Sometimes I have to remind myself as I sit in front of my spanky HP notebook that does everything bar make a cup of tea that there was a time when a computer was just something you saw on the latest episode of Star Trek. Mobile phones? I don't think so - most people would nip next door to use their neighbours landline phone and leave tuppence on the table. DVDs? We hadn't even reached the video stage. MP3 players? - this was the dawning of the age of the cassette player - and boy were we impressed.
I never forget for my 10th birthday - the highlight of the party was me being presented with my first tape recorder.
We all gathered around it and each did a little turn recording our voices. It was weird and wonderful. It's amazing how things have moved on since then. I'm not a techie person but I marvel at the technical achievements of the past 35 years. If someone had gone back in time from 2010 with an Apple Ipad and shown it to us, our little heads probably would have exploded with disbelief and wonderment.
So how did we fill our time during our long summer breaks? We went out cutting hedges to save some pocket money for our 1 or 2 week summer camp holiday later in August. We'd go swimming nearly every day or every other day, play in parks, go "up the forest" and get into trouble. Most of all we "played out" in the streets. Every day, for most of the day. I don't think I've ever seen kids play in the street where I live in the entire 10 years I've lived here.
I'm not saying things were better then, but they certainly were different.
We also didn't worry too much about sugar, cholesterol, or calories, yet for some reason none of us were obese.
Yes that is true.
Where are you from KK? I'm from UK and we'd play street games such as Bulldog, Stones (where you piled a few small stones against a wall, got into two teams and then one team had to try and topple the stones with the tennisball. As soon as they did, they'd run off and the other team would grab the ball and try to throw the ball at any of the other team. If they got them, that person was "out". While this was happening the team who had toppled down the stones would then try to rebuild the stones without being hit by the ball. I loved that game.
We also played "Knock Down Ginger" when we were feeling naughty (basically knocking on someone's front door then running off before they came to the door).
My sister and our two friends who we hung with a lot used to play a game we made up called "Peace Treaty" on Saturday nights when our parents were "down the pub"!. Basically we'd divide into two teams and then try to knock the "sh*t " out of each other - well it wasn't violent actually, more like rather enthusiastic wrestling. If someone shouted "peace treaty" everyone would stop "fighting" and take a break. There wasn't really much point to this game, although I did discover I had a phobia against having pillows stuffed over my head! lol
My parents also used to wonder why the curtains were on the floor and half the wallpaper was falling off when they got home.
Now come on, 'fess up.... did you have an Action Man? I had a Cindy doll (never Barbie) and once got hold of an Action Man, whereupon I immediately removed his trousers to see if he had any "appendages". I was sorely disappointed. A shame really, I had a thing about skinheads.
I always remember playing with those "Playpeople" toys with my five year old cousin (I was 10). We'd be in the garden and put them up trees - we were completely absorbed in our own little fantasy world. That little cousin is now 40 with two little kids of his own - I met up with him for the first time in years last year and reminded him of our little games in the garden! lol
Action Man....Palitoy's version of G.I. Joe! Had tons of 'em. G. I. Joe, I mean. Still collect them, to be honest. *sigh* Looking at the prices some of the originals fetch now makes me want to kick myself...most of mine fell victim to fireworks, overly rough play or an unruly dog. But I still have my first one, with all his kit.
I grew up at the edge of a National forest here in Colorado, U.S.
Best playground a child could have, aside from the occasional bear and mountain lion.
Hahaha..."Knock Down Ginger" had its counterpart here, although the name for it wasn't so nice..."N*gger Knocking". Nowadays I think it's called "harassment"
Now, "Playpeople"...I'm wondering if those are the same as "Little People"...ours were made of wood, with painted faces and plastic accent pieces such as hair and hats permanently attached. Mine all got passed to my younger sister, and now her children play with them.
Simpler, easier times we had. No one I knew was ever gunned down at school, or died of an overdose. Of course, parents weren't afraid to give you a smack on the bum if you acted up, either.
Well our "play people" were made of plastic from what I can remember and you could move their little arms and legs, and move their heads around. I think they came in various "careers" too, eg, fireman, policemen.
This is what they look like - although I don't know if they've been "updated" since the 70s...
But it's amazing you can give a child something really simple like a tiny plastic toy whose limbs move and they'll come up with a whole imaginative world.
Sometimes it's difficult as an adult to watch children play and remember what YOU were like as a child. Occasionally I look after my niece and nephew and when they were smaller and it was bathtime I'd have to get involved in their little "sea drama" involving a rubber shark, various Star Wars toys or power rangers, and maybe a few other weird plastic toys. They can sit in there for hours if I'm sitting next to them helping out with the "story".
Here in the states they're called "Playmobil" and they have about a zillion different sets for them, ranging from a dozen or so basic pieces and a couple of figures, all the way up to Castles and airports with tons of goodies. But the basic figure is still the same. Maybe the manufacturer has taken to heart the old axiom "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
My sister had a lot of these when she was a tyke, but I think she gave them away as she grew up.
