Second July Blog
Do we ever consider… truly consider, our parents?
None of us is exactly the same. Even siblings can have different outlooks, act in different ways given similar situations. So…going back in time ( for the more elderly of us) we must take into account the changes of environment in their time. What they had to deal with as they made their way through this world.
My parents were born near the beginning of 20th century. A long, long, long time ago, by some standards. Born in different places but by a roundabout route, met and married. Because people did not discuss their intimate affairs with others at that time, I do not know much about their early life together. I do know times were pretty hard then, and I know that now, those times have crept up on us lately, but at the moment, in my estimation, the now times are nowhere near as hard and tough as they were then.
I knew my grandfather and grandmother. I was lucky. But of my father ‘s parents, there is little evidence of them. Names, yes. I have those names, but nothing else. My mother was born local to me. ( Our town was mentioned in The Doomsday Book, and that is going back some). All her sisters have, like my mum, passed on so I cannot ask quesions. It would have seemed a trifle rude, back in the day.
All knowledge my father had of his parents was almost non-existent until decades later when he needed the information for some reason. He had to go up to Somerset House ( these records are stored somewhere else now) to get a birth certificate. He had choices of which line to trace but finally decided which was most likely to be the correct one. His brother was in those records also. So, at home then, we now had thebbirth certificates of my dad and his brother, which my father seemed to remember having. And that was a far as he wanted to go.
His background ( or lack of) always fascinated me but I could do nothing about checking up on it at that time. It was not a good start in liife, bundled into a childrens’ home at the age of two or three. Little bits stuck in