OK millennials, you should know this

Teacher and baby boomer Dianne Motton fires back on the millennials’ ‘OK Boomer’ assertions, setting the record straight about growing up ‘back then’.

OK millennials, you should know this

I was rifling through old photos the other day to scan and try to preserve them. One was a faded photo of my graduation at Monash University, the only photo I had of the day. Then I found a shot of my grade one class, 1958, Huntingdale State School. Yes, I am definitely a baby boomer.

I peered at the photo and tried to recall some of the names and faces. They all looked rather daggy and a motley group. The only boy I remembered, sadly, had a cleft palate – that was the one salient point I could grasp from my memory. On closer inspection, all the kids had something in common. They were all wearing hand-knitted school jumpers, some looking worse for wear, with an assortment of white shirts underneath, the collars at strange angles and often far too big for their small faces. They were probably hand-me-downs from older brothers or sisters or scrounged from older cousins.

I counted the number of students in the class and was horrified to realise that I had shared grade one with 43 other kids.

So, what am I leading to, I hear you ask? Well, I am a little weary of the attack on baby boomers and feel that some things need to be put right, particularly in the area of schooling.

We had horrendously large classes and, as a teacher, I cannot fathom how my teachers then managed a boisterous class of 40-plus. I whinge about having 25 students. I assume that some of those 40-plus students fell by the wayside, unable to fully grasp the nuances of reading and maths. Many would not have gone to university and, from my memory, a good deal of pupils I knew then did not matriculate. They were often expected by their parents to ‘get out and get a job’ to help support the family, many leaving school after Year 10 or Year 11. We had fancy names for those two years, your intermediate certificate for Year 10 and your leaving certificate for Year 11. Clearly, aspiring to higher education was for the lucky few.

It wasn’t just large class sizes that spring to mind about my boomer schooling. Woefully inadequate teaching is my memory of school hours. Hours spent reciting multiplication tables by rote and teachers hitting student across the knuckles with a ruler were commonplace. The rowdy boys were often ‘given the strap’ – a whack from a leather belt across their palms. I still remember their hands outstretched and then being savagely hit, often multiple times.  We didn’t do projects or sit around inventing inquiry questions that might take our fancy. We did what we were told and learnt to be meek.

None of the students I went through school with were indulged. We all made do with stationary and pencils from Coles, but there were no replacements to be had if you lost your set.  All the pencils were sharpened to oblivion and every page of an exercise book was used. We brought lunches to school in brown paper bags with the sandwich, mainly Vegemite on white bread, wrapped in greaseproof paper. Lunch orders were a rarity and icy poles or, later, Sunny Boys, a treat to be saved up for.

Holidays were just the school breaks, with kids hanging around the neighbourhood, finding tadpoles in the local creek or playing tennis or football on the street. Cars rarely bothered us and hardly anyone owned one. Overseas holidays were an impossible dream and, for most of the parents of the kids I went to school with, a desire none of them had a stomach for. They had escaped from Europe after the war and had no intention of going back. They wanted a better life here for their children.

We had few distractions and the phrase most often used by parents was ordering us to “go outside and play”. Television had only just been released in Australia. My best friend down the road had a set and I would wander down to her house on a Sunday to watch Disneyland, the height of excitement for a young boomer.

Our clothes came from our mother’s sewing machine or a kind relative or were hand-me-downs. Target and cheap clothes did not exist and to whinge about what you wore was to invite a quick smack across the legs or a stern rebuke for not being grateful for what you had.

So, for many of today’s millennials who attack us for squeezing them out of the housing market and generally ruining their world for them, our early life wasn’t exactly a bowl of cherries either.

Do you have a response to the millennials’ ‘OK Boomer’ assertions?

Dianne Motton teaches English at a secondary school in Melbourne, has always had a passion for travel and writes quirky stories about what she observes.

