My Childhood World

Fay White

I was born in 1944. I remember a world without television, frozen food, videos or The Pill. There were no dish-washers, air-conditioners, electric blankets or tumble-dryers. Clothes were not drip-dry. The baker (with his penny-buns) and the grocer came to us. Milk came in glass bottles or a billy. We had never heard of yogurt. A chip was a fried potato, hardware meant nuts and bolts and software wasn't even a word. Hotels closed at 6pm. There were no Day Care or Child Care Centres or disposable nappies. The postman blew his whistle twice a day. We had the telephone exchange with the only phone in the village – what would we have thought of today's teenagers, with their permanently attached mobile phones? A trip to the toilet in winter involved umbrellas and coats. We had never heard of Big Macs, house-husbands or dual careers, and a "meaningful relationship" meant getting on well with your cousin. The Saturday night pictures were the highlight of the adults' week and it was taken for granted that you stood up for the National Anthem. Trousers were not considered ladylike and it was bad manners to visit on Mondays because that was washday. Walking to school was taken for granted- 'Mum's taxi' was not yet an option. We feared the cane, but not walking at night.

Our pastimes were simple. I write this on the day that it is being suggested that the making of Daisy-Chains by schoolchildren should be banned, because it is feared that the children might get germs or allergies from the flowers. We survived in the days before banning and suing.