Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The 1950's Mother Conspiracy: Revealed

Long before the JFK assassination theories, the Area 51 Aliens suspicions and the Paul is Dead thing, came the mother of all conspiracies.

Those of us born in the '50s came from a different, more terrifying world. Kids like me had like a thousand mothers. Yes, I'm talking about the Mother Conspiracy. There were neighbor mothers, mothers of friends, mothers of friends of friends, supermarket mothers, other people who weren't mothers but thought they should be, teacher mothers, babysitter mothers. They were everywhere. All out to wreck a kid's life every time you turned around.

Your own mother was the Real Boss of course, but you never knew who amongst The Conspiracy were able to report back to the Boss. So you had to mind your manners. All the bloody time.

Of all the mothers of the day, June Cleaver, the mother on the "Leave It To Beaver" show was the most nefarious. She appeared nice but to us kids that was a dead giveaway. She seemed just too good to be true. She always dressed like she was ready for a social gathering, said things like "Ward, I'm very worried about the Beaver" and "Wally, you know, I think you're a very nice young man." Oh man, when mothers said that you knew they wanted something.

I believe she was the Grand Poobah of the Mother Conspiracy. Mothers in the fifties took lessons from her. She demonstrated how to always be asking questions, like:
June: [cooking breakfast in the kitchen] What's in the paper, Ward?
Ward: Nothing.
June: Then why have you been reading it for the last twenty minutes?
Ward: Well, you have to read it, before you know there's nothing in it.

She instructed on the art of seemingly innocent but probing personal comments, like:
June: Ward Cleaver, you have no romantic instinct at all!
Ward: Dear, I'm a married man!

And she gave lessons on how to be as bossy as all get out:
June: [in the boys' bedroom] Good! You're just in time to help me turn the mattress.
Ward: Well, at least that's a change. I'm usually just in time to yell at the kids. 

Not to mention teaching how to dictate social morals to your children:
June: You know, both of you boys should watch your grammar.  
Beaver: Gee, Mom, this is Saturday - they make us watch it all week in school.

So you see what those of us born in the fifties had to deal with. You young pups have it good... Sorry for the long post today. I just had to get it out. It's been very therapeutic.

Happy birthday Mom. I hear your laughter still. Miss you...

Note: (Barbara Billingsley (December 22, 1915 – October 16, 2010) was a distinguished film, television, voice and stage actress who played June Cleaver on the television series Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963) and was a real life mother to two sons, Drew and Glenn, Jr.)


  1. I know, I know!

    With 13 aunts and uncles only on my mother's side, I knew exactly what a frown and a crook of the finger meant. They ALL did it EXACTLY the same way as Grandmaman Rose.

    If I didn't behave, I didn't necessarily get smacked by my own mother; sometimes it was by the mother that was closest to me at the time.

  2. It's a wonder we survived at all. :o)

  3. The bridge era was pretty good... not like this era... but I wasn't padded in bubble wrap and my parents when I was a pain in the arse of a teenager my folks knew that being my friend wasn't good... when I needed a kick in the pants!!
    :) But... my Nanny... she was funny... :) Happy Birthday!

  4. Aaaah.... back in the days when mothers would team up and work together.

    You know.... I don't know if I can imagine Nanny talking like June Cleaver though.....

  5. WW and Ali, you don't know how good you had it. haha. Maybe a different conspiracy for a different age, methinks... :o)