Boom times. We’d won the war and destroyed the industrial base of our main would-be competitors. There were jobs everywhere. Good jobs in manufacturing, on assembly lines, were readily available. Eisenhower, a war hero, was president from 1952 through 1960. Tax rates were historically high, upwards of 70%, but not a big political issue because they were progressive so only the truly wealthy paid the high rates. Families moved to the suburbs. Husbands worked and wives kept house. Kids were born. Suburbs exploded.
I turned two in 1950, twelve in 1960.
I was three years old. I sat in a basement family room straining to see a small black and white television set. The big kids, four and even five years old, mostly blocked my view. One of them was my older brother Chip. I was there only because he let me tag along. I watched spellbound as Howdy Doody bobbed back and forth and talked to Cowboy Bob, a middle-aged man in a stylized cowboy jacket with leather tassels down the sleeves. Clarabell the clown came on and off the screen, talking.
Television was new and exciting. It wasn’t just me, at three; it was just starting for everybody back then. The one in the basement was the first one on the cul-de-sac in Park Forest, IL. Ads called it a magic box. The parents got together to watch it. Everybody wanted one of their own; but few actually had one.