I recall telling a young grandson that I didn’t have a computer when I was a child. He was astonished to learn that I somehow managed to exist without video games, a cell phone and a television. The whole conversation made me feel even older than I am. He asked me what I did without the devices he took for granted. I told him we did have a radio at home and it was quite a small one compared to the monster my uncle owned which occupied a whole corner of his kitchen. We got two stations, the national one and a commercial one playig odern music which my dad loathed. My sister and I listened to an Australian serial called DAD and DAVE which was set in a small town. Dad and his friend and rival Bill Smith were farmers and their offspring Dave and Mabel eventually married. I heard an episode a few years back and it was dreadfully corny.
We did go to the movies on a Saturday afternoon but my mother didn’t believe in children being inside when the weather was fine so I didn’t get the chance to attend these matinees very often. They always showed a newsreel and a cartoon before the main picture. I recall once being angry with my sister who cried at the funniest part of a Ma and Pa Kettle movie and had to be taken to the washroom to recover. Oe of the common noises at the movies apart from kids laughing and talking was the sound of round candies rolling down the wooden floor toward the screen. Jaffas were the best rollers. They had a hard orange coat and a soft chocolate inside. It’s been years sonce I ate one.
I rememer when we got a phone. We shared the line with our next door neigbour and each had different rings. I think urs was two short and one long but i may be wrong. In the countryside many families shared a line and if you wanted to listen to the latest gossip you learned how to lift and then replace the receiver as silenty as possible. Telephoones in tse das had only one function and they were stationary.
Our telephone was attached to the wall in the front hall and your call went through an operator who connected you with the number you equested. yu requested. We answered the phone ny saying Are you there? This was striange when I think about it as of course someone was on the line and calling you and obviusly there. . My father spoke loudly most of the time and almost yelled on the telephone. Mum told him he should go into the yard and just shout his message to whoever he was trying to reach. Since we lived in a small town, that might have worked.
Much of our entertainment revolved around the piano. Mum played and we sang, some better than others. My fathet’s booming voice did not always stay in tune while Mum’s lovely clear soprano always stayed in tune. . We had friiends who loved to sing and Saturday nights often ended up in the front room around the piano. I learned the words and tunes of many old songs, hymns and sacred songs.
We played outside unless the rian was pouring down and even then were sometimes envcouraged to wear coats and boots and leave the house. Our games were pretty simple. We played Tag, Statues and What’s the time, Mister Wolf on our front lawn. These needed the gang of neighbourhood kids. My sister and I had a very full dress up box. Adults donated their old clothes and long dresses were especially desirable. High heeld shoes were good too. We also created houses out of lawn furniture with dress ups draped over the legs and arms to make walls. We all had bikes and rode over town. Inside we read books, drew pctures with crayons and coloured pencis and played with our paper dolls. I fancied myseld as a designer and made many new dresses for these dolls.
Looking back on it, our etertainment ws pretty cheap and simple. It didnt need batteres or chargers and we weren’t nterested in getting the latest models. Maybe it’s beacause I am old and feeling nosta;gic but simpler seems to me to have been better. I guess this is what my grandson will tell his grandchild in the future when the question of enterttainment in his chidhod comes up.