When some people talk about the ‘good old days’ I just know they are referring to the Fifties, a decade when time stood still and some people could pretend they still lived in an idyllic rural Britain where children could play safely outside from dawn until dusk, and when summer was a succession of long, sunny days.
Well, I confess I lived through the Fifties, and it wasn’t quite as simple as that…
Five Good Things about the Fifties
1. Children did play outside a lot more than they do today, especially in small villages like the one I grew up in. I walked to and from the village school every day with an older child and later on with my younger brother, and there wasn’t a parent in sight to hold our hands.
2. (related to 1) There were fewer cars on the road and generally they didn’t go so fast.
3. Our tiny village had its own train line, and you could get to Dundee, the nearest big town, in 7 minutes across the Tay Bridge.
4. My mother was always at home. She cooked lunch for the whole family – my father came home from work for it (and see above, 3).
5. My mother made almost all my clothes until I was about 11, and she cooked and baked everything from scratch.
Five Bad Things about the Fifties
1. There were very few cinemas around where we lived, and we didn’t have television so there were fewer sources of entertainment. This could also have gone on to the ‘good things’ list as it meant we had more time for reading and performing puppet plays. On the other hand, it also meant I used to go to Sunday School just for something to do.
2. I got completely over-excited whenever I got the chance to eat bought cakes or wear bought clothes – this is still the case, up to a point.
3. We definitely under-valued our mother because we didn’t think being around the house all day amounted to a proper job.
4. Medicine wasn’t as advanced as it is now, and my brother nearly died of complications from measles.
5. It wasn’t always sunny in the summer! Hard to believe, isn’t it?