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Poem for you all

(19 Posts)
mrsmopp Tue 13-Jan-15 07:36:26

I remember the cheese of my childhood,
And the bread that we cut with a knife.
When the children helped with the housework,
And the men went to work not the wife.
The cheese never needed a fridge,
And the bread was so crusty and hot,
The children were seldom unhappy
And the wife was content with her lot.

I remember the milk from the bottle,
With the yummy cream on the top,
Our dinner came hot from the oven,
And not from the fridge in the shop.
The kids were a lot more contented,
They didn't need money for kicks,
Just a game with their mates in the road,
And sometimes the Saturday flicks.

I remember the shop on the corner,
Where a pen'orth of sweets was sold
Do you think I'm a bit too nostalgic?
Or is it....I'm just getting old?
I remember the 'loo' was the lav
And the bogy man came in the night,
It wasn't the least bit funny
Going "out back" with no light.

The interesting items we perused
From the newspapers cut into squares,
And hung on a peg in the loo,
It took little to keep us amused.
The clothes were boiled in the copper,
With plenty of rich foamy suds
But the ironing seemed never ending
As Mum pressed everyone's 'duds'.

I remember the slap on my backside,
And the taste of soap if I swore
Anorexia and diets weren't heard of
And we hadn't much choice what we wore.
Do you think that bruised our ego?
Or our initiative was destroyed?
We ate what was put on the table
And I think life was better enjoyed.

Mishap Tue 13-Jan-15 09:20:27

Ah - the rose-tinted specs!! I am not sure it was all better then, or that we enjoyed ourselves more. I really think my GC have a better life in spite of the restrictions on playing out - they certainly have a better time at school where no-one raps them over the knuckles with a ruler as they used to do at our school.

I wonder what others think.

Well done with writing the poem!

Ariadne Tue 13-Jan-15 09:37:56

Nicely constructed poem!

But I most certainly would not go back - I enjoy all the advantages of the modern world too much.

There were always bad things, and bad people - we were just not so well informed way back then.

henetha Tue 13-Jan-15 10:29:36

That's brilliant, MrsMopp. Lovely nostalgia, life was certainly simpler then and I think we were more content. But I wouldn't go back, there is so much more to enjoy in modern life, so many developments and things to be interested in. And huge improvements in medicine and technology. More opportunities to travel and see the world.
But it's nice to look back sometimes, so thank you. Your poem brought back many memories.

Ariadne Tue 13-Jan-15 11:09:25

Realised my "nicely constructed" comment might seem patronising - but I truly meant it! I'm an ex English teacher, and I also write poetry, and to me, the sort of poem that doesn't scan, that forces rhymes etc is like listening to someone sing out of tune. Yours is perfect, mrsmopp!

Eloethan Tue 13-Jan-15 15:35:57

Yes, I agree Ariadne - really rhythmic and well written.

I have to say I can identify with a lot of the feelings in mrsmopp's poem. I do believe that the simpler life led to children being more inventive and active in their play. I also think people were more contented with their lives because - as there was much less advertising and it was not very sophisticated - they didn't see themselves as missing out. Families were not under so much financial pressure that both parents had to work. Now, a considerable number of babies and young children spend the whole week in a nursery.

Having said that, I don't think it was all hunky dory. Marriages weren't all happy and yet people - and especially women - often had little option but to remain in them. That was perhaps the downside of married women being less likely to have a career and therefore less financial security. Contraception was not very reliable and I think more children were unplanned and possibly unwanted - and there were, I am sure, more back street abortions than we would care to think about. Corporal punishment was allowed in schools and capital punishment was still in existence. There was less tolerance of difference, homosexuality was a crime and there were no laws to prevent discrimination in the workplace, housing provision or anywhere else.

This poem has certainly made me reflect. Although I "think" things are much better these days, I actually "feel" that life was better then. But that is perhaps because I was a child then, without responsibilities and with very few real worries. I suppose we tend to judge each period in history that we have lived through by how it affected us personally than by how it might have affected other people - and, although I have done this myself, I feel it is not a reliable measure.

janerowena Tue 13-Jan-15 16:09:31

The bread definitely went stale! My mother made all of our bread for the week on a Monday, and by the end of the week we were dampening it and shoving it back in the aga to re-bake and soften it.

I once suggested she made it on a Friday and she got very annoyed with me.

Firstly (I realised later) it was her day for the hairdresser, secondly - she had all her friends round on a Tuesday and they were the ones who ate all the nicest cakes! I wondered for years why it was that we never seemed to have them for tea - but back then of course, didn't dare ask.

The only reason cheeses never went off was because there were four children. It ran out long before it had a chance to go mouldy.

I would hate to go back to those days. Clothes, shoes, food, toys all so much cheaper now. So much more known about how the body and mind work. The only problem with now is that so many people misuse what they have, are greedy and wasteful. And still just as judgmental of those with physical and mental problems. I think, if the world seems more dangerous nowadays, it's purely because communications are so much better now (and cheaper!) that we are more aware of it.

Fili Wed 18-Mar-15 07:40:53

Good poem I liked it a lot. But time is changing.

