Out of the Attic
The clunk of milk bottles delivered to the door...the crackle of a transistor radio...bumping along in the way-way back of the station wagon—baby boomers recall it all
When did you last rummage through the dust-covered boxes that constitute your own personal museum? One look at the vintage LPs and faded Lincoln Logs hiding out in your home and you're reliving your youth. Join us as we dip into the decade that began in 1955, the heart of baby-boomer childhood, complete with Huckleberry Hound cartoons, Monopoly marathons, and free-range play.
Come along as we unearth a few (now very collectible) souvenirs.
Homemade goodies were a snap if Mom owned a stand mixer like this Sunbeam. But you had to have gobs of patience and a fighting spirit if you wanted to get to lick the beaters.
Clowns, circus animals, cartoon characters...painted drinkware like this almost-complete demi-dozen encouraged us kids to set the table—when we weren't arguing over who was responsible for breaking glass number six.
The Handy Andy Tool Set held exciting potential weapons, like a handsaw and a mallet. But it sent at least one fan, This Old House TV master carpenter Norm Abram, in the right direction.
Lincoln Logs interlocked neatly while evoking the romance of the Wild West and Davy Crockett (remember him?).
And wheels, flaps, and pulleys. Tinkertoys felt good in your hands, and they fit together so firmly, no one could knock down your creation, even when it was time to clean up.
The metal nuts, bolts, and beams in an Erector Set were geared for budding engineers with a weakness for moving parts. Peaceful fun, but you had to go to war over who got to control the plug-in electric motor.
Maybe your cookies were stashed in a Little Red Riding Hood or the Cracker Jack Sailor Boy or this classic Humpty Dumpty. Even the delicate work of resettling the ceramic lid without a sound didn't deter you from poaching.
Parents liked to start the day with lots of fresh-perked Maxwell House. Stovetop pots like this one soon segued into sleeker percolators that plugged in.
Way back when, there was only one phone company and only one phone. Then came the Princess, which soon played a key role in Bye Bye Birdie, that early High School Musical.
The genius idea behind the Easy-Bake Oven was a 100-watt lightbulb, just hot enough to bake an itty-bitty cake. Miniaturized cooking gear appealed to kids who thought Mom stood over a hot stove because it was so much fun.
All that's missing from this futuristic boomerang table is a foil pan of Jiffy Pop—and maybe the ashtray you made in third-grade art class for Mom and Dad's Lucky Strikes.
What could be cooler than a sleek, modern shell chair? One that swiveled. Molded fiberglass made it even more stylish.
A sturdy model like this Western Flyer gained you membership in the Afterschool Club of Self-Appointed Adventurers. The only requirement: Be home in time for dinner.
Concentrate hard enough and you may actually recall having to get up to change the channel—and again to fiddle with the rabbit-ears antenna. Anything to watch The Twilight Zone until late into the night, when the only broadcast was a high-pitched test pattern.
Cowboys were big in suburbia, along with cowboy-theme home goods—Hopalong Cassidy bedspreads, ranch-hand wallpaper, cowgirl curtains, and this light-up homage to gruff pardner John Wayne.
The later Mick-A-Matic Camera's signature silhouette recalls the mouse ears made famous by Annette Funicello and the rest of the Mouseketeers gang.
Advancing the film frame by frame, rewinding it and dropping it back into that little canister, getting it developed. Taking snaps wasn't such a cinch. And those flashbulbs! As with the Roy Rogers Snap Shot and Kodak World's Fair Flash here, each camera might take a different type.
Without Charlie Brown and company, there would be no Simpsons. Peanuts held a top spot on the comics pages of inky newspapers, providing wry role models for millions of us kids.
In 1964, when the Beatles' first album hit, everyone ages 10 to 22 stopped what they were doing, advanced to the nearest record store (remember those?), and got in line. Early figurines immortalized John, Paul, George, and Ringo before they stopped getting regular haircuts and started dropping acid.
Before remotes and certainly long before Hulu, we all crowded around the same viewing device and quarreled over the TV Guide.
With their great photographs, Life and Look gave us indelible insights into what was happening in the wider world, from changing teen mores to national tragedies.
Small, fat-fingered mitts with well-oiled leather still evoke the crack of wood bats and the howls of Little League coaches.
Colorful cards were instant currency—and clipped to the spokes of your two-wheeler to make an audible "putt-putt."
Sportscaster Russ Hodges put stories about all the greats between covers—proving once more that an item in the hand can keep memories alive, now as well as back then.