Wednesday, 13 June 2018

A trip down memory lane . . .

Born in Canada in 1955, I believe I had the most charming of childhoods and experienced one of the loveliest eras.  Unmarred by war and at a time of great prosperity, it was a really wonderful time to grow up. I am from the Leave it to Beaver/Father Knows Best/Donna Reid/Andy Griffith generation. It was not perfect by any stretch, but it did leave me with some pretty special feelings and happy memories. 

I got to use my imagination . . .  Lots and lots.  We didn't have a lot of toys. I think my sister and I had each a doll, a Barbie, some toy dishes, books, clothes for our dolls, a skipping rope, some marbles, crayons and colouring books.  That was about it that I can recall. We had a board game set that contained 52 games, with checkers, chinese checkers, snap, etc in it. To help with boredom on rainy days.  There were only about 2 or 3 channels on the television and on a really good day we might receive a very snowy signal from an American channel originating across the border. Our days were spent out of doors for the most part, unless it was raining.  

We were lucky enough to have a swing set with two swings and a teeter totter, and an Indian Tee Pee. It smelt to me of wax crayons and had a red Indian printed on it. It was orange . . . the tee pee that is. I used to love sitting inside it, where it was cool and dark . . . I always wanted to be allowed to sleep out in it at night, but my mother wouldn't let us. 

We each had a bicycle of sorts and my brother had a red wagon and a tricycle.  It was my job in the morning to get them out from the garage.  None of them were fancy smancy.  I bought my own bicycle, saving up money that I had earned by cleaning telephone booths. I can remember when we bought it, I had enough to buy a red plastic coated basket for the front and a squeeze bulb horn that also had a propeller attached to it that twirled in the wind. 

My father taught me how to ride it in our back yard, which had a slope.  He held onto the back of the seat and ran along beside me as I pedaled. I don't remember falling very much and it didn't take me too long to learn. I felt really proud of myself once I had mastered it.  The best thing was to use a clothespin and a piece of cardboard that you wedged through the spokes that sounded (to us) like a motorcycle when you rode it.  The faster you rode it, the more noise it made.

There were lots of kids in the neighbourhood and for the most part we got along well together. We would play games as a group, like Red Rover Red Rover, Red Light Green Light, Dodge Ball and Kick the Can, Frozen Tag. Good times! 

There were swimming lessons and open swimming at the pool on the base. It was really important to my mother that we all knew how to swim. She had never learnt as a child and was terrified of the water. The only thing I didn't like about the pools were the communal change rooms . . .  

Every time you passed a swimming test and went up a level you got a really cool cloth badge to sew onto your swim suit. You could tell the kids that were really good swimmers by the number of badges they had on their swim suit.  I was not a champion swimmer, but I did like swimming. 

In the winter time there was always an outdoor rink to skate on.  Winters must have been a lot colder back then because the ice seemed to stay frozen the whole winter through.  There were little sheds at the side of the rink that you could sit on a bench and change from your boots to your skates. 

My mother didn't work outside the home until my brother started school.  She was not one of the coffee-clatch moms either.  I think she had a friend or two that might come over every now and then, but I remember my mom never liking that scene.  She always said she had too much work to do to spend hours each day in that way.  She was an exemplary house keeper. Our floors shone like glass and everything was clean, neat and tidy. I think she went to the odd tea party because I remember her making up plates of sandwiches, and her giving us the cut off crusts to munch on.   

She had an old wringer washing machine and I can remember the chug chug sound of it as the agitator swirled the clothes around in it.  The clothes had to be fed manually through the wringer. I was terrified of the wringer.  There was a child at school missing a few fingers and it was said that they had been squashed flat to his hane in the wringer washer  . . .  thats the stuff legends were made of back in the day.

The washing was hung out on the line pretty much all year long. I don't remember us getting a clothes dryer until I was about 9 or 10 years old.  In the winter they would freeze stiff. She would bring them in at the end of the day and there were lines strung across the utility room where our furnace was and they would finish drying in there.

