Friday, 20 January 2017

Baby Boomers


I found myself explaining the phenomenon of " The Baby Boomer" to a 25 year old colleague the other day...they had not heard the phrase before, and why would they? What do they know of those " oldies" that were born between 1948 and 1964.
I was born in 1962, so just came in under the wire as did one other nurse on duty, and the younger staff seemed genuinely  surprised as we brainstormed baby boomer norms! Norms that would make modern parents run screaming to child protective services!


As children my sister and I would sit in a living room as my parents would chain smoke cigarettes until the walls ran brown with nicotine.

My father would drive us all home after babysitting my sister's kids on a Saturday night much the worse for drink!

No one ever Ever wore seat belts!

We used to walk 2 miles to and from school alone and in the dark with shorts on!

If you ever was allowed to use the home phone you had to sit in a cold hallway to do so ( and were timed! )

One playtime venue was the local rat infested public tip!

The coal fire heated a small square of the living room nothing else

We ate left overs on Monday and were often served things like mince, liver and onions and offal

Had a bath only on Sunday nights!

We coped with three tv channels and no daytime tv on weekdays ( unless you watched school programmes!)

Relatives and perfect strangers could reprimand you and be supported in the fact by your mother and father

Every winter there was snow







88 comments:

  1. We were not allowed to run to mum; we had to fight our own battles.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Did your mum wear an apron ?

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    2. She did, and I do as well when I bake, John :) x

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    3. My Mum wore a housecoat!

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  2. Suddenly one day there was big news. A boy invited us, his 6 or 7 playmates, to his house. We sat on the floor in a semi-circle and peered at a strange object. It was a chest of drawers with no drawers. Instead of drawers there were some knobs and there was a small rectangle of glass high up on it. The boy's parents explained that the thing was a television and we could see pictures from London. We watched The Flower Pot Men and Muffin the Mule. Sometimes the television wouldn't work and we went away and decided the television was useless and that we would go to the Empire for the Saturday matinee instead. One would pay the 4d and let the others in through the fire escape door when the lights went out and the Lone Ranger rode into view to the William Tell Overture and with a Hi Ho Silver! And later on Batman and Robin in Gotham City. This was far more fun than struggling to see the small television screen that was all too often breaking down.

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  3. Aaah... the last one... and every summer was sunny! Apart from that, totally accurate. (Also a child of 1962.) Mind you, we didn't have a car, so walking and buses were the norm. My kids don't really believe me that our toilet was outside in the yard (meaning a scary run down the outside stairs past the coal hole in the dark) and that our bathroom was just a bath tagged on to the end of the kitchen. Partitioned off, of course.

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  4. Sometimes I find very hard to imagine I am older than you...

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    1. You reinvented yourself as a fey teen and forgot your very young childhood

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  5. Another baby boomer here.

    We didn't get TV here in Brisbane until 1959, and Darwin (where I did my nursing training) didn't get it until 1971! My family didn't buy a TV until the early sixties so I felt like a deprived child at times.
    Our dunny (lavatory) was in the backyard because Brisbane wasn't sewered until the late sixties (oh we did live in the dark ages).

    But we did have a bath every day.

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  6. Another 1962 baby.

    My sociology teacher had a theory as to why the baby boom ended when it did.

    Not better contraception, not more women in the workplace, not even the rise of feminism.

    The launch of Match of the Day. Men staying up late to watch TV on a Saturday instead of "having an early night".

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  7. Aside from the extreme cold, no wait, we used to get snow, your describe very well my childhood. Note: Mother still has her phone in the hallway at the phone table and also sits her emergency device thingy box thingy.

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  8. I remember everything you mentioned! We had a population of 15,000 and knew everyone in town. never locked the doors. Mom made sandwiches and gave coffee to the hobos that came up from the train lines as we kids stared through the screen door. we never wore shoes in the summer and played in the water and mud as it was raining catching worms for the fun of it. A much simpler time. We now have a population of 7,000 don't know half of them and keep the doors locked.

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  9. And you survived to blog about it.

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  10. born 1954 here. the young people today have no clue as to how things were 50 years ago.

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  11. Aah yes the snow in winter and red hot summers. Also if you were lucky enough to have a telly, it was probably on rental from somewhere with a slot attached for the coins!! Remember it well. (1964 for me).