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    COMMENTS

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    heyyybob
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:05am
    OK Boomers, we know 'they' won't get it or believe it BUT I remember it well, was not scarred by it, was poor but, unbelievably, happy as a child AND I had a childhood unlike many children nowadays are allowed to. One comment only and probably of interest to the author and modern day teachers - When sent to the Headmaster's office by our class teacher, as a result of misbehaviour, to receive punishment for same a couple of us devised a great strategy. Knowing we would be in for a couple of 'The Cuts' which was 2 or 4 belts across open hands held out to receive the cane. I would leave the classroom contrite and head for the coat racks and after 10 minutes or so I would 'hang' from two coat hooks for a while until I achieved some impressive markings and colouration on the palms of my hands. Then I would shuffle. sniffling, back into the classroom and let my teacher see how I had suffered and 'learnt my lesson' :) Hah !! Once Again Good Triumphed Over Evil and I got away with it. There obviously was no communication between class teacher and Head Master in these matters.
    KSS
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:18pm
    And don't forget if you went home and told your mum and dad you had been punished at school, you would get another lot from them because you probably deserved it!
    heyyybob
    23rd Feb 2020
    3:48pm
    Ah yes :) That is when you had to play the Headmaster (Dad) against The Teacher (Mum) ;) Luckily, in a way, The Teacher (in our home) sorted out the Headmaster when I was about 11 and The Teacher then did a GREAT job of teaching/raising us into adults.
    *Loloften*
    15th Mar 2020
    11:54pm
    Agree heyyybob - Primary School especially was not just far too over-crowded (40+ pupils in all classes, counted 45 in two class photos) but also a very early "life lesson." In mine, a Catholic one (both girls & boys), the Nuns weren't "great shots" with their thick leather straps & if someone didn't own up re scratching back classrm wall/stealing someone's pencils++ (minor stuff) - if none us dobbed in the perpertrator, as none of us did so as knew we'd get bashed up by he/she in the yard soon after, we all had to line-up for approx 6 straps on just the one hand (weren't allowed to change hands) which as per above, we're regularly missed hard throws & landed on the more delicate skin bit higher up - which bled. Yep, when dearly beloved parents asked why had bandaid on wrist, explained all in detail to 'em - they said "it's your own fault, should have "bobbed 'em in!!" They just didn't understand the school culture back then re never dobbing anyone in as would get bashed if did. Both my parents worked hard f/time when I was 8yo (only sibling 10yo) so we were supposed to be latch-kids 'til they got home - I wasn't as t'was easy to unlock front door so happily played with neighbourhood kids approx same age in the streets/kicking ard the footballs we made from our parents newspapers & string (they didn't want to waste their hard earned $$$s on anythng except for a home deposit), racing off to close park during hot days to cool off under the Council Sprinklers w/out sunscreen creams (not available back then) & all got almost "baked!!" Begged parents for a few yrs thereafter for a two-wheeler bike, adamanatly refused, never gifted one as said it was far too dangerous on the busy roads back then (haha!?) - bought one from savings re p/time Saturday job whilst @ (yet again) Catholic Secondary College - girls only. The 12 of us of approx then 25 Matriculation students (most left either in yr 10 or 11 to do Nursing, some type of apprenticeship or work f/time - jobs were easy to get back then) who studied Physics as loved it & Maths but bit more difficult to pass it as none of the Nuns were qualified to teach it so very stupididly employed a handsome young male PHD Uni student to "do the job," who also drove a sparkling red sports car!!?? We 12 girls were rapt, just loved him, couldn't concentrate - only one of us (not me) passed Physics that yr. I still managed to get a place @ the then very new Monash Uni. Most younger ppl appear to think that Uni was free back then, it wasn't. My parents paid approx $1,000 in annual fees for both me & my 2yr older sibling - ave f/time wage back then was less than $50/wk. We "boomers" also had no 1st home buyer subsidies, no childcare Government assistance payments et al - our parents minded our kids if lucky enough to still have 'em/willing & able, as we were. Our 1st home mortgage % interest rate was 17% (in what was then "the backblocks," 20+kms from CBD, still living it now altho' needs many repairs et al) & 18% when worked our butts off to finally buy an Investment property (yep - take advantage of the ridiculous tax perks as were both working f/time by then) - no o'seas hols/cruises/expensive outings et al however enormously loved almost 25yrs of camping/water-skiing (when our youngest was approx 6yo) on the Murray River approx 3hr drive from home with 8 of our neighbourhood families ard our age as were their children re ours who became very close friends & still are 40+ yrs since. We ensured our kids were able to buy their own homes, with our help in their mid 20s, knowing that owning one's home, as our parents always told us to work hard/save hard to buy your own home as it was the very best Life Insurance as we did & instilled in our children. I'm so fed up with Sco-Mo talking abt "working tax-payers" - we've more than earned our pensions & yes, we are still taxpayers re Howard's GST on all essential utilities, cars, insurances, Council rates etc etc etc....including some foods. We so called & much maligned by some "baby-boomers" made this nation wonderful/fought against the Vietnam War/worked our butts off/didn't have the pleasure of vast majority of "toys" our kids/grandkids enjoy but had happy childhoods playing outside kicking a hand-made toys++++. however instilled hard work into our now mid-age kids altho' definitely not the huge availability of job choices now as was in our era thks to greedy Govn'mts sell off of almost all (except mining, good onya Clive Palmer, $85M spent in advertising to get Libs in office, protect yourself - not our beautiful country nor us) essential industries++++.
    Mark
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:07am
    Going to school in Queensland had its own special mystique. Turning up the air conditioning meant opening the windows as far as possible. On some days it would be so hot that the bitumen on the parade ground would literally melt and get stuck to your shoes (if, of course, you were wearing any).
    Oldchick
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:27am
    Same here in Adelaide Mark. In summer you melted and in winter you froze. Even by the time I’d started full-time employment there was no aircon. We were luckier than most, I worked for an oil company and we had a system of pipes running the perimeter of the office that pumped out (some) warm air from the boiler in the blending area.
    We also had no calculators, only Sumlock machines for adding up (a fancy abacus)’ a Ledger machine, Telex, and printing was done on a Gestetner so you went home ‘inked’ but in a different way to today’s version of ‘ink’.
    *Loloften*
    16th Mar 2020
    12:04am
    So true Mark - no heating/cooling in any school back then....as well as @ home.
    Worried
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:13am
    This story is completely true. Well said.
    older&wiser
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:20am
    Not to mention us walking or cycling 2 miles (not kms) to and from school every day. I can rarely remember being driven to school before starting high school when I caught a school bus to a different town 14 kms away. Gosh - how did we manage! We had one rule - all walk together, and use the same route - always.
    *Loloften*
    16th Mar 2020
    12:15am
    Oh yes....loved our group walks to Primary School (not quite as far as yours, only approx 2kms), especially when walked past the local "Cop Shop" as the 3 policemen were standing outside & kept a close eye on us all + knew us all by name. T'was bit embarrassed once when was told in front of friends "your Dad's best mate is our "lockup," found him in the gutter after 6 o'clock pub closing last night, let him know when u get home!!??"
    *Loloften*
    16th Mar 2020
    12:40am
    Also o&w - on walk back home from Primary School one day was curious when noticed an envelope in the gutter, picked it up/opened it & had 200pounds in it!! I was 10yo, that was a huge amt back then, no name/address on nor in envelope, just the cash. Only thing I knew what to do with it was drop if off to the above "Cop Shop." The Police men (no Police women that I knew of back then) & after they thanked me, said "tell your parents that they've done a great job raising you, you're a very honest young lady & if we can't find the owner of it in 3mths it's yours." Obviously I did, was feeling bit chuffed re compliments but never thought for a second that they wouldn't find it's owner. 3mths later they rang my parents (landlines only back then) & told 'em to bring me to the Cop Shop - we weren't sure why by then by went there. They gave me that very same envelope & it's contents adding that hadn't been able to find an owner!! It went straight into my meagre bank a/c as insisted by parents that I do not touch it (couldn't, didn't know it's a/c number) as didn't 'til late teen, working p/time on Sat morns.
    Billv
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:31am
    Yep, remember a time I was punished just for being in the wrong seat, but I kept my mouth shut. Yes bullies were around way back then. But leaving the school yard for a sec. I vividly remember to toys we had. No such things as computer consoles. My dad used to make wooden toys for Christmas gifts. My dad was very clever in that he purchased an electronic magazine and built our first TV. Rather rough looking all the parts placed neatly in a box made of wood.
    Yep we had it real good in our day. I believe it was called poverty in those days also
    KSS
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:21pm
    And the second or third hand bike dad refurbished. And the go carts made from orange Bose's and old pram wheels and rope!
    heyyybob
    23rd Feb 2020
    3:56pm
    I was SO lucky, at 15, to be offered a 1939 250cc BSA motorbike by a kindly Uncle. However, Mum being so wise, insisted I could only accept it if I paid for it. The price was to be 5 POUNDS and I had to raise the money myself. Sold a lot of newspapers on a major intersection with busy tram stops, to raise the money when I was just 16 !! Proud as a peacock being the only kid at High School with his own transport :D Didn't do my academic record any good but my ego boomed ;)
    Kez
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:32am
    The article brings back many memories and it is easy to dwell on the sad and bad. Thanks heyyybob, for reminding me that most times I was unbelievably happy, and so close to nature, the smells, the sounds and the sights. Most of us actually got through it all.
    heyyybob
    23rd Feb 2020
    4:05pm
    Indeed Kez. The memories of playing/swimming in the clear River Torrens in Adelaide when you could, before it became a health risk. Being chased by swans because you were too close to their nests. making 'canoes' out of a sheet of old corrugated iron with the nail holes filled with melted bitumen from the street (Adelaide summers!) and being home 'before the street lights come on' :)

