What was life like in 1949, when Holden Caulfield was a teenager?

Holden Caulfield is a teenager living in Pennsylvania in 1949, what was life like?

Holden if he was a real person would be 78 years old, what would he look back on and say was significant in his life. What would he tell us life was like? What did teens do? What was their slang? What was the popular music? What was a preparatory school like?

Before I address these questions what the heck happened in the USA way back then 62 years ago? Well some notable events include:

  • January 11, KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh became the first local Television station ever
  • February 10, Death of a Salesman premiers at the Morsoco Theatre and runs an astounding 742 performances!
  • March 4, the first around the world trip ends in Fort Worth, Texas the plane lucky lady II a B-50 Superfortress refueled in flight 4 times!
  • April 4, NATO Defense Alliance¬† is formed in the United States!September 4,
  • Truman announces that the Soviets have the Atom Bomb! The Arms Race begins!!!

As you can read 1949 was a big year in relevance to the Cold War. It was a very cold year with record storms and snowfall. Now what was life like for everyday Americans specifically Teens.

What Music was popular?

From what I have read 1949 was the beginning of the Be-Bop 50’s era some of the popular artists of the time were Frankie Laine, Spike Jones, Vaughn Monroe and Perry Como.

What was their Slang?

Dame-Woman, Broad-Woman, Kisser-Mouth, Swell-Wonderful, Jalopy-Crappy car, Hardboiled-Strong guy, Heebie Jeebies-freak out, Keen-Attractive, Ritzy-Elegant, Scram-Leave, Cool-cool as we know it now, Stuck on-Crush on

What did Teens do?

Teens in the Forties would generally stray away from adults like teens do as well in our generation. Along with being with just friends they would go for walks, dancing and just generally enjoyed life, contrary to teens nowadays they did not par take in drugs as much as teens generally do now and in the forties couples and teens in general were a bit more “wholesome”.

What was a preparatory school like?

Living in a preparatory school as Holden describes it is not that fun or that good of a time. With little privacy and little personal space some kids would feel cooked up and become recluses through this sort of system. They lived all year in these schools except for on holidays. They took classes every day and had little free time from their rigorous schedules and learning.

-Patrick Armstrong&&Heartzzz

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