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Sixties Childhood Memories
Sixties Childhood Memories

You just want to be a child again? .... close your eyes and go back in time....       Readers' 60s Memories, Anecdotes & Information        Life In Sixties Britain        Sixties Toys, Books, Household and Miscellaneous Images and Information

Sixties Childhood Memories If you lived as a child in the 50's or 60's, looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have...    as children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding with all the windows open on a warm day was always a special treat. Our cots and beds were covered with bright coloured lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cupboards, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle - horrors!
We would spend hours building go-carts out of scrap and then ride them down the hill, only to find out that we'd forgotten the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No mobile phones. Unthinkable.

We got cut and broke bones and broke teeth, and there were no law suits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame, but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights, punched each other and got black and blue - and learned to get over it. We ate raw cake mix, bread and real butter, and drank neat cordial, but we were never overweight... we were always outside playing. We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one died from this.
Me feeding next door's escaped chickens     Me and dad     Clint Hough

School at Colney Heath - me at the back     Me, Stephen and Valerie Littlechild     In the cubs

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, video games, 65 channels on pay TV, video tape movies, surround sound, personal mobile phones, personal computers, internet chat rooms ... we had friends. We went outside and found them! Before the Internet or the Apple Mac.... before semi-automatics, joyriders and crack.... before SEGA or X-Box or Super Nintendo.... way back........ I'm talking about....

Me and friend Robert in 'the sand pit' at 42 Smiths Crescent Hide and seek in the park, the corner shop and four-a-penny chews, hopscotch and butterscotch, skipping, jacks, marbles, handstands and football with an old can.
Conker fights, kiss chase, home made kites, Beano, Dandy, Bunty and Twinkle, roly poly, bows and arrows, hula hoops, swapping scraps and tea cards, jumping the stream, rope swings, building dams and collecting returnable bottles.

The smell of bonfire smoke and fresh cut grass, an ice cream in a square cone on a warm summer night from the van that plays a tune - chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or maybe Neapolitan ...... or perhaps a wafer? Saturday morning club at the cinema, Cubs in proper uniform, British Bulldog in the playground... when around the corner seemed far away and going into town seemed like really going somewhere. Earwigs, wasps and bee stings. Sticky fingers, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, and Robin Hood.

Climbing trees, building igloos out of snow banks and forts out of newly cut grass. Walking to school, no matter what the weather. Running until you were out of breath.
Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Jumping on the bed. Pillow fights. Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles. Being tired from playing....remember that? When the worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon, football cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle. Eating raw jelly. Orange squash ice pops and Corona from the milk van. Remember when there were three types of trainers - girls and boys, and Dunlop Green Flash - and the only time you wore them at school was for P.E. or Games. You knew everyone in your street - and so did your parents. It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends. You didn't sleep a wink on Christmas Eve. When nobody owned a pure-bred dog. When five shillings was decent pocket money and you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.

Didn't that feel good? Just to go back and say, "Yeah..... I remember that...."

When nearly everyone's mum was at home when the kids got there and it was 'magic' when dad would "remove" his thumb. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him, or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it. When being sent to the Headmaster's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! - and some of us are still afraid of them!!

Remember when.... decisions were made by going "Dip Dip Dip", "race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly" The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was germs......... and the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to one.
It was unbelievable that British Bulldog and Ice Sliding weren't Olympic events. Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a catapult or a pea shooter. Nobody was prettier than Mum. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant orange-flavoured chewable aspirin. Ice cream was considered a basic food group. Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true. Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors......

We were born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. We were born before rada, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ball-point pens; before dishwashers, tumble dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip dry clothes ...
We got married first and then lived together. We thought "fast food" was what you ate during Lent, a "Big Mac" was an oversized raincoat and "crumpet" was what you had for tea. We existed before house-husbands, computer dating, dual careers, when a "meaningful relationship" meant getting along with your cousins and "sheltered accommodation" was where you waited for a bus.