Had this discussion the other day with my oh - why, when Sindy dolls were just far superior, did they dwindle out and Barbie take over? God, I had the townhouse, camping set, horses, stables etc and she was much more flexible. Those figures are called Playmobil too in the UK now. Do you remember Weebles?
We used to go out on our bikes a lot, made ramps for them out of old bricks and planks of wood,climbed trees etc. I look at my kids now and feel like they've missed out. It's not that I don't trust them but there's such high media coverage (understandably)of any bad things happening to children that it makes me worry constantly if they go out to play so they probably don't anywhere near as much as we did as kids. Oh and I had that same tapeplayer!!! Just joined the group as although I'm not 40 yet (turned 36 this year) there aren't enough groups for us older Simmers and I still remember the 70s :-)
A few years before Barbie hit the scene, there was "Lilli" or "Lily", a rather curvaceous and sultry 11 inch doll given as a novelty gift to businessmen visiting Germany. The doll was based on a popular risque' cartoon character of the same name whose occupatin was, well, prostitution. If you can find a photo of one of the Lily dolls and compare it to the 1958 Barbie...let's just say it speaks for itself.
"Weebles wobble but they don't fall down". Yes, quite so. Which made their beds rather useless.
They were also good for pegging younger siblings or cousins in the back of the head when they annoyed you.
Oh, and Welcome, Sandy. So far Jodemilo and I have been monopolizing this whole thing, it's good to see that we aren't alone with our memories.
"Lilli" or "Lily", a rather curvaceous and sultry 11 inch doll given as a novelty gift to businessmen visiting Germany.
WTH? I know Europeans can be a bit kinky but that... well, maybe the pay-per-view porn movies on the hotel TVs weren't working that week or something and they had to provide some kind of substitute. I think a blow-up doll might have been more appropriate though?! hehe :D
I found Lilli... looking a bit rough I might add. No doubt she was used and abused by those businessmen! Nice shoes, but those hair extensions could probably do with some touching up!
OMG! I never made that connection! She does look like Sandy! Wow, all that's missing is the leather pants.
There's a red light district in Amsterdam? *looks innocently at the reader* Actually, a friend and I took a brief jaunt through there to go "window shopping" in spite of being warned by our commanding officer that there would be severe penalties for sampling anything of "questionable noral or legal stature".
In other words, "don't get high, and no fraternization."
Phooey. By the time we got there, we were too drunk on German beer to do anything.
LOL K_K- I can't believe you didn't notice Amsterdam had a red light district - even if you were drunk. It's notorious for it! Oh sorry, you were joking. hehe (slaps wrist)
Actually when I was 17 my mother and I decided to go cycling through Holland (actually we had good intentions on cycling everywhere but gave up after 20 miles and travelled by train after that!). Anyway... we ended up cycling straight into the heart of the red light district. I was young and virginal and... well it was an interesting experience.
On the way home on the ferry I "got off" with a British guy who'd been visiting Holland with his friends. He can't have struck lucky with the Dutch girls as he was rather eager to get me to fondle his "tackle" on the top deck. (I didn't of course - I ran off totally shocked!)
Ha is this going down the route of the Four Yorkshiremen from Monty Python? Don't think I can beat the Volcano though...
I was going to quote from it but I found the whole sketch...
I was happier then and I had nothin'. We used to live in this tiny old house with great big holes in the roof.
House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us, no furniture, 'alf the floor was missing, and we were all 'uddled together in one corner for fear of falling.
Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in t' corridor!
Oh, we used to dream of livin' in a corridor! Would ha' been a palace to us. We used to live in an old water tank on a rubbish tip. We got woke up every morning by having a load of rotting fish dumped all over us! House? Huh.
Well, when I say 'house' it was only a hole in the ground covered by a sheet of tarpaulin, but it was a house to us.
We were evicted from our 'ole in the ground; we 'ad to go and live in a lake.
You were lucky to have a lake! There were a hundred and fifty of us living in t' shoebox in t' middle o' road.
You were lucky. We lived for three months in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t' mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi' his belt.
Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of 'ot gravel, work twenty hour day at mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!
Well, of course, we had it tough. We used to 'ave to get up out of shoebox at twelve o'clock at night and lick road clean wit' tongue. We had two bits of cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at mill for sixpence every four years, and when we got home our Dad would slice us in two wit' bread knife.
Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.
And you try and tell the young people of today that ..... they won't believe you.
Bravo, Jo, well done! I can still see them sitting around the posh club room in the leather chairs. I howled when I first saw that sketch because it reminded me of the "When I was your age..." stories my dad and grandad used to tell when we asked for money. To see if we were paying attention, my dad would occasionally add a totally ludicrous element to the story. Eventually, it became a family ritual, with dad becoming more inventive and absurd with the "hardships" he had faced. In the end, it went something like this...