    23rd Feb 2020
    11:34am
    OK, Moanennials. I'm sick and tired of your endless whingeing, your attitude, and your non-achievement. Shut the hell up until you actually accomplish something - even a tenth of what Baby Boomers have contributed to the world.
    Tzuki
    23rd Feb 2020
    1:07pm
    Absolutely!
    Hardworker
    23rd Feb 2020
    10:00pm
    Totally agree! Do the hard yards, go without for a change in order to have the bigger things in life like we had to. Don't think you can cover your bodies in coloured tattoos and be out every night of the week and still save for a roof over your head. You got a much better education than most of us so put it to good use.
    ex PS
    28th Feb 2020
    9:56am
    Probably spending most of their time trying to figure out how to fix the damage we have done before they can even think about improvements.
    When you are up to your neck in sewerage, that is the problem you face first, not what new fake problems that have been invented to win elections.
    How about us Boomers take some responsibility for the mes we have contributed to making and help clean it up.
    *Loloften*
    16th Mar 2020
    4:41am
    exPS - the Pollies have wrecked our beautiful nation in past couple of decades, not we "boomers." We neither nor knew that the Pollies would greedily sell off the majority of our transport (including roads), essential utitlities + allow privatisation of all the rest. We also didn't know nor do we agree that our Pollies always have annual pay increases far far greater than our our own pay increases, if we're lucky enough to get one @ all. And imho, we did not Invent (USA did) the now necessary burden of both the Internet & Mobile phone, the OAP was never "calculated" to include that $100+ & most of we Superanuuation poor (t'was only 2% when many of us were in our early 40s, none for casual or part-time workers 'til couple of yrs later ie: most wives/women with children) are forced to use both for far too many reasons to go into with u if u don't know why. We didn't now abt any of above, wasn't presented to us during any Aussie Elections, including State ones (eg: Kennett selling our
    Vic Elec). The majority of us were happy both prior & during Bob Hawke's very honest governence, not so much since altho' one LNP PM, Howard, was honest re introducing a GST tax altho' don't think he was 100% honest that it would apply all our essentials, including many foods. I believe, & it's been proven, that all the above has caused so very very many job loses so our kids/grandkids find it far more difficult than we did re getting full-time employment.....why the LNP stats now include just one day of paid work in their employment stats, making their unemplyment figures look almost decent.....a farce. I'm a swinging voter depending on their policies (didn't vote for LNP last election as knew Clive Palmer spent $85M of his own money re advertising for the Libs so continue his coal mining production/wealth ridden exports of it too). We taught our kids to read by reading kids books to 'em @ bedtime, often played o'side with 'em re cricket/quoits/hide & seek +++, talked with 'em @ length as did with us/sorted out any anxieties they may had expressed by talking thru them & just enjoyed heaps of socialising chatter @ regular family dinners both @ our homes & out. These days, many of our teen+ grandkids (altho' do still socialise heaps) have their mobiles within reach, spend more time on the Internet than talking to their parents no matter their parents insistance as do much of Internet "crap" after parents are in bed/asleep, so are sleepless. I know it well as have minded my grandkids many times/stayed @ their home when their hard-working parents took a well earned wk-end off, away & as now a "nite-owl" have taken their mobiles/lap-tops (necessary now @ Secondary Schools) off 'em when checked to see if they were asleep ard 2am - not. Social occasions also often marred as the teens just get together with their mobiles & exchange "things," don't socialise like we/their parents always did, still do. Is that enough to convince u that the vast majority of we Aussie/non-politician "boomers" haven't made the "mess." We also did not invent plastic & most have been trying to get rid of it all for many yrs, thankfully the Pollies finally agreed, recently. It's the past couple of decades of political greed that is ruining our beautiful country.
    Dabbydoos
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:40am
    Grew up in UK but similar upbringing, apart from the heat. Adults were always addressed as Mr or Mrs if close Auntie or Uncle. Always told to play outside, escaped to the woods with friends all day with not a thought of stranger danger. Walked for miles and thought nothing of it. Every child in the street at the only neighbour with a television for " Watch with Mother". Boys and girls received the cane or ruler at school for bad behaviour. All clothes hand made or hand me downs. Best days of my life.
    Angelique
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:43pm
    Yes I grew up in the UK too so similar memories. As you say all clothes hand made or hand me downs including hand knitted jumpers. I remember sitting round the fire on a winter's evening preparing for my little brother's arrival. Mum making baby clothes, Nan knitting baby bootees and my contribution was hemming cot blankets that were cut down from old double blankets. Nothing was ever wasted. I always had to walk to school and would play outside unless the weather was really bad. No double glazing and sometimes the frosts were on the insides of the windows. Still the best memories of my life.
    rtrish
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:44am
    Yr Two, the boy in the seat kept pinching and punching me. If I tried to retaliate, he was always prepared. I asked the teachers to move me, but she wouldn’t let me. So, I waited. When he was not expecting it, I suddenly smashed his head onto the desk. There may have been some tooth damage, maybe? The teacher finally let me move. I don’t recall any punishment, or the reaction of boy’s parents. It was almost the Wild West, back in those days!
    Kez
    24th Feb 2020
    3:43pm
    You reminded me rtrish. For at least one term, I sat next to a boy who rubbed his dandruff onto the desk. When he got a pile, he would blow it onto my side of the desk. He borrowed my ruler, rubber etc and blow the rubber bits to my side. He some times hit me on the hand if I tried to retrieve my things. I tried to complain but the teacher didn't care. We were sitting down the back - don't think I learned much at the time - I was pretty fed up.
    *Loloften*
    16th Mar 2020
    5:04am
    Oh WOW - u would've been expelled if @ my Primary & Secondary School rtrish. Our whole class had to line-up for ard 6 hard leather hand straps if someone either damaged anything/physically hurt anyone/even just stole a pencil - if the perpetrator didn't own up & we didn't "dob 'em in" as often didn't when knew we'd be bashed by him (yep, t'was always a male) asap if did.
    tiggr55
    23rd Feb 2020
    11:48am
    What amazing memories,pledging allegiance to Queen and country,marching to our classes after school assembly so orderly can't imagine todays children coping with these experiences.
    Sounds more like a military school so nationalistic makes me cringe.
    But such happy times
    Hasbeen
    23rd Feb 2020
    12:15pm
    I remember the Bathurst Primary school football team going by bus to a town about 30 miles away. A couple of good players were missing, their parents could not afford the bus fare. The other thing most couldn't afford was football boots. In both teams there were only about half a dozen kids with boots. I remember my feet being particularly cold that morning, the ice on the ground from the morning frost had not all melted.
    Kaz
    23rd Feb 2020
    12:20pm
    I’m sorry for stuffing the climate but I’m trying to make up for that now.
    We used the remainder of the bread packet as wrapping for a jam sandwich, must have been before pay day. If all the notebook wasn’t used, you turned it around and started on the back page. Mum made my uniforms. I remember my knickers losing their elastic & waiting for more! Sometimes being quiet when the milkman or breadman came to be paid. Stews, porridge, no sweets. No phone. I think we were poor! We were happy and dad worked hard to make things better and now hubby and I have a house that we worked for and paid for through the years and I am not going to feel guilty about it.
    KSS
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:24pm
    Did you have a pocket in your knickers? We did!
    *Loloften*
    16th Mar 2020
    2:55am
    Kaz agree with all - we actually were quite poor, which I didn't realise 'til much later as, like you, had a very happy childhood. Also like u, I save all bread wrappings & supermkt fresh food plastic bags (put my adorable big dog's droppings + tea bags, sloppy bits of food left-overs into 'em) & am definitely not a guilty "boomer' - we (& our parents) made our wonderful country what it was - Pollies have stuffed it up since by selling off all our essential utilities/forcing manufacturers out of Aus thereby losing millions of jobs for our kids/grandkids & don't start me re Internet - believe it's a curse on our entire world & the main cause of lost jobs since it's invention. One of my prior jobs re: Chief Purchasing Officer is now defunct, all purchasing is easily done within an hr on Internet, not s used to take many days to order, record on relevant cards & dispense 'em (will be delivered easily to thjose who ordered'em & recorded via e-mails) which applies to all remaining industries. We pensioners now need to pay $100++ out of our (few $s less) poverty line OAPs for this damn Internet + Mobile & Landline phones in case the Internet shuts down during an emergency for whatever reason ("that reason" is often disputed between provider & NBN after hrs on landline) + also charged for paper bills & Credit card payments for almost everyone. We also needed to upgrade to HD TVs as a couple of 'em are HD only now (expect many will do too in near future) + needed to know "on the spot" info if close to recent horrendous fires if unable to sit in front of ABC 24 News which is often just repetitive altho' best re updating. There was no home invasions/car high-jacking et back in our days - our parents ensured that we respected everyone & their ownings as we have too. The stubbornness/greed of our Pollies (with help from ppl like Clive Palmer who spent $85M in advertising to ensure the Libs won last Fed election so he could continue his coal mining et al) has also enormously contributed to many of beautiful Nation's now ever increasing criminality(as per above + mass shop thefts). Think Bill may be happy that lost last Fed election as suspect that our recent really sad/shocking national bushfires + now Corona Virus will make "things" very difficult re LNP's budget recovery for many yrs to come....the "Sun's not shining" on 'em.
    Kez
    17th Mar 2020
    10:05am
    Loloften - enjoyed reading all your comments. I agree, Governments can make very bad decisions and not foresee the future consequences. Then, these problems of the future are ignored (if they can get away with it). Not happy that money put away for future pension payments was spent by gov., and now with a high population of older people many are put on the rubbish heap. We don't look after our poor and vulnerable, it costs too much and besides, some turn to drugs and alcohol, so it's just too hard for gov. So they introduce welfare cards for shopping and keep payments low, hoping they will all climb out and find employment. I must admit when I left school jobs were easy to get (as you said). I'm just grateful for $750, it will help me a little but for some it may help a lot. I agree, we are a thow-away society - many products made are just not designed to last. And constant 'updates' make some things obsolete. Greed drives many things and aren't some of our politicians a good example of this? Hopefully, what goes around, comes around - (I think that is the expression).
    Mac
    23rd Feb 2020
    12:22pm
    Yes - great memories. No credit cards then. So saved up for everything or paid it off in installments. I remember going to the furniture shop to pay off installments for my parents after they came from England a few years after the war. No fancy lunches, basic cooking, no exotic ingredients and we all survived.

