Friday, 10 September 2021

The Old Days

 I seem to have stirred up a lot of memories this week and it has set me (and I suspect a lot of you too) off thinking about those days.   Of course they weren't the 'good old days' in retrospect were they - apart from the Second World War and its aftermath and the hundreds of thousands of 'displaced persons', and the bomb damage and the return of mentally damaged personnel from the armed forces and the food shortages, we still soldiered on.   Our parents were used to hardship - many of them (certainly mine; my mother was 'in service' at fourteen)  had seen harder times in their own childhood.   In most ways things have got better and better.   When I married I expected (and got) a house with a bathroom and an inside loo.   We never rented but always had a mortgage and so crept up the property ladder.

It was interesting seeing Rachel's lovely old photographs on her post today.   I have many similar ones from me dear farmer's childhood and youth..   The difference he always used to say was that much of their money was in the grass or what was intent on eating it.   Any spare money went on updating equipment and often 'luxuries' like new bathrooms or fridges were well down the list.

Yes, for most of us things have changed for the better.   And it is useless us bemoaning the fact that today's children over a certain age prefer to have their noses stuck in some piece of electronic equipment rather than fishing for tiddlers.   And as some of you say - children do still enjoy these activities.

My friends and I often remark that we are pleased that we are not young with small children now.   And I daresay most generations say the same.   I find it daunting to keep up with computers - I make myself do it because it is good for my brain but it would be very easy to said goodbye to my computer and doze the days away.

All of you keep me young.  My legs tell me I am in my eighties but on 'good' days I feel much younger than that in myself - on the days when I don't?  well we'll draw a veil over those.

26 comments:

Rachel Phillips said...

Considering when you got married you were lucky in getting a house and a mortgage if I may say so. Many in the early 1950s did not and lived with the in laws or in rented rooms. You obviously married well.

Derek Faulkner said...

Rachel got it about right. I first married in 1970 and lived in a flat in a three story house with very second hand furniture and a shared bathroom - yes, you clearly married well.
For me, living a childhood not that far behind you, was it's simplicity, as opposed to the technical and intricate lifestyle today. Entertainment and pleasure were achievements, simply created at little expense.

ellie k said...

I grew up on a dairy farm in Ohio, an only child and I learned how to work early. It was a good childhood, one where family stopped to say hi or drop of some goody. We were poor but I did not know it at the time, every one elso was about the same. Small time farming does nor make you rich but lets you survive. We did not have running water for a number of years, never had an inside bath until I got married. My husband later added a small room and bath for my parents. My husband was a city boy so everything was different for him living in farm country. My dad used him as a farm hand many times when he needed an extra hand. I married a really good man, he passed away 6 years ago and it still hurts to even type this. I am 76 now and I think lonlyness is my biggest problem. I miss someone holding my hand or slipping their arm around my waist. They might need a longer arm now, I did grow well in the last ten years.

JayCee said...

When I married in 1976 we rented one room in a shared house with some furniture donated by family. I was only able to get my foot on the property ladder with a small flat when I started working for a Building Society a few years later.
My Dad's mother was also in service before she married my grandfather, who was the youngest of four sons on a farm. There was insufficient income from the farm to keep all of them so my grandparents had to move down to London where they went on to have six children and never managed to buy their own house but always rented.

Susan said...

Everything considered: Weave, you describe a charmed life. Overall, I feel my life is similarly charmed. As for all the technology, I could take it or leave it. Because it is so integral today it really is a must have. I will admit, people constantly staring at their phones seems inappropriate.

Tasker Dunham said...

I understand that in the years after the war it wasn't only because of financial constraints that people would live with parents and in-laws. In some towns there was a real shortage of houses and when one became available there would be a rush to get it. You had to keep on the lookout for ones that might become available, and hope you were first to hear.

Rachel Phillips said...

And be on a waiting list for a mortgage.

Ellen D. said...

Sounds like you have had a happy life!

The Feminine Energy said...

Yes, I definitely am happy that I have more years behind me than ahead of me!! ~Andrea xoxoxo

John Going Gently said...

I always thought as you as young at heart

The Weaver of Grass said...

Rachel - we lived with my parents for the first year (1952) during which time we saved liked mad for a mortgage downpayment.
Ellie - It never goes away that missing a loved one does it?
Oh yes Rachel - I had completely forgotten those mortgage waiting lists.
Ellen D I have indeed been very fortunate in two very happy marriages - one thirty nine years and one twenty three years - and I still miss both husbands every single day.
John - I hope I am young at heart most of the time.

Country Cottage said...

I don't think it's so much the material things - I miss hearing children playing in the streets, dropping by someone's house for lunch, mother's gathered to chat to each other in gardens. Dinner parties and bridge games, the kids all gathered in the other room watching TV or doing a puzzle (the older ones upstairs doing 'teenage' things 😁). I know life and technology move on but I think we've lost the age of innocence which is a shame. Viv

Joan (Devon) said...

When my parents married in 1943 they were both in the Forces, so my mum saved the pay my dad sent her. They were both still in the Army in 1945 then my mum was discharged due to being pregnant with my older brother in 1946. They had managed to save enough to get a mortgage for a terrace house. My mum was always a great saver.

CharlotteP said...

