Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990: Decades of Discord

By Myron A. Marty | Go to book overview
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9 Changing Families

By 1967, many parents who had begun raising families in the 1950s could say that their hopes and expectations were being realized. Not that they had struck it rich, but they had managed to buy larger homes in suburban neighborhoods. The future looked promising, perhaps because of pay increases and promotions for the fathers. The mothers' willingness to find part-time jobs made a difference, too.

Family Life

As families' prosperity inched upward, they enjoyed such things as genuine summer vacations. In earlier times vacation travels may have taken them to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Now, perhaps with borrowed camping gear loaded into low-powered, unairconditioned sedans, they traveled to such events as Expo '67 in Montreal. The innumerable technological wonders displayed at this world's fair dazzled even the most sophisticated visitors.

For the children, each year in school meant a new grade, a new teacher, and, in larger schools, new friends. Studies, music lessons, sports, church activities, friendships, playtime, visits to doctors and dentists, camping trips, other family outings--all these claimed a place in their crowded lives. With the children all in school, mothers had greater freedom to take occasional jobs, such as substitute teaching or trying their hand in retail sales. Some found full-time jobs, although they preferred seasonal ones that allowed them to be at home in the summer with the kids.

Such families no doubt regarded their way of life as normal, although they did not think too much about what normal meant. They did not strive to live up to some fantasy of an ideal family. Yet their composi

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