Tuesday, 28 December 2004

Christmas In the 1940's

There were seven of us in our family, including Mum & Dad -  two boys and three girls. Dad had come back from the war all in one piece, but only just.  He didn't earn very much and I suppose we were only just above 'poor', but everyone else seemed to be the same, as it was only a few years after the end of  World War 2, and so much was either rationed or simply unavailable - even more financially better off people had to do without - rationing was a great leveller lol!

I don't remember doing without, we were well fed and well clothed - and what you've never had - you never miss!

I remember the Christmas when I would have been about 4 or 5, Dad had made 3 cots for us girls, in three descending sizes, Mum made all the cot sheets in our favourite colours - blue for Mavis, green for Barbara and pink for me. We all had dolls, with moveable joints, so that the dolls could 'sit' and they had eyes that closed too - we were so delighted with them! Mum also made clothes for our dolls, and they were well played with, we didn't need anything else.  The boys had train sets, which I loved to play with as well - I was a real tom-boy!

In later years, the boys had huge meccano sets, they were only made of unpainted metal, but I so loved playing with them - I made a crane that hooked underneath the car I'd made and you could wind up the crane so that it picked up the car - I found that fascinating.  But I had to let the boys play with my bagatelle in return - the whole family wanted to play with my bagatelle :-(

Books were a 'must' for me at Christmas - Lucy Atwell's Annual and Film Star Annuals (which I still have), also jigsaw puzzles and new white ankle socks.  You've no idea how wonderful new ankle socks were - socks had to last until they were too small for me and consequently had many darns in the heels and toes - not very comfortable.  New socks felt lovely and I was proud of the sparkling whiteness of them.

The good part of Christmas past, was that it didn't take much to make us happy - a skipping rope, a whip & top, a home-made gollywog and an orange - I don't remember having chocolate in the 1940's, but Mum used to make toffee apples as a special treat and she would put silver threepenny pieces in the Christmas pudding - one lucky person would find the solitary shilling!

But my very favourite plaything was a book of cardboard dolls, which you either cut around or pressed out, along with a variety of dresses, tops, skirts, slacks (no jeans then lol!) hats and gloves, even dogs and umberellas, and I loved interchanging their outfits.  And all my cardboard dolls had names - my favourite was called Grace, and they would have to do 'lessons' - I made tiny school books for them lol! They were my children and my freinds and I loved them dearly! 

We three girls would take part in the Christmas Concert in the local Church Hall, dressed as angels, our dresses and wings made from Mum's net curtains - which had to go back up at the windows afterwards lol!

Somehow I have managed to put in a photograph of myself aged 6 and one of my Mum & Dad in their younger days - may even have been an engagement photograph.  Now off to see if I can do it again and add photos to my other entries lol!

Hope you had a lovely Christmas here in 2004 and I wish you all a fantastic 2005!

lotsa luv


Sunday, 19 December 2004

Christmas in the 1950's

Just a quick entry so that you don't forget me lol!

I can never regret being the age I am (63) as I have such lovely memories and I lived through such terrific era's - the 50's and 60's!

I am working right up until the very last moment this year, so everything is such a rush, and no time to enjoy the thought of the coming festivities- and I bet this is the same for SO many of us!  So I took a peek into my diary of 1959 whan I was 18 years old to see what I was doing then.  Of course it fell to Mum to do all the organising, for us teenagers - it was just fun, fun, fun!

I lived in a small village, and most social activities were focussed around the village church.  I belonged to the church choir, as did most of my friends, so I was a regular churchgoer, and for me, Christmas was all about going to church, it was the only time of the year when it would be 'standing room only' lol!  For a small village, we had a suprisingly large church -  perfect acoustics for the rousing hymns and Christmas carols.  It was a truly wonderful atmosphere, and it always seemed to snow in those days. I particularly enjoyed the Watchnight Service.  I'll never forget walking back home in the early hours of the morning, (hardly anyone had a car) making the first footprints in the virginal snow, calling Happy New Year, to whoever we met on the way.  On New Years day, we always wished everyone we met 'A Happy New Year' whether we knew them or not.

By now we would already have had the Christmas Dance in the church hall, where we would do 'proper dancing' to a septugenarian trio lol! dressed in their ancient evening jackets and bowties, and their shoes highly polished. It usually comprised  Saxaphone, Bass and Drums (or more acurately - drum lol!)I can still hear the steady 123,123, rythm of the snares on the single drum

Most young people could waltz and quickstep to some degree, but we all got up to do the Paul Jones and the Barn Dance - absolutely no one was allowed to sit down during these dances - even the the Vicar (who mostly stood drinking tea) was made to join in.  Of course we always ended the evening with the Hokey Cokey and then the last waltz, when the lights would be dimmed for a minute or two and the boys could sneak a quick kiss from their partner ( you had to be very careful who you did the last waltz with lol!)  I'll  never forget finding myself in the arms of the young curate for the last walz - I fancied him like mad, but was desperate for him not to know, ha ha - no, I didn't get a kiss!

We would then look forward to the Gala Dance in the New Year - the hall would be gloriously festooned with lots of balloons which would come down upon us like confetti at the end of the evening.  I always hoped to be able to take one home, but the boys were determined to pop them all with their cigarettes lol! 

As I got older, I would forsake the local festivities for  the much grander events at The City Hall in the centre of Sheffield, we girls always hoped we would find a nice young man to take us home - preferably in a car!

We didn't get a lot of presents in those days. There would be one main present, and then things like, bath salts (THE most popular gift of the time lol!) perfume, make up, chocolates and stockings (no tights then!) My favourite gift that year was a lovely net half slip, which had lots of layers to make my dresses stand out and a wide, white leather belt that made my waist look half its size lol!

Was going to add a pic with my net slip peeping from beneath my dress, but somehow it doesn't seem to work for me :-(


ps Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!