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  12. My husband was born in '64, I in '66 (so technically not boomers, but all my siblings are). Yes, you weren't allowed to be on the phone too long, in case someone else on the party line might need it. Husband and his sister laid down in the back of the Volkswagon station wagon piled to the hilts for the ten hour drive every Christmas to Montreal. I got three channels on tv growing up, had to actually get up and physically change the channel (and the rabbit ears), and played down by the river without having any contact with a parent all afternoon. We survived quite nicely! -Jenn

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  13. Do you remember when TV programmes ended about 11pm every night with The Epilogue'? After nThe Epilogue, there was a low whistling noise which grew louder - the announcer used to say, "Please don't forget to turn off your TV set now . . Good Night." Mum always waited until he'd finished speaking and wished HIM a Good Night too 'because it would be rude otherwise'. Lol, lol.

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    1. Vaguely...i remeber the national anthem being played

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    2. Yes! I remember the national anthem being played too! Hadn't thought of that in ages!

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  14. We took pop bottles and sterilised milk bottles back to the shop and used the money we got to buy Mojos and Blackjacks from the penny section of the corner shop.

    And someone who I won't mention by name along with her best friend, lit a small fire in the back of the greengrocers yard and ran round the front to tell him there was a fire ... and got rewarded with a big bottle of pop ;-)

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    1. ha ! I remember telling the lady in the post office that our money got "stuck" in the chewing gum vending machine outside & getting a packet for free !

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  15. For some reason I'm reminded of the 'Four Yorkshiremen' sketch.....

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  16. And do you remember waking up on a winter's morning with ice on the inside of your bedroom window?

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    1. Only n my student digs not at home
      ,

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  17. Yes I am a baby boomer - 1947. I still remember all the things that John mentions; plus lighting the house fire when I was 9 and on my own, the house was then warmer for when my parents got home. I used to start the tea, peeling spuds, carrots and cutting up onions with a sharp knife. I also remember a delightful friend who lived nearby, he and his family shared an outside loo with the family next door. This friend had at least four or five large drinks of Andrews liver salts in a glass of water every day. He used to say it was better than pop!!!! Can anyone bring to mind what their shared toilet must have looked like. Love Andie xxx

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    1. Liver salts have been mentiond twice here now

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  18. Exactly the way I grew up, John!

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  19. Quite a lot of that sounds very familiar. We all managed to survive and grow up into adults who could handle stress. We learned how to make the best of any situation. And most important, we learned that life was 'not all about us'. Something a good many young folk could do with learning.

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  20. Sounds quite like my childhood, except we had central oil heating, and our play ground was the local quarry. My generation precedes yours, and for some reason has been dubbed "The Silent Generation."

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  21. born 1950. cars didn't even have seat belts. we'd leave the house in the morning and not come home til dinner time unless we popped in for lunch, played in the woods and along the bayou no adults anywhere to be seen.

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  22. I was born in 1950. I can remember when we were the first house in the street to get a fridge. It had a tiny freezer box that only held a small ice cube tray and one packet of frozen peas and then was full. My sister and I (aged 9 and 7 respectively)invited our friends round to sample the delight of an ice cube (strictly rationed to one per person) in a glass of squash. What delight. Sue H

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  23. I was born in 1950 and must have been about 9 when we got our 1st television. It was Co-op own brand called Defiant, a huge square wooden box. Mam paid cash for it, and she said she had never had so much cash in her handbag before and was terrified someone might snatch the bag!

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  24. You forgot about always respecting your elders, and being terrified of policemen who would tell your parents if you misbehaved...and then you'd be for it !

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  25. Going back further than anyone so far, I'm a 1946er.
    Re Winter: Yes, it seemed to snow every single Winter in those times - and it would always settle DEEEEEEEEP for ages and ages!
    As 'Shooting Parrots', above, so rightly says, ice would form on the INSIDE of our bedroom windows. (Only the really affluent could afford central heating). Then the bathroom outlet pipes would get iced up overnight making washing impossible until they thawed out.
    And Summers were always HOT!
    Ah, happy days! (Depending - and if so, only on hindsight).

