Childhood Memories of Growing Up in the 1950s and 1960s
Our best and happy childhood memories and early childhood social development are linked to better emotional, spiritual, and mental health later in life.
Life was simpler back then.
Being an only child in the family was unheard of.
Most children had a sibling or two in the family.
There are always cousins and neighbours to play with.
Back in the day, children were sophisticated socially and learned to adapt and communicate well.
We were a playful lot, and we accepted punishment and caning as the answer to being naughty.
It is different today, with very young children spending a lot of time on their devices.
There are perils for young children and teenagers growing up with high and continued social media usage.
Most prefer to form online connections, have a certain detachment socially and have problems carrying on a conversation without emojis.
“It’s all about how life was – our best childhood memories while we were growing up as little boys around the age of 7 to 12 years old during the late 1950s to early 1960s.
Those Good old days were the best Childhood Memories of Growing Up in the 1950s and 1960s
“Rose Chan was our favourite performer. Wong Peng Soon was our favourite badminton player.
We reared Siamese fighting fishes; the seller was our idol.
Driving license renewal was by pasting an additional slip at the back of a small red booklet.
Susu Lembu was house delivered by our prominent friendly and firm Mr Singh; his bicycle is a stainless steel container.
And the container cap served as a funnel.
Kacang Puteh man came peddling, walking, and balancing on his head six compartments of different Kacang and Muruku.
We swap our old exercise books for a paper cone of Kacang Puteh.
F&N orange was served in wooden crates and displayed on a table during festivals like Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, etc. Eating chicken was rare and was a treat during celebrations.”
‘Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.’ ~ Chili Davis.
Childhood Memories of M&M’s called Treats…
“We always carry a one ringgit note at night in case Mata-Mata stopped us for not having tail lights on our bicycles.
Char Kway Teow was only 30cents, and some brought their egg. One Roti Canai cost 15 sen and a Banana for 5 cents.
We bought Roti Bengali from the Indian roti man who paddled his bicycle around the neighbourhood with the familiar ringing sound.
We bought Cold Storage bread wrapped in waxed paper.
Spread the bread with butter and kaya, covered back with the same waxed paper, and took to school.
A crewcut haircut by the travelling Indian and Hockchew barber was only 30 cents, all the way to the top for obvious reasons – easy to dry when curi-curi swimming in the river or the sea.
Mostly with no swimming trunks, only birthday suits.
On Sunday morning, listen to Kee Huat’s radio facts and fancies and Saturday night, Top of the Pops by DJ Patrick Teoh.
On Saturdays, we entertained ourselves with cheap matinees, usually cowboy or Greek mythology movies like Hercules.
Father gave 70 cents for the Cheap Matinee screening at 10.30 am on Saturday/Sunday, 50 cents for a ticket, 20 cents for return bus fare, Kacang Puteh, or Kua chi.
Nobody pays 1 ringgit for the reserved seat.
Iced Ang Tau was 10 cents. The iced ball was only 5 cents with half red sugar, the other half black sugar, or Sarsi.
Never, never, never talked or mixed with girls until Form 5.
We learned the waltz, cha-cha, rhumba, foxtrot, and offbeat Cha-Cha-Cha from a classmate’s sister.
The first time dancing with a girl nearly freezes; my heart goes boom boom…”
Fondest Childhood Memories – Our Parents Loved Us Dearly
“We survived with mothers who had no maids.
“We survived with mothers who had no maids.
Marriage back in the day meant building a family.
The wife and mother learned to cook and clean while taking care of children at the same time.
We took aspirin, candy floss, fizzy drinks, shaved ice with syrups, and diabetes were rare.
Salt added to Pepsi, or Coke, was a remedy for fever.
They took tonic water at the first hint of malaria.
As children, we would ride with our parents on bicycles/ motorcycles for 2 or 3.
Richer ones rode in cars with no seatbelts or airbags.
The first time, well, but mostly used a modern toilet by squatting on it; only know the bucket system.
Our children will not know the danger of visiting the outdoor toilet at night nor jumping in fright when the man collected the bucket when we were still doing our business.
Toilet paper was torn up newspapers on a hook which we have to crumble first.
White toilet paper is an unknown luxury.
Riding at the back of a taxi was a special treat.
Holidays were unheard of; everyone stayed in their own homes, and trips to the playground was a real treat!
We Survived Jungles in Growing Up in the 1950s and 1960s
“We went with our friends to the jungle to catch spiders without worries of Aedes mosquitoes.
The worst disease one could get was a lockjaw caused by a rusty nail.
A mere seven pebbles (stones) would be an endless game.
With a ball (tennis ball best), we boys would run like crazy for hours.
We caught guppies in drains/canals, and when it rained, we swam there.
We ate salty, lovely & oily food, candies, bread, and real butter and drank condensed milk, coffee/ tea, Ice Kacang, but we weren’t overweight because we ran and cycled all day.
Some of us fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and we smiled foolishly and continued the stunts.
Most of us never had birthday parties until we were 21.
Others don’t even know what’s so significant about the 21st birthday.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and just yelled for them!
When parents found out, they caned us in school, and we would certainly get another round.
Parents always sided with the teachers.
We flew kites with string coated with pounded glass powder and horse glue and cut our hands on the line.
Happiness was winning a kite fight with a local Samseng.
We also have to make our kites to suit our fighting styles.
We were the last generation to know how to use logarithm tables and slide rulers.” – The original Script.
Social Development and Early Childhood Memories
A tremendous amount of social and emotional development takes place during early childhood.
Much of the fun of the 1950s was family-oriented and centred around the children of the post-war baby boom.
When we were kids in the 50s and 60s, Hula Hoops, Barbie dolls, and electric train sets were the toys we played with other children of all races.
There was never any question of mixing with the wrong crowds.
Every adult (read mother) could discipline a child from the community, and the kids learned their lessons well.
During the weekends, people took their entire family to theatres to watch their favourites – this is an event that the children look forward to going to, perhaps a few times a year!
Parent, grandparents, and all family members of all ages enjoyed dancing and music lessons in the evening.
Everyone lived together in the same house.
There was no need to visit your grandparents or aunts, uncles or cousins!
Before the age of Television, adult and children learned to amuse themselves by singing or playing an instrument.
Guitars (the Kapok guitar) are commonly passed around, and someone would play, and everyone joins in the singing at a home concert.
As children with so much freedom to run around the street, swim and play, experience temper tantrums, mood swings were rare.
The children of the 50s and 60s could relate to their expanding social world.
Most learn from the difficult memories to “behave” or control their emotional experience and responses, even though “caning” by mothers is a common form of punishment for being naughty.
The Childhood Memories & Beat Generation Growing up in the 50s and 60s
AND I believe this generation produces the best outcomes – the best parents and grandparent because we remember the hard times well.
CONGRATULATIONS! Please share with others who had had the luck to grow up as kids before the government regulated our lives for good!!
And while you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave their parents were.”
After a bit of research, I found brother Chung Chow’s blog, which credited the original script to his colleagues’ friend, Mr M. Jaykas.
Back in the day, as children, we would address both men as Uncles regardless of their race or differences.
While 90% of the blog post article is written in English, some reference to some Malaysian terms I may have missed in the glossary, please share with us in the comments below!
Unforgettable childhood memories that last forever are the best when shared with friends.