Sunday, 4 January 2015

Early memories.

This time I shall try to recall some of my very early memories from my childhood.

The very earliest recollection I have goes right back to being a baby
An advert for an early type
of disposable nappy.
when I can recall having a nappy changed and my mam sprinkling talcum powder on me!  In those days before disposable nappies mums used towelling nappies that had to be washed and sterilised before re-use and they were held in place by a quite big nappy safety pin.  Later in life, after marriage and my own children came along we still used towelling nappies but, although I tried to change them, they always ended up sliding down to the floor!  
Disposable nappies solved all the problems of sterilisation and where so much easier to apply.  However they have to be disposed and so take up landfill.  One problem solved but another created!

"In the 19th century, the modern diaper began to take shape and mothers in many parts of the world used cotton material, held in place with a fastening—eventually the safety pin. Cloth diapers in the United States were first mass-produced in 1887 by Maria Allen. In the UK, nappies were made out of terry towelling, often with an inner lining made out of soft muslin".
(Above information courtesy of Wikipedia)
As I grew older my mam would put me outside in the garden in my
Me outside in my pram, 1947.
pram, it was what all mums did to give their babies plenty of fresh air.  I can remember this too and looking up at the sky before drifting off to sleep.  As I got older she would put me onto a blanket spread on the grass with a makeshift sunshade over me to keep the sun off me.  I can remember laying back and watching a spiders web above me on one occasion.

Still on the subject of prams mam used to take me in the pram to get shopping, go to pay for things or visit people; on one occasion however she took me to get
some logs for the fire. We had been on this errand before, mam would pile a few logs onto the apron of the
pram, with me inside, and bring them home to my grandma's house.  On the way back she went down a particularly high kerb and the pram tipped up, all the logs tumbled down into the pram hood on top of me!  I wasn't hurt but I still remember it quite clearly.  I don't remember ever going back for logs after that!

We had no pets when I was born but when I was about 2 - 3 years old my dad came home with a tortoise for me.  Tortoises are not the best of pets for young children!  They do very little to entertain other than eating and biting anyone who gets their fingers too near if they are feeding them!   A tortoise is quite a commitment too, you've probably all heard the phrase "a dog is for life, not just for Christmas"?  Well that applies equally to a tortoise but with a very real twist, the "life" referred to is YOUR LIFE, not just theirs.  I still have my tortoise, called Joey, and I'm going to be 68 years old next Friday!
This is my tortoise Joey, photographed a year or two ago in the garden with my old dog Jasper.
We lost Jasper almost two years ago and now have another Cavalier called Suzi but Joey just keeps going year after year and will probably outlive me!


When I was  about 3 years old  I had to go into hospital to have my tonsils & adenoids removed.  It was quite an ordeal for young children in those days, my main memory of it was being told I was going to the theatre!  I imagined it was to see a film but no!  I can remember having what looked like a tea strainer put over my face and a horrible smell which I now realise must have been the chloroform anesthetic.  The best bit though was afterwards only being fed jelly and ice cream!

One of our neighbours was Kathy Marsh, a nurse at the hospital who was also considered by all the local mums to be our own unofficial district nurse.  If the were a medical crisis the shout would go up "quick, send for Mrs. Marsh!"
My grandma liked Mint Imperial sweets and would sometimes let 
me try one.  On one occasion I swallowed one whole and got it stuck in my throat, I was choking and can still remember the feeling!  "Send for Mrs. Marsh!" She came quickly through the back ways and hung me upside down while slapping me on the back, out it popped.  I've never been able to have another Mint Imperial to this day!      

My final memories are of the way the weather could affect children.  In the winter we all got colds and coughs and the remedy was to have Vick Lotion rubbed on the chest.  I can remember being woken up to have this rubbed over my chest at what seemed the middle of the night but was probably only at mam's own bedtime!
The summers in the 1940's were always long and very hot, at least that's how I remember things but they were probably no better than what we experience now!!  What we did get then though were "heat bumps".  On looking back these were probably caused more by vitamin deficiency but whatever, the remedy was still the same.  Again, in the dead of night, mam would wake us and slap freezing cold Camomile Liquid all over us, it was horrible!
In the summer we always wore thin cotton vests but come the autumn when the weather became cold mam would bring out the WOOL VESTS!  they were horribly itchy but we were told they were for our own good and would prevent us from catching a cold.  I still have an aversion to any clothing with wool in it and can't stand "itchy clothes"

Most of my memories though are happy ones and I recall them with a great deal of nostalgic pleasure.