Friday, February 26, 2016

How on earth did we survive growing up?!

The following list of items showed up on my Facebook today.  The list must be British and aimed at folks two generations younger than me.   So, I decided to post my own comments to each question best I can.  Feel free to add yours as well.   

How on earth did we survive growing up?! 

1. Our sandwiches contained leftover roast chicken; we didn’t have fridges in classrooms or ice bricks in our lunch boxes, but we didn’t get food poisoning.
  Actually, our sandwiches were mostly peanut butter and jelly or banana (yes bananas and mayo on bread) All the rest is true.
2. We rode bikes without helmets or adult supervision on bike paths but we mostly just ended up with scarred knees.
What bike paths?  We rode through woods and cornfields when at home and the city streets and sidewalks when at Grandma's.  The skinned knees are right but I also got a couple of chipped teeth as well.  
3. Our mothers wiped our faces with spit on a hanky not an antibacterial wipe. Not just mothers.  That was one main reason women of my childhood wore aprons.  By the end of a day it would be so full of snot, sweat, blood and tears that by todays standards would have given us a dozen different contagious bugs.  
4. Truck shop was sausage rolls and cream donuts but kids were wiry and fast. Afraid that my family never used truck stops.   If traveling we left home with a picnic basket and would spread a blanket in any roadside area that struck my fathers fancy.  
5. Our parents rarely knew our teachers’ names, let alone their NAPLAN prep strategy. Remembering teachers names was easy.  They were all called "Sister."  What the heck is a NAPLAN anyway? 
6. When our teachers would whack us, we wouldn’t tell our parents for fear of getting punished again, so we avoided trouble in the first place.  This is so true.  Catholic nuns were professionals when it came to ruler swats and tossing erasers. But, the telltale bruises always gave us away.  But, we all feared Mom's punishments more.  
7. Our trampolines were netless and sometimes hosed with water and a squirt of Palmolive for extra slipperiness. Afraid I never saw a trampoline in a yard until I was old enough to have grandkids.  
8. What was said on the playground stayed on the playground. Actually, that was not true.  It was whispered about by the girls and bragged on by the boys until the whole school knew. 
9. We went on camps and excursions without 18 forms to be signed and witnessed. Nope field trips were not even on the radar when I was in school.  My first was the Senior class trip and that was a picnic held in a state park with some horseback riding.  
10. As toddlers, we rode in supermarket trolleys without the padded trolley liner thingy.  Trolleys, whats that.? Our stores did not get carts until the late fifties and they were to small to hold a kid plus the groceries.  
11. Angry teachers were treated with caution. We just prayed for a nice one next year.  So True. 
12. Weekends were about our parents’ social lives. As kids, we played murder in the dark while parents talked with their friends and forgot we existed. Don't know what "murder in the Dark" is but we would chase fireflies, huddle under the porch and tell ghost stories, and play tag or something similar.  We always stayed as far from the adults as possible to delay our bedtime.  
13. Generally, we went to the closest school, not the best one.  You got that right. 
14. Kids got scared before parent-teacher interviews, not teachers. This is also very true.  
15. We got ourselves to Saturday sports and told tall tales about how the win was won. Nope, there were no organized sports in my generation.  We had pickup games in the nearest bare field. But, the tale tales part is true.
16. Helping with the washing up was as important as homework. More so in some cases.   We each had our signed task and you did not leave the kitchen until all was done.  
17. Birthday parties were fairy bread and Fanta, not fruit kebabs and face painting.   I don't remember anyone having birthday parties until we turned 16 and then it was a family affair.  I do remember getting invited to one rich girls birthday when we lived in town. She had a jukebox for dancing and cake and ice-cream.  But, every birthday we had home-made ice cream and cake for dinner. Plus, we got a pass on our chores that day.   What a treat that was.  
 18. When a kid was injured, people felt sorry for her parents. They didn’t ask what the hell were they thinking letting her climb that tree anyway. So true.  Oh! The stories I could tell about getting injured.  With 13 kids in my family someone was always getting hurt.  There was a car fender through a thigh, a finger severed when caught in a storm door, a head cracked on a train track, a fall off a cliff, not to mention all the falls out of trees and hay lofts, and cuts and scraps from normal play.
19. Cubby houses were built by kids not bought from Toys R Us.  We had tree houses, and rooms made in the stacks of hale bales, little hiddy holes dug under the large bushes in the yard and of course a scrap medal shed buried in the woods.  

