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Born in the 40s,50s and 60s

(86 Posts)
Maudi Tue 28-Jun-22 17:58:19

Don’t know if anyone has seen this before, but If you were born in the 40s 50s 60s you should read this, It’s very long but God how it hits home.
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank sherry while they carried us and lived in houses made of Asbestos.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, bread and dripping, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.
Then, after that trauma, our cots were covered with lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles or locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode bikes we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking. We would ride in cars with no seatbelts or airbags.
We drank water from the garden hose, not a bottle. Takeaway food was limited to fish and chips, there were no pizza shops, or McDonald's, KFC, Subway or Nando's.
Even though all the shops closed at 6pm and didn't open on a Sunday, somehow we didn't starve to death!
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one died from this. We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy toffees, gobstoppers and bubble gum.
We ate white bread and real butter, drank cow's milk and soft drinks with sugar, but we weren't overweight because we were always outside playing!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day but we were OK. We would spend hours building go-karts out of old prams then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.

We built tree houses and dens and played in riverbeds with Matchbox cars. We did not have PlayStation, Nintendo Wii and Xbox or video games, DVDs or colour TV. There were no mobiles, computers, internet or chat rooms.
We had friends and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies, too.
Only girls had pierced ears.
You could buy Easter eggs and hot-cross buns only at Easter time. We were given airguns and catapults for our tenth birthdays, we rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or just yelled for them.
Not everyone made the school rugby, football, cricket or netball teams. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that. Getting into the team was based on merit.
Our teachers hit us with canes and gym shoes and threw the blackboard rubber at us if they thought we weren't concentrating.
We can string sentences together, spell and have proper conversations now because of a solid three Rs education.
Our parents would tell us to ask a stranger to help us cross the road.
Mum didn't have to go to work to help Dad make ends meet because we didn't need to keep up with the Joneses!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
Parents didn't invent stupid names for kids like Kiora, Blade, Ridge and Vanilla.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility and learned to deal with it all.
You might want to share this with others who grew up in an era before lawyers and government regulated lives.
And while you are at it, forward it to your children, so they know how brave their parents were.

(Shared with permission from another group)

VioletSky Tue 28-Jun-22 18:25:33

Much prefer things the way they are now. Especially child and infant mortality rates and general life expectancy...

There are lots of ways to raise children to be confident, principled, happy risk takers while knowing they are safe and are going to make it past 40 with all their adult teeth

Chestnut Tue 28-Jun-22 18:33:41

There is good and bad both then and now! What we had was freedom, unlike today's children who are either ferried around to activities or stuck indoors with screens. They are not free to go where they want and explore the world. I treasure those days of freedom to discover things for myself.

growstuff Tue 28-Jun-22 18:33:48

I don't recognise my own childhood in the op, but thank goodness we've moved on.

Ilovecheese Tue 28-Jun-22 18:41:11

I really can't abide things like the opening post. So congratulatory and smug.

B9exchange Tue 28-Jun-22 18:44:23

I certainly recognise my childhood there. It was a huge sense of freedom. The dangers were still there of course, a man stopped his car and asked me if I would like to go and look at his kittens, but we were well briefed, and I just said 'No' and ran home. I told my parents and the police were out within minutes looking for him.

Annajay Tue 28-Jun-22 18:44:26

growstuff totally agree! Sounds horrendous!

Iam64 Tue 28-Jun-22 18:44:42

I was born in 1949, so grew up when the roads had very few cars on them, so we all played out. We learned to take manageable risks, to negotiate friendships/bullying/fall outs/reconciliations. As we got into high school age, many of us had bikes. We’d cycle off in groups up to 10 or more, sandwiches and a bottle of water. We’d ‘be home for tea’ after real adventures cycling distances from home, boys and girls together.
I helped out with beach ponies. No hat, no proper riding lessons, somehow I survived. Not everybody did survive the freedom we had but their parents weren’t castigated.

At school, boys were caned or slippered, girls got board rubbers or window openers chucked at them by out of control, angry teachers.

It was in many ways great preparation for life.

Things have changed. My children and grandchildren are better educated than we were. They get less freedom to roam because of traffic but their parents are actively involved in supporting their interests and provide all kinds of activities.