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  26. Hubby is a babyboomer born 1958.. I'm a Gen X'er born 1967..I'm not sure how he could relate to what you said but i think his upbringing was much the same...

    Everyone in my family smoked... Two parents and two older brothers all smoked... I'm the baby of the family and the only one who never smoked..

    I remember wearing seatbelts...

    I walked a mile to my bustop every day alone.. rain, snow, sleet, or sun...

    I remember the whole house being heated

    But i do remember rotary phones and answering machines...

    I 'm pretty sure we had a bath every night

    I don't think my mother tolerated anyone else reprimanding me, except maybe family..

    And i do remember snow more often.... Thanks for the trip down memory lane John! Hugs~ deb

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    1. I am talking generally about the late 1960s ..the 1970s everything became modern !

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  27. Wow, you brought back a lot of memories. Made me smile today. It wasn't so bad was it? We're all a little cracked, but we came out ok didn't we!

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  28. 'Well of course, we had it tough...'

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  29. I thought you were younger than that. I'm an eighties baby and some of those things applied then too for us.

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    1. I'm 54 with a mental age of 19

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  30. I am too old to be part of the baby boomer span, and yet in some ways still feel younger than some folks who are decades younger than I am.

    I'm glad not to have seen a television until I was about 7. There was no electric challenge to my love of reading.

    Fun to read your list, John, and also the recollections in the prior comments.

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  31. And those were the good old days.

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  32. Playgrounds when I was a kid sat on a hard, blacktop pavement, not hay, or sand like now.

    People smoked in the supermarket, and talk show hosts and their guests smoked on TV. Also, cigarettes were advertized on TV.

    Only people under 30 listened to rock music.

    And, finally, the very device I'm communicating to you on didn't yet exist.

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    1. What did we do without ipads?

      We read!

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  33. I can dentify with all of this being born in 1946. It's a wonder I can still breath with the amount of smoke I inhaled at home. As for baths, my Dad used to get the tin bath in from off the wall outside and my Mum used to fill the copper to heat the water, we then used to all jump in one after another using the same water, glad I wasn't the last. lol
    Briony
    x

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  34. 1949 here. All of John's memories, except no telephone until 1959, and then a party line and a live operator to connect the call. Girls had to wear dresses to school, even in the every-winter snow and the 2-mile walk to school in it. Nothing was permanent press; everything had to be starched and ironed (guess who started ironing before age 10). Oil furnace, but a mother who was afraid of house fires so turned off everything including the pilot light when she went to bed.

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    1. My god a party line.........you could listen to someone else's conversations!

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  35. Our friends came round to play but were always sent home at teatime - I never had a friend stay for tea. And sleepovers didn't exist. I had an American friend who, in 1978, invited 6 of us to her house for a sleepover to celebrate her birthday. So exotic! (I was born just after the official deadline but I think these still count.)

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  36. A 1963 baby here. Chilblains in the winter, water rationing in the summer. Murder in the dark during power cuts. Gone for hours making camps. Clothes patched to last longer looked trendy !

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    1. Chilblains bloody hell! Dont i remember the pain

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  37. Born 1949. One of my stronger memories was having to ask Mrs Haigh, the dinner break lady, for loo paper Which was of course the shiny stuff - and rationed. The school loos were outside too. Amazing what sticks in your mind.

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    1. Amazing what didn't stick to that awful paper. Tracing paper we called it.

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    2. Sticks in my mind? The awful smell of warm bottled milk at school

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  38. we used to have snow days and now it rain all winter.

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  39. Here is a few from this baby boomer -
    Bath nights were on a Sunday in a tin bath in front of the coal fire (till 1967)
    The only toilet was passed the coal hole at the end of the yard and it was heated with a parrafin heater (which threw out horrible fumes) through the winter - I used to hate going to the loo in the dark but it was that or use the po under the bed.
    My Nan washing our clothes in a tub with the dolly and then it was my job to turn the mangle handle to get the water out - all done just outside the scullery door - no matter what the weather.
    Frost on the inside of my bedroom window as there was only 1 coal fire in the house, so you got dressed under the bed covers to try and keep warm.
    Having to wear a vest and liberty bodice all through the winter to keep you warm.
    Walking to school on my own from the age of 5 years old.
    These youngsters don't know how lucky they are, do they John? xx

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    1. Most of my austere memoriies come from thvery late 60s and 1970....in the 1970s central heating came in!

