What Did We Do Before: Leg Tan

Along with manicures, pedicures, massages and hair colouring my grand-daughter is completely au fait with leg tans. My only experiment with leg tanning resulted in dark patches on my knees and ankles as well as yellow hands. My usual leg tan was the “pull up” type.

When I went to secondary school it was compulsory for us to wear 60 denier stockings. Not tights, stockings! Suspender belts are now considered racy things worn to titillate and often displayed in “Adult Only” shop windows but that’s certainly not how I remember them. I was slim and the only things that kept up my suspender belt were my hip bones. Not comfortable at all so when I discovered – horror of horrors – a girdle, I was happy. The whole thing was elastic so I no longer had to endure a belt cutting into me.

The 60 denier stockings were bad in summer but at least I never had to endure lisle stockings like one of my friends. They were some kind of knitted material and tended to sag around the ankles and knees. It didn’t take us long to discover we could get away with wearing 40 denier stockings, the uniform scrutineers at the school gates didn’t seem to spot the difference.

Sometime in the 1960s Pantyhose became available and that meant the girdle could be tossed out but along with pantyhose came a major issue for me. Sizing. As I said, I was slim so I didn’t think I needed “Large” or “Extra Large” but I soon discovered that buying “Average” meant that if they survived me pulling them up without ripping holes in them the crutch invariably headed straight to my knees as soon as I started walking. Buying “Large” often meant the waist band had to be rolled down so it didn’t extend to my armpits.

I rarely wear pantyhose now that women can wear slacks almost anywhere but I have discovered that they’re great under slacks when the weather is freezing.

I think pantyhose have now morphed into leggings and skinny jeans.

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Childhood Toys

This is my response to Irene Waters prompt about Childhood Toys

I’m a “Baby Boomer” and live in the city of Adelaide, South Australia.

The theme set me thinking. The only toy I could remember having was a doll I called, “Kelvin”. I insisted it was a boy doll simply because it had very little hair but I don’t remember playing with it much. My Nana also gave me a knitted black doll with multicoloured stripy body and wild woolly hair. I feel reticent to say it but they were very common and called, “Golliwogs”. In Adelaide at that time we never saw anyone with dark skin and to me it was like a cute alien and much cuddlier than the bigger, less pliable doll. I did find a very posed photo of me with some toy rabbits but they look pristine and I’m sure they were never playthings.

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My grandfather made us little wooden carts but they were kept at his home.

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I’m one of five children and when I couldn’t think of any other toys I asked my brother about it, he agreed we didn’t have toys. There was a model steam engine which Dad would occasionally bring out and show us how it worked but no one actually got to play with it. Probably just as well or we’d have been burnt.

When I was a teenager Dad went to Japan and brought home a colourful rooster which he loved, I think it crowed and pecked but we didn’t play with that either. He kept it in his room and would bring it out to show it off, everyone got a laugh out of it……. except maybe Dad’s grand-niece who doesn’t look too thrilled in this photo.

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In reality I don’t think we missed toys, we found too much to do outside.