In many ways, things have got too good; lots of young people expect to have a house, and everything new inside it when they get married, in spite of the £25,000 wedding day.
Don't you think that most children would love the freedoms we had - given half a chance; and enjoy more time and attention from their parents, rather than expensive toys, and being plonked in front of a screen to keep them quiet?

Heather said...

I still feel young on the inside and quite energetic while I am sitting down with my feet up! It is only when I try to stand up or catch sight of myself in a mirror that reality takes hold.
I look back on my childhood as the 'good old days'. I grew up in the country in my grandparents home. A lovely setting and in spite of the war it was a safe place to be. I was not aware of shortages or hardships. Knowledge of those came later and I am thankful to this day for the love and care I had. There was not much money but the family were a make-do-and-mend bunch so we had most things we needed including home-grown vegs and fruit.

Minigranny said...

We lived with my Grandma and Grandpa till my parents got a council house in our village. When we went to check up on our new house all the toilets were lined up in what would be our house and my big sister said ' well we will have lots of lavatories. We had many happy years there and it was later that they were able to buy the house and get on to the property ladder! Dad managed to set up his own business and life was better for them both after.

Debby said...

We lived pretty isolated lives growing up but we had wonderful imaginations. I thought of you today: I went to find some reading material and found Marcel Pagnol. The Time of Secrets and the Time of Love. I thought of you and snapped it up for $1.29!

Anonymous said...

Our house faces onto a park and as Country Cottage notes, the sound of children playing is wonderful...the tinkling laughter, shouts and giggles carries into our house, as they ride their bikes around in the distance...It really is is one of life's pleasures, and nice to know they are away from their devices. I love hearing stories of people's lives, often begun by "When we lived in....". So many streets , avenues and towns here have English names and in reality are not half as grand and leafy as the original - a great source of amusement to those visiting from England.
Original indigenous place names are becoming more acknowledged now too - Many WW2 returning soldiers like my father, found there was a severe shortage of building materials after the war, and were granted war service homes at greatly reduced mortgage rates. Aboriginal returning servicemen were excluded from this scheme , and told to return to country. They were given no avenue to protest. At this time also, we were accepting many refugees from the war-torn Europe and Australians were aghast when they told us how bland our food was. We soon learned! Pam, Aus.

Joanne Noragon said...

I look back and think the best years of the century were the late forties to the mid sixties. We were out and about, out of the range of neighbors but under the watchful eye of any neighbor who looked out a window or heard a child cry in distress. Fathers worked and grew gardens, mothers worked and/or stayed home and kept house for the most of us.

Red said...

We lived in the best of times. Jobs were I dime a dozen. The economy boomed after the war.

Cro Magnon said...

I was born just after the war (1946) and we always had a big garden with fruit, nuts, hens, ducks, bantams, geese, etc. Although I had a ration book, I really don't remember any hardship. When I left school I didn't find any difficulty getting a good job (Stock Exchange), and subsequently doing reasonably well in private business ventures. I then got a good degree and taught for a while; always getting the jobs I applied for. I think the untroubled life I've led is now a thing of the past. My grandsons (the ones who have their noses permanently glued to their phones) will find life very different. It'll be a very difficult world when they leave school. The ones who studied hard will do very well, and the others will simply be left behind. It's happening already.

The Weaver of Grass said...

We are a tough lot aren't we? Small wonder when I read about all your early lives. The three of us - born at such big intervals = sister born 1910, brother born 1921 and then me in 1932 - and all to the same mother and father- all succeeded (I am sure beyond our parents' wildest dreams but thanks entirely to their marvellous upbringing) in a household where there were always books always plenty of activities for us and plenty of good food and love. Thanks for sharing.

thelma said...

As someone born in the 1940s, my childhood was not poor just dramatic I think, but there were good parts amongst the bad. Long summer holidays on two farms, allowed me the freedom of movement. On one farm where I was often sent to, they kept cattle and bulls for show. I always remember one bull tethered in the field, and me thinking poor creature he is lonely would go and talk and stroke him. Then one day the farmer's son came by and boy was I told off. On that farm I learnt to run fast, there was a boar kept in a small yard, a shortcut for us children. On the Welsh farm we would fish in the river accompanied by their pig, and 'tickle' the trout. The 'facts' of killing a chicken for Sunday lunch and then plucking them was an educational lesson as was seeing an eel caught and cut up still jumping around in the frying pan.
As for mortgages, when I married for the first time, my husband had just come down from Oxford (silly expression isn't it) we were poor. Firstly a little rented cottage in Essex near Gt.Dunmow and then with baby in hand a terrible ice cold bungalow with condensation dripping from the windows. My father-in-law took pity and a deposit for a house bought us into the realms of mortgages.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I was in my local pub a few years back when a couple of tattooed and body-pierced youngsters came in. They were observed with distaste by a couple of older men standing at the bar. One of them turned to the other and said "Reckon we got old just in time".

CG said...

My father stayed in the Army after the war and was mostly overseas so my childhood was spent in isolated country cottages with no running water, electricity, or bathroom. That was all a woman on her own with children like my mother could find. Hard work for her, but I remember those days as the happiest of times. BBC Children's Hour was the mainstay of our entertainment.

The Weaver of Grass said...

CG what lovely memories you have of what must have often been a hard time for your mother.
John - Love _that story.
It has been so interesting to read all your memories from the days when money was often in short supply but fun and games for children were plentiful. Thank you all.