PRINTMISS Wed 18-Mar-15 07:54:58

We can enjoy the nostalgia without comparing it with modern life. Every family have their own way of reflecting on the past, and it is good to remember that little changes in as much there will always be the rich, the poor, the content and those that want more. I wonder what the younger generation of today will be nostalgic about? I loved the poem and the rhythm, thank you very much MrsMopp.

feetlebaum Wed 18-Mar-15 08:39:17

My mother used to keep a bought loaf back to go a bit stale, then wet and re-bake it for Sunday tea - it was the crispest crust and the fluffiest crumb, and we loved it!

As the late Tony Capstick put it: "We'd lots o' things in them days they 'aven't got today - rickets, diphtheria, Hitler - and my, we did look well goin' to school wi' no backside in us trousers an' all us little 'eads painted purple because we 'ad ringworm.

They don't know they're born today!"

ninathenana Wed 18-Mar-15 11:36:00

I don't feel qualified to comment on the technicalities of your poem. I enjoyed it and it made me smile, that's all I know smile

Life is definitely better now.

merlotgran Wed 18-Mar-15 14:02:26

Lovely poem but I only spent two years in UK during the early fifties and boy were they grim.

Did anyone else watch 'Back In Time For Dinner' on BBC2 last night?

Falconbird Wed 18-Mar-15 14:49:20

I watched "Back In Time For Dinner" and I thought it was more or less accurate but the food in the early fifties wasn't that bad surely?

I don't remember the National Loaf at all - although I am old enough to remember it. Jelly was a real treat but mum's always made it a few days before it was supposed to be eaten so that it would set.

And what about salad. I remember salad in the early 50s.

Really love the poem Mrsmopp and it bought back happy memories. But there was a darker side to the those post war years.

Elegran Wed 18-Mar-15 15:20:34

I agree, Falconbird I don't remember the food being as bad as that, either. Maybe my mother was a better cook than some, but we ate well. I would say they needed a few lessons in real cooking before being let loose.

That allotment would have supplied more kinds of fruit and vegetables than they showed, so they'd have had stewed apples and plums, They said "no herbs" as though herbs were invented just yesterday. but there would have been mint for the potatoes and for mint sauce, and things like parsley and thyme at the very least. They could have had baked potatoes, and stuffed slices of the monster marrow with fried onions and breadcrumbs and thyme. Throwing out bread was a cardinal sin!

That wholemeal bread could have been cut a bit thinner - you don't have to buy shop-sliced bread to get it thin - and fried crisp in some of that dripping to have with tomatoes. Liver didn't have to be turned into shoe-leather slabs to hide the pink inside from the children, it could have been cut smaller and fried with onions and some gravy made with granules, with some mashed potatoes and vegetables.

The fish and chip shops were thriving. The family could have had one meal from the chipper - saving Mum a day in the kitchen.

What happened to all the bottles of sauce and jars of chutney and pickled onions to have with the more boring meals? And clearly no-one had passed on any of the tips like adding oatmeal and a tasty gravy to mince to make it go further and taste better. An opportunity missed.

Falconbird Wed 18-Mar-15 18:32:26

Thanks Elegran, you've bought back memories.

I'd forgotten the allotments. My uncle had one and used to bring buckets of potatoes round to our house. We used to have salad with lettuce, spring onions tomatoes and hard boiled eggs or Spam. I'd forgotten stuffed marrow - it was delicious.

Mum bottled pickled onions every year and there was always a bottle of HP sauce and a tin of mustard in the pantry. As well as chips from the chip shop there were home made chips friend in a scary pan of lard.

Surely Pan Yan pickle was around in the early fifties.

Maybe our mums were good providers or the programme was exaggerating for the sake of good TV.

Elegran Wed 18-Mar-15 18:35:45

I have just remembered that I bought onions to pickle a couple of weeks ago - I must get cracking.

merlotgran Wed 18-Mar-15 18:42:22

I wished they'd picked a family where the mother could actually cook. Most housewives in the fifties had come through wartime rationing and were dab hands at making a nourishing meal out of very little. I know they're a modern family and these days many husbands take on the lion's share of the cooking but I would have preferred to see a more adaptable wife and mother try her hand at fifties living.

absentgrandma Wed 18-Mar-15 18:55:32

I didn't see the programme, but if they said people didn't use herbs that was rubbbish. My mum was a stranger to gastronomy (wouldn't have known the word if she'd even heard it) but there was always parsely, thyme, sage and mint...... roast lamb without freshly made mint sauce ??? My dad would have had a fit. I loved mint sauce..... it disguised the ghastliness of the lamb..... God knows what my mum did to it, but it was grey and greasy!

Maybe today's cooks, brought up on TV cookery programmes only think of coriander, basil etc.

Falconbird Thu 19-Mar-15 09:18:17

I could have done a better job than the mum on Home In Time for Dinner, but then I grew up in the late forties and in the 50s, so I watched all the mums in my area doing the cooking.

I was still cooking a lot from scratch in the 70s with 3 hungry sons to feed.
I used to bake on Fridays - jam buns, ginger sponge parkin and cherry cake. On Friday evenings my DH used to make bread and we were set up for the week.

We had a narrow little electric oven - but managed very well.

I also used to cook steak and kidney pie once a week (veggie now).

Also if I'd been making jelly before fridges were the norm I would have made it at least the day before to make sure it would set.

Herbs: Oh the smell of mint in the garden and thinking it would soon be time for dinner.