    Home made clothes which I continued making when I was married and had children. Clothes were more expensive to buy than buying the material and pattern. Good quality material was available then. I remember one of my mother's friends telling her that during the war when clothes rationing was severe her favourite suit was showing bad signs of wear so she unpicked it and made it up again with the wrong side out. Mending socks and other garments, which I still do, was the vogue. No expensive jeans with holes already in them available in the shops. Everyone dressed neatly and modestly. No piercings and the only tattoos that I saw were on sailors' arms.

    Times tables recited continually. Spelling tests too and we were taught grammar and good handwriting also. Bad behaviour resulted in teacher using the cane. Ink wells to fill and milk at morning recess which was ice cold in winter and very warm in summer. Walked to school.

    My father mended our shoes when the soles and heels showed signs of wear and also any appliances that he could. He also built cupboards and wardrobes without any power tools, grew vegetables and occasionally took us for drives to Tassie's beautiful countryside and frequent walks down to Hobart's wharves to look at any warships or ocean liners which were still bringing emigrants to Tassie. It was great to grow up in Tassie.

    Great memories.
    KSS
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:27pm
    I was the ink monitor and the milk monitor in primary school. My job to fill the inkwells and bring the little milk bottles in from outside - 1/3 pint if I remember with a silver top.
    Karen
    23rd Feb 2020
    12:45pm
    This is so true. I have photograph and boys no shoes.
    Farside
    23rd Feb 2020
    1:04pm
    how is it people have so many great memories of leaner times that now in their twilight years they feel so hard done by living on the pension? What can they do to create new memories to enjoy living out their remaining days in poverty.
    Bridgit
    23rd Feb 2020
    1:22pm
    Yes Farside we have come the full circle - problem with today everything isn't made to last and we are a throw away society!
    Not a lot has changed for hubby and I - we still save for emergencies - we still save for needs and not so much for wants as we have enough to keep us happy.
    No need for the latest fandangle like the young ones today who just have to have the latest fad!
    Mac
    23rd Feb 2020
    4:42pm
    Creating new memories to enjoy living out their remaining days in poverty:

    Taking pride in their past and present achievements such as living within their means although it seems to be getting harder with the rampant increasing cost of living. Always have had a low income and managed as best as I could - cutting my children's, husband's and my own hair. Cutting up old sheets for cot sheets, knitting and sewing garments for all the family, and all the other things that other people have mentioned.