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    2. Not in my case it didn't. I was born in 1960 but never lived in a centrally heated house until 1995 (when I was 35.) Would hate to go back to living without central heating again, but I daresay I'd survive.

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  40. 1964 - cement and tarmac under play equipment at the local rec; playing out all day through out the village without supervision and the only rules - no scrumping and be back for lunch and tea; using school loo paper as tracing paper; making fizzy drinks with Andrew's Liver Salts and orange squash; crisp sandwiches for tea on Sunday nights; baths twice a week; no heating in the bedrooms (and ice inside the windows in winter; no TV until I was 8; sweets only allowed 2 days a week; homemade dresses and hand knitted jumpers as everyday wear, outside loos at primary school, being babysat by the school caretaker when Mum was late to collect us - we had a wonderful childhood.

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    1. I had forgotton the horror of a home knitted balaclava

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  41. Gawd, I feel old this morning ...

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  42. By eight I had been taught to make a proper Old-Fashioned so that I could help out at cocktails parties (along with emptying the ashtrays). And by ten was regularly on Saturday given busfare to go downtown to the library on my own (oh, and change for lunch at Woolworth's - unless Grandmother were coming in to town, in which case I'd meet her at our local department store and have lunch in state at the elegant top-floor tearoom).

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    1. Who was your mother? Joan crawford?

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  43. Yes, all of these for me too, except playing in the dump (tip), probably only because we didn't have one close by :) And we climbed trees - I used to sit up there to read. And tried smoking - and some kids got hooked that early. We got a basin of hot water in the morning to wash up, and a bath once a week. Our clothes were draped near the stove to warm up before we put them on in the winter. We wore knitted mittens to play in the snow and when we came inside they were covered in globs of snow that wouldn't come off. No privy for us, fortunately, even though we lived in the country, but our cousins had one - in town at that. Gum was two cents per piece - Double Bubble. You could chew it for days. Second-hand smoke ... no one knew the damage it was causing some of us. Meat, potatoes and one veg for supper every night - pizza didn't come to our area until I was in my teens. We girls bicycled to the local park on a major highway and spent the day with no fears except that there might not be any boys there ... ah, good times :) In retrospect :)

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    1. My mother used to buy cheap frozen pizza .....small and just covred in tomato

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  44. Everything on that list applies to my childhood too John and the only phones in the village were in the houses of the doctor, the squire and the vicar. If we wanted to use the phone (and who was there to phone other than emergency?) we had to walk the half mile to the red phone box, put in our twopence and if there was no reply press button B to get our money back. Those were the days eh?

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    1. I only vaguely remember old money ( in use)

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    2. I think I am second oldest after Pat here! I was working in a bank in 1971 when the " new money" came in. It was a very busy time. Some of the hand posted accounts had to be changed, one by one to decimal. Lots of memories here in the post and comments. We didn't have a car until 1955 ( a Standard 8 ) and no TV until 1959 when I was 14. I certainly remember frost inside the windows, but we always had a proper bathroom.

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    3. I remember 'old money' well. My Dad was given the job of training all of the BRS staff at his branch all about decimalisation so he practised his talks and demonstrations on us ... over and over again :-)

      I still miss threepenny bits!

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  45. Those were the days....
    Nowadays, we all get screened at airports, malls and other public places. Lovely, no?
    And as for children,they either wait for the bus to take them home (a 10 minutes drive)or they own a e-bike with which they injure the pedestrians. No going on foot any more( they are the future work-outers at the gym).

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  46. Your list is right on. It's a wonder any of us made it to adulthood. (Born in 1957, I'm a "Mid-stream Boomer" as I like to call it).

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  47. First tv here only in 1964 .My first pizza i ate in Italy in 1970.(my first time to fly).

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  48. So true! Do you remember paraffin stoves too! Oh, and about the walking to school, we had to walk uphill both ways, and in the snow! Actually I literally had to walk to and from school in the snow that as you mentioned we always had! And my phone calls were always listened to by the person stood there timing you! Good memories hey!

