News:
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's  (Read 46237 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Sentinel S4

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1932
  • Appreciation 165
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #103 on: May 19, 2014, 13:48:07 »
Sorry :-( . I'll be good and enjoy this well written and informative tale....

S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

John38

  • Guest
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #102 on: May 19, 2014, 13:19:04 »
 :) A  fantastic, well written and evocative tale  :)

Offline Lyn L

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1127
  • Appreciation 84
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #101 on: May 19, 2014, 13:03:13 »
Absolutely oobydooby  :) :)
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life tryi

Offline oobydooby

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 138
  • Appreciation 45
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #100 on: May 19, 2014, 12:45:32 »
I was often threatened with the soap in the mouth punishment but it never happened!

Notwithstanding, could we please get back to the thread and restrict your comments to how fantastic, well written and evocative is my tale and comments of relevancy.

oobydooby
©2014 A Hayes

Astronomers always look into the past.

Offline Signals99

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 470
  • Appreciation 37
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #99 on: May 19, 2014, 09:51:56 »
John38, you`ve been a bad boy too, my mother used to wash my mouth out with it if she caught me swearing ???

John38

  • Guest
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #98 on: May 18, 2014, 15:08:27 »
it still does!

Offline Sentinel S4

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1932
  • Appreciation 165
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #97 on: May 18, 2014, 14:54:03 »
Totally correct Signals99.......
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline Signals99

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 470
  • Appreciation 37
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #96 on: May 18, 2014, 13:13:19 »
Sentinel S4, was that Wrights Coal Tar Soap? If so, I concur ... it tasted terrible. :)ii

Offline Sentinel S4

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1932
  • Appreciation 165
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #95 on: May 18, 2014, 09:30:35 »
Nice one Grandarog. I'm a little later (1965 vintage) but even so that rings true to me as well (who can forget the taste of coal-tar soap?).

S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline Signals99

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 470
  • Appreciation 37
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #94 on: May 18, 2014, 08:39:54 »
Grandarog,
How so very near that poem relates to my childhood. Yes, all the things spoken off were part of my life, for the main a happy one. Yes, some memories of those times are not so good, going to bed cold and waking up to ice on the inside of the windows, being hungry because mum had to pay the rent (10/6).
But one thing we got an abundance of was family love. I had five sisters and one brother. Dad was a serving sailor so we didn't see him too often. Thank you for publishing that.

Offline grandarog

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1069
  • Appreciation 101
  • RAF Halton 1957-1960
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #93 on: May 17, 2014, 21:10:48 »
I dont know who the author is but this certainly fits in the era. :)

I remember the cheese of my childhood,
And the bread that we cut with a knife,
When the children helped with the housework,
And the men went to work not the wife.
The cheese never needed a fridge,...
And the bread was so crusty and hot,
The children were seldom unhappy
And the wife was content with her lot.
I remember the milk from the bottle,
With the yummy cream on the top,
Our dinner came hot from the oven,
And not from the fridge; in the shop.
The kids were a lot more contented,
They didn't need money for kicks,
Just a game with their mates in the road,
And sometimes the Saturday flicks.
I remember the shop on the corner,
Where a pen'orth of sweets was sold
Do you think I'm a bit too nostalgic?
Or is it.... I'm just getting old?
I remember the 'loo' was the lav,
And the bogy man came in the night,
It wasn't the least bit funny
Going "out back" with no light.
The interesting items we perused,
From the newspapers cut into squares,
And hung on a peg in the loo,
It took little to keep us amused.
The clothes were boiled in the copper,
With plenty of rich foamy suds
But the ironing seemed never ending
As Mum pressed everyone's 'duds'.
I remember the slap on my backside,
And the taste of soap if I swore
Anorexia and diets weren't heard of
And we hadn't much choice what we wore.
Do you think that bruised our ego?
Or our initiative was destroyed?
We ate what was put on the table
And I think life was better enjoyed.


Offline oobydooby

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 138
  • Appreciation 45
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #92 on: May 17, 2014, 19:16:47 »
I am aware that at times I seem to be boasting about my academic skills, especially as I was only 10 or 11 at the time.  I am hoping that I will shortly have documentation that I believe will satisfy me that what I am writing is true and my memories events are still correct; I will however carry on as best I can on memory alone.