Life changes, some things are so much better though I wish the current crop of children had more free, unsupervised time. It can’t happen because of traffic. Also because parents are blamed instantly if anything goes wrong

Iam64 Tue 28-Jun-22 18:46:57

Sorry x posted with others I agree with. I need to clarify I didn’t mean raging, out of control teachers were good preparation for life 😂. More, that the freedom we were lucky to enjoy was

VioletSky Tue 28-Jun-22 18:47:24

I watched a friend die crossing the road when I was 8. I was almost kidnapped at 15. I had friends tell me of awful situations that happened to them. My father tells the ssme sort of stories of near misses left to their iwn devices all day. The amount of dangerous situations parents knew nothing about until it was too late is frightening.

Locked out of the house every day for hours on end... I was lucky i think and I dont have good memories. I remember it as a lonely time.

aggie Tue 28-Jun-22 18:48:16

Born in the late 30s my Mum had to work, we all had measles and were very I’ll , I had scarlet fever , hospitalised for weeks , a wee friend was in hospital with T B
I started work in the 50s , saw children with TB , Polio and wards with leg fracture patients tied up for months in traction ,
And parents not allowed to visit
Things were not wonderful

Casdon Tue 28-Jun-22 18:50:25

A boy in my class was drowned playing with his friends in the river when I was nine. Freedom was great, but it came with risks.

Sago Tue 28-Jun-22 18:53:34

Yeah and I had a dirty Uncle Frank who used to want me to kiss him and sit on his knee.
My father beat me but that was OK.
My mother verbally abused me and treated me like a slave, that was acceptable too.
The nun and lay teachers I had at primary school were sadistic witches, they were not accountable for their actions.
In Ireland young girls were being sent to the laundries just because they were pregnant.
Women all over the western world had their babies removed from them because unmarried mothers bought shame on the family.
Finally crimpolene, I hated my crimpolene dresses my mother made me wear, the feel of it made me cringe..

Sago Tue 28-Jun-22 18:54:18

Brought not bought 😩

annodomini Tue 28-Jun-22 19:08:12

Three weeks in hospital - including Chrismas - with pneumonia and parents could see me only through the window. Toys and books given for Christmas were left for incineration. We did play on the street and had free access to the beach, but I knew of one pupil at my school who fell off a swing and died of brain haemorrhage and two who died of leukaemia whereas with 21st century treatment they would have had at least a fighting chance. a number of fellow pupils were disabled by polio. Our teachers made frequent use of the heavy leather belt, known as the tawse, for girls as well as boys - me included. We had homework; we learnt poetry and times tables by heart. I still think I had a better education than my
Halcyon days? The good and the bad.

missingmarietta Tue 28-Jun-22 19:44:48

Your post summed most of it all as it was. But I absolutely know my mother did not drink, smoke or take aspirin when she was carrying me. We had a long conversation about it once. My diet was good I think: no fizzy drinks, little ice cream, we couldn't afford fish and chips, and no processed food at all, all home cooked and fresh lots of fruit and veg from the allotment.

Yes, I got through it all without trouble despite tree climbing, paddling in an open sewer [didn't know it was at the time!], staying out all day and riding my bike all over, across a busy city a couple of times, going swimming on my own from age 7 years and taught myself how to swim, 'Bob-a-Job'bing every year [Brownies] knocking on strangers doors and go in to do jobs which often took an hour or more, hitch hiked all over in my teens etc. etc. I was caned at school a couple of times, thought nothing of it at the time, was 'clipped round the ear' at home for being cheeky. But I had a lovely childhood, so much freedom, and I learnt common sense and how to stand on my own 2 feet when no adults were around.

However I was lucky and I'm sure many other kids weren't. I still thing vulnerable children are at risk in the same way nowadays from dubious family members. There are still road traffic accidents, domestic/school accidents, virus's, awful crimes, house fires etc. etc. No era is without it's risks and down sides. There are plenty of downsides for todays generation...and yes, lots of good things about it.

Grandma70s Tue 28-Jun-22 19:48:20

I was born in 1940.

My teachers were very nice, and certainly never hit anyone with an implement or shoe, or threw things. There were a few smacks at infant school (only once for me), but the school I went to from age 7 until I left at 18 had no corporal punishment of any kind. My parents never smacked me either. I had a happy childhood for the most part. The worst bit was being in hospital with mastoiditis when I was nine. Visiting hours were very restricted then.

