‘average’ family difficult to find March 15, 2014 • Joyce Ore
When the next dictionary is printed, the word “average” may not be included. Ordinary, common, typical and usual also may be deleted.
There was a time when we knew what these words meant. That’s no longer true. For example, what is an average family? A Normal Rockwell picture-perfect average family contained a mother, father, one boy and one girl. The world was made for them. A table came with four chairs, a car with four windows, bananas in a clump divisible by four.
I haven’t seen the picture perfect average family for a long time — maybe sometime before those memorial events of the ’70s gave us a plethora of the unusual, uncommon and uncharacteristic.
What happened to that average family of the ’50s? A vague memory of what it was like is coming to the surface.
It was a warm summer day back in the late 1950s. It was after church, and the average family was in the Chevrolet station wagon on their way to Sunday dinner at their favorite restaurant. Dad pulled the car into the gas station where the attendant filled the car for $2.42, washed the windows and checked the oil and the pressure in the tires.
The freckled-faced son, complete with white shirt and a necktie, smiled from his very own backseat windows on the left of the car. The strawberry-cheeked, blue-eyed darling with pink ribbons in her blond pigtails sat next to her own window on the right of the car. (It is amazing how much calmer the car is when the number of children and the number of car windows are equal.)
At the restaurant, the family was led to a table of four where the dollar special was fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and peas. Because it was Sunday, the restaurant was running a quarter special “two for the price of one sale” on pieces of apple pie with a dip of vanilla ice cream.
The scene oozed all of that which was normal, typical, common and ordinary and just one of the things that helped make America the swell country it was back then.