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Jim Chambers

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Recollections: A Baby Boomer's Memories of the Fabulous Fifties
by Jim Chambers   

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Publisher: ISBN-10:  0557091004 Type: 


Copyright:  2009 ISBN-13:  9780557091003

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A light, easy read about life in the United States during the 1950s, told from a kid's perspective.

As one of the first post-WWII Baby Boomers, the author's childhood and early teenage years were in the 1950s, a remarkable decade for the United States that saw enormous political, technological, and cultural changes. Although many books have covered the headline-making events of the era in great detail, few of these books give the reader a real feel for what daily life was like for Americans living in that decade, especially for kids growing up then. The author remembers the little nuts and bolts things of daily life for families during the fascinating decade known as the Fabulous Fifties. "Recollections" perfectly blends paying homage to the little day-to-day rituals with a larger scale examination of social issues and mores of the times, and it’s equally entertaining on either level. "Recollections" is a warm, lovingly honest, and fascinating portrait of America in the mid-20th Century.

The school atmosphere was very different than it is today. There were no armed security guards or metal detectors. We didn't need them. Our enemies were already inside the school – the principal and the teachers. Don't get me wrong, most teachers were dedicated educators, but they were part of a vast right-wing conspiracy with our parents to make sure we got an education. "Spare the rod, spoil the child" was officially part of the curriculum. Forget the old pictures showing the misbehaving kid wearing a dunce hat sitting on the stool in a corner of the classroom. Mere humiliation would have been fine, but our teachers were seriously into corporal punishment, and parents supported them one hundred percent. Most teachers in the 50s were women, but that didn't keep them from wielding a mean wooden paddle. The most popular model was the size and shape of a cricket bat with the emblem "Ye Olde Board of Education" burned into it. Some paddles even had scientifically-designed holes to increase the paddle velocity to produce maximum pain and suffering. The few teachers who had any qualms about blistering a kid's ass would send the miscreant to the principal's office, where the principal had no such reservations. "Bend" and "over" were the only two words some kids ever heard from the principal, who was like the captain of a ship, with supreme authority over every kid, although mercifully, keelhauling and hanging a kid from the yardarm were not allowed. But a school paddling was just the first step in a cruel two-phase process, since after the paddling, the teacher would call the kid's mother to tell her that her kid had been punished for talking in class, pulling a girl's pigtails, being a Commie sympathizer, or some other crime against humanity. Then the poor kid had to sweat out the rest of the day knowing that his father would finish the job when he got home.

Professional Reviews

Red Adept's Kindle Book Review Blog
Recollections: A Baby Boomer’s Memories of the Fabulous Fifties, by Jim Chambers, is not a memoir, but a collection of interesting facts about life in the fifties. It is nicely edited and well written.

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