You could tell which day of the week it was by what housework chores my mother was doing on any given day, and also by what she was cooking for our suppers.

My mother was a good cook, but a simple cook. My father didn't like anything spicy at all, so everything was pretty plain for the most part.  On Sundays we always had a roast of some sort. My father was not overly fond of roast beef, but he loved roast pork.  I never had hot roast pork the whole of my childhood. My father liked his roast pork served cold and so my mother would always cook it the day before and we would have it thinly sliced and served cold, with mustard. Our vegetables, with the exception of potatoes, cabbage, turnips and carrots, always came from a can.  I don't think there was the huge variety available back then, and my mother never had a deep freezer until we were much, much older, so freezer space was at a premium.

Our meat always came wrapped in brown butcher's paper, tied up with string, which my mother would save. (The string, not the paper.)

Roast chicken was a rarity, actually any chicken at all was rare. Once in a blue moon mom would buy chicken breasts and cook us fried chicken.  She dipped them in egg and cracker crumbs and fried them in butter and oil.  I remember them being a real treat. There was turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Ham at New Years and Easter.

Other than that we had things like meat loaf and hamburger patties, macaroni and hamburger with tomatoes, sometimes pork chops, weiners, fried bologna, tinned salmon. Really simple food, always served with potatoes of some kind and canned vegetables. 

On Sundays there would be salad, and dessert. 

We never ate outdoors or had picnics. My mother hated bugs. I can remember when we were moving from Manitoba to Nova Scotia we stopped at my mother's cousin Polly's in Vermont.  They had a big old house on top of a hill and we ate supper out of doors at a picnic table and it was glorious. I have really happy memories of that visit and I remember eating Green Bean Casserole for the first time and thinking it was gorgeously delicious. My cousin Martha had a bedroom filled with dolls her father had collected for her on his travels and I remember being totally enthralled with them. I had never seen so many dolls and such interesting dolls.  They had a shower in their bathroom.  I had never seen a shower.  Oh, and a piano downstairs, that I don't think any of us could resist touching as we went past it. (Must have driven the grown ups crazy)  Oh how I had wanted to learn to play the piano when I was a child.  One of the boys had a broken arm or a broken leg . . .  I remember a cast of some sort.  We had a lovely visit with them, that has stayed in my happy memory chamber for all of these years. 

I loved school.  No if's, and's or but's.  When I wasn't at school, I was playing school.  I loved sitting at my desk and doing my school work . . .  reading, writing and arithmetic. I loved learning.  Art lessons were my favourite thing and I can remember in the younger grades we had some lessons by radio. I can remember all of my teacher's names and I am so grateful to them for all that they taught me. I don't remember ever having a bad teacher, at least not in my younger years anyways.  I just loved learning.  I loved memorizing poetry and spelling bees, and history and geography. I loved reading out loud and answering questions.  I just plain all out loved school. Period. End of. My mother always said that our school days were the best days of our lives, and they were. 

I even loved Sunday School . . . with the prayers and the hymns and the lessons. It was all good to me. 


I adored Birthday Parties.  I must have been fairly popular because I always got invited to everyone's parties.  There would be games like dropping clothespins into milk bottles to see how many you could get into the hole, and the one where they would bring a tray around with lots of things on it and then they would take it away and remove something and you would have to remember what was all on the tray and what was missing, or something like that anyways.  I loved the party hats and blower whistle thingies with feathers on the end.  Cakes, cookies, sandwiches . . . it was all good.  Some of the richer kids families took you all to a movie and then home to a meal afterwards.  I remember one party like that where we went to a movie and then had a roast dinner afterwards!!  It was fun getting dressed up in your Sunday clothes on a day other than Sunday, and then going to someone else's home and being with all the other children.  Balloons and candy.  Singing Happy Birthday. I don't think there was every anything about a Birthday Party that I didn't like! 

