Sunday, 6 January 2013

How times have changed.

This morning, while searching for something, I came across this photograph and it took me back to those days for so many reasons.
In the photograph my parents are second and third from the left and they are on holiday in Skegness (Lincolnshire and our nearest seaside place - 30 miles away although in those days it seemed a long journey).   They had gone on holiday - the year was 1946, so only one year after the end of the Second World War - to the YMCA Holiday Camp with their best friends.   And here they all are on what is obviously a pleasant day, on their walk down to the Promenade.

The first thing that struck me was that I knew everyone's Christian name except for the lady in the hat.   She was the Postmistress in our little village and very formidable.  Everyone called her Mrs Applewhite and I never knew her first name - my parents always called her 'Mrs Jack' (her husband was Jack.)  Along with Alf and Edna, the other couple in the photograph, they spent hours together - all were keen crown-green bowlers, all went to chapel (Methodist) on Sundays and they holidayed together for several years.

The other thing that struck me was that this was the period when dress code began to change.   Alf is already in shirt sleeves but is still wearing his braces - belts were too modern.  Father and Jack are still wearing their ties (they are on holiday for goodness sake) and jackets.   Mrs Applewhite is still wearing a hat!

It made me think of the time when shirts with attached collars came in (my father had always worn loose collars with collar studs back and front and a clean starched collar every morning, even if he wore the same shirt for two days).   Someone - probably my sister, who tried desperately to get them up-dated for many years - bought Dad a couple of short sleeved shirts with attached collars for his birthday and he swore he would never wear them.   Of course, the first hot day that came (yes, we actually got hot days in 1946) he tried one out and was instantly converted.

Jack is wearing a cap and I was about to say how old fashioned that was when I realised how difficult it is to separate the farmer from his cap!   The fact is that he is bald and a hot sunny day makes life unbearable.   I don't remember ever seeing Jack Applewhite without his cap, but maybe he was bald too and needed it for protection.

But it is one of my favourite photographs because it shows friendship at its very best.   All are long dead now of course.   But this was only just after the War; my brother would not have been home from his soldiering all that long.   But already there is an air of relaxation in the photograph - it is all over and now we can begin to pick up the pieces kind of thing.   And we are determined to enjoy ourselves for every single minute of this holiday, come rain or shine.

Thank you all for your kind comments about the recurrence of my irritating medical condition - blogging friendships are so important to me and I do appreciate your concern.    

20 comments:

Joanne Noragon said...

Lovely photo. And your mother has on those sensible heels, probably an inch and a half in all directions. Red Cross brand shoes over here. Although Mrs. Jack has thick cushy soles to get her through a day at the post office.

In my memory, men wore suits, ties and hats through the fifties, even to picnics.

George said...

A nice remembrance, Pat. The people in the photo appear very happy and sustained by their friendships.

Rachel said...

I like the photo too. I have several photos of us as a family on the beach in the 1950s and my father is always wearing shirt and tie and suit. We wore handknitted swimming costumes, goodness knows what happened to them when they got wet! People just havent lived have they!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Speaking of caps, my father was seldom seen without his. Once he and a man he knew well were waiting in the doctor's surgery but as neither of them were wearing their caps they failed to recognise one another till their names were called. "Hello, Ted," said the other man "didn't recognise you; I'd always assumed you were bald under your hat!" My father recognised the voice, "Hello, Brian, I always thought you had a full head of hair!"

John Gray said...

Mrs apple gate was my favourite from. The start

Pondside said...

I think those photos are precious because they are so rare. The way they're looking at the camera, their attitude - it all comes through for a slice of that moment.

Heather said...

I love looking at old family photos - sadly my parents lost a whole suitcase full during a house move. Your mother was such an attractive woman and Mrs.Applegate looks very formidable, even on holiday! I have a similar photo of my parents, grandmother, cousin, myself and schoolfriend. Lovely memories.

angryparsnip said...

Lovely photo.
You are so lucky to have them.
I lost all my family photos in the fire and only have a few that I kept in my Mother's bible. One of the few things I grabbed as we ran out the door.

cheers, parsnip

Dartford Warbler said...

A lovely photo. My Lincolnshire grandparents also went to either Skegness or Mablethorpe for their precious holidays and we have some similar photographs. The end of the war must have been such a milestone in their lives.

Cloudia said...

and this lovely thoughtful and companionable post is one reason we appreciate YOU so very much!



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mrsnesbitt said...

How I love the words used by Joanne "sensible shoes" My mum would never allow me to wear mules as "You could break your neck in a pair of those!" My mum was wearing stilletoes at the time. lol! Take care Pat.
Denise xxxx

Eryl said...

Great photo: it tells the story of that fascinating time. After all they'd been through it's no wonder dress codes relaxed.

Pam said...

It still warms my heart, particularly in Australia in this day and age, to see very old men out and about looking dapper and beautifully dressed -very old school. It seems they are very much a dying breed.
My father is more casual, but is never without a cap. First stop for me on a trip to Dublin was a quality menswear shop for something I hoped was the right size, for his collection.
Loved your treasured photo.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

A lovely photo and lovely memories. Thanks for sharing.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Always fascinating to see these old photos, how times change indeed!

Robin Mac said...

What a wonderful photo to have Pat. I remember my grandfather with detached collars, though I don't think my father ever had them. I hope you have good news about your medical condition soon. Cheers

MorningAJ said...

I love old photos. I have one of my mum and her parents c.1930 on the front at New Brighton. Grandad's wearing his best bowler hat!

Dave King said...

It can be so instructive as well as nostalgic to go back on these old photographs. Several hours go by every time we come upon a set. Surprising what you realise you had forgotten...

Gwil W said...

I take my cap off to you, Pat!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comments. Of course they wore sensible shoes!! My mother never wore anything else - didn't stop her feet being terrible when she got old - those were the days eh?