THE 50’s

THE 1950s
I arrived in Clay Center in September, 1950 to begin teaching first and second grade.
The High School English teacher and I rented an upstairs apartment and shared the rent at $40 a month. My salary was $200 a month for 9 months. I had no car, there was no bus service and only an occasional freight train, so it was not easy to get out of town.
Clay Center was quite self sufficient then. We had 2 grocery stores, a dress shop, 2 department stores, 3 cafes, a hardware store, lumber yard, elevator, 3 full service gas stations, a car dealership, a movie theater, dentist, doctor, dry cleaner, appliance store,cobbler,barber shop, beauty shop and I am sure I missed something.
The town was growing because the naval depot was hiring full time. Many of the boys were being drafted again to serve in Korea.
It was very easy to make new friends. My roommate had a ukelele and our apartment was a pretty popular place to attract everyone. Sometimes the people in the lower story banged on their ceiling to get us to quiet down. We had a lot of fun. It was hard to get any work done.
I met my future husband on the first weekend in Clay Center. He was a veteran and seven years older than I.
At the end of the school year, my roommate married her fiance from Lincoln. My very good friend Sallie went back to the university and I was left alone. I went home for the summer and took some classes at York College. I signed a contract to teach another year in Clay Center and at the end of the summer Max and I decided to get married. We went to the Methodist parsonage and said our I Do’s with his brother and wife and my sister in attendance. We were married for 51 years. Believe me it wasn’t all easy. The very best times were my three children. Sandy, my daughter, 1953, Danny, 1956, Mick, 1958. They have given me the best years of my life and still do.
The 50’s brought us I Like Ike, the father of the interstate highway, which has changed our way of life for better and for worse. In 1950 we had 2 radios and 78 rpm records. It introduced us to Elvis, television and the demise of the small town theater. Personally I stayed home and raised my kids. I still can’t believe that the town actually pulled together to pass a bond issue to build a swimming pool, which any kid who grew up here will remember as the best summer experience.
Clay Center is my home now. Was it Dickens who said “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times”? There were times when money was short and Max would get a RIF notice (reduction in force) from the fire department at the NAD, then he would be assigned a desk job and then a civilian guard job and eventually he became the walking mailman in Clay Center. Every time it happened I thought we would surely leave.
I really do hope Clay Center will wake up and see that we have so much to offer here. I am beginning to lose hope. Never have I seen so many houses for sale. Our school has been consolidated with Sandy Creek and for now we still have kindergarten through sixth grade. We do have the very best volunteer firemen and EMTs. They give their time without any pay at all. It has been awhile since anyone wanted to start a new business and we need that badly.
I didn’t mean to get up on a soap box. We still have so much 3 churches, a senior center,legion club.
We really don’t want to go back to the 50’s. We need to look forward.
So long for now. I will be writing more next month.

THE 1950s
I arrived in Clay Center in September, 1950 to begin teaching first and second grade.
The High School English teacher and I rented an upstairs apartment and shared the rent at $40 a month. My salary was $200 a month for 9 months. I had no car, there was no bus service and only an occasional freight train, so it was not easy to get out of town.
Clay Center was quite self sufficient then. We had 2 grocery stores, a dress shop, 2 department stores, 3 cafes, a hardware store, lumber yard, elevator, 3 full service gas stations, a car dealership, a movie theater, dentist, doctor, dry cleaner, appliance store,cobbler,barber shop, beauty shop and I am sure I missed something.
The town was growing because the naval depot was hiring full time. Many of the boys were being drafted again to serve in Korea.
It was very easy to make new friends. My roommate had a ukelele and our apartment was a pretty popular place to attract everyone. Sometimes the people in the lower story banged on their ceiling to get us to quiet down. We had a lot of fun. It was hard to get any work done.
I met my future husband on the first weekend in Clay Center. He was a veteran and seven years older than I.
At the end of the school year, my roommate married her fiance from Lincoln. My very good friend Sallie went back to the university and I was left alone. I went home for the summer and took some classes at York College. I signed a contract to teach another year in Clay Center and at the end of the summer Max and I decided to get married. We went to the Methodist parsonage and said our I Do’s with his brother and wife and my sister in attendance. We were married for 51 years. Believe me it wasn’t all easy. The very best times were my three children. Sandy, my daughter, 1953, Danny, 1956, Mick, 1958. They have given me the best years of my life and still do.
The 50’s brought us I Like Ike, the father of the interstate highway, which has changed our way of life for better and for worse. In 1950 we had 2 radios and 78 rpm records. It introduced us to Elvis, television and the demise of the small town theater. Personally I stayed home and raised my kids. I still can’t believe that the town actually pulled together to pass a bond issue to build a swimming pool, which any kid who grew up here will remember as the best summer experience.
Clay Center is my home now. Was it Dickens who said “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times”? There were times when money was short and Max would get a RIF notice (reduction in force) from the fire department at the NAD, then he would be assigned a desk job and then a civilian guard job and eventually he became the walking mailman in Clay Center. Every time it happened I thought we would surely leave.
I really do hope Clay Center will wake up and see that we have so much to offer here. I am beginning to lose hope. Never have I seen so many houses for sale. Our school has been consolidated with Sandy Creek and for now we still have kindergarten through sixth grade. We do have the very best volunteer firemen and EMTs. They give their time without any pay at all. It has been awhile since anyone wanted to start a new business and we need that badly.
I didn’t mean to get up on a soap box. We still have so much 3 churches, a senior center,legion club.
We really don’t want to go back to the 50’s. We need to look forward.
So long for now. I will be writing more next month.

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Published in: on April 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment