Gary Morton oral history recording


Gary Morton oral history recording


An audio recording of an oral history of Gary Morton and his life in Portland, Oregon, during the 1950s. It was recorded on May 31, 2000, as part of an oral history project specifically looking at lives during the Korean War and the effects it had on people. Morton was born in California in the early 1940s and moved in time to go to grade school and high school in Portland, Oregon. He was about ten years old during the Korean War of 1950-1953. Growing up in a white, middle class family and community, the biggest thing that Morton remembers from the 1950s is discovering pizza. Morton did not have opinions on the war at the time because the US government was seen to be the good guys and could do no wrong. He, and others in his community, believed that it was important for the US to stop the spread of communism through the world. Morton talks about the strong fear of communism and bombs that people had. He remembers the TV announcements, siren warnings, hiding under a desk, bomb shelters and their information packets in preparation to survive a bomb. As a kid, Morton was aware of the possibility of radiation from the bombs because the government showed videos of the Japanese melting from the Nagasaki bomb during World War Two. There was an expectation that the US government would stop the bomb if one was seen coming. There was an equal fear of polio at the time, aggravated by the fact that the cause was unknown at that point. Morton remembers entertainment including going to the movies, picnics and going to the beach, and playing baseball. He remembers the standard clothing of jeans and white t-shirts with a buzzed haircut for men and girls wearing skirts and dresses. Morton describes the 1950s as an “Age of Innocence” since nobody at that time questioned anything. This “swallowing of facts” included everything from the war to the sports heroes that he read about in the newspapers. He compares it to today, where everybody questions everything.



1 sound cassette (33 min.)






In Copyright


VanWinkle, Daniel