Tomorrow, June and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary. We were married in 1957, hence the title of this article.
Many of you remember the year 1957, although there are some readers of this blog who were born after 1951-52 and so don’t remember ’57. But for those who remember that year well, you probably also recall how then 1900 seemed like a very long time in the past.
Well, now it is as many years back to 1957 as it was in 1957 back to 1900!
Do you “old timers” remember some of the following things about 1957? The top two hit songs of the year were Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” and Pat Boone’s “Love Letters in the Sand.” (I liked the latter much more than the former.)
The movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1957 was “Bridge on the River Kwai.” Many of you probably remember the touching 1957 family movie “Old Yeller.”
Although it came out toward the end of 1956, Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” was popular in 1957, and June and I saw it on our wedding trip.
The New York Times bestseller list for May 26, 1957, indicated that John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” and Grace Metalious’s novel “Peyton Place” had been on that list for the most weeks in the non-fiction and fiction categories, respectively.
Many things were quite different in 1957 than they are now. After we married, we had only one landline, rotary dial telephone. Long distance calls were expensive—and rare.
And since we were students and didn’t have much money, we didn’t even own a television for several years.
The summer we got married, I worked at the shoe factory in Windsor, Mo., where I was also pastor of a small mission church. Most of that summer I earned only the minimum wage of $1.00 an hour—plus the $25 a week received from the church.
That fall after we enrolled in William Jewell College, I was happy to get a good-paying job in downtown Kansas City: it paid $1.17 an hour when I started, if I remember correctly.
Granted, a dollar went further back then. When we moved to Liberty at the end of the summer, we were happy to find a two-room apartment for $50 a month, including utilities. The average cost of a new house was just over $12,000 then.
Gasoline averaged about 24 cents a gallon—although I remember buying some for 17.9 cents during a “price war” in Liberty.
One of the top-selling cars in 1957 was the Chevrolet Bel Air—and the price of a new two door hardtop, like the one pictured, was $2,300. (The one in the picture is priced at $139,900 now!)
In January 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated for his second term as POTUS. In September he sent federal troops to Arkansas to provide safe passage into Central High School for the Little Rock Nine.
In October 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth. That event sent a shock wave through the American public, as it seemed to indicate the technologically superiority of the USSR.
Yes, it is interesting to look back to 1957 and to remember the way things were then and how different things are now.
But for me, personally, the best thing about 1957 was getting married to a wonderful woman who has been willing to put up with me for 57 years—and counting.