Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appeared in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2002 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Barry Cleveland, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Another Sears house; remember the '50s?

A couple of weeks ago I wondered if there were any Sears mail-order homes in White County. I received a call from Charlotte Porter documenting the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Fieber of Crossville, who ordered such a home after the March 18, 1925 tornado. This week I received a card from Carleton Apple of Enfield telling of another such home. He says after the tornado the Dunn family built a Sears home on U.S. 45, south of Enfield. The highway wasn't built until a few years later. The home is now owned by Eddie and Carolyn Wicker.

Now, on to the series of fads and fashions of the decades of the previous century. Do you remember those '50s?

Ranch houses and split-level houses became the vogue as people were glad to say "good-bye" to fallout shelters. Many homes had a station wagon in the drive.

Crinoline petticoats, poodle skirts and saddle shoes were popular with teen-aged girls.

Credit cards started Americans on a great shopping spree.

Three-D movies, Davy Crockett hats, Silly Putty and Slinkys, and Barbie dolls were a few of the crazes of this decade. The Hula-Hoop hit the market, and Frisbees took off.

People played Scrabble. The college gang entertained themselves with panty raids and phone-booth packing.

The young set traded baseball cards bought in bubble gum packs. Procter & Gamble introduced Crest, the first toothpaste laced with fluoride. "Look, Ma, no cavities!" and "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!" were slogans which were quoted everywhere. The '50s generation found the privacy of the drive-in movie theater a place to neck, and occasionally, watch a movie.

Dick Clark and The American Bandstand became a phenomenon. Everyone was doing the bunny hop. And rock 'n' roll emerged.

Elvis became a sensation because of his songs and gyrations. "Love Me Tender," "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" were among his many classics. Pat Boone sang "Love Letters In The Sand," while The Platters recorded "Twilight Time." Jerry Lee Lewis recorded "Whole Lotta Shakin Goin' On." And people were humming "The Chipmunk Song" and "Purple People Eater."

Color TV and canned laughter made their debuts. Some TV shows were I Love Lucy, The George Burns Show, Ozzie and Harriet, Lassie and The Honeymooners.

The Genealogy Library is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Address letters to Genealogy, White County Historical Society, PO Box 121, Carmi, IL 62821.

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