06 February 2007

Where Were You?

My apologies for the bad photo but you know when you HAVE to do something and you have to do it NOW. Well this is one of those moments. I've just noticed this teatowel in the utility room, waiting to be ironed and photographed properly. It's been there about a month ... and I just had to take the photo of it now, unironed, in bad light with no supporting cast. (I see my birthday was on a Sunday.)

Mum and I came across it when we were packing up her house and I thought you might like to reminisce (if you're old enough, that is!). I'm not sure where it came from but I think it was a present from Mum's French penfriend. To this day Mum still writes (in French) to her penfriend from her school days. They became penpals in 1935 and did the exchange thing even then. Mum has photos of Thérèse and her family visiting England, Mum and her sister staying in France, Dad managing to visit Thérèse and her parents during the War and so on.

In 1961 I sat the 11+ and went to 'the grammar'. I'm not sure how much good it did me, as I don't think I worked particularly hard. I had a wonderful surprise present when I passed - my own record player. The first record I bought with my saved up pocket money was "Wheels" (can't remember who recorded it) followed by "Bobby's Girl" (Susan Maughan), "Stranger on the Shore" (Acker Bilk). Then there were The Everley Brothers, The Allisons, Helen Shapiro, Dusty Springfield ... I've obviously got the dates out of order, but without the records in front of me I can't quite remember.

I expect the summer of 1961 was a long, bright, sunny one. They all were in those days, weren't they? We went for picnics in the fields when my uncle was haymaking, picked primroses and bluebells in the woods (you were allowed to then), and went to the Lleyn Penninsula in North Wales for our summer holiday. We stayed in a little village called Rhiw in a cottage rented out by Mr and Mrs Williams who had a little girl with lovely blonde ringlets, called Denise. We went to some sheep dog trials and went up Snowdon (on the train) and walked down again after standing on the foggy summit for a few minutes!

The first day of term at my new school was scary, until I met Susan Warner who giggled a lot. I think we sat next to one another for a while. We drank warm milk (why did they always leave it by the radiators or heating pipes?) through waxed straws which flattened long before you'd got to the end of the one-third pint. And we were introduced to Physics ... and Chemistry ... and Algebra ... and stuff I didn't understand. But I did OK in French ... because I had a calendar teatowel to help me!

So what were YOU doing in 1961?


photowannabe said...

Hi, I was graduating from High School in 1961. It was a pretty good year, full of endings and new beginnings. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Clare said...

Hi Sue, what a lovely reminiscence. I'm afraid I wasn't even a twinkle in my mum and dad's eyes then - but I do remember the milk at primary school - it was either warm or had lumps of ice in it!

This is a charming post - by a charming lady of course! Clare x

see you there! said...

I love those calendar towels. I recently bought one at the thrift store from 1980 something. Don't ask me what I'm going to do with it. It was 49cents... is that excuse enough?


Anita said...

.... in 1961, I was not even yet born.... I just saw the daylight in 1972... ;-))

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hi Sue,
1961 was before my time too. My parents had been married for one year.

Acker Bilk lives in a neighbouring village to us - in Pensford. He is still one of my father-in-laws favourites!

Vintage to Victorian said...

I'm glad one of you remembers '61. Still, you're as old as you feel or behave or whatever the expression is!

Niki, I'd forgotten about Acker Bilk living in Pensford. Mum's great-grandparents lived there too, and one of her great uncles. Funnily enough a lady came into the Centre yesterday who used to live there - in a bungalow built in the orchard behind where they lived. Small world ... Also her in-laws had bought the farm in Compton Dando right next door to the house where Mum lived!

Vintage to Victorian said...

Woops - I mean Mum's grandparents, not her great-grandparents!!

Anonymous said...

lovely memories Sue, I enjoyed reading that! that tea towel is gorgeous, I love it. I wasnt yet a twinkle yet either but I do remember that we had milk in school when i was little and it was delicious! perfect temp, guess i was lucky!

Tracy said...

that tea towel brings back such happy memories of my wonderful Nan - its funny what triggers childhood memories!
I was not born in 1961 (arrived in 1972) but my mum tells me she had a great time!!

Tracy x

Anonymous said...

Sue, you have been tagged!


Nonnie said...

I'm afraid I wasn't born until 10 years after 1961 but I can remember warm milk at school and picking primroses and bluebells in the woods back in East Yorkshire.