Today I am looking back to 1950 and we are looking at a photo that is fully redolent of the era.
It’s a family group – and my posts about genealogy will make it clear that family matters to me. On the left we have my brother and next to him by sister. They were both older than me. My cousin, Chris, was clearly visiting for he is sitting on the wooden engine and holding my sister’s hand. On the right and in the pushchair – well, that’s me.
Let’s consider some of the ‘stuff’ in the photo, starting with the tin bath. That was a smaller one, for we also had one big enough for adults. I don’t remember that we used them for baths for we had a big old cast iron bath plumbed in. I remember that bath for it had lion feet. It was replaced in the 1960s and it proved almost impossible for my brother and me to break it up into smaller, manageable sections.
The pushchair was probably a veritable antique too, but then most things we had were. I’ll say again that I had the happiest of childhoods, quite unaware of the deep poverty we were in whilst my dad, with wife and three kids, was a student. He was trying to complete an education which had been disrupted by lack of opportunity and then World War II. But the lack of cash meant that everything we had was second hand or in some way botched together. Amongst money saving schemes I recall are lampshades made out of old syrup tins and walls have painted by a process of dipping a cloth in ‘distemper’ and throwing it at the walls to put blotches of colour here and there.
But back to the picture and another thing that mattered to me – the toy engine. I have no memory of this engine, but apparently it was mine. Indeed, I seem to be seeking out to grab it as my cousin sits on it. I’m told that moments later I was distraught because this young upstart had my engine. It seems the roots of nerdism runs deep!
The photo was taken in our back garden, but the buildings you see were next door – complete with outside lean-to loo. Were these really ‘the good old days’?