Joan Griffiths, of the Tweed Coast U3A Life Writing Group recalls three clear memories of her childhood.
Behind our galvanised iron garage, with its sagging wooden doors and dirt floor, was my Father's huge stack of empty 26 fl.oz. beer bottles. Now I'm not saying that my Father was a "soak", a heavy drinker, just that he saved his empty beer bottles for the monetary return he received from the "Bottle'O", the man who called by in his truck two or three times a year to collect said empty bottles which in turn he sold back to the breweries. I'm not sure how much my father received from the "Bottle'O", but I think it might have been in the vicinity of about a penny a dozen, i.e. about one cent in today's currency. Certainly not a lot of money in this day and age but back then, in the late '40s early '50s, when a 7 fl. Oz. glass of beer cost around sixpence, a penny was not to be sneezed at! I guess the "Bottle'O" was a true pioneer of the recycling industry, ensuring that what went around came around. The system must have worked well because I don't ever recall a shortage in the beer bottle department, where there was always a good supply.
The "Herald Boy"
During the '40's and '50's, for most Victorians, the "Herald Boy" was a nightly institution as he stood on the street corner selling the evening edition of the "Herald" newspaper, and his cry of "He-rald, getcha He-rald" was very much part of the local scene. On Wednesday and Saturday evenings he also sold the "Sporting Globe". The "Herald Boy" was usually around 12 to 14 years old. Selling newspapers was a way to earn pocket money, not only from wages but also from generous tips from customers. The boys stood for hours on every street corner, rain, hail or shine, a heavy bag of newspapers slung over one shoulder, but obviously the remuneration made it all worthwhile, because nearly every boy of that era wanted to be a "Herald Boy".
The Baker's Cart
Before supermarkets and sliced bread, our bread was delivered, unsliced of course, by baker's horse and cart. Everyone loved the baker's horse, a large, gentle creature that needed no guidance; it seemed, to complete its master's daily round. It just clip-clopped along, up and down the street as the baker delivered bread to each household. The baker's cart was brightly painted, with the owner's name emblazoned on the side, and was reminiscent of those gypsy caravans pictured in children's story-books. The interior of the cart was lined with wooden shelves on which sat seemingly hundreds of loaves of bread, all neatly wrapped in white paper ready for delivery. And the smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the baker's cart – simply unforgettable!