    I have seen nieces and nephews and other younger people with bedrooms like Myers toy department crammed with toys and all the latest gadgets.

    Each time I go to the local shopping centre and into town there seems to be more eating places open packed with customers. Eating out with my parents involved taking a flask of tea and some sandwiches on a picnic to the beach which was great fun making sandcastles and looking for shells.

    Re feeling hard done by:

    Government regulations continually changing the goal posts, extra stipulations on everything - everything seems more complicated these days which is probably compounded by our age and increasing health problems. You did not have to contend with negotiating a better gas or electricity plan every year as these utilities were not privatised. Now there are also mobile and internet plans, health insurance, car insurance and so on with which to contend. Life just seems more complicated.
    Wendy HK
    15th Mar 2020
    11:37am
    I do remember fondly 'the days' and now I am a pensioner I do draw on the memories of 'what mum used to do'.
    Just recently I have darned socks and turned collars, made a tasty meal from scraps and leftovers, I can knit and sew but sadly the cost of the materials far outway the cost of buying ready made.
    When we go out we take our packed lunch and a flask of coffee.
    Olddog
    23rd Feb 2020
    1:07pm
    I started teaching in 1959. The first school had 169 children from Prep to grade 9. My class of grades 4/5 had 49 children. The last thing the head teacher said to me before my first lesson, " Of course you do not own a strap. Here is mine. If you don't use it before morning recess, I will use it on you!" His room being next to mine I didn't dare disobey so the first miscreant was very unlucky. There was method in his madness as I did not have to use a strap again in that class.
    I also had a rural school for a few years with all grades P - 6 with a peak number of 39 by myself. The children were quite compliant in those days. I could not imagine it happening with today's over-indulged children. The parents were also all on the teacher's side in matters of behaviour. I cannot remember any conflict in my first 25 years of teaching. My final years however were quite different. I was glad when I could finally retire.
    Lyn
    23rd Feb 2020
    1:09pm
    I remember my father tacking a new sole to my shoes to cover the hole to keep the water out.
    Left school at fourteen to work 6 day week in Woolworths variety store ( not like today’s Big W). Had to write every purchase a customer made onto a pad and add it up ! No computer to do it. Had to give part of my Small earnings To my parents for board as you did back then. Tough but times but learnt to cope .
    aussiehero
    23rd Feb 2020
    1:12pm
    I found this a very interesting article as it helped me remember the past, and realise that we had a life, probably made more interesting BECAUSE we were poor.

    I wonder if YLC could have a permanent "Do you remember?" segment. This could help people with borderline dementia by stimulating their own memory. Things like:

    * Slates with the alphabet embossed all round. (modern equivalent to the IPad, I suppose).
    * Those docket & money carriers that whizzed over your head in a 'department store'. Later to be replaced by vacuum tubes. The carriers were powered by somebody pulling a cord, very much like flushing the old toilets (also known as lavatories or The WC).
    * The xray machine at the shoe shop where 3 people could look at your foot bones to see if your shoes were fitting.
    * The dolls & dolls' clothes, tea sets, skipping ropes, Nurses kits or outfits. etc for girls.
    * The trough to boil the laundry, (probably using Reckitts Blue).
    * The meat safe hanging in the verandah?
    * Chopping wood to feed the stove/laundry 'copper'/water tank/fireplaces?
    * Reading the torn-up newspapers in the 'dunny'.
    * Castor oil? (ugh!!)
    * Washing boards (equivalent, I suppose, to the modern washing machine).
    * The Phantom Ring (with glow-in-the-dark eyes)
    * The laundry wringer.
    * Reading comics?
    etc....etc....etc....etc....etc.

    Anybody care to help me out?
    KSS
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:35pm
    Fish and chips in newspaper

    A hapeth of bits (the bits of batter that fell. Off the fish in the fryer and served an a newspaper cone)

    Monday washday

    Scrubbing floors with a brush, bucket of water ans a cloth to wipe up (no fancy mops)
    acepace
    23rd Feb 2020
    1:36pm
    We all have a story to tell of our life experiences,good and bad.Yes I do think the Millenials criticise us the most but I do think they are a product of a generation born with many new technical advancements and living a lifestyle that costs a lot to maintain.In defence of us all,we were happy with what we had and worked hard and saved hard to achieve what some of us are lucky to have forgoing many luxuries which seem to be the norm for many these days.
    GregH
    23rd Feb 2020
    1:54pm
    This has been a wonderful walk down memory lane. I grew up in Qld too and remember the "lumpy" milk for morning tea at school and we were forced to drink it! Mum made our clothes and Dad made toys and furniture out of wood. I remember having to sit at the table and finish everything on my plate before being allowed to leave. I hated pumpkin and my brother hated peas so as soon as Mum & Dad moved into the lounge room, we'd swap plates and soon there was a call of "finished!". We played in the bush and played cricket on the road; walked to school or rode our bikes. I got threatened with the cane a few times but my brother kept score on the cuts he received. Reciting multiplication tables has helped me all my life. AS a teacher, I've had kids ask me how come I know the multiplication of numbers so well when showing them how to work out a problem. If you did something wrong at school or in the neighbourhood, you'd get punished by whoever caught you and then cop it again when you got home from your parents. There were no play centres or "playdates" with parents supervising the whole time. We left home after breakfast and had to be home again before dark! In my first year teaching, I had 43 Year 2s and we had a ball. They soon learned my expectations and that meant we could do all sorts of fun ways to learn things. At the end of the year, they took great joy in telling me that I was being "kept down" to repeat Year 2 again while they were all going up to Year 3! My hands were regularly "inked" with purple from the Gestetner machine which generally worked much more reliably than the early photocopiers. I wish I had taken my Dad's advice to buy a house in my 20's -now on a disability pension, I struggle to pay $700 a fortnight rent out of the pension.
    KSS
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:41pm
    Carbon paper and manual typewriters.

    Not being able to make a mistake on the stencil for the gestetner.

