Memories of the 1970’s School’s Out

September 1972

From the moment I got my first record player, along with a big box of singles, I loved listening to music. Often I would sit at the piano in the front room, where all the silver cups Dad had won at bird shows were displayed, and pick out a tune or two, rather badly by ear. We listened to the radio a lot when I was small too and the songs of the sixties evoke many memories. Mother and I would waltz around the bedroom singing along to Englebert Humperdink’s Last Waltz and Mother would often make me sing Those Were The Days or Sing a Rainbow to her. In the summer of 1972, though, a pop song captured a moment in time for me like no other had before.  Continue reading Memories of the 1970’s School’s Out

Memories of the early 1970’s – strikes power cuts and bombs

January to August 1972

1972 began with a coal miners’ strike. As our coal fire was long gone, replaced by a far less attractive but much more practical gas fire, this didn’t seem to be a big concern for us, at least at first. Even so, I had a sneaking sympathy for the miners’ demands for more money. Spending all day in the dark at the bottom of a dirty mine seemed a horrible and dangerous job, deserving of a rich reward, especially when the Prime Minister earned so very much and seemed to spend most of his time sailing about on a yacht. Continue reading Memories of the early 1970’s – strikes power cuts and bombs

Memories of the early 70’s – change, fear and injustice

1970/1

As 1970 drew to a close the year ahead really did seem filled with promise. Alex was expecting another baby, although I was still very vague about where it was coming from. She had also moved into a terraced house in Weston. As Mother didn’t drive and Dad’s Hillman car had been sold, being so much nearer made it far easier to visit her. Although there were limited buses this was exactly what we did on Boxing Day. For some reason Pappy didn’t come with us but he and Alex never did see eye to eye. Continue reading Memories of the early 70’s – change, fear and injustice

Memories of the early 70’s – a dismal kind of year

1970

When 1970 dawned, it marked the beginning of the second decade of my life. If the 1960’s had seemed filled with possibilities, music, flowers and love, this new decade seemed filled with sadness, at least in our house. My lovely Dad was dead and life would never be the same for us. Money, which had never been of any concern to me, suddenly became a big issue, mostly because we didn’t have enough of it. Mother got something called a Widow’s Pension, but it wasn’t enough to pay the mortgage and feed and clothe us. She still had to go to work and, when I wasn’t at school, I was left in the care of Pappy, who was desolate at the loss of his eldest son.  Continue reading Memories of the early 70’s – a dismal kind of year

Memories of the late 1960’s – numbers, a Moon landing, loss and grief

1969

My second year at junior school began with another horrible teacher. Her name was Mrs Thomas and I seem to remember her having long blonde hair and a fondness for velvet alice bands, although this may well be misremembered. She was very friendly with Miss Please and seemed to have taken discipline tips from her. There were raps across the knuckles with rulers, hair pulling and general cruelty. She was one of those, find a weakness and pick on it, kinds of teachers and public humiliation was her favourite weapon. Continue reading Memories of the late 1960’s – numbers, a Moon landing, loss and grief

Memories of the late 1960s – not fitting in

1968

The change from the relative simplicity of Infant School to the far more structured environment of Junior School was a shock to my system. For one, the building itself was far larger. The long, L shaped corridors, filled with more children that I’d ever imagined existed in the whole world, were daunting for a small girl of seven or eight. Something about the rows of doors made me feel like Alice in Wonderland and I half expected to come upon a white rabbit with a pocket watch or a glass table with a key. Unlike the little Infant School, this had two floors and three sets of stairs, one at each end and a giant staircase at the apex of the L, going up, then dividing into two directions. The classrooms were almost all upstairs, mine at the far end, nearest the back gates of the school.
Continue reading Memories of the late 1960s – not fitting in

Memories of the 1960’s – school days

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Finally the day had come for me to go to school. There were special clothes, a grey skirt, white shirt and bottle green cardigan Mother had knitted, along with white ankle socks. Everything felt scratchy and new, not at all like the cotton dresses I’d been wearing. With the help of Tiny Dyer, a giant policeman wearing his tall black helmet to make him seem even bigger, we crossed the Main Road a little way down from our house along with a stream of other children I didn’t know. Amongst them was Libby, the girl with the curly blonde hair who lived on the corner at the top of The Crescent, tantalisingly close but too far away to play with. Everyone was wearing the same green jumpers and grey skirts or trousers. Continue reading Memories of the 1960’s – school days

Memories of the early 1960’s – the last long summer of freedom

From Wikimedia Commons by Wing-Chi Poon
From Wikimedia Commons by Wing-Chi Poon

1964

As winter 1964 drew to a close leaving me with memories of Dad lifting me up to snap icicles off the arch of the porch and sucking them like ice lollies (obviously no one had heard of acid rain and pollution in those days) I knew my days at home were numbered. Spring brought my fourth birthday and, in September, I would be going to school. Pappy was preparing me by teaching me to sing the alphabet, to tell the time on the arched wooden clock on the mantelpiece and to write my name. Continue reading Memories of the early 1960’s – the last long summer of freedom