Originally Posted by Charles R
Having lived through the 60's I tend not to see it as an idealistic time. Rather a simpler time. One where decisions often didn't need to be made as they were never confronted as much of your life followed a path predetermined to a large degree on society's straight forward outlook. Idealism was more naivety as to why not... such as the space program. Why not land a man on the moon with a bunch of young college graduates and their slide rulers.
I think life was much easier back then. Not nearly the options, decisions, expectations and self-awareness and all that it brings. My father always had a very good job yet he never owned a new car until he was around 40 years old. My mother never worked and we spent every summer at a lake cottage my father and his father built. In the good sense of the word it was a more innocent time.
I was born at the tail end of the era, but the 70's still held on to some of the sensibilities prior to the self absorbed consumer and image driven 80's.
I think "simpler" is probably about right. Back then, you kept up with your neighbors on your street, there wasn't any internet or cell phones and entertainment was simpler (fewer channels, fewer movie screens, less tech). A day at the lake was a big deal. Going out for a drive was something we do with a Google search. Back then, there was a belief that if you were loyal to the company, the company would be loyal to you - and in many cases, it was. It wasn't until stock trading became easy and meeting quarterly growth projections took the place of long term planning that employees began feeling disposable.
People also were happy to live within their means. Sure, people have always wished to be rich, but "doing without" was just real life. Credit cards? Who had one of those? The only thing you would buy on credit was a house or a car.
The only thing that was cheap was gas. A TV was a month's salary. Major appliances were crazy expensive, too. However, all those things would last for 20 years. My mother's Maytag recently died after over 30 years of use. The toaster oven she got as a wedding gift in 1965 is still going strong, though. You don't get that kind of quality now.
I think the big thing that robs us of that time is the need we have now for instant gratification in everything and the lack of respect so many people have for others. Since we're seldom face to face anymore, we seem to have forgotten that we're actually dealing with other people.