    Stench of over boiled cabbage in the school canteen
    floss
    23rd Feb 2020
    1:59pm
    Try working a steam engine in mid summer as a teenager like to see the next generation take it on.
    Farside
    24th Feb 2020
    11:01am
    why? Is it something you enjoyed doing? If not then why would you wish it upon someone else?
    Jenny
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:40pm
    I am not formally a Boomer, having been born before that time, but most things still apply. I would have been quite content to live my life under the conditions we had when we were young. Everything already pointed out by readers was the same for us. We had to make our own entertainment, there was no going to movies etc until you could pay for yourself. I was an adult before television arrived so if you couldn't go outside because of the weather all you could do was play board games, or curl up somewhere with a book. When you left school, there would be plenty of jobs to go around, unemployment was only for the really unemployable. You weren't paid much, but that wasn't a problem because there wasn't much to spend it on after you had paid for your board.
    Automation and technology were not in existence for the ordinary person, and I believe we were all the better without it. It is the younger generations that want it so badly, and it is "the market" that created the demand. We were satisfied with plain foods which we prepared ourselves, hardly ever eating out, and the only takeaway I can recall was fish and chips which we might have once in a blue moon.
    Our family went camping a few times over the years, and these were the only holidays we had. But they were great fun because we got to see other parts of the state we lived in, it was a change from the ordinary, and we lived very simply during these times. It's amazing how little you really need to get by!
    And yes, I too remember my father repairing all of our shoes as needed, I used to watch him doing it. And we had to really look after our school shoes, polish them with Nugget every evening before we went to bed. I loved that smell, and whenever I smell it nowadays (not often) it takes me back.
    KSS
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:45pm
    We had the wireless in the UK and we would all listen in. I remember 'listen with mother' storytime followed by my mum listening to woman's hour and that would be nap time for me.
    Jenny
    23rd Feb 2020
    3:02pm
    Yes, I'd overlooked that! We also had radio, and after school would listen to programs like "Yes Sir", Dad and Dave, and there were quite a few British comedy programs, the best by far being "The Goon Show". And there were a few good serials, and usually there would be a chapter from a classic book, read by a really good reader, each day at the same time.
    Jim
    24th Feb 2020
    7:52am
    I can remember all of the above, just, I also remember we were still on rations until 1953 so there was never much of a chance of overeating, obesity was unheard mostly, none of us complained because we were all the same, poverty was just day to day living for many of us, I am glad we made it better for future generations and I think many people are grateful that we did, let’s hope this generation can do the same, but try doing it without blaming those that came before.
    Yorkie
    23rd Feb 2020
    2:58pm
    I wonder how many millennials would like to take a weekly bath in a tin bath in front of the fire in the kitchen and do their washing in a wash house in a dolly tub, with a posser and a mangle? Back then the water was heated by a fire underneath. We had an outside toilet heated in the freezing winter with a paraffin lamp. No fridge either, the meat and cheese was kept in a wooden safe in the pantry. We walked two miles to school from the age of 5, often in deep snow, hail and rain. I remember getting chilblains and thawing out in front of the fire. We had no central heating and I remember one Christmas getting an electric blanket. A strange gift for a kid but it was joy to receive it along with a dolly, a few chocolates an orange and some nuts in a stocking. People worked hard and didn't whinge or blame others for their failings and they had manners, gratitude and respect, which sadly is something lacking in many millennials these days. I loved my childhood and I think today's generation could learn a lot from sitting down and listening to our stories of the good old days.
    aussiehero
    23rd Feb 2020
    3:31pm
    Jenny, are you sure it was not "Yes, What?"
    Jenny
    23rd Feb 2020
    5:53pm
    I think you're right! Blame it on the failing brain cells
    Arvo
    23rd Feb 2020
    3:53pm
    Gen 'Y' aka Millennial, the OK, "avocado toast" generation. What a joke they are, a bunch of " gimme, gimmie "wimps !!
    Farside
    24th Feb 2020
    11:06am
    what sort of generation must their parents have come from to raise wimpy children like that? Acorns don't fall from from trees so one can only imagine who raised the dopey parents!
    The Care Bear.
    24th Feb 2020
    4:35pm
    "What a joke they are, a bunch of " gimme, gimmie "wimps !!"
    Yet most Boomers on this site continue to whinge about the amount they get from the Pension paid for by current taxpayers.
    Robyn
    23rd Feb 2020
    4:11pm
    I can relate to these lovely memories. I was a war baby and my parents struggled to make ends meet.
    we loved playing outside, making cubby houses in the nearby bush, but had to be home by the time the street lights came on. Then we listened to the argonaughts on the wireless.
    heyyybob
    23rd Feb 2020
    6:32pm
    Good rowing Argonaught Robyn :) A Christmas present, from me to my wife, was a nicely made sign 'Our Cubby House' which is now on the front door to our 'downsized' home/unit. Suits it and our lifestyle nicely ;)
    aussiehero
    23rd Feb 2020
    5:06pm
    Remember the programs in those days?
    At first I used to listen to "Kindergarten of the Air", later on "D24", "Yes, What", "Billy Bunter's Bunkhouse", "The Green Door", "Bob Dyers Pick-a-Box, shows by Jack Davey, "The Caltex Hour", "Hop Harrigan".

    Remember:
    * Saturday arvo at the 'pictures'?
    * First time you rode on a bus/train/tram?
    * Your first 'shanghai'?
    * Your first penknife"?
    * First girl you ever kissed?
    * Your dad's first car? (and it's number plate).
    Who was "Bluey & Curley"?
    Who was: Superman's alter ego?

    Ever heard of:
    Katzenjammer Kids?
    The Lone Ranger (& what was the name of his sidekick?)
    Olive Oyl (& her boyfriend).
    Heckle & Jeckle?
    Oil Can Harry? (ask Mighty Mouse!).
    Jenny
    23rd Feb 2020
    6:23pm
    Tonto I believe was the Lone Rangers sidekick. Olive Oil was Popeye's girlfriend.
    Captain
    23rd Feb 2020
    9:18pm
    And what was the name of Tonto's horse?

