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What our parents did that wouldn't be seen now

(161 Posts)
Glammy Sat 19-Jul-14 09:00:41

I just picked up a thread on Mumsnet about being left in the pub garden with pop and crisps, and driving without seat belts, parents smoking in the house ect. I was astonished as this sounded like 1950s or 60s childhood not 70 s or 80s. My children were born late 70s and were walked to school, no smoking in the house, car seats as toddlers and seat belts after. Must admit babies were in a carrycot with straps over! What were the big differences from your childhood to the childhood of your children.

suebailey1 Sat 19-Jul-14 09:22:10

Yes I can certainly remember being left outside a certain pub in East London to play in the street on a Saturday evening while the family foregathered within. Everyone smoked in the house. Children and babies if they went in a car (only a couple of uncles had cars) travelled on parents laps. We walked to school on our own and often went to a neighbours house to be looked after, went to the park on our own, played on bomb sites. I was born in 1953 but the East End of London was pretty deprived but we thought normal as we didn't know anything else.

gillybob Sat 19-Jul-14 09:29:14

I remember going on holiday to Butlins holiday camp and being left alone with my sister in the chalet while my parents went to watch the evening entertainment. This would have been in the late 60's early 70's . They employed "baby listeners" who patrolled the chalets and they had a screen up on the wall that displayed the number where there was a "baby" crying. Just imagine it these days. I would never have let my children out of my sight.

gillybob Sat 19-Jul-14 09:33:34

I walked to school alone too. I remember I must have been about 6 years old and I fell down in a puddle dirtying my relatively new coat. I was terrified to go home and hid for what seemed like hours. Someone (perhaps a neighbour I can't remember) found me and plonked me in their car and took me home. My mum was mortified and I got into serious trouble for "making everyone think that my parents were ogres" hmm

annodomini Sat 19-Jul-14 09:43:30

Everyone smoked everywhere in the 40s and 50s. If we had to take a message to the men's staffroom at school, smoke billowed out of the door! We walked to and from school twice a day - in our case, home for lunch; played out in the street and in the foundations of houses being built in our street; climbed trees and picked wild flowers.

granjura Sat 19-Jul-14 09:46:48

A bit confused Glammy- your title asks for a comparison between our parents' lives, but your post compares our childhood to that of our children...
my parents were born in the early 1910s, me in early 1950s and my kids in early 1970s- the difference between the three generations is VAST.

In the 50s, we all walked to school on our own- and after school we went off to the woods or the park to play until supper time- same at week-end and during hols- as long as we were back on time for meals, it was fine. We had penknives and axes to make play houses in the woods too- and matches to make a fire to roast a few sausages on. Same for the 1 month a year we spent in a tiny châlet by the lake, no electricity (remember those gas lamps with a mantle?) a tiny gas stove and outside toilet (we had the lake right in front and spent most of the day in it- so washing was not a problem)- we were out with the other kids from morning till night- all ages, and only came to the châlet for a quick feed and water...

We cycled on out own to the swimming pool for the whole day, or were at the skating rink for hours and days... My mum had a 2CV, and we did all the Swiss mountain passes with the roof open, and my brother and me standing on the seat holding on to the middle bar, waving to those who finally managed to overtake us. No child locks or safety belts of course.
I could write pages ...

Elegran Sat 19-Jul-14 10:37:41

Our childhoods were largely as they were as a result of what our parents did (or did not do)

thatbags Sat 19-Jul-14 10:53:13

You had separate men's and women's staffrooms, anno? Blimey!

There were two staffrooms at my all girls school but bothe male and female teachers used both. One was for working in and the other was for relaxing with cups of tea and chatting.

Ana Sat 19-Jul-14 11:00:18

Same here, bags - but there did seem to be an awful lot of smoking going on behind the closed doors of both! It used to waft out when anyone came in or out...

annodomini Sat 19-Jul-14 11:43:07

I was at school a few (!) years before you, bags. Remember that this was quite soon after WW2. I am sure that when they rebuilt the school there would have been integrated staffrooms.

whenim64 Sat 19-Jul-14 11:47:55

Not only were there men's and women's staff rooms at my grammar school, but the head teacher had an inner sanctuary into which certain elite teachers and sixth formers were allowed to join her for tea! Manchester 1959/60.

