fishing instead of worrying about compost... TN said...

Hi Ruby, I would love to come see you sometime when I am down that way. I put your phone number in my phone, but I couldn't find your e-mail address. Send it to me please. My e-mail is:

Anonymous said...

This brought back all kinds of memories. My mom had one of those tables in her kitchen for years. Hers was yellow. I can still see it in my mind. I remember those old t.v. shows, too. I am enjoying your writings. Great pictures. Have a good week.

Calfkeeper said...

What a wonderful blog you have, Ruby. Thank you for commenting on mine so I could get to know you.

I got married at 36 and I didn't know beans then either. ha. The Lord has seen me through the past 5years pretty well.

I love your stories like this, of how it used to be.

Tori Cooper said...

HI Grammy, I loved your memoir! Funny how you lived in Warsaw... my husband & I were very close to moving there with my sister & her husband. They were planning to move this last January; however, they ended up visiting Alaska last summer & loved it there and moved to Alaska instead. We are not interested in Alaska so we are staying in San Diego for a while... but when and if we move we are thinking about either Tennessee or Kentucky! :-) Thank you for sharing your story! I hope to hear from you soon! ~Tori