Tuesday, 8 October 2013

When do you become your mother?

The other day as I was drinking a cup of tea, I found myself looking out the kitchen window, hand on hip, watching the world go by. It suddenly hit me that that was exactly the same thing that my mother used to do which led to a trip down memory lane as I tried to remember her routines, or perhaps some would call them 'rituals', that I had subconsciously introduced into my own life.

In the middle of winter my mother had the annoying habit of telling me to 'Open your window and let some fresh air in' just as I had snuggled up under a blanket to keep warm and relax while reading a book. Never mind that it was freezing outside! No, we had to have fresh air! Imagine my embarrassment when lately I have realised that I am now saying the same thing.
Why, you may ask, am I reminiscing about the past and about my family? Probably because I have a class reunion coming up at the weekend when memories will come flooding back as we talk about life in the 1950s and 1960s when we were at school.
Growing up in the 1950s was quite different from today of course. People were still getting back on their feet after the Second World War. There was no TV but we had a radio and I remember my brothers making their own crystal sets to listen to radio stations. These were superseded by the transistor radio which was hugely popular.
I can't remember any of us ever being bored as we made our own fun and weren't used to being entertained. We would climb trees, swing on tyres hung from tree branches, light crackers on Guy Fawke's Night and generally enjoy ourselves. In Primary School we used to hope that on a hot day  the bottled milk that was delivered to school for us to drink at recess hadn't gone 'off' by the time the bell went. It wasn't refrigerated but was left under the one of the massive trees in the playground!
School life was pretty straight -forward for me. I was never bullied and wasn't even aware of anyone who ever was. I can't recall teachers encouraging us to work towards a specific career when we left school as jobs were plentiful in the early 1960s in the regional city I lived in and we could take our pick of them so there was no necessity to continue our learning past Junior (the current Year 10) unless we wanted to be a teacher. I believe that all my classmates who left school the same year that I left became employed within a couple of months. 

Once our schooling was finished we were only fifteen or so and too young to leave home or to start travelling as many young people did then just like today, so our entertainment centred around weekly dances ( we were taught how to dance at school) and the movies as well as being involved in many sports. There were no drug problems around at that time apart from those caused by over consumption of alcohol.
Of course, life then wasn't idyllic. As a child I wasn't aware of the problems that many of the fathers of my classmates would have faced after they returned from the war. I was fortunate that my father wasn't well enough to be sent overseas. I believe that many of the returned soldiers turned to alcohol to cope with what they had seen during the war and I doubt that much has changed since that time.
The majority of us have lost our parents so now have fond memories of our families and those years which seemed to be so much simpler. We are indeed blessed if we can grow up feeling loved and secure in our family and I hope that I have been able to impart that feeling to my children.
I am not quite sure what my mother was thinking when she was drinking her cup of tea with hand on hip and looking out the kitchen window at the world outside. I do know that when I fall into the same pattern now that I start thinking about my mother and the older I get the more I understand her. Isn't life strange?
I wonder if anyone else has found that over the years they have started doing things their mother did!







  1. Oh my goodness we could be twins lol. The number of times lately I have said or done something just like my Mum( who I lost just last year ) is unbelievable. My hubby & talk about growing up in the 50's & 60's all the time. I remember having a transistor radio which I took to bed each Sunday night to listen to the top 20 those were the days such happy times & very little money. Thanks for the trip down memory lane x Marie

    1. Marie, times were much simpler then, weren't they? There wasn't much money around for us or most of my friends' families either. I don't think we missed out on too much!

  2. All so true!! I too was brought up in the 50's and 60's and apart from all that you mentioned I think the best part was [in hindsight] was the fact that we were children until we left school. We were not dressed as adults, allowed to sit indoors and listen to adult conversations ... "go outside and play!" ... did not have access to the telephone except for urgent calls and were expected to keep ourselves amused. Times have changed, and I suspect not altogether for the better ... or is that just the 'oldie' in me talking.

    1. Yes Shirley, I remember the 'Go outside and play!' command. :-) You are right, children weren't allowed to sit in on adult conversations. We have such a different culture now.

  3. I feel the same way about understanding my mother more as I get older - luckily she is still here for me to tell her. Lovely memories.

    1. Hi syrahsuzie! That is great that you still have your Mum. Since my mum died there are some questions I realised I never asked her when she was around. I wish I had!

  4. Oh yes - I think I may remember the first time my mothers voice came out of my mouth and took me by surprise! I too still have my Mom (and am well aware of how lucky I am) and now and then someone will catch us standing the same way or smiling the same way. I used to be horrified and now I'm flattered. :)
    She and I were discussing grandma's wringer washer and the tubs of rinse water it took to do laundry not too long ago, and how we used to run to the front of the house when we heard a car come down the road to see who it was, and if it was a stranger everyone on the road would speculate for weeks! We really were hicks!

  5. Have just found your site, and so loved it, was a trip back down memory lane. I still don't drink milk, after to many warm bottles of school milk, I have started to hear my mother coming out of my mouth and can also remember, saying I will never get like my Mother, many years ago. I think the laugh is on me, now. Thank you so enjoyed, the trip back in time.


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