We had never heard of FM radio, tape decks, word processors, yoghurt, pizzas or young men wearing earrings. A "chip" was a piece of wood or a fried potato, "hardware" meant nuts and bolts and "software" wasn't even a word. "Stud" was something that fastened your clothes, cigarette smoking was fashionable, "grass" was mown, "coke" was kept in the coal shed, and a "joint" was the piece of meat you ate on Sundays. "Rock music" was a lullaby and a "gay person" was the life and soul of the party.
Me in the cubs football team

Pasta had not been invented. Curry was a surname. Olive oil was kept in the medicine cabinet. Spices came from the Middle East, where they were used for embalming Herbs were used to make rather dodgy medicine. A takeaway was a mathematical problem. A pizza was something to do with a leaning tower. Bananas and oranges only appeared at Christmas time. The only vegetables known to us were spuds, peas, carrots and cabbage. All crisps were plain; the only choice we had was whether to put the salt on or not. Condiments consisted of salt, pepper, vinegar, and brown sauce if we were lucky. Soft drinks were called pop. Coke was something that we put on the fire. A Chinese chippy was a foreign carpenter. Rice was a milk pudding, and never, ever part of our dinner. A Big Mac was what we wore when it was raining. A microwave was something out of a science fiction movie.

Brown bread was something only poor people ate. Oil was for lubricating, fat was for cooking. Bread and jam was a treat. Tea was made in a teapot using tea leaves, and never green. Coffee was Camp, and came in a bottle. Cubed sugar was regarded as posh. Figs and dates appeared every Christmas, but no one ever ate them. Coconuts only appeared when the fair came to town. Jellied eels were peculiar to Londoners. Salad cream was a dressing for salads, mayonnaise did not exist. Hors d'oeuvre was a spelling mistake. The starter was our main meal. Soup was a main meal. Only Heinz made beans. Leftovers went in the dog. Special food for dogs and cats was unheard of. Fish was only eaten on Fridays. Fish didn't have fingers in those days. Eating raw fish was called poverty, not sushi. Ready meals only came from the fish and chip shop.

For the best taste fish and chips had to be eaten out of old newspapers. Frozen food was called ice cream. Nothing ever went off in the fridge because we never had one. Ice cream only came in one colour and one flavour. None of us had ever heard of yoghurt. Jelly and blancmange was only eaten at parties. If we said that we were on a diet, we simply got less. Healthy food consisted of anything edible. People who didn't peel potatoes were regarded as lazy. Indian restaurants were only found in India . Brunch was not a meal. If we had eaten bacon lettuce and tomato in the same sandwich we would have been certified. A bun was a small cake back then. The word "Barbie" was not associated with anything to do with food. Eating outside was a picnic. Cooking outside was called camping. Seaweed was not a recognised food. Pancakes were only eaten on Pancake Tuesday.

"Kebab" was not even a word, never mind a food. Hot dogs were a type of sausage that only the Americans ate. Cornflakes had arrived from America, but it was obvious they would never catch on. The phrase "boil in the bag" would have been beyond comprehension. The idea of "oven chips" would not have made any sense at all to us. The world had not heard of Pot Noodles, Instant Mash and Pop Tarts. Sugar enjoyed a good press in those days, and was regarded as being white gold. Lettuce and tomatoes in winter were only found abroad. Prunes were medicinal. Surprisingly muesli was readily available in those days, it was called cattle feed. Turkeys were definitely seasonal. Pineapples came in chunks in a tin; we had only ever seen a picture of a real one. We never heard of Croissants and we certainly couldn't pronounce it.

We thought that Baguettes were a problem the French needed to deal with. Garlic was used to ward off vampires, but never used to flavour food. Water came out of the tap; if someone had suggested bottling it and charging more than petrol for it, they would have become a laughing stock. Food hygiene was all about washing your hands before meals. Campylobacter, Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria, and Botulism were all called "food poisoning." The one thing that we never, ever, had on our table in the fifties... elbows.

If you can remember most, or all of these, then you have LIVED!

Simon, Clint (me) and Paul then..........
If you want a bit of musical nostalgia, try these records..... listen to the words...... get the feeling....... some more than others - depends on you!
1,2,3 O'Leary - Des O'Connor          
The Special Years - Val Doonican          
Childhood 1949 - Bobby Goldsboro (the 'B' side of 'Summer - the first time')   
Beach Baby - First Class
Pamela Pamela - Wayne Fontana     Remember When - Showaddywaddy / ShaNaNa       
Those Magic Changes - ShaNaNa          Saturday Night at The Movies - The Drifters         
Jennifer Eccles - The Hollies      Memories - Elvis         Going Back - Dusty Springfield

If you have any suggestions for the record list - I only list a few to get the feeling of the 'genre' - send 'em in!
Also, any passages like the ones above that you come across, or even that you have written yourself.

......... and rather more recently!

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