On Sunday after dinner, or lunch if you want posh, Uncle Eric asked me to go to his study come office where I was met by both the teachers.  I was told that when I first arrived a week ago the way I behaved and spoke, and having read the reports from my two weeks in the remand centre and those of the school which I had been attending, I was quite clever and needed some kind of special tutoring.  There was no indication of how long I was to be living at the home and they did not have the resources to treat me any differently than any other child.  I had visions of being terminally bored and that scared me.  Before I was dismissed I mentioned that the only reason I was behaving and speaking as I had been was to avoid any punishment.  I pointed out that punishment at the remand centre was swift and harsh.  They all smiled saying that I must express myself and be who I really was and that there would be no such punishment while I lived there.

Later that afternoon I was lazing on a seat in the garden when Uncle Eric came and sat next to me.

“How do you feel about helping to look after the children in the younger class?”  He asked, almost whispering.

I was not sure about how I actually felt; what exactly would be expected of me and would I be capable of doing the job?  However, the prospect of being able to overcome my boredom overshadowed any self doubts I had.

So it was that the next day was spent sat at a small table with an even smaller group of five children helping them to spell, reading simple stories to them and helping them with sums.  That afternoon two very important people in dark suits entered the class and stood in the corner watching.  I was too busy to wonder why they were watching so intently, but was told later that they were there to assess the situation and decide if it was to continue.  (Actually what Uncle Ron said was “They’re checking you out and they seem to think it could work”.)

Evidently it seemed to be working because before the end of the week three of the very oldest kids had been assigned groups of younger children and the younger classroom had been effectively transformed into four separate classes.  I and another boy looked after the youngest group, the other three looked after two small groups and the teacher the oldest group, whilst still keeping his eyes on us pseudo teachers.  It seemed that the three who had joined me, one girl and two boys had been the most disruptive in the upper class and giving them a degree of responsibility had proved beneficial to the whole home. The older class had settled down and the teacher was able to actually begin teaching, the younger children were progressing well and the whole home seemed to become a better place to live.

Academically, I learned very little in the ensuing three months, I did however learn a valuable lesson in how to work with children, a lesson which helped me in adult life as a Scoutmaster and as a school governor as well as voluntary work in a youth centre.  But that was later; my story at Southborough was almost, but not yet quite over.

As I read stories to the youngsters I learned to measure my words and sell the story in such a way as to build a picture as if it were really happening, to the delight of the children in my charge, at the same time giving me a new found confidence in my own abilities.  Showing them how to work out simple problems became an adventure in learning as did spelling exercises.

During the evenings and at weekends I was able to get out and about with Peter and Alan to expend any pent up energy by letting my hair down after working with the young children during the week.  Evenings were spent wandering round Southborough and the nearby countryside whilst Saturdays were, as I mentioned before, usually taken up with afternoon cinema, swimming or even just wandering round Tunbridge Wells or Tonbridge.  I even began enjoying the compulsory church each Sunday.  I could certainly understand why teachers really needed long breaks throughout the year.

Meanwhile Alan seemed to become more distant and resentful of my ever growing confidence and popularity.  Although all my spare time was spent with him and Peter, he seemed reluctant to join in whatever we were doing unless we insisted:  Peter and I would play with a tennis ball and cricket bat in the park and Alan would just sit on the ground staring blankly into space.  We would go to the swimming pool but Alan would mostly just sit on the side dangling his feet in the water.

Summer was fast approaching and with it the prospect of holidays meaning we would shortly be taking a break from school which left me wondering what I would do with myself in this enforced break, something I was never to find out.

I was not to know that all too soon this period of happiness and fulfilment would end.
©2014 A Hayes

Astronomers always look into the past.

Offline oobydooby

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 138
  • Appreciation 45
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #91 on: May 16, 2014, 13:25:00 »
Apart from compulsory Church on Sunday and school during the week, we were pretty much free to do whatever we wanted within the constraints of normal decency.  If someone decided to stay out beyond meal times they were given sandwiches or a snack if they were hungry, but most of us had enough pocket money we could buy snacks when we were out enjoying ourselves.

