Millésime 1957

The year I came into the world people drove cars with fins that looked like this.

Just about everybody smoked.

Men and women still wore hats to work. Women dressed like this.

A new house cost less than $12K, and a yearly salary was around $4,500.

Elvis Presley was all shook up. Fans flocked to see him star in the movie Jailhouse Rock.

Heart throb Harry Belafonte crooned his way to fame with the Banana Boat Song (Day O) while bombshell Brigitte Bardot headlined in the French romantic comedy La Parisienne.

The frisbee was invented.

The cool kids were watching American Bandstand.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz filmed the final episode of I Love Lucy, a TV comedy about a screwball redhead married to a foreign guy with a funny accent. (Years of watching reruns of that show as a kid may have influenced me slightly).

The Russians launched Sputnik, starting the space race. The Soviet space dog, a stray from Moscow called Laika, was the first animal launched in space and, sadly, the first to die.

John Diefenbaker became Prime Minister of Canada, leading the Progressive Conservative party to victory for the first time since 1930. Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Canadian parliament.

The Suez Canal crisis ended. Canada’s Lester B. Pearson, who would later be prime minister, won a Nobel peace prize for deescalating the situation with the first UN peacekeeping force.

The Treaty of Rome was signed, bringing about the creation of the European Economic Community.

The 44th edition of the Tour de France was won by Jacques Anquetil, who went on to win it five times.

French fashion designer Christian Dior died while on holiday in Italy. It was never confirmed whether the cause of death was choking on a fish bone or from a heart attack after a strenuous sexual encounter.

In 1957, the peak of the baby boom years, the life expectancy in the US was 66.4 years for a male and 72.7 for a female.

Millésime, by the way, is the French word for vintage or a year in which something special is produced. 1957 was a very good year and I am happy to have been born on this day.

Even happier to be here today to remember so many things that have happened since.

Where were you in 1957?

Or where were your parents, if you were still just a gleam in their eye?


  1. francetaste · August 1, 2018

    Joyeux anniversaire!
    Lots to love about 1957–Lucy, fashion…
    Lots to be glad to put in the rear-view mirror–smoking, sexism, gas-guzzling cars that ruined the planet (though why can’t small, efficient, even electric cars be va-va-voom gorgeous?)…

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Merci! You’re right as usual — lots of things are happily behind us. Love the rear-view mirror analogy.

      • francetaste · August 3, 2018

        Inspired by that fabulous car.

  2. · August 1, 2018

    Great episode and I agree, -57 was a good year to be born!

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Ha, I take it you’re of a similar vintage!

  3. M. L. Kappa · August 1, 2018

    Lovely post, Mel!

  4. phildange · August 1, 2018

    Hello sister . I say sister because we grew up in the same general atmosphere and I often see this makes a difference in people’s framing . I like what I feel from and around my fellow humans who breathed the same air . I was born in 59 but at school I was “en avance” so I shared my all childhood and teen age with kids from 56 to 58 . After that I often was with older folks since I was a soul born Hippie and for us it was a bit late, better to be born between 45 and 50 . If I could … .
    My 3 parents came from the planet Zorglub and they dropped me here 12 years too late . I’ll never forgive their carelessness . I hope the genius Trump in his brilliant tracks will declare war to Zorglub after North Korea and Canada .

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Lol, Phil. ‘A soul born hippie’ indeed. Planet Zorglub? Hmm…must be somewhere near my galaxy. 😜

  5. fatdormouse · August 1, 2018

    My parents were probably too exhausted to have eye-twinkles, as my brother had been born just 20 days before! There was still a year and two months to wait before I arrived on the scene!

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Aha, so that’s almost like me and my brother, reversed. Your poor parents must have been frazzled.

  6. Liz · August 1, 2018

    A wonderful “blast from the past” Mel!
    Happy Birthday!
    ❤️ Liz

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Thanks, Liz! Glad you enjoyed.

  7. Osyth · August 1, 2018

    It was a good year for the roses … roses comme toi! I hope you have the happiest of days today and that the year ahead will be truly vintage for you and all you love.

    I was born in 1960 … my parents married in August ’56, their wedding brought forward by several weeks on account of the escalating Suez Crisis. After their wedding on August 3rd, they spent one night together before driving to Portsmouth for my father to board his ship and sail to who knew what. I owe much to Lester B Pearson.

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      What a lovely tale you grace us with in comments, as ever. Really brings home the importance of the Suez crisis. Somehow I’m not surprised that you are an early child of the sixties. 😎 Thanks so much for your lovely birthday wishes!

  8. Garfield Hug · August 1, 2018

    I was not born yet….but I loved watching Lucille Ball…a classic and to me, mother of comedies.

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Agree 100%! What a comic genius!

  9. Jeanne · August 2, 2018

    What a Fun Post! I was 5 in 1957…starting Kindergarten. Check out Leave it to Beaver to see the pace of the 1950s as compared to today. Wow.

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Happy it spoke to you! Leave it to Beaver was another show that set many cultural references for me. That, and the Honeymooners. As you say, another lifetime.

  10. davidprosser · August 2, 2018

    This time in 1957 I’d be enjoying my school holiday in probably rose tinted sunshine. Plenty of games and if very lucky a day trip to the seaside with my parents.
    Penblwydd Hapus Dear Mel.
    Hugs Galore xxx

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Aw, thanks David. So glad to see you chiming in with memories. I cheated by announcing my birthday to the whole world but how lovely it is to reap so many nice wishes! xoxoxo

  11. poshbirdy · August 2, 2018

    Happy birthday! Your posts are always full of so much great ‘stuff’ and it’s hard to imagine that this black and white hat-wearing era was so recent!

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Feels like yesterday and another lifetime ago. Funny life, eh? Thanks for your lovely comments!

  12. Suzanne et Pierre · August 2, 2018

    Happy Birthday (a day late!). I wasn’t born in 1957 (I came into the world 3 years later) but I am amazed by the research you did to find out what was happening in 1957. It was indeed a busy year. (Suzanne)

    • MELewis · August 2, 2018

      Thanks, Suzanne. It was fun and actually inspired by a birthday card I got a few years ago. Google makes the research pretty easy…

  13. medicaresolutions670220094 · August 2, 2018

    I was starting 3rd grade after moving from Topeka, Kansas to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They had already learned to write in cursive in the second grade ( which kids don’t even do currently) and in Kansas, I hadn’t. First major school crisis for me. I relate to all the 1957 history as I was living through it! Thanks for the memories!

    • MELewis · August 4, 2018

      What? Kids no longer learn cursive? That’s a newsflash for me and I’m strangely appalled. Not that handwriting is necessarily a life skill, but as you say it was a major milestone back in the day. Thanks for sharing your memories and glad that mine inspired you to think of them!

  14. thehomeplaceweb · August 3, 2018

    That was a fun trip down memory lane……I love all things vintage. I was a one year old….

    • MELewis · August 4, 2018

      Glad to have you along for the ride!

  15. coteetcampagne · August 3, 2018

    My year was 1955.
    So our references will be similar.
    My father habitually wore a rather snazzy trilby and my mother did not go out to work, but spent her days hand washing and dusting the ceiling and admonishing me for transgressions that I hadn’t even committed.
    I followed my sister, The Angel.

    • MELewis · August 4, 2018

      Wow, sounds like there’s a story in there… Usually we devils have angelic siblings. 😛

      • coteetcampagne · August 4, 2018

        Maybe I’ll write about it. Scarred for life, obviously….

  16. A new life in Lille · August 4, 2018

    Hope you had a great birthday!

    • MELewis · August 4, 2018

      As good as it gets at this grand old age. Merci Monsieur!

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