    For those who don't remember, it was Scout.
    greygeek
    23rd Feb 2020
    6:08pm
    Such Wonderful memories you have all shared! In 1959, I saw an advertisement in a friend's "Judy" Comic a UK production which was available at the newsagent's. It was for Jack-o-skates, roller skates and the price was 5 pounds 10 shillings Au. That was 1 pound more than my Parents paid a fortnight for rent! So, I set off on my bicycle early every morning and did the rounds of the streets and nearby parks and collected beer and cool drink bottles. The milkman learnt of my savings and said if I placed any milk bottles I found on the front verandah for him, he would place any drink bottles he found with the milk! I got a ha'penny for the beer bottle and threepence for the cool drink bottle. When I had enough to put a pair on layby I went to Foy & Gibson in Perth and as a 10 year old took out a layby. I picked them up eventually just before Christmas! To this day, I still have them, even though I cannot use them. It taught me a life long lesson, that if I want something badly, I must work and save for it! I got the cane both at home and at school, but never bore a grudge, as it was "the norm" in our time! I completed the Junior Certificate (Yr 10) on 30/11/1965 and started full time work on 01/12/1965. Had to give Mum 1/3 of my gross weekly wage of 4 pounds 8 shillings! Life was great back then, poor in material things, but overwhelmingly rich in freedom, adventure, life skills and responsibility.
    Aussiefrog
    23rd Feb 2020
    6:11pm
    Memories, we might've been "poor" but I would give anything to go back to these days.
    It was bliss, neighbour's and communities use to genuinely care about each other.
    Kids playing cricket in the middle of the street, moving everytime a car went pass.
    Shops and service station closed on weekends.
    Suburbia deserted on weekends, people going to the beach.
    Front doors hardly ever locked.
    Everything was cheap and affordable.
    Oh God I loved those days.
    We were so lucky to have lived through this period.
    Poppysmum
    23rd Feb 2020
    6:42pm
    Hope it wasn't you who used the stationARy from Coles, Dianne. Aren't you a secondary English teacher?
    Poppysmum
    23rd Feb 2020
    6:42pm
    Hope it wasn't you who used the stationARy from Coles, Dianne. Aren't you a secondary English teacher?
    Jtee
    23rd Feb 2020
    8:57pm
    Our harder childhood experiences (compared to today's children) have made the baby boomers a group of people whose values, savings and work ethics created the benefits that we are accused of unfairly having.
    Farside
    24th Feb 2020
    11:14am
    perhaps if the boomers had given their children similar upbringings then we would be having a different conversation. They did not, time moved on and we are where we are.

    Brings to mind the CS Lewis quote "You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending."
    Eddy
    23rd Feb 2020
    10:02pm
    I love the smell of coal fired locomotives. One of our money making schemes was to pick up coal dropped from passing steam trains, nobody seemed to mind kids fossicking on the train lines. Many times the fireman of a passing train would hurl a shovel full of coal 'over the side' for us kids. Parents today would have a fit if their kids (or my grandkids) went anywhere near a train line. From memory we could get 3d for a bucket of coal, easy money.
    Yorkie
    26th Feb 2020
    11:20am
    One of my earliest memories was of my first day of school, which ironically was next to the railway station and yes, the smell of coal evokes that childhood memory for me too. We often went to steam engine rallies where that smell was distinctive. I also can remember the smell of crayons in a tobacco tin, which evokes the same memories of those early days at school. Funny though I can hardly remember what I had for lunch yesterday yet those evocative smells send me right back 60 years, as clear as the day I went there.
    aussiehero
    24th Feb 2020
    2:32am
    How did we earn money?
    Well, we used to get the morning & evening newspapers delivered, and I would collect them & sell them to the local market.
    Also I did deliveries on my bike delivering medicines for the local chemist.
    Also we sold beer bottles (the big bottles) to the man driving the 'bottle-o' horsedrawn cart for 1/2d a bottle. But we got 3d for lemonade bottles at the local milk bar.
    Later I became a lollyboy, walking up the aisles at the local cinema, hawking ice creams in dixie cups & fantails & similar.
    Anne
    24th Feb 2020
    1:38pm
    My parents left school after year 7. Year 8 was "matriculation year" and was only for students going on to university. My mother got a job as a shop assistant and my father was hired at the post office.
    Kez
    24th Feb 2020
    4:40pm
    I think it was 1961, my brother was 8, I was 7 and my younger brother was no older than 18 months. We were in the back of GrandPop's post-war ute, going to the corner shop to buy ice creams. It wasn't far, up the hill then down a couple of blocks and GrandPop drove slowly. Just couldn't do it now.
    Kez
    24th Feb 2020
    4:43pm
    Did any one play cowboys and indians using a long stick with a rope attached as a horse? That was so much fun.
    Yorkie
    26th Feb 2020
    11:28am
    Oh yes...and my favorite was playing The Lone Ranger and Tonto. I was a tomboy. Nowadays I expect I'd be pushed in the direction of gender reassignment, though as it turned out I am happily married to my husband for 36 years and I became a mum! I am so glad I was born in the fifties. I had a wonderful childhood.
    Wendy HK
    15th Mar 2020
    12:02pm
    We used brooms for the horse with a rope tied to the handle for reins.
    Kez
    24th Feb 2020
    4:48pm
    What about 'hero' accidents? Mine were all Tarzan related - using a willow branch didn't work, fell back down on a piece of tin and cut the back of my leg. Pine tree branch didn't work either, fell on my back onto a footpath (very winded, it hurt). Making a tree house (without nails), that didn't work either, 3 boards fell on my head (felt very unwell).
    aussiecarer
    25th Feb 2020
    5:03pm
    The baby boomers have faced challenges but these realities remain -
    Back in the 1980's the baby boomers could earn $30 an hour as a cleaner or secretary and buy a house for $40K. Today anyone in the paid workforce is lucky if they can find a full time job of any sort that pay $30 an hour. Meanwhile the same house that the baby boomers paid $40K for forty years ago is now back on the market again in 2020 for $350K - even though wages have never significantly increased in 40 years. Is it any wonder the younger generation think the baby boomers had it easy?

    Some younger baby boomers own 7 houses and are still in the paid workforce (our family know one such person). The person bought each of his houses back in the 1970s for between $2000 and $20,000 and now he wants to sell his houses for $300K - $500K each. Meanwhile the majority of young adults in our town are unemployed or underemployed. Even people in their 20s and 30s have never experienced what it's like to have a secure full time job. Adult children are living with their parents still because even a run down home has a price-tag that is out of their reach. Is it any wonder these young adults think the baby boomers are the privileged generation?

    Increasingly the children of the baby boomers are part of the sandwich generation - they are sandwiched between caring for their elderly parents and raising their own families. They are tired emotionally because they haven't been on holidays for years - respite places for elderly baby boomers with Alzheimer's are as rare as hen's teeth. Many couples in the sandwich generation are still paying off their first home. Or they've been living in unfinished homes for 20 years. Their baby boomer parents travelled a lot - whereas theiur offspring have never been able to afford to travel. Is it any wonder that the middle aged offspring of the baby boomers think that their parents had it easy?

