My Life My Laindon

What we did and didn't have

By Gloria Sewell

After reading the many stories of peoples lives in Laindon and reading something on the internet today made me put this little piece together, I hope you enjoy it.

First I must tell you I have three fantastic children, four wonderful grandchildren ,and two super duper little great grandaughters, but how I achieved this is a miracle. I think, I know what you are thinking, daft women! but please read on and you will see where I am coming from. This applies to all you kids born in the 30s to 50s

First your mums smoked all they wanted and drunk plenty of gin on Saturday nights and for some the odd kick down the stairs was the norm. Nobody knew or even cared if she was anaemic or breech, on time, or multiple or whatever, she just got on with it.

Once you were born what bottle sterilisers, no, a teat on an old medicine bottle washed up with the rest of the pots. Baby food, no, mashed up whatever the rest had mutton stew, chicken giblet soup and of course porridge for brekky.

Holidays were always fun, off to Leysdown to stay in an asbestos holiday chalets or hop picking, camping with all the kids from goodness knows where to take care of you all day. But most of us made it from baby to childhood then the fun began of course we ate things like fatty bacon rind (dad always got the best bit) processed spam, real butter, white bread and soft boiled eggs.

Our walls doors and often our cots  prams and mostly our toys were painted with good old lead based paint. Often we all drunk from the same bottle and chewed on the same piece of bread and a good drink from the hose was always welcome on a hot day. 

The shops opened daily from 9.00 till 5.00 and never on a Sunday, but larders were never empty (no fridges at least not till 50s). 

We ate gob stoppers, home made toffee apples, sugar coated pear drops and mouth curling lemon sherbets. Did we put on loads of weight, no, because we were always out playing and running around. You biked or walked to your pals and yelled for them to come out to play.

Oh dear no safety helmets or seat belts, you stayed out all day and as long as you got home before the street lamps came on nobody worried.

We built go carts out of old prams which we realised had no brakes when we went downhill. We built tree houses played in river beds and dens, no Playstations,  Wiis, video games, mobile phones, X.Boxes, Sky T.V., P.Cs, Nintendos or chat rooms. But we had friends, who we went out and found.

We fell out of trees, got cut,  broke bones and sometimes teeth no expensive lawsuits then. We made mud pies ate worms and didn’t get worms as they say! 

The shops only sold Easter eggs and hot cross buns at Easter. Mum did not HAVE to go to work to make ends meet.

Sports had tryouts getting in the team was by your merits, if you did not make it too bad you dealt with it. 

The idea of mum and dad bailing you out if you broke the law unheard of, no way, they would be on the laws side.

We had freedom, responsibility, success and failure, we learnt HOW TO DEAL WITH IT!!!!!

So if you were born during this time congratulations you had the luck to grow up a kid before the lawyers and government regulated our lives for our own good ?????.

I have written this little piece for fun not to be taken too seriously a lot of good things have been done in the latter part of the century for children but I also hope any young Laindoners reading it will get an insight into your mum and dad’s life in Laindon mid 1900s. 

This page was added by Gloria Sewell on 01/02/2012.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

I am sending this article to my children to make sure they read all of it!

By Andrea
On 04/02/2012

Thanks for your comments Rich and William. I know I said it was for fun but I also realise there is a lot of truth in all the words I wrote and your additions Richard are also so true. It’s such a pity that all the do-gooders, health and safety experts, etc. have taken things across the brink.

Through no fault of their own kids today are stuck with phenomenal technology and wisdom at their fingertips and no knowledge of adventure. Maybe they can take part in extreme sports but this needs loads of money to participate in. We could go to the moon and back with just an old pair of wellies, a sugar sandwich and plenty of daylight.

William, yes it is personal greed that has changed some parts of the world today and its people, it’s not their fault just the way to be now. Maybe with the things as they are today the big society policies may help somewhat.

No I am not going to get all political, but I would love to see people going round to see if nan and grandpa are ok, instead of leaving it to carers, parents handing down school uniforms that will still have plenty of life in them.  And yes Richard roast Lamb on Sundays, Cold meat and Chips Monday, Lamb Curry Tuesday yummy, I expect this will get me a bit of stick from some, but what the heck. One thing I learnt from my upbringing was "Always speak your mind", so here goes bring back a rap on the knuckles from teachers, a clip round the ear from coppers and a smack bot, from mum.

By Gloria Sewell
On 04/02/2012

While Gloria states her article was not intended to be taken too seriously, it does contain points which might explain some present day situations. 

She says Mums did not HAVE to go to work to make ends meet, yet today it is considered necessary to possess a huge array of electrical appliances and a large selection of clothing and the fact of their working to keep up with the Joneses must have an impact on the scarcity of jobs available to those starting out on their working lives. 

Similarly, the fact that parents condone the misdeeds of their children, even in cases of violent crime calling it "unconditional love", yet appear not to realise that they teaching them to be the violent and anti social, who will make them fear to venture out after dark or remonstrate when vandalism etc. is being perpetrated. 

I can rember the days in the east end of London when it was possible to leave ones front doors open and youth misbehaviour could be stopped immediately with the words "I'll tell your Father". 

It is often said that poverty is the cause of low level crime, but comparison with days gone by proves otherwise.

By W.H.Diment
On 02/02/2012

Gloria, all this is true. I have photos of me to prove the theory about the milk in medicine bottles with a teat. I've got photos of my mum with baby Phil on her lap and a fag in the other hand. 

Holidays for us were Jaywick when we were young then Kessingland when we got older, no going abroad I'm afraid. 

For lunch and dinner read dinner and tea. Nan queuing up for ox-hearts, pease-pudding or liver and bacon. The Sunday joint good until Tuesday and the Turkey at Christmas lasting a whole week. 

Lead based paint, who cares, also no nut allergies then, we all liked nuts. 

No construction helmets on site for men in my dads day, just flat cap and old clothes, throw them away when the job finished, especially if it involved digging trenches. 

All my mates in Barking lived in the same road, we could stand at bedroom windows shining torches to each other, no one had a phone.

In Laindon it was even better, wellies on at 8.30 in the morning then out till dark buying and lighting fireworks in the winter or up even earlier, plimsolls on in the summer, no one knew where we were. 

Mum never ever went to work while we were at Laindon schools. Nan never in her married life. 

Now we have big brother dealing with everything, Social Services even being empowered to say if parents are suitable or not, how scary is that?

By Richard Haines
On 02/02/2012
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