It’s a common thing to hear older people say “back in my day” or maybe no one really says that in normal conversation anymore and we all use it as a joke. Either way I was wondering what does ‘my day’ really mean? When I’m sitting around with my grandchildren and I say “Back in my day,” which day exactly will I be referring to? Is it now? Is today my day?
I think it is different for everyone and so I thought it would be nice to capture a glimpse of ‘days’ that aren’t mine, generations never experienced, and lives not lived. What better way to kick off a brand new feature than with my very own Grandma.
Name: Reba Alfrieda Stow
From: Modesto, CA
What would you consider to be ‘your day’?
I believe the late 50’s early 60’s were the best days.
What was your favorite outfit to wear?
We wore many dresses. My favorite was when I wore the big full skirt with crinoline underneath. My sweaters and socks always matched. It was the style for the colors to match. If my dress had some pink on it, I would have a pink sweater and pink socks. People would look at you strange if you didn’t match like that. The socks would be rolled down at the top of my shoes and that was the style.
We had pants and there wasn’t anything wrong with it, but we mostly had dresses. They were called pedal pushers then, but we weren’t allowed to wear pants to school.
With the young men, if their parents washed their jeans, they would be so mad. They would wear their jeans until they could stand up by themselves.
What was going on socially during this time?
Drugs weren’t as prevalent and we were politically more sound. Lifestyles were good because we were coming out of the war and out of the depression. People just prospered. Moral issues were thought of in a more positive way also. More families stayed together in that era of time. A lot of things were hidden then also. The media has really changed. People just didn’t get the news immediately as they do today. Mothers didn’t have to go out and work. Later on more and more women went to work.
What special events stand out in your mind?
The football games were some of the best times. The roller skating rinks were something we did on the weekends also. You would skate for several hours with your friends. We had several drive-ins. The outdoor ones became popular. The young girls would come out on roller skates and serve you. We would do many activities with the church and young people groups. Friends stayed close in those days. We were always doing things with other people our age.
What is the biggest difference you see between then and now?
Work was always there when you needed it. Grandpa was able to find several job offers right out of the service before he went into full time preaching. You didn’t have to have a college education to get a good job. You could just work and make a great living. My dad only had an 8th grade education and made a great living his whole life. Now you can have a college education and still can’t find a job. It was an easier life then. Young people always worked and didn’t want a hand out as much as they did in the late 60’s, early 70’s and now. People stated to think that the government owed them and they didn’t need to work for anything. I saw that to be destructive. It seemed like it changed overnight.
What were your hopes for the future?
When grandpa decided he wanted to become a preacher, I decided that would be my life too. I wanted to take that life on too. It really brought us together because we were always doing things together and with the church family.
Is there that one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I wish I would have learned to do something outside of the home so that when my kids were grown I could go back to it. Retirement doesn’t provide much; I would have liked to bring in some more income. I think I would have liked to be an airline assistant or a dental assistant.
Thanks Grandma for sharing! Keep an eye out for more great stories of times past!
If you know a special lady or gentleman that you’d like to feature on ‘Back in My Day,’ please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
***Please note that all interview answers were taken from phone interview and are not exact quotes, but still maintain the integrity of the answer.