Jacky Hyams

Hoop Skirts and Ponytails – A Fifties Memoir

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Elvis is waiting outside in a big pink Caddy.
Or rather, he would be if the dreams and fantasies of millions of teenage girls could only come true… And like so many other thirteen-year-olds, East End schoolgirl Jacky Hyams has fallen under the spell of the man with the swivel hips and sexy voice, an unforgettable moment in time amidst a tidal wave of social change in Britain: the era of the Fifties teenager.
All around her, people are shaking off the memory of the drab austerity years after the Second World War. Ration books are now history. The good times have finally arrived. Families like Jacky’s are starting to be tempted by the incredible new household goods in high-street shop windows: TVs, fridges, washing machines, electric heaters, now widely available on credit. Wimpy bars and frozen fish fingers are changing the culinary landscape. Even the Prime Minister is telling the country: ‘You Never Had it So Good.’
Now, for the first time ever, teenagers are being wooed as never before, consumers in their own right, rather than mere mini versions of their elders. It is a dramatic cultural shift that sparks a huge rift between the generations. As bewildered parents struggle to cope with her teenage rebellion against old-fashioned attitudes, for Jacky all these tempting changes can only lead her in one direction – an all embracing desire for freedom – and a growing determination to break free of the traditional East End way of life.
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