It Was a Very Good Year – 1954-1960

On July 13, 2012, my two daughters surprised me with a big box of wrapped gifts, informing me it was exactly 80 days until my 80th birthday and I would be able to unwrap one gift a day.  The gift items would commemorate a year in my life in some way.  This is what I received this week.

1954 – My oldest daughter embroidered dish towels from 1954 patterns.  The Dutch Boy is from The Workbasket – April, 1954 (the same month and year she was born) and the girl with the umbrella is from a 1954 coloring book.

1955 – A 1-½ inch diameter tin labeled School Buildings 1955 and containing an actual film strip showing the latest improvements in school buildings in that year.

1956 – A TV Guide for February 4-10, 1956.  A note is attached, “You were probably watching some of these shows waiting for your first son to arrive.”  My oldest son was born on March 8, 1956, so I was spending a lot of time watching Gary Moore, Perry Como, Annie Oakley (a favorite of my toddler daughter), and Cincinnati’s local star, Ruth Lyons.

1957 – A Betty Furness Westinghouse Roast Meat Thermometer and Skewer.  Betty Furness was best known in the early days of television for opening Westinghouse refrigerators and talking about all of their wonderful features.

1958 – A 1958 copy of Woman’s Day Cook Book of Favorite Recipes.  I have a large cookbook collection but have never seen this one.  I was interested to find a lot of canning and bake-from-scratch recipes.

1959 – A metal tin that had held a typewriter ribbon.  It has an interesting graphic on the top of the tin and Feb 59 on the back.  After all of the years I spent typing, I love anything dealing with typewriters, especially the vintage items.

1960 – A picture of President and First Lady Kennedy leaving the hospital with John Kennedy, Jr.  The note attached to this picture says, “1960 – The year two important John-Johns were born“.  This refers to my youngest son, John, who was born March 11, 1960.  When he was a toddler, we did refer to him as John-John now and then.

As I was leaving the hospital with my baby John, I looked nothing like Jackie in her perfect suit, hat, gloves and pumps.

All of my posts on this wonderful celebration are listed in Family – My 80th Birthday in my index on the right hand side of the page.

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Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

12 thoughts on “It Was a Very Good Year – 1954-1960”

  1. I remember those years very well. We were married in April 1954, our first son was born in 1957, second son in 1958, 1960 hubby was a 1st Lt in the Air Force and on isolated tour in Greenland for a year. The two boys and I went back to Fremont, Ohio for the year.

  2. Every time I read these posts, it makes me tear up a little. I’m just overwhelmed with how much work and thought your family put into this. It really shows how much they love and care about you. You are so lucky ❤

  3. Such wonderful gifts, and I still can’t get over the time, effort, and love put into them. You are blessed!
    I remember getting so excited when my grandparent’s TV guide would arrive in the mail. I think they received it once a week, if I’m not mistaken. I used to take out a pencil and circle all the shows I wanted to watch. I remember there being so many half hour shows on then. Of course, there weren’t many stations to choose from. We had channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13. My kids laugh hysterical, every time I tell them that. Then they say, “and you used to have to get up to change the channel, EVERY time. I haven’t even told them yet, about the rabbit ear antennas…guess they will find that amuzing too.
    Hope your are enjoying your weekend!

    1. You’re so right about the TV in those days, but we didn’t know there would someday be cable TV with an infinite number of shows to watch. And yet sometimes we spend several minutes looking for something to watch – too many choices maybe.

      You’re also right about these two daughters. They’re both especially good at this sort of thing and I look forward each day to seeing what else they’ve found. Lillian

  4. So amazing! I’m excited for next week because that will include my birthyear and I’ll get to reminisce WITH you! always so great to see your posts – just love ’em!

  5. Each time I think what will they come up with next for you? And each time, I am amazed at how fun these gifts are. It must be such fun to wake up and know there is a special something awaiting to be unwrapped.

    Hugs from Holland ~

  6. I’m enjoying each post depicting your birthday surprises. I’m a few years behind you in age, but many of the post-war early 50’s items are very familiar.

  7. I continue to be amazed at the loving work your daughters have put into making your 80th birthday such a memorable occasion!

  8. More wonderful gifts. My favorite this week is the TV guide. Annette Funicello and Ed Sullivan! Love it, brings back great memories for me. Mickey Mouse Club, the Beatles, Bikini Beach movies, Frankie Avalon. I loved watching Ed Sullivan. I just saw him in an old movie a few weeks ago. So funny. I too am amazed at all the thought and energy put into these lovely gifts. They are really doing some great embroidery and knitting too. This must have been in their plans for awhile to get everything done…Good job to the girls. Love them all. thanks for sharing your gifts with us.

  9. Your daughters have brought gifts not only to you, but to many of us who lived through some of those years. Thank them for me, please. =) I hope you’ll share a recipe or two for canning from that great recipe book!

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