Ana Sat 19-Jul-14 11:51:46

Actually, when I think back, we only had a couple of male teachers at any one time, so it would have been quite lonely for them if they'd had to use their own staff room! grin

granjura Sat 19-Jul-14 12:31:47

We all smoked at school when in the 6th Form- at break time we would run out to light up at the bottom of the stairs, and teh caretaker would come and clean up the fag ends at the end of breaktime!!!

janerowena Sat 19-Jul-14 12:48:30

My mother couldn't have cared less where any of us were, I think her mother was the same with her and my aunt and uncle as long as they turned up for tea. My cousins and I aged between 3 and 11 would all be shoved into two rowing boats for the day on the Thames, near Runnymede, with a picnic to have on the anchorwick. We would catch tiddlers and paddle and swim and almost go down weirs...

My own children now 29 and 19, were not allowed anywhere on their own until they were nine. Even that would be just to go to sweet shops and the library while I was shopping. Or a hundred yards away to a friend's house. Moving back into the countryside, things relaxed hugely. My son aged 12 was travelling along the river in a dinghy to the next town with his friends, just as I used to, and they walked for miles to the nearest swimming lake. Ex was livid was he found out that I was allowing DD to go around the town shopping with her friends, aged 14! Yet only the previous year he had made her walk back to a nightclub in Corfu at 3am all on her own because she had left her purse behind.

merlotgran Sat 19-Jul-14 12:59:07

We only spent two years in England during the fifties but I remember, aged 8, walking half a mile on my own to get the bus for school and changing buses twice on the long journey. I often think of this when I see kids these days being transported door to door.

Ana Sat 19-Jul-14 13:35:12

Just remembered that I was a latchkey kid at 8 or 9 onwards...At primary school I had my front door key on a piece of thin ribbon round my neck! I wasn't the only one, either.

Lona Sat 19-Jul-14 13:56:47

As soon as I went to High school at eleven, mum went to work full time. On Monday morning I took the washbag to the local laundry on my way to school, and collected the wet washing on my way home, (oh the embarrassment).
School was a ten minute walk to the bus-stop and then a 15 minute journey, and after I got home I had to lay and light the fire, prepare and start to cook the evening meal, and then do my homework.
On Saturday mornings I did all the shopping.
All good experience for me.

kittylester Sat 19-Jul-14 14:21:20

Granjura, my first car was a 2CV and I cried buckets when DH insisted it wasn't safe and bought me a Volvo!! sad

J52 Sat 19-Jul-14 14:29:35

Granjura and Kitty, I had two lovely 2CVs in succession, first one succumbed to rust on the floor. I must admit that the very young DSs loved a short ride standing on the seat and waving out of the roof. No chid in car laws in the 80s. They did have special harness seats for proper journeys!

But, as a baby DS 1 was just in the carry cot harnessed to the seat in the back. I wish we had had the baby seats they have now. From car to home with no disturbance and so safe. X

granjura Sat 19-Jul-14 14:37:59

We've had 2CVs in the faily since 1950smile - in the UK I had 3. I had to give up on the last one in the end, as I had to get it started by pushing it along our long drive, then across the main road down the hill and jump in as it was picking up speed- and it would then start! When it failed to do so twice and I got to work more than 2 hours late (I worked in a town about 10 miles north of where I lived)- I just had to buy a new car and 2CVs were no longer available. That was truly the end of an era for me... Our kids and friends loved going Youth Hostelling in the Peak District and Norfolk in the 'xxxxxmobile' (xxxxx my first name)...

J52 Sat 19-Jul-14 14:50:47

Shall we turn this into a 2CV appreciation society? X

J52 Sat 19-Jul-14 14:52:31

Every time my young sons saw one they yelled " a mummycar " they still do: both in their 30s!!x

Tegan Sat 19-Jul-14 15:11:50

A few years ago we were travelling oop north and the motorway was full of 2cv's. Turned out there was a huge rally for them that week. Some had litle trailers attached. The only thing that would have made me go 'aah' more would have been a Morris 1000 Traveller rally.

nightowl Sat 19-Jul-14 15:11:54

I had a white 2CV and took it all the way to the south of France one year, with a 5 year old and a 2 year old in the back. That was an interesting journey, and a memorable one. I sold it to my sister-in-law eventually, and she passed it on to her daughter. I don't know what its eventual fate was.

I used to love having to pick up speed downhill to get up the other side. But what used to really interest me were the lengths some people would go to to get past me, as though it were an insult to their dignity to follow a 2CV (or the lawnmower as a male friend used to call it hmm ). One man drove his car on to a pavement to get past me on the inside shock

Tegan Sat 19-Jul-14 15:15:24

We travelled all over Europe in the moggie; people used to point at it saying 'baum'. We also went camping in northern France in a mini when my daughter was a baby; I'd love to relive that holiday because I still can't work out how everything fitted into the car confused. What made it worse was my daughter was scared of the beach and wouldn't go onto it till the last day of the holiday.