Pat Boone singing “Love Letters In The Sand,” and Elvis crooning “Love Me Tender.”

Owen Bradley and his orchestra playing “Rock Around the Clock,” from the stage at Dunbar Cave in Clarksville, where they would perform on Saturday nights.

Big cars — really big cars — with the 1957 Chevy standing out among them all.

Saddle oxfords and poodle skirts.

Tiny black and white television screens.

They’re all unforgettable memories for those who lived our youth in the Fabulous Fifties, and for the youngsters of today who think of that era as ancient history, please believe that it was a wonderful time.

Our childhoods were spent during an era of a long and terrible war. We grew up with gas and sugar rationing and even rationing of shoes along with chocolate syrup.

We grew up patriotic knowing there was great suffering and sadness throughout the world with much of it coming to little towns like Hopkinsville and Trenton, when one of our native sons was killed or taken prisoner.

Then came the ’50s.

THE WAR WAS OVER, and it was time to relax from our fears and have lots of fun, and if you were lucky enough to be young during those years, it was wonderful.

We piled into our parents big cars — most people just had one car and teenagers didn’t usually have cars then — and head for drive-in eateries and movie theaters.

For those of you in Hopkinsville, there was a number of drive-in restaurants with Tongate’s on North Main being one of the favorites, and in Todd County, we had our choice of the Coffee Cup or the Dairy Queen at Tiny Town.

There was also a drive-in movie at Tiny Town and on occasion, we’d come to Hopkinsville and usually go to the Alhambra, where we saw lots of happy musicals with the swimmer Ester Williams often starring and there were such unforgettable masterpieces such as Gene Kelly in “An American In Paris.”

The big night of the year was prom night when we wore long dresses with lots of organza and tulle over stiff petticoats. There were no sequins and form-fitting gowns.

Not only were the cars beautiful, but gas was cheap and service stations were really service stations.

Nobody pumped gas. When you stopped at a station, someone came out, pumped your gas and without being asking, checked the oil and washed the windshield.

Daddies worked and moms usually hadn’t joined the workforce outside the home. We’d get home from school and have a snack before chores and homework, and then it was dinner time when everyone sat down together for the evening meal.

There wasn’t any carry-out or trips to McDonald’s for burgers and fries. We had things like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies and usually homemade biscuits or cornbread and a dessert.

Here in Hopkinsville, many moms had prepared dinner from items delivered to her kitchen door from someone at the Giles store.

Then it was television time, and again, the family was together. Usually the very small television set was inside a handsome and large piece of furniture, and we were able to watch such programs as “I Love Lucy,” and the classic that our parents loved and often danced to, “The Lawrence Welk Show.”

Carol Burnett and Jackie Gleason were the favorite comics at our house. “To The Moon!” was a frequent storyline and is often still heard today.

Airline flights were special, and those who worked for airlines were celebrities. Attendants were called stewardesses. They were all petite, all the same size and were very attractive in their sharp airline uniforms.

When we flew, we dressed up. Ladies donned suits, hats, gloves. It was a special time.

The truth is, life was simpler in the 1950s, and they were fabulous years.

Mary D. Ferguson is a staff writer and columnist for the Kentucky New Era. Her column runs every Saturday. She can be reached by telephone at 270-887-3230.

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