On Saturdays we could spend the afternoon at the cinema or swimming pool, or just strolling through Tunbridge or Tonbridge Wells.  If we were so inclined we could laze around the house and garden, help in the kitchen, the laundry or even help keep the boiler room ticking over. 

The local park always held the, never realised, prospect of a friendly battle with the nearby Dr. Bernardo’s kids who must have been jealous of our freedom since they always had to be accompanied by an adult wherever they went, so would only be seen in groups when they went out on trips.

With this new found freedom came some rules and strange rituals which provided some kind of order to our lives.

Some rules were pretty obvious such as not being permitted into the dormitories of the opposite sex (whatever that was), or washing your hands before meals.  Swearing was ok within the bounds of the house or garden within reason but not permitted anywhere else.  Strangely, although we were very rarely supervised beyond the house, we very rarely felt the need ever to swear and I cannot recall any incident where any child needed to be reprimanded for swearing or any bad behaviour throughout my three month of residency.

The pants inspection.

Every dormitory had a large laundry bag into which would be tossed any clothes we had worn during the week and which were too dirty to wear the next day, except our underpants and vests which were expected to last all week.  On Saturday all our clothes, whether we deemed them still clean or not had to be put in the laundry bag.  During our ritual ablutions (Strippies), the house parent who was in charge would delve into the bag and pull out all the underpants and check the insides.  Any deemed too stained were kept aside and a note taken of which person they belonged to.  The reason for this seemed too obscure to me as no one was ever taken to task for their pants!

Once, for a dare we took our used pants into the other boys’ dorm and tossed them into their bag, causing much confusion.  Another time someone, not me I add (insert a wink here), crept into a girls’ dorm and pinched a pair of pants from every clothes drawer and put them in our laundry bag.  I learned a secret about the girls pants during that escapade:  all the girls had about twenty more pairs than we poor boys; the older boys explained that as they could not grab their private parts if they were desperate for a wee, they tended to wet themselves more than us boys.  Well that sounded reasonable to me!

Midnight feasts

Midnight feasts were strictly forbidden and we had at least one every week!  Over a period of a few days the older boys would buy in some chocolates and sweets, then on a pre arranged night when they thought the younger boys, including me, were asleep some of the older girls would creep in and they would share the food and some innocent snogging would ensue; nothing too serious and after half an hour or so the girls would slip away leaving the boys to crack risqué jokes and burp before silence and sleep overcame us all.

No itching powder or stink bombs

These offensive items were out of bounds and if you were caught carrying either you were sent to Coventry by masters and residents alike.  A stink bomb let off in the dining room or itching powder spread in an unsuspecting victim’s bed was most unpleasant and was not allowed to happen, but it did!

These and other such rules were regularly broken, if the instigator was discovered, which very rarely happened, they were severely dealt with, usually by losing a percentage of their pocket money or being prevented from leaving the house for a certain time.

Back  to my story.
©2014 A Hayes

Astronomers always look into the past.

Offline oobydooby

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 138
  • Appreciation 45
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #90 on: May 15, 2014, 19:39:00 »
Breakfasts seemed to vary every day, but the one constant was the breadbin, which as I described earlier, never seemed to become empty no matter how hard we tried.  In the first week of our stay we were never told what would happen on any given day, so on Monday after breakfast there were no indications about the events of the day and, for the first time since arriving at the home, when we learned of what was about to happen and it was something I had missed for a few weeks: school!

Lessons took place in two rooms, one for older children from 11 years to 14 years of age, and the other in which I was included as I was not quite old enough, for children from seven or so up.  Although I have respect for the teacher at the time, he had the unenviable task of trying to cater for 30 odd children with varying levels of skills, and it was not long before I became so bored it was hard not to cause disruption.

The school day followed that of any other school with a break mid morning when a small bottle of milk was given to each child and a second break for dinner, which was much like a normal school dinner, being served from a long table along which the children queued for the dinner ladies to spoon out servings onto a china plate.  Many times someone would moan about the day’s offerings, but whether I liked any particular food or not I was always grateful and thanked all the servers for their efforts, something that continued throughout my school years.  This was not a matter of manners, simply my appreciation for having a decent meal and not being left hungry.  There was also the sweet puddings, my favourite being gypsy tart, although spotted dick and jam rolly poly with custard came a very close second.

