Circulated via e-mail, Comments from 1955. For modern readers, the lists can exemplify a variety of purposes – express a nostalgic belief that the world was a better place in some previous golden era, and they can also provide the reassurance that people have always struggled with the very same kinds of problems that distress us today, or validate the idea that progress has considerably improved life for the average person.
Whatever the motivation behind the creation of the list, it is clearly someone’s modern day imagining of the types of things people might have said fifty-eight years ago rather than genuine comments preserved from that era. Perhaps, put together by someone who was not himself around back in 1955.
List of comments made in 1955:
1) “I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it’s going to be impossible to buy a week’s groceries for $20.”
2) “Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won’t be long before $2000 will only buy a used one.”
3) “If cigarettes keep going up in price, I’m going to quit. A quarter a pack is ridiculous.”
4) “Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?”
The first-class postage cost 3¢ per ounce since 1932 and the rate was not raised until 1958, and even then it went up only one cent, to 4¢ per ounce. It was not until 1974, nearly two decades after 1955, that the cost of first-class postage was raised to 10¢ per ounce.
5) “If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.”
6) “When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage.”
Even as far back as 1929 the average price of gasoline was 21¢ per gallon; it would hardly have been shocking to an adult living in 1955 that the price of gas had crept upwards by a mere 6¢ per gallon over the course of three decades.
7) “Kids today are impossible. Those duck tail hair cuts make it impossible to stay groomed. Next thing you know, boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls.”
8) “I’m afraid to send my kids to the movies anymore. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying ‘damn’ in ‘Gone With The Wind,’ it seems every new movie has either ‘hell’ or ‘damn’ in it.”
9) “I read the other day where some scientists think it’s possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Florida.”
The science talk that year was about President Eisenhower’s announcement of a program intended to put the first artificial satellite into space within two years. There was no news about the U.S. training astronauts that early on; the men who would be selected to take part in America’s first manned space flight effort, Project Mercury, didn’t begin training until 1959.
10) “Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn’t surprise me if someday they’ll be making more than the President.”
The notion was hardly surprising news in 1955. Babe Ruth earned more ($80,000) in 1930 and 1931 than President Herbert Hoover did ($75,000), Joe DiMaggio received the same salary in 1949 ($100,000) as President Truman, and Ted Williams topped them all with a $125,000 contract in 1950.
11) “I never thought I’d see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now.”
Electric typewriters were marketed at the early 1930s. Although manual typewriters were still predominant in the mid-1950s but, electric models were not uncommon.
12) “It’s too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet.”
13) “It won’t be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work.”
14) “Marriage doesn’t mean a thing any more; those stars seem to be getting divorced at the drop of a hat.”
15) “I’m just afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.”
16) “Thank goodness I won’t live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to government.”
In 1955, income tax rates for the average U.S. wage earner were actually going down, not up, as part of a long downward trend. The bottom tax bracket for federal income tax in 1955 was 20%, the lowest that rate had been since 1943, and that rate would continue to drop throughout the next few decades – falling to 11% by 1983.
17) “The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.”
The drive-in restaurant concept originated well before World War II and reached its peak of popularity in the mid-1950s.
18) “No one can afford to be sick any more; $35 a day in the hospital is too rich for my blood.”
19) “If they think I’ll pay 50 cents for a haircut, forget it.”
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