20. If you did badly in a test, you got a talking to, not a cuddle. Oh so true. 

21. A pocket-knife was a perfectly acceptable gift for a 10-year-old. Every boy and man I knew carried a pocket knife and so did most of the women.

22. If any one got air conditioning in their bedroom, it was mum and dad. That was true for all my friends but I was married and gone from home for six years before I got to have AC in my house and my parents still did not have it in theirs. 

23. Family holidays came before kids’ sporting schedules. That is still true in our family today. But as mentioned above we did not see organized sports until the late seventies or later.  

24. Your dad’s desire to watch Four Corners trumped your need to watch Battlestar Galactica. Yes my parents controlled what and when we watched TV. But, I was 10 years old before we got our first TV set. 

25. A teacher could put mercurochrome on a scraped knee without obtaining our parents’ permission and completing an ‘incident report’. Heck, we had a nun that would do stiches if needed. And, they did not call the parents either.  They learned about boo boos when the kids got home from school.  

26. A playdate was walking to a friend’s house, ringing the doorbell and saying, ‘Can Cathy come and play?’  So True.  But, it was usually a bike ride away. 

27. School excursions happened without a ‘risk assessment’ and a two to one kid / parent volunteer ratio. As stated on #9 we did not have school trips.  Occasionally, we would be taken on a nature walk around town and every spring we would go pick dandelions to make a salad. 

28. There was no padding on netball hoop posts. Actually, there were no hoops at any of the kids houses that I knew and none in school until we got to high school. 

29. No one wrote names on cups at parties. That was because we did not use disposable cups back then. 

30. You could offer your friend a bite of your hot dog. Yep, or any other food.  We always shared. 

31. If the bus driver yelled at you, the bus driver didn’t get in trouble, you did.  So true.

32. If you didn’t make a team, you tried harder or tried something else. Oh you would make the team but you might be the last one picked.  We had no organized sports just pick up games. 

33. Pass the parcel had one winner. No idea what this is. But, spin the bottle was something else.  

34. There was one kind of milk. It was full cream and it was delicious. So true. When we lived in town the milk was delivered to the door in glass bottles and when we lived in the country it came straight from the cow.  

35. Meat was bought at the butcher, and was packed without a use-by date. Our parents used their noses to tell if the mince was off.  Heck, I remember having to scrap  off the top layer of ground beef before cooking. Nothing went to waste.  

36. Getting one present on your Christmas wish list was good result. You bet ya.  And you had to share it with your siblings besides.  

37. Drives of longer than an hour happened without supplies of rice crackers and juice. So true. And without I pods and Dvd players. We always  sang songs together or played a game of I Spy. 

38. Going to the shops/church/the nursing home to visit Nan was boring as hell but could be endured without an iPad.  We always had to carry a book with us when visiting and if we were lucky we would get a coloring book.   

39. School holidays were about not being at school, not soccer workshops, art classes and pony camp. School holidays were always my mothers favorite time to have us deep clean our rooms.  No playing until the job was done. 

40. Being tired was no excuse for being rude. There was never an excuse for being rude. It would often result in a punishment. 
41. You had to do something great to get a ‘student of the week’ award. Not just show up at school.  We did not have awards like this in my schools. Unless you won the spelling bee of course. 


  1. Nice reflections!
    (But what the heck is fairy bread?)

    In spite of the hardships, it seemed people cared more genuinely for one another 'back then.'

  2. I pretty much have to agree with your answers. During weekends and summer vacation. We were only told to be home by dark. That was a GOOD thing, because if we hung around the house, we were put to work!

    One change that really bugs me, is when they don't keep score in many youth sports leagues. Hey, if there isn't a winner and a loser, then what's the point? Also, these days, unless you live very close to the school, you get driven there EVERY day. When I was kid, very few kids got dropped off. You either took a bus, or you walked. I can go on and on...

  3. Agree with your take in almost every point. Sounds like the original came from England (fairy bread and a couple of other things), so I guess things are changing there as well as here (for the worst IMHO). Helicopter parenting, where today's kids don't get to do anything on their own, is a curse!