A dollar? Why, when I was a boy you had to work fifteen hours a day, seven days a week to earn a nickel, and even then you couldn't keep it, because you had to pay of the mule's iron lung and his gambling debts. And we didn't have the niceties you kids have today...Shoes? I didn't own a pair until I joined the army at 14, and even then they were too small and both for the left foot! And I walked everywhere I went, barefoot, especially to school, 22 miles through the snow and mud up to my neck, uphill, both to and from, carrying 14 books, a piano and my five little brothers. The school district finally could afford a bus, and you can imagine how grateful we were two years later when someone donated an engine and we no longer had to push it. Before school, every day, I had to get up at two in the morning to feed the cow and milk the chickens, and I had to make sure I lit the sun before it came up.Then I would wake the rooster, chop enough wood to clear the north, east and south forty, build a stockade from the timber to keep out the Injuns, and harness myself into the plow to till the land I had just cleared. Then it was a quick wash with hot sand and a lump of coal for breakfast, not these fancy pre-packaged cerals you have. Orange Juice? Ha! We drank vinegar, if we were lucky, and were darned grateful to have it. Poor? You have no idea. I remember my father baiting the mouse trap with a picture of a piece of cheese-and it worked! He caught a fine picture of a mouse. You kids are soft today, soft I tell you! What you need is discipline, and I don't think a trip behind the woodshed would hurt any one of you.
In all fairness, part of this is true. My dad did enlist when he was fourteen. I assume the hardships of drinking vinegar and eating coal made him look much older than he was.
Ooh that was an interesting read K_K. I know there's an element of moaning about parents/grandparents when they say "you never had it so good" and I know you have to appreciate they lived through one or even both World Wars. In that respect, we ARE lucky (although I've always thought living in the knowledge that someone could press a button and start a nuclear war is also pretty scary).
My own mother was evacuated during the war as a child which obviously brought its own hardships - being separated from parents for years at a time for starters, having to start a new life somewhere strange, but I think kids are often resilient and can adapt to circumstances, and war is no doubt a great leveller - everyone has to muck in and unite to get through it. As it turned out those were some of the happiest days of her life, and we used to love hearing her tales of the (mis?)adventures she got up to whilst living in the country.
I think there's a lot to be said about getting back to basics, but that's no reason to scoff modern advances like the computer, internet etc. For example, I was burgled last September literally two days before I was due to to come to the States for 3 months - they took a lot of stuff including my passport and driving licence, so basically there was no way i was travelling. My mother came round the next day to offer moral support but then she started criticising me for using the internet, saying if I didn't spend so much time on it... blah blah. Well actually having the internet on THAT particular day was pretty handy as I was able to obtain the numbers and addresses of the various places I had to call (cancelling flight, cancelling passport, driving licences, etc etc) pretty quickly. My parents have never got to grips with computers or the internet, neither should they be expected to, they are in the mid-70s after all. But it's a fact of life that the internet is part and parcel of modern day society. I know when I get older I'll try to keep up with any further technological advancements depending on whether I think I need them in my life or not.
Oops, got rather serious there. But you know what I mean!
My word, Jo, just what ancient Asian did your mum anger? She certainly lived in "interesting times".
All kidding aside, your mum was evacuated because of "The Blitz", yes? I cannot imagine having to leave my home to seek safety from a relentless and determined enemy bent on bombing my neighborhood. Even the attacks on American Naval Bases at Pearl Harbor had legitimate military aims. To bomb and kill civilians to achieve political aims and grandiose fantasies just appalls me.
My grandsires came to the U.S. to escape the Kaiser's tyranny, and the man who I know as my father (I'll pm later) rode under the command of Gen. John "Black Jack " Pershing to keep invaders from our borders. I have uncles who served in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam, friends who served beside me in Central America and Germany during the Cold War, and younger ones who now struggle in the Middle East.
And I know, in my heart, that not one would ever wilingly terrorise women and children.
End of mini-rant. I am grateful to my small, indifferent and far-away gods that your mum survived. If not, I never would have had the chance to reach across the Aether and grasp the hand of a new friend.
By the way, Jo, I think this group is taking a turn...for better or worse, I cannot say. Let's ride it out and see. Something interesting is bound to happen.
BTW-is the Smiley drinking Cola, Stout, or Motor Oil?
All kidding aside, your mum was evacuated because of "The Blitz", yes?
That's correct K_K, actually both my parents were at some point during their childhoods sent to the country for "safety" reasons, although I believe my father (and his brother) only stayed for about a year (due to his mother visiting on one occasion and noticing their appearance was rather unkempt (she was rather fastidious, my grandmother) so brought them back to the East End of London where they'd hide down Bethnal Green underground station whenever there was a raid on. If you ever see that movie "The Krays" (about the notorious British gangsters), that's pretty much how things were during my parents youth (my parents weren't criminals though, of course!)
By the way, Jo, I think this group is taking a turn...for better or worse, I cannot say. Let's ride it out and see. Something interesting is bound to happen.
Ooh, is that good or bad, should I be worried?! (Mine's a Rum and diet coke btw)
Off to enjoy the British sunshine now - it's a rare occasion so should make the most of it!