Cedar chest has evidence of long-ago fads, trends

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 16, 2016

It is amazing how fads come and trends surface. English poet Abraham Cowley said that the world is a scene of changes.

During cleaning and straightening items in my cedar chest, I found a wad of assorted colored sock tops I used with my bobby socks. I got swept up in a fad during my high school days and fell right in style with the rest of the girls pictured in our annual that year. We all wore our loafers with those concealed thick sock tops bulging over our ankles. I took a lot of teasing from my daddy about “that roll,” as he called them.

In 1958, the hula-hoop was a craze of historic magnitude. For six months during that year, between 100 to 200 million of hula-hoops were sold. My parents bought me one, but I never mastered it. They disappeared as most as quickly as that fad started. I notice they reappear now and then, and soon after, just fade away.

In 1958, the introduction of the new 1959 model cars revealed them as the longest and lowest in history and sporting big fins. Even in the next year, cars considered small models got larger.

And, can you believe it, there was a boom in credit cards worldwide that year?

Cookware coated with the supposedly “fantastic” Teflon appeared in the ‘60s and made a big hit. Thank goodness, it got much better as the years flew by. I have a new (improved) Teflon-coated skillet, which is a delight to use.

The first Pentil felt-tipped marker went on the market in the sixties.

It was 1960 that the world’s population reached three billion—one billion more than the 1930 count. By 2013, the figure climbed to an astronomical 7.125 billion.

In 1961, rocking chairs soared to new popularity due to orders from President John F. Kennedy’s doctor for him to obtain one for his office.

By 1967, one hundred million telephones were in use in this country. In 2013, 41 percent of American homes had wireless telephones.

In 1967, Hollywood had its most prosperous year in a decade. It was the same year baseball great Mickey Mantle sent a ball soaring over the fence to mark his 500th career home run.

A 1967 bumper sticker read: “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

Physical fitness was propelled into the spotlight as a new national fad in 1968.

The five-cent cost for mailing a first class letter climbed to six cents in 1968. Compare that to today’s rate, effective Jan. 17, 2016, at 47 cents.

Statistics show that in 1968, the average American ate eleven pounds of fish in a year. And speaking of meat prices that same year, ground chuck cost seventy-nine cents a pound. A beef roast sold for $1.19 a pound.

In 1968, a Hershey Bar weighing ¾ oz. cost a nickel. The following year, the price jumped to a dime, with an increase in weight to one and one half ounce.

 Nina Keenam is retired from the newspaper business. Her column appears on Saturdays.