Tuesday, 03 January 2017 11:42

Tales From Harbour House, Back to 1959

Written by
Oswego Blizzard of 1959 Oswego Blizzard of 1959 Submitted photo

As we begin the New Year, let’s go back in time to the year 1959 to see what life was like then.

I’m always telling my grandsons the late 50’s, early 60’s was a wonderful time to live. The TV show “Happy Days” portrayed that era so well, as a time of peace, trust, morality, high standards, etc. Kids were sent out the door to play outside, with instructions to be home “before the street lights come on.” We never had to worry about being locked out because most homes kept their doors unlocked, and in our home the front door key was lost and never replaced. It seemed people were always coming in and out all day. There was the meter reader, the insurance man, the milk man, the Fuller Brush man, the Avon lady, our neighbors, one of which - - Mrs. Johnson - - was always bringing over a stack of her fantastic, just-made, molasses cookies, neatly stacked and then wrapped in wax paper. I still can’t figure out how she wrapped those so neatly without the wax paper coming loose. She, like most folks we knew back then, never knocked on the door. She would just walk in the side door, yelling out my mom’s name, as she headed for the kitchen, where my mom usually was. She was never Mrs. Johnson to us, as everyone called her “Ugh”, which apparently had something to do with a dirty joke about Native Americans, or Indians, as we called them back then. Where was I? Oh yeah, people coming to our house. Well we also had the garbage men, who would go to the back of the house and lug the filled cans to their truck to be emptied and then they would bring them back to where they were. Not like today, where the home owner has to lug them out front. Then there was the big coal truck that pulled up to our basement window, opened it and placed a chute where they made the most God-awful noise as they sent coal flying into our coal bin. I can still remember my dad shoveling the coal into this huge furnace that kept our house toasty warm all winter.

What a different world we live in today, where you can go days and days and not see anyone at all. Back in the “Happy Days” our homes were bee hives of activity, with interactions with all sorts of folks. Here are some other things that happened on the national scene back then...


  • Mattel Toy Company introduces the Barbie Doll at a toy fair in New York City.

  • Debuting that year on TV: The Untouchables, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Twilight Zone, and Bonanza (such a crush I had on ‘Little Joe”)

  • A craze of stuffing bodies into phone booths sweeps America’s college campuses.

  • Hawaii is admitted to the union as the 50th state

  • The U.S. military suffered its first combat casualty in Vietnam.

  • The legendary Motown Records label is launched in Detroit

  • Pan American becomes first airline to offer regularly scheduled flights world-wide.

  • Born in ’59 - - Kevin Spacey, Emma Thompson, “Magic” Johnson, chef Emeril Lagasse.

So, HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone; here’s hoping 2017 is a good year for us all! 

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