Childhood Memory's

When I look back at my childhood memories, I stop and then look at today's youngsters, who are always bored out if their minds.

 When I was young we had a radio, and later on a small television, but we were never allowed to switch these on. That was a no go area, adults only and anyone else touching these would be in big trouble from our parents.

We had moved from a small coal mining village to a new council estate in the next town, and that was a bit of a culture shock, because it was all people we had never seen before, unlike the village, where most people knew who you were.

We had played on the fells around the village, and by all accounts, it appears that no one ever knew where we were most of the time, but we always arrived back at meal time, even though we did not have little luxuries like wrist watches in those days, and no church clocks chiming.

This area looking back now was in fact a little dangerous as there were a very large bog in the middle of one section, and many things disappeared never to be seen ever again.

After the 2nd world war the army used part of the fells for training on Sunday mornings, and we used to go over to watch these tanks and personnel carriers manoeuvring around the fells. It was recorded one day that a brand new tank got too close to the bog and disappeared, leaving the personnel to clamber along the gun barrel to safety.

When we moved to the new estate we had to start from scratch meeting new friends and finding your way around, something which was slightly alien to the small village.

Here we spent most of our lives outside playing even in the dark, sometimes much to the annoyance of our neighbour's, but we never did anything to hurt anyone or anything, that was a no go area.

Yes we would play football and cricket in the back street, because there were no lights around the recreation field, which made it difficult to see the ball in the dark. These days the same field has lighting and swings a complete contrast. 

So we resorted to using someone’s back gate or a dustbin as a wicket. I know it was noisy at times but we never did anything to cause damage, as we were all terrified of getting into trouble from the neighbours and then our fathers, which had a hidden terror to most of us. Occasionally someone would come out to complain about the noise, but it did not last, we simply moved away to another area, and then went back later.

There were no computers as we see these days, but we made our own fun up, sometimes as we were going, there was no such thing as boredom.

I can even remember going by bus to the swimming baths in the next town, which was a little hard at times especially during the autumn months as it was outside, uncovered and unheated, but good fun, once you got used to the very cold water.

We were not allowed to travel further to the bigger swimming baths until we were much older, and then that was a luxury as they were indoor and heated.

We also spent many happy hours getting train numbers outside our front garden, and we would sit for hours watching for the big express steam trains thundering by on the London to Edinburgh Lines, and also the very large Iron Ore trains travelling up another line from Tyne Dock to Consett Iron works and back again.

I don't think we did anything which could be looked at as misspent time, because to us time was valuable, but we were happy and usually very tired at the end of the day.

When we went to junior school we went there and back on a bus, but later on when we went to the Upper school or borstal as we all laughingly called it, we would walk there and back a distance of 3-4 miles each way, even in the bad weather.

Unless it was pouring down then we would get a bus, rather than sitting in a classroom all day feeling wet and cold.

It was not a borstal but a secondary modern school, but we all loved calling it a borstal, because of the way some of the teachers would react to us.

Today no one seems to walk to school; their parents take them by car, so they don't get the needed exercise or the fun. We all enjoyed the walk, as it was good fun walking there and back, and we all enjoyed each other’s company.

During this time many of us were in the Cubs and later the Boy Scouts, so life was very busy, and there never seemed time to spare. A few of us were also in the local Church Choir, and that took up two nights a week for choir practice

We spent many happy holidays camping with the scouts, travelling to faraway places, and later on in the winter months we had the Scout Gang Shows.

These were brilliant to do as we would get dressed up in weird costumes, and do sketches of parents events, comedy and dance and singing routines, along with one or two stranger things like doing the Swan Lake Ballet in ballerinas outfits, but with hiking boots on our feet instead of the correct footwear, simply because we could not wear the shoes.
It was a brilliant way to let your hair down and have fun

But I look back on most of this with pride, although I did have problems, but I suppose most people had them one way or another, and if you were extremely lucky as some were, these soon disappeared from your memory.

One or two were stuck with lifelong memories that would perhaps never go away

Like many people at that time we never got into trouble with the police or anyone else, simply because we were terrified of fathers reactions afterwards, that was simply something you never went into because of the fear of our fathers.

That was a brilliant deterrent, although my father was not amused when I spoke about years later, because he said it made him feel terrifying, although he did admit to being frightened of his own father.

 But it did no harm because if you respected others and the police, you were looked on as a little angel something I know that I was not, but I had a great deal of respect.

Sometimes we would go to one of the local the cinemas, something of a treat.

I can remember going to see one film about a Robot called Robby.  Before the film was shown there was a lorry going round the shopping area carrying this Robot on the back.

Strangely enough the other day while searching the Internet, I actually found a clip of Robby the Robot, and it all came back so fresh that I could have seen the film yesterday.

Looking back these cinemas were very dark and dirty, and always had mice etc. running round the floor, so we sat with our feet firmly away from the floor as we did not want anything walking around our ankles.

Yes it was active and happy, there were weird people around even in those days, but they were not as obvious as they are perhaps today, perhaps in those days they feared the law or reprisals from parents.

It’s so sad that today we get these people preying on children, but perhaps they are getting more publicity these days than they ever got before.  

 But these days children just seem to want to watch television or play games on the computer, they don't go anywhere and hardly walk anywhere.

 I do feel that technology rules people’s lives these days, including children, and while it is a good thing, it can take over your life if you are not too careful.

It does bother me that future children will grow up, not knowing what fun is, and life will be very tame for them.

Yes falling out of a tree hurts when it happens, but you soon learn from the experience, and do things in a different way the next time round.



  1. Hi Ken, my name is Leo White and I live in Australia; I got your name and blog from my friend Kate Swaffer. I was diagnosed with dementia in 2008. My diagnosis at that time was probable Alzheimer's but because of some recent changes, my doctors are considering changing it to probable LB dementia. I'll be looking forward to your updates.

    Ciao, Leo


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