Sunday, 23 January 2011

When I was young !

Well I was once, honest ! I was also IN Fashion (once)with a black polo necked jumper a charcoal grey skirt, black stockings (see previous posts) under my mock crock shiney black boots ! ( yes Beatlemania ) I stayed up past my bedtime and listened to the music on the radio when mum and dad went out for the night on a weekend.  Radio Luxembourg and pirate radios operated off shore  on ships, can I remember the name ? no I can not ! I was looking after my brother and we were supposed to go to bed at the right time and many times I just made it bed before they came back ! Social workers would be on to us today but then everybody did it. Once you went to Secondary school you were old enough to babysit children and get paid.
I had Penpals in  USA, (Charlotte Zink) and in Canada, (Patsy Barry?) and a boy in Japan with initals KK, (I can say but not spell it !)  By the time I was interested in the goings on in Woodstock, Bob Dylan etc I was no longer in touch with Charlotte to get local knowledge. Charlotte would ask me to go over  for a holiday when I could barely scrape together the price of an areogramme to write to her!  (Are you out there I wonder and how have your lives panned out?)  **( I am now thinking that I got it wrong and that Patsy lived in Woodstock, Ontario but cannot remember where Charlotte lived in USA) I became interested in Arlo Guthrie and his songs, The Motorcycle Song and The Pause of Mr. Clause etc especially the live performances recordings when the audience erupted into noisy cheering when Arlo points out the officials keeping an eye on his concerts. Did FBI agents really monitor his concerts ? I don't know I wasn't there. Its hard to believe the whole Reds under the beds scenario now.
It was a time of much change. Or in the words of a Dylan song "the times they are a changing" or something like that.
Fathers had the right to stop your marriage if he didn't give consent at 18 yrs and you had to wait until you 21yrs to get married without his consent. In 1966 it changed to 16yrs and 18yrs. If you were unmarried you had to "Sleep In" in  nurses homes under the watchful eye of a Home Sister whilst you trained. At university there were single sex halls of residence and you did not entertain anyone in your room and were chaperoned with a male visitor in the common room. I did marry at 16 and shortly afterwards I needed an operation and the Drs insisted that my father countersigned my husbands signature.
To be an unmarried mother was dreadful, the end of your life almost, you would be shunted off to "an ill aunt" who needed looking after but really you would be sent to another town to a mother and baby home to have your baby and to return home without it. There you scrubbed floors right up to the time of your confinement. I know, there was one near where I lived and my family knew a midwife who worked there. It was always the girls "fault" never the mans. It was still law in 1968 that you could be "put away" in an institution for the rest of your life for the sake of "public morals" I worked in a female long term mental health establishment and was saddened to see the numbers of women whose only "problem" was being made pregnant out of wedlock as a teenager.
Now it would seem to be "normal" for underaged sex and rarely hear of anyone being prosecuted.  To live together and not marry  used to be "living in sin". Get divorced which used to be a "disgrace" and the female branded a scarlet woman. How times have changed. I think it was the Children Act that really gave women "rights" although burning the bra probably helped ! ? but have they gone too far?
All these ramblings just because I sold some records and they brought back all sorts of memories.

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