• Barbara Palmer

1950's Family Values



What is old is new again.I have been struck lately by the way friends and colleagues have been describing the past 2 months. For most, life has become home and family-centric: family dinners, game nights, cooking together, movies, puzzles, dance parties, baking. The home has once again become the center of the family.


For years, that was not the case. Families were ruled by schedules: practices, rehearsals, meetings, tutors, commitments. Business travel took us away; we were ships passing in the night, navigating a storm of obligations. Words like ‘busy’ and ‘overwhelmed’ dominated our conversations and were worn as a badge of honor. In mid-March we were forced to immediately abandon what had become the norm. What was left was a routine and pace akin to the stories my parents told of their youth.


I always thought I may have been born in the wrong decade. The ‘50s were always alluring to me: the cars, the clothes, the music. Sock hops and sleepovers, Sunday suppers, malt shops, community.


What is old is new again. Drive-ins are re-opening and offering family fare. Friends are sharing pictures of puzzles completed, Tik Toks learned, homemade sourdough and bagels, family meals. So what happens next? My hope is that we don’t swing the pendulum back to where it was; that our kids say proudly, “No I can’t. I’m having dinner and spending the evening with my family.” My hope is that parents limit outside activities, focusing instead on what kids want to pursue and not what society dictates.


And my hope is that the acts of kindness – checking in on neighbors, donating to charities that support our communities, and making sure food is available to those in need – prevail and let us revisit mid-Century values with a modern twist.

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