My mother was a wonderful cook so our meals, even in postwar Britain, were usually delicious. Our vegetables were home grown. Sweets were a rare treat. I vividly remember the day they came off ration! I was down to the newsagent like a shot, clutching my pocket money (a penny for every year of my life, so at twelve I got a shilling).

We did wander about locally. There was little traffic where we lived, and although it was really suburbia there were fields and woods. I belonged to a library and read a great deal, and enjoyed radio (wireless!) programmes like Children’s Hour, and before that Nursery Sing-Song. No need for television..

I know life was not like this for everyone, but my own experiences were almost all good.

joannapiano Tue 28-Jun-22 20:00:49

I was born 1950. Three families lived in our terraced house, no bathroom and outside toilet. I shared a bed with my Nan until I was six, them my little brother.
Beaten with a stick and told I was terrible, poor diet and sugar added to every drink and pudding, most of my teeth were full of fillings. I won’t go on.
Things are so much better now, for children.

BlueBelle Tue 28-Jun-22 20:06:55

Growstuff I m like you I don’t recognise the childhood described
I didn’t roam around in freedom I was an only child no cousins nearby so I was always in adult company and sometimes a bit lonely
Diet good!! I used to often eat sugar sandwiches and dripping on toast and a good old fried breakfast
My parents both worked 8 till 6 every day included Saturday
We had one holiday in my childhood when we had a week in a caravan when I was 4 years old

I had a good childhood with loving parents and grandparents but I hope my children remember a better one and my much travelled grandkids even better
I get quite irritated by these rather smug posts often doing the rounds on FB Sorry Maudi

Perhaps you ve forgotten to mention men jailed for loving an other man, notices in windows saying No Irish no dogs no Blacks, men getting emphysema working long long days in the mines, children working long hours , dogs roaming round fouling the streets sometimes joining up in packs, animals in tiny cages in zoos and circuses women having unwanted pregnancies oh I could go on and on and on

Not everything is rosie in the past

Parsley3 Tue 28-Jun-22 20:09:07

I certainly would not want to go back to the days of the OP.

Shandy57 Tue 28-Jun-22 20:13:53

I can't look back on the past fondly, I was born in 1957, my brother in 1962. My Mum was given thalidomide for both pregnancies, we were extremely lucky, although we were both born with a squint. I remember I had measles, then mumps, and the following year, whooping cough. Our house was freezing in the winter, and we didn't have much money for anything. I remember one holiday at the seaside.

I am glad I was able to give my 90's born children a much better childhood.

Hithere Wed 29-Jun-22 03:12:22

"The wonder years" not

denbylover Wed 29-Jun-22 05:44:21

I’m going to go a bit against the flow here. I was born in the UK in the 50’s, my parents then emigrated and to us children life was pretty good, plenty to eat, plenty of freedom and we were happy at school. Our Mother worked which was not the norm here, so I was a latch key kid, she went part-time when my brother started school. The school holidays were not so good with Mum working and having instead a succession of childminders. But most of them were high school students so things were pretty relaxed. One of them introduced us children to golden syrup sandwiches, what a revelation! From a child’s perspective I don’t think we wanted for very much, money was tight but you knew that and looked after your bits and pieces, we instinctively didn’t ask for things. I look back and treasure the freedom we had, times were more relaxed. Dad could get a bit grumpy but then you kept your head down! I see the cars delivering and collecting children from school nowadays and feel thankful for biking with friends to school, we had fun, ok not so good in the frosts etc but you rugged up. I’ll agree many things are improved now, but I look back on school days with great affection.

BlueBelle Wed 29-Jun-22 06:19:24

Of course there are good things to look back on but you can’t be misty eyed and forget the more difficult things All generations have good and bad things to remember
I had a loving kind childhood but I d love to have been in my grandkids era they ve travelled and seen the world since babies they ve had a superior education and opportunities open to them that I wouldn’t have dreamed existed

Doodledog Wed 29-Jun-22 06:22:23

I am on a few local history groups online and see a lot of this sort of thing, along with highly edited recollections of childhoods filled with love and freedom, always compared favourably with modern ones which are assumed to be spent in front of screens 24/7.

I think that most people remember childhood fondly, because they were children, rather than because the times themselves were necessary better. No responsibility, no real worries, and yes, lots of freedom - children are free to play and enjoy themselves, and days seem longer because they do when we are young.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of sentimentality, but I don’t think these accounts are the whole story, as posts on here have shown.