Times Past: Birthday Parties

Birthday Parties are the theme for this month’s recollections, suggested by Irene A Waters.

(Baby Boomer growing up in an Australian capital city.)

When I was young we had birthday parties though nothing like the extravagant theme parties many kids have now. Most of our birthdays would have been celebrated within the immediate family but during my Primary School years I remember parties I attended at other girls’ homes. Boys were never invited and I don’t remember any boys having parties, even my brothers.

In my class at school there were cousins who lived next door to each other and I looked forward to their parties because they always had delicious cream puffs. I also remember seeing my first ice-cream cake at another party. During those years the party pies and pasties were all home made, nothing was available from a supermarket freezer then.

We played games like:

Pin the Tail on the Donkey

Musical Chairs

Pass the Parcel   (only the last person got a prize)

Scavenger Hunts

We had fun with balloons and whistles which had extending paper ends with feathers on them.

Everyone was given a piece of cake to take home wrapped in a serviette.

My brother Michael’s 4th birthday celebration.

My birthday, guests include neighbours, a cousin and friends from school. A brother of one girl is hiding in the background, probably embarrassed to be there.

There are always balloons at birthdays!

 

Advertisements

Times Past: In the School Playground

Another post following Irene Waters suggestion, this time it’s about school playgrounds.

I’m a Baby Boomer brought up in an Australian capital city.

I attended the local public school and our “playground” was asphalt but there was also a grassed oval and another area where older girls played softball. The school was near the beach and the bases were simply depressions in the sand. Only the older boys went onto the Oval  during school time.

On the asphalt area we played:

Fairies and Witches, Hopscotch, Chasey, What’s the Time Mr Wolf?, Red Rover All Over etc

Skipping – long ropes for group skipping and short ropes for individuals. A group skipping game I remember went with the chant, “Old Mother Wishy Washy fell down the well. How far did she fall?” The pace was normal to start with but at the end of the chant it became “pepper” ie very fast. However many skips you managed at the fast pace was how far the washerwoman fell.

Marbles -this was really a boys’ game but I loved playing, I probably only played after school

Knuckle Bones – not plastic ones but actual sheep knuckle bones saved from the Sunday roast.

Monkey Bars – I can’t recall where these were so maybe they were actually in community playgrounds but I remember the blisters on my hands

YoYos – Mine wasn’t very fancy but some kids had genuine Coca Cola ones. Yoyos were something that became a fad for a while then disappeared again.

The “Playground” ie asphalt was also where we had to line up in our class groups at the end of lunch before marching into our rooms to the music from the Fife and Drum Band.

Once a week we also lined up in classes for the “Oath of Allegience” or whatever it was … “I am an Australian, I love my country, I honour her queen, I salute her flag, I promise to obey her laws”… and the singing of the National Anthem.

Before I was old enough to go to school, doing a lap around the asphalt for the “Best Decorated Bike” contest at the School Fair.

 

Times Past: Xmas Trees

Because it’s the right time of year Irene Waters, from Reflections and Nightmares, has suggested Xmas Trees as the theme for the month.

I’m a Baby Boomer who grew up in a South Australian city.

Although I remember having Christmas Trees when I grew up I can’t recall what they were like. I did manage to find one photo and it’s obviously a synthetic  tree. The funny thing about seeing this photo again is I’m reminded that I was so shocked at seeing the hideous “china cabinet” that I made certain that by the following Christmas a decent one was in its place.

I was the photographer. (Some captions can’t be seen unless you click on the photo.)

xmas

Mum holds her first grandchild.

For the first two years of my married life we lived in a caravan and our Christmas Tree was tiny. It was difficult finding decorations that didn’t swamp it. Over 40 years later two little foil angels still come out each year.

The first house we lived in backed onto a sheep paddock and after our first Christmas there I saw a number of ex-Christmas Trees tossed over the fence. I hated the idea that lovely living trees were chopped down, decorated with trinkets and sparkly lights then discarded as rubbish. I made up my mind I’d never have a real Christmas Tree and I haven’t.

Our Christmas Trees have always looked lifelike. Now that I have grandchildren the tree goes up after the big city Christmas Pageant and the kids help to decorate it. I don’t have anything breakable on it except the very old, bedraggled little birds which I always place high up. The tree always comes down before Jan 1st, I feel it belongs in the old year not the new one.

xmas4

2016

Treatments: Times Past

The Times Past theme this month is “Treatments”, click the link to check it out.

I’m a Baby Boomer and lived in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.

