What did you want but couldn't afford in the 60's?
November 22, 2012 5:20 PM   Subscribe

Gift filter: I'm looking for things my parents would have lusted after as teenagers / young adults. Dad was born in 1942, mom in '46, both were quite poor at the time. Example: Dad left the AirForce in '66 and saved up to buy a second hand Seiko watch. Example 2: nostalgic candy. What are some other items they would have wanted but been unable to purchase, or period specific luxuries that I could surprise them with today from the vast used markets.
posted by misery loves company to Shopping (11 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Did someone say nostalgic candy?
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:57 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thankfully, due to the marvels of the modern interwebs, we can all look at the Wishbook Web and see all sorts of Wishbooks from various eras and lust away... Festive bowtie and a game of shufflette, anyone?
posted by peagood at 7:06 PM on November 22, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I've ordered from this candy shop twice, and was happy with the service.
posted by Sophont at 7:11 PM on November 22, 2012

A transistor radio, perhaps?
posted by angiep at 7:41 PM on November 22, 2012

If you could get them a cool restored car to drive around for a day or two, that might be more fun than anything else, but I don't know if you could arrange that. My parents certainly lusted after types of cars when they were teens during the 50s, to judge from the stories they told me.
posted by emjaybee at 8:13 PM on November 22, 2012

Best answer: Are you thinking more teenage years or young adult years? Your Dad was 24 when he got that watch. Hand held calculators (gigantic by cellphone standards) were very exciting and very expensive around that time. It really depends on what they yearned after; maybe you could get into a "what's not around now" conversation and get some clues. Maybe your Mom always wanted a Princess phone (you can get them retrofitted now). Or a portable record player and some records. Or a really really nice pen and pencil set. New saddle shoes. A cashmere sweater set. A string of pearls that "would go with anything." (I'm obviously not coming up with very many Dad things. What did boys want? Besides getting to second base....)

If you can't come up with anything, give them money. You won't be able to afford pure silver coins, but go to a bank and you can still get $2 bills. Give them enough to go to a movie and buy some popcorn. And a bag to carry all the bills in.

And OMG, peagood! What a find. I have to stop with my opinionating now and go spend hours in 1959. Thanks!
posted by kestralwing at 8:14 PM on November 22, 2012

Response by poster: I was thinking mainly young adult, but teenager could work too. I can't believe they sell retro candy. That's a sure thing! These are all great ideas. Checking into car rentals and kestralwing's many excellent ideas. Also, Wishbook web is hilarious.
posted by misery loves company at 9:16 PM on November 22, 2012

I agree that cars were a big deal in that era (like the Ford mustang), along with color tvs and record players. Portable tvs were just starting to be a thing.

If your father was in to music at all, then he probably would have wanted a stereo, starting with a receiver. Agreeing with kestralwing that a princess phone or slimline phone was something a lot of girls would have wanted (I remember my parents going for the slimline in that era). Charm bracelets (either gold or silver) were also popular in that era - example, and here's one more.
posted by gudrun at 9:55 PM on November 22, 2012

My dad, of a similar age, has gotten big into vintage hi-fi equipment from the 60s and 70s: high end receivers, reel-to-reel tape players, good speakers, etc. Things that he wouldn't or couldn't buy himself back in the day. He checks Craigslist daily looking for deals, and frequently goes to thrift stores.

If your dad had a similar interest in music and a lack of funds, maybe he would be interested in equipment from that era as well.

I will caution you, if you decide to buy him things: almost everything he's bought has had something wrong (scratchy controls, left or right channel out, speakers need to be repaired or replaced, reel-to-reel or record player needs a new drive belt, etc). My dad enjoys fixing these things. You'll definitely pay a significant premium if you buy equipment in good repair from a reputable vintage stereo shop. Basically assume something needs fixing until the seller proves otherwise, especially if your dad would not enjoying learning to repair these things on his own.
posted by 6550 at 11:18 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

For your early-to-mid 60s target period, the appliances everybody wanted (but only the affluent could afford) would be an air conditioner and a Color TV.
posted by Rash at 9:33 AM on November 23, 2012

Is dad into sports at all? What about some vintage trading cards or other memorabilia from his favorite teams? My dad has lots of luck finding weird old sports stuff on ebay,, antiques shops also have stuff like this from time to time.
posted by wats at 12:56 PM on November 23, 2012

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