Milton residents remember the 50s

For the Weekly Record Herald

WEST MILTON — The last fall oral history recording session of Milton Memories took place on Nov. 10 and covered the 50s by members of the ‘61 and ‘62 graduating classes.

Judy Cool Lecklider talked about Cool’s Dairy Bar, started by her dad in 1957. He was working at Inland in Dayton and was looking for a business of his own. Her uncle, who had a restaurant in Richmond, visited Milton and suggested her dad start one here. He quit his job and started the Dairy Bar where the Subway is now located.

She remembers curling up in a blanket and sleeping on top of the walk in freezer. When they closed up her parents took her home to bed. As they lived on a farm, she rode the bus to school then went to the Dairy Bar. Her job was to take care of the flowers under the sign and to keep the cigarette machine stocked.

Five or six years after opening, her brother was seriously hurt in an accident. It took the wind out her parent’s sails and they decided to lease the business. They eventually sold the Dairy Bar which transitioned into Jack’s Chuck Wagon.

Judy recalled 50 cent hamburgers and 25 cent fries, car hops and a drive through. She also shared that she attended the Elvis concert at the Hobart Arena and that her husband’s brother served in the Army with Elvis from 1958-1959.

Judy brought with her a few of her mother’s aprons. Her mother had one for each day of the week and some special holiday ones.

Judy Battson Butts shared what it was like to live in the country with a large family in the 50’s. She was the second oldest, having six sisters and two brothers. They lived on a farm in a tenant house having a living room, kitchen and three bedrooms. They had a pump instead of running water, a coal stove for heat and an outhouse as a bathroom. They kept a big garden and put up most of the food they needed. Their landlord had dairy cows so they got their milk from cans in the spring house and their beef from him when he butchered.

Monday was laundry day. They used a wringer washer, heating the water in a copper tub that sat on two burners of the stove. The clothes were hung outside to dry. When finished the water was used to clean the outhouse. Tuesday was ironing day, sprinkling the clothes as they went. Saturday was child labor day when each child had their chores to do — clean the frig, scrub and wax the floors, etc.

Her mom was their beautician, doing haircuts and perms. She was a great cook and seamstress. All the girls learned to sew on the treadle machine. She made some clothing and pj’s out of colorful chicken feed sacks.

They were active in 4-H and their church youth group. As their mom didn’t drive, band was their only school extra curricular activity. They did take vacations — to the Miami County Fair. All of them would pile into their two door Chevy. Their mom would pack lunches, using newspapers to keep items warm or cold. They had fun playing games, making donuts and popcorn balls, and Christmas decorations and gifts.

Myra Foster Hutchinson shared about clothing and hair styles. She grew up on a farm on St. Rt. 55 west of Ludlow Falls. Sweaters and pencil skirts with a zipper on the side were popular, always below the knee. Also crinoline petticoats, which were soaked in sugar water (and sometimes starched) for stiffness. When she sat on the bus, she would take up the whole seat. Also popular were: baby doll pajamas; jumpers, pleated skirts; blazers with an emblem on the pocket; sweater sets; and poodle skirts.

Sharon Hughes Steele modeled a poodle skirt for the group. Pennys, Sears, and Bobbie Brooks were popular brand names. Those who belonged to the Rainbow Girls were required to wear skirts and dresses and formals for special occasions.

Teen girls and housewives often wore Spalding saddle shoes. Other favorite shoes were Poll Parrot, Hush Puppies, Buster Brown and penny loafers. Also white bucks, kept clean by patting with a bunny bag or baby powder. Band uniforms were red with a white stripe, a large white plume on the hat, and white buck shoes. The drill team wore red, long sleeve short dresses and majorette boots and carried a baton.

The girls on the homecoming courts wore furs provided by Roark’s Furs in Laura. Favorite jewelry was: pop beads, mustard seed, class rings and spoon rings. Hairstyles were short, soft and curly, pony tails, poodle, beehive, and bangs.

Guys were neat with button up shirts, sometimes with a vest, and belts. They wore suits and ties whenever pictures were to be taken. The “greasers/rebels” wore black leather jackets and tight peg jeans. Hair styles were crew cut, flat top, and the Hollywood DA (duck tails).

Roy Steele covered the automobiles of the ’50s. Every year when the new models came out the guys all cruised the showrooms to check them out, get all the info, and find out the cost. Ford gave us the automobile but Detroit gave us style. There was the Hudson/Nash, Kaiser Frazier, Willys, Studebaker/Packard — none could compete with the Big Three. These autos were classic, powerful and — unsafe. In 1958 there was a big push for the new Edsel in eighteen models. It was a good car that came out at a bad time. They stopped making them in Nov. of 1959.

The ’50s saw the introduction of the Corvette and Thunderbird. Roy then talked about the 1950 Blizzard. It lasted from 11/24 through 11/27. The snow was 12-14 feet deep with drifts over five feet.

They called the Ohio State/Michigan game the Snow Bowl. Michigan won 9-3 as 79,000 people attended in zero temps. A total of 353 people died due to the terrible weather conditions.

This is the first of two parts. Look for the continuation in the Weekly Record Herald on Sunday, Nov. 22.

To hear many, many more details and watch the complete session tune into the local access station, listen on You Tub, purchase a DVD or borrow one from the M-U Library. For further information call Barb at 698-6559.