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    1. No to the paraffin heater...but then i just thought perhaps i do

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  49. I'm not a baby boomer, but we also had a weekly bath time on Saturday evenings. Dirty times, I tell ya.

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  50. 1952 here, and a New Zealander.... earliest memories - 3d pocket money (1d for the Missions, 1d for the saving account and 1d for a bag of sweets or an ice cream), using the 'top of the milk' instead of cream for everyday desserts. Being spanked, and if it was really serious, with the wooden spoon! Swimming and sunburn - no such thing as SP sunscreen! Later (aged 8) boarding school - chilblains in winter and disgusting food - Frogs eggs (tapioca with NO flavour or sweetness) rice pudding, Flies cemetery. Climbing trees and covering my gym frock in gobs of macrocarpa gum. TV didn't start until I was 10 or so, and was rationed to a programme a day. A party-line telephone in our town, and the operator would redirect the call because she knew that Mrs So-and-so was over the road having morning tea with her friend, or tell you to ring agin in 15 minutes because she was at the shops but nearly home! Happy memories, and not so happy ones. A much less materialistic society, and a more stratified one, with very strict codes of behaviour. And woe betide anyone who crossed the line!

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  51. I remember all the kids in my neighbourhood were mad on lime and larger and cherry brandy flavoured iced lollies from the ice cream van.

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  52. An outdoor dunny that was part of the fence keeping the horse in the back yard. Damn thing loved to stick its big head in the door. Too poor to buy books so now I live in a house that is part library. Lino on the bedroom floor until we had carpet, luxury.

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  55. You got one set of underwear a week.
    There was ice on the inside of your bedroom window on cold winter nights.
    Adult neighbours were never referred to by their first names - they were Mr Smith or Miss Brown etc..
    BBC TV finished before midnight with the national anthem and you stood up for it or stopped in your tracks.
    Nobody slept in the nude.
    Mums wore corsets.
    Older men smoked pipes.
    Teachers meted out corporal punishment such as the cane.
    In pubs there was one type of bitter and one type of mild on tap and no lager.

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    1. Oh yes
      Underwear yes
      Everyone wore nightwear
      Everyone too ( family friends) werecalled auntie and uncle

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    2. Ah, C.P. from teachers! It was clear (but mostly on hindsight) that some really got off on administering it. Most of my teachers were priests - and later I did wonder if wearing those long, black cassocks hid their 'excitement' as they wielded those canes and straps with such relish.

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  56. Some of this is very, very familiar to this boomer. There was one meal cooked and everyone in the family ate it - or did without. Generally the tastes of the breadwinner were considered, and no-one elses.
    And we had takeaways probably once or twice a year. If that.

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  57. I was born in 65, one year off being a baby boomer. I remember oms of this sort of stuff, but my dad was an early seat belter of us kids before it was even required,so I got to sit belted in and carsick while he and mum chainsmoked in the car. :P One thing I remember that people would never do now is they would take us to a party after our dinner, let us come in to say hello, then bed us down in the car to supposedly sleep but actually to fight over the blankets and kick each other for hours until they finished playing Canasta and drinking Cinzano with their flare-wearing mates and came to drive home! Can you imagine that now!

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  58. Exactly as I remember it. I was born in 1949 and in those days children were 'seen but not heard'. When we visited my grandparents we had to sit on hard chairs and not move or say anything, completely different from my grandchildren visits nowadays.

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  59. I was born in 1963. When riding as a passenger in a car we would stand up poking our heads through the roof hatch. We used to buy a bottle of Cresta and a bag of chips after Saturday morning swimming. Dogs used to poo in the kerb. We had paraffin heaters in the bathroom and bedroom. Good and bad old days.

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  60. I'm of the generation just prior to the boomers but everything you wrote applies to me as well, except for the snow.
    Sarah in rainy California

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  61. Ah,the good old days. I remember listening to 'dial a disk' on the phone in the phone box... we used to slide a metal ruler in instead of a two pence piece..... we got the same song over and over again but no one minded. People used to ring that phone box and whoever answered it would 'go and fetch' whoever it was that was needed. We used to feel sorry for the kids that had school dinners.... we always thought they were really poor if their mum had to go out to work as well their dad. Everyone had a dad back then...

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