 I loved Brownies and Girl Guides and any excuse to get together as a group and learn new things, play games, socialise.  I really did. I learned a lot through both of those programs, how to darn and mend, how to make a bed, and how to light a fire.  Most importantly, how to lead and set an example for others.

Now this is scary.  I can still remember the smell.  He was like the Pied Piper, the mosquito man . . .   driving the mosquito sprayer through the neighborhood with lots of children running along behind the truck, directly in the ddt spray.  My mother forbid us to do that. I'm not sure why, but I am glad that she did. Sometimes they mosquito fogged really early in the morning and the fog with its smell would come into our bedroom windows which would be open in the warmer weather. There we were all nestled, snug as bugs in rugs in our beds, breathing in the mosquito spray, as it wafted through our bedrooms, settling all over us. 

I am sure that it worked well for keeping down the Mosquito population, but not so sure that it was entirely healthy to be running along behind the truck. 

There were other nicer trucks however  . . .  the milk man, the bread man, the fish man . . . we had a milk man with cross eyes.  (Or what they call a squint over here.)  I remember practicing crossing my eyes for hours and my mother warning me if I didn't stop it my eyes were going to stay that way.  Warm milk in wax cartons at school which was really yukky because it was warm . . . I never did and still do not like chocolate milk, and I have never liked milk from wax cartons, probably all because of that warm school milk. 

I remember wishing we could have a baby in the house so I could play with it.  Be a little mother. rose coloured glasses . . .  not unsurprisingly my mother was not quite up for that, no matter how much I tried to convince her. I would have to grow up, get married and then have my own.  I wanted ten and had five.  I would have had more, but it wasn't in the cards.  I wanted a Walton's family.  Yes, very idealised I know.

I think we all have a tendancy to look at the past a bit with rose coloured glasses.  They certainly were simpler times.  Yes, we had the cold War, but we didn't have school shootings, or terrorism, or childhood obesity. People just seemed nicer. You knew who all your neighbours were and you trusted them.  We didn't have the drug problems that are so prevalent today. People respected each other and each other's property.  It was a kinder, gentler age. Yes, there were also some bad things also like rascism, and intolerance, so it was not all good, but I am very grateful for my childhood and the joy it brought into my life and the values it taught me which have stood me well throughout the years.

What are some of your happy childhood memories? 

A thought to carry with you . . .

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

If you stumble
make it a part of the dance.•。★★ 。* 。 

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Potato Chip Cookies.  Scrumptious.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!  I am looking forward to talking to my mom this afternoon.  I hope your day is filled with lots of love, joy and happiness.  Don't forget! 
═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════
 and I do too! 


  1. A sweet trip down memory lane Marie..I have many of the same:) And some different ones..It was such a different time!!

    1. It was. I sometimes feel very afraid for my grandchildren in the world they are growing up in. Some things are better, but there is a LOT of bad. Prayer helps, and knowing ultimately that God is in control and there is a plan! Xoxo

  2. Definitely was a much different time than what children are growing up in today. Even my own children had gentler life than their own do. Still there are some things that remain yet they too are different. Life is ever changing.

  3. oh my goodness Marie reading your post today brought me back so very much like mine thank you for the memories

    1. Aww so pleased I brought a smile to your face! Xoxo

  4. Hi Marie, I thoroughly enjoyed your trip down memory lane and all the pictures! It was definitely a more tranquil time. Lot's of love xxx

  5. This was a sweet trip down memory lane for me dear friend. I can say I did almost everything you mentioned and the memories of it all came flooding into my mind.
    I loved riding bikes, swimming and ice skating on a canal near our home. All the out door games and TV was about the same. We did love playing outdoors and didn't have to come in for hours sometimes. We felt safe and I think were very safe in that day. I wish my grandchildren could enjoy some of the things I enjoyed doing. My children did most of these things too. Thanks for this wonderful post; it really stirred up the memories and I could use it as prompts for my history.
    Sending much love and hugs for this one! You are the best at writing it all.


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