Looking back I think we were a healthy lot, we survived the measles/mumps/chicken pox diseases and I can’t remember much else apart from recurring Tonsilitis for which I was prescribed big, pink  Penicillin tablets that could have choked a horse.

Probably our most common treatment for anything and everything was a hot water bottle. I don’t use one now, instead I’ve substituted a microwaved wheat bag . Very comforting on sore tummies and backs!

One treatment that immediately came to mind though seems just ridiculous. If we got a bee sting Mum would dab the spot with a laundry “Blue Block”, these were designed to be put in the rinse water to make whites appear whiter. I’m sure the only thing they did for our bee stings was highlight them and invite sympathy.

Blue blocks

I remember seeing my brother with purple feet because he soaked them in a Condy’s Crystals solution to try and get rid of his Tinea.

Calamine Solution was the treatment for rashes, hives and sunburn. I have no idea how it was supposed to help other than being cold though the pale pink residue did help to camouflage the redness. Once, after sitting in a boat all day, I had a bad case of sunburnt thighs,  Dad put butter on them. I can remember it melting but not soothing.

Calamine lotion

Dad also was a great believer in the power of “Bovril”, a salty, meat extract he mixed in hot water. He brought a cup to me when I was in bed nauseous and with stomach cramps, it was probably the worst thing he could have brought but I didn’t let him know that. The smell certainly did nothing to make me feel better.

Bovril2

Colds called for Nyal  Decongestant, Vicks Vapor Rub and Eucalyptus Oil. Dad could chew Hudson’s Eumenthol Jujubes but they were too strong for me. I still use Eucalyptus Oil frequently and used Vicks Vapor Rub with my own children, they do help clear stuffy noses.

VicksCuts and scrapes all got the Solyptol treatment ie a wash in water with a dash of Solyptol added.

Solyptol

On a window ledge near our back door was a little box with sharp pocket knife, I can’t remember what else was in it but I hated the whole notion of that box. It was the “snake bite kit” and we were supposed to cut the area where the snake had bitten and suck the poison out.  Fortunately despite snakes being around we never had to use it.

For a few years an old auntie lived with us and she was always taking Ford Pills and Bex Powders. I can still remember the advertising jingle, “Ford Pills, keep you really regular, buy Ford Pills.” A Bex powder and a “good lie down” were supposed to help any woman’s problems but apparently after they were banned in 1977 the incidence of Kidney Cancer dropped dramatically.

One day I was fossicking about in a cupboard and saw a cute little green bottle, I unscrewed the top and took a sniff. It seemed to almost take the top of my head off,  that was my introduction to “Smelling Salts”. I used to faint quite often when I was young but unlike in the movies Smelling Salts were never used to bring me round. I now have that little bottle but wouldn’t contemplate giving it to anyone to sniff.

smelling salts

 

 

 

Clubs: Times Past

This month’s topic for Times Past is “Clubs” you can check out the site here.

I’m a Baby Boomer, city of Adelaide, Australia

Our family wasn’t into joining clubs, in fact we didn’t socialize very much at all, family was the focus. I went to Sunday School….  regularly when it was almost annual Picnic time. Before I was even a teenager I’d become disillusioned with the church but I joined the Youth Group for the social interaction. The only thing I remember about that was going on “Progressive Dinners” which I thoroughly enjoyed. For anyone unfamiliar with them each course is held at a different person’s home. Sometimes we met up with the Youth Group from a neighbouring church and that’s how I found out about their Tennis Club.

I joined the Tennis Club, there was never any pressure to attend church. I loved participating in the matches and went to practice every week. I distinctly remember Saturday nights being dejected because it was a whole week before the next match. It was the only time I really socialized, I was very shy at school.  I belonged to that club until I left home and the city.

When I was at College I joined the Travel Club and even became president or something and was responsible for organizing trips interstate. Meetings were held in the lead up to the trips. Like going to Sunday School belonging to the club was just a means to an end.

After I married and had children we joined the local Tennis Club and were active members for many years. We all made many friends there and enjoyed lots of social occasions.  I eventually stopped going when I realized that on hot days I was so badly affected by the heat that I was a write-off for the rest of the weekend.

The only club I belong to now is a 4WD club which my husband and I joined so that we’d have the support of experienced members. Although we attend meetings and participate in some activities I wouldn’t describe myself as an enthusiastic member. We’ve made friends  there and enjoyed camping trips away but in reality I think we’ve inherited the strong “family group” emphasis and we enjoy that more than membership of any clubs.

tennis-club

St Richard’s Tennis Club 196?

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.

tights

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.

toys3

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

toys1

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.

toys2

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