    The generation that followed the baby boomers have also always felt like they've had the brunt end of the deal all their lives. They couldn't get apprenticeships because the baby boomers created a surplus of self employed tradies. They struggled to find work because the baby boomers had more experience and always got the advertised jobs . They even were forced out of the first home owners market - the baby boomers bought investment properties which created housing shortages. Is it any wonder they think the baby boomers were privileged?
    Yorkie
    26th Feb 2020
    12:40pm
    Whilst I agree many of the Baby Boomers have made money from property values increasing and investing in the stock market, many haven't, but like us have rented. We have still worked hard all our lives and saved money for our retirement. The fact is there are quite a few millennials who refuse to work because they get more sitting at home (courtesy of Mum and Dad) feeling sorry for themselves rather than going out to earn a crust, even in a menial job. They have opportunities galore on the internet. How many dot com millionaires are there? There are many enterprising young people who instead of feeling sorry for themselves, take the initiative and have made a good living if not millions from the modern day 'easy money route' as entrepreneurs or as influencers on the WWW? Of course many are disappointed life is not all unicorns and rainbows and they don't get instant fame and boatloads of cash from being on reality shows like The Kardashians, but then life is a lottery. You win some, you lose some and life is what you make of it. Some people work hard all their lives and don't own a home....that's their choice and that's life. I can remember mortgage rates being 15% and my husband being made redundant three times in two years, so we sold our house to release some equity so we didn't rely on the state for support. Life was tough for us back then but we learned to live within our means and we coped. We didn't waste money on lattes and designer clothes and didn't feel the need to replace our TV's and phones every year either. We were not obsessed by image and social media and suckered in to paying out for things we didn't need or couldn't afford. Some people do feel entitled and think the world owes them a living. As a couple with a young child we even moved to different countries to secure a job and have made the most of what we had. We are by no means Baby Boomer millionaires with 7 properties. So please don't have a go at all Baby Boomers and tar everyone with the same brush. Some of use have lived modestly within our means and have saved hard for a comfortable retirement and are still supporting our adult 'children' now and then. I feel we've done our bit, and I'm certainly not going to feel guilty about it.
    bobm
    25th Feb 2020
    8:22pm
    Life is real hard for those who born in the late 1990s +. Try the end of WW2 with rations for bacon,sugar, flour,butter, petrol if you had a car. The lawn mower was a push one. My Great Grandfather moved into a home at 99. He still mowed is lawn with one of these mowers until the time he moved.
    I can remember when the school had a new toilet block. No pick up by the night cart man, it was a septic system. I went into the block and found a pile of toilet paper on the floor. Went to pick it up and bin such when a teacher walked in and accused me of making a paper mess. No amount of discussion "It was not me" I got the cuts.
    As a result I refuse to pick up any rubbish it the street or bush that is not mine. So much for the "Keep Australia Clean". That was 60+ years ago. Now the Millennials can bend their backs and clean their own mess up. At least they a good for something, the boomers have done the heavy lifting to allow the Mellenials to carry the load. They can pick up the disposed fast food wrappings and empty cans etc., they throw out of the cars., not me
    ex PS
    28th Feb 2020
    10:03am
    Unfortunatley this is the same plan as our Government has, just wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting and clean up the collective mess.
    I suppose if everyone else has the same attitude we will eventually be smothered in our own filth.
    Maybe it will be for the best once humans are gone Mother Nature can start again, we will not be here hinder the process.
    Lindy Lou
    16th Mar 2020
    12:54pm
    I remember most of the things the other writers have put as comments. When I was at a selective High School for girls the classrooms were very cold in winter. The heaters that we had then had noxious fumes outgassing into the shut up rooms. My French teacher hit me across the knuckles with a ruler for some misdemeanour, and when I said "Help, help" she admonished me to say "Au secours" instead. In younger years I was also an avid listener to The Children's Hour every afternoon at 5pm. I was a rower in the Argonauts and sent many art entries into Phideas (Jeffrey Smart) trying to earn points towards my Golden Fleece. Simple pleasures for me and all my siblings grouped around the radio on top of the lowboy. I recall that my Gran, Grandad and Aunt used to laugh uproariously at Whacko, Yes What, and similar shows on their radio (with logo of a dog sitting next to a grammophone horn on the front) but I was too young to appreciate the humour or understand the English accents. My mum made all our dresses on a Singer Sewing machine. It used to be run by a foot treadle but my dad who was an electrician attached an electric motor to it. She also made shortie pyjamas, bobble tops, and even my brothers' winter coats. My dad's older friends from the lodge figured a lot in our minimal social lives. One of them had two daughters five to eight years older than me. My sisters and I got to wear a lot of their hand-me-down clothes which was never resented by us as they were quite pretty usually and different to ones mum could have afforded to buy us (if she ever bought us clothes).We played endless games in the backyard, built dangerous cubbies in the park built on sandhills up the road, explored empty houses and scaled the cliff down to Thompsons Bay (Mum would have freaked out if she had know about the last two activities). I was responsible for both younger brothers at the swimming pool and the beach from age 10. We would skip using the 3d given us for the bus to go home and walk the whole mile sharing 9d worth of chips. My mum had a Rins' an' Dry machine in the laundry above the copper which spun the clothes using centrifugal force. She had to stop using it when water restrictions came in decades later but it was a boon to make washing days (every 2nd day with 7 people in the family and only 2 changes of underwear each) easier. Our pocket money went down according to our age: mine was 2/- at about age 12, next sister got 1/6, next sister got 1/- and brother got 6d per week. Little brother got nothing yet cos he was only 5. A few years later he used to steal the empty drink bottles from the back lane behind the shop and take them round to the shopkeeper and claim the 3d refund again. Maybe he felt deprived by the pocket money rules. We had 12 chooks in the back yard in the Eastern suburbs! They were in cages. We did not think it was inhumane. Each chook had an area of about the size of a foolscap piece of paper. The whole set of cages was raised from the ground and the chook poo fell through the wire floor onto the ground beneath and got cleaned out periodically and put on the garden. We got dozens of eggs per week which Mum duly noted in the egg book to keep track of which hens were laying and which were not. I had an exciting, but sometimes boring, creative and adventurous childhood in the 1950s and 60s for which I will always be grateful.
    It just wouldn't work trying to replicate this these days. Too much traffic, too many unsafe things in today's complex society. I hope the Millenials solve their problem re not being able to access home ownership. I feel for them greatly having only purchased our first home when I was 40. My husband and I forced our two children to go without and wear second hand clothes. We managed to pay off our first mortgage of 80,000 in 80 months when interest rates were up as high as 18% on our loan. I don't think any Millenial would be prepared to live the way we lived then.


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