After dinner I was called into Uncle Eric’s study.  I wondered what I had done wrong, why else is anyone sent to the head’s office?  My fears were soon dispelled as Uncle Eric smiled and invited me to sit down.

“Just been looking at your reports, Tony,” he said, cheerfully.  “It looks like you should be moved to the older class, just pop along there when we start this afternoon.”

Those few words cheered me up no end and I swaggered into the garden head held high.  Soon the whole home knew of my promotion, and the younger group seemed happy to see me go, probably because they were fed up with me already.  The older group meanwhile seemed a bit reluctant to have such a young upstart invading their territory.

As with the junior class, the teacher of the seniors had to teach at a level suited to the lowest common denominator, which in this case was the youngest children, thus the older ones were seemingly not being taught to their apparent abilities.  Although I was in this lower aged group I found the work simple and repetitive and as the days passed I became more and more bored.  This was not the case with the majority of older children; they just seemed not to be much interested in schoolwork anyway.

On the Friday I was once again invited to Uncle Eric’s study:  it was evident that I was not altogether happy with current arrangements and had shown my displeasure at every opportunity.  Hence my assumption was once again that I was in trouble and would finally have to face the wrath of the ‘Boss’.

The Boss, however, was once again smiling and told me he and both the teachers of the older group and the younger group knew I was not going to reach my potential if the current situation continued.  My suggestion that I should be sent to a normal school was dismissed as my entire future, as well as that of Alan, at the home was under review.  I was not sure whether this was a good thing or bad and Uncle Eric soon assured me that they were looking at a permanent place for us to stay.

“In the meantime,” concluded Uncle Eric with a broad grin, “I am sure we will find something to keep you occupied in class.”

So I returned to the senior class for the final time that afternoon a little nervous, yet excited, about what the following week might hold for me; and that was the end of my first week at Southborough.

©2014 A Hayes

Astronomers always look into the past.

Offline oobydooby

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 138
  • Appreciation 45
Re: Growing up in the late 40's to the late 60's
« Reply #89 on: May 04, 2014, 18:51:25 »
In those days breakfast was in the mornings, dinner in the middle of the day and tea in the evening.  I learned as I grew up and started work in a hotel that posh people had breakfast at the proper time, lunch at dinner time, tea in the afternoon and dinner at night.  Some even had elevenses, brunch and supper, which made me wonder when they got time to actually earn a living.  But I digress.

After church we returned home to find a table set up in the garden loaded down with sandwiches and fruit.  This was our dinner and we ate heartily, clearing all but a few crumbs.  Being used to living from hand to mouth; pigs trotters, tripe (without onions) and sheep brains being amongst the delicacies we often survived on, food here was in great abundance, although I never lost sight of the memories of those austere meals and never took food for granted again.

Following dinner, and in fact following every meal, we were instructed to rest and let our food go down for half an hour, after which we were allowed to do more or less anything we wanted.  Most of the older boys, Alan and me included, went to a large recreation ground where a game of cricket was in full swing.  We watched for a while the players in their whites, and the fifty or so spectators sitting mostly in deckchairs, clapping politely and giving an occasional “Well done!”, until, getting a little bored, we found a quiet corner almost hidden among some trees.  A cricket bat and a ball were produced and we had a pleasant knock about for some time until someone said it must be getting on for tea so we made our way back, passing the cricketers who were gathered round eating sandwiches and drinking tea from cups and saucers, all so very English!

I mentioned earlier what at that time we considered what a tea or dinner was and when they were eaten:  well, imagine my surprise when I discovered that tea was roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and two vegetables followed by treacle pudding and custard.  We had in fact eaten our tea at dinner time and our dinner at tea time, a strange occurrence that continued every Sunday of my short time there.  As for the resting for half a hour to let my food go down, I needed about two hours for my bloated belly to settle!

All too soon it was time for bed and the final surprise of the day.  On taking my pyjamas from under the pillow I noticed that they had been neatly labelled with my name and not just with a pen or even printed:  these were actually embroidered names on tags and neatly sewn into the garments.  Checking my two drawers full of clothes I saw that they too were labelled.  For the first time in my life I did not have to wear hand me downs or second hand clothes, these were brand new and they were all mine!
©2014 A Hayes

Astronomers always look into the past.

 

BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines