The word "boom" was used to describe a lot of things in the United States in the 1950s - economic boom, construction boom, baby boom. There was a marked economic growth in the country in the post-WWII era, despite the 1950-1953 Korean War. A large-scale expansion of the middle class resulted in these families having more babies and wanting larger homes in the suburbs. Unions were strong, representing almost half of the U.S. workforce. The Civil rights movement began in earnest with the Supreme Court ruling of Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954.
|Michael, Mary, & Catherine|
The 1950s did not begin so well for Michael & Mayme Crusham, however. Their grandson, LeRoy Kubler, died on 31 January 1950 of aplastic anemia. He was only 7 years old. Then on 18 January 1951 Michael's mother, Catherine Colgan Crusham, died of colon cancer at the age of 86. At the time of her death she was still living at 4117 W. Liberty St., the home she had shared with her husband Michael until his death in 1937. The photo on the left shows her with son Michael and daughter Mary in the 1940s. Other losses included the death of Michael's sister Clara on 11 November 1957 and his brother John on 9 February 1958.
But there were also many happy occasions in the family that helped offset the sad times. A number of weddings took place in the 1950s. Elizabeth married Jack Heinzelman on 16 June 1951. Charles married Dorothy Gronefeld on 20 May 1952. James married Ruth Auberger on 3 July 1954, and his twin Michael married Rita Murphy on 8 June 1957. At the ages of 70 and 67, respectively, Michael and Mayme were nearly empty-nesters! The only child still living at home was Marie, who never married. She was employed by a department store nearly all her working career, and cared for both of her parents until their deaths.
|Mike & Mayme|
The grandchildren tally continued to grow in the 1950s as well. Additions to the family included: Michael Crusham, Beth Heinzelman, and Judy & Janice Wambaugh, 1952; John Rizzo and Lynn Heinzelman, 1953; Joseph Kubler, 1954; Jean Heinzelman, Deborah Crusham, Charles Crusham, and Kimberly Kubler, 1955; Mary Ann Rizzo, Patricia Heinzelman, and James Crusham, 1956; Timothy Crusham and Diane Crusham, 1957; Gregory Crusham, Carol Heinzelman, and Jeffrey Crusham, 1958; and Thomas Crusham, 1959, the last Crusham grandchild to be born in the 1950s.
Throughout his working life, Michael had been employed in the printing industry, most often as a pressman. The Cincinnati Directories show him in that capacity up through the 1953 directory. Sometime after that he left the printing company, because the 1958 Cincinnati Directory lists Michael as a carrier for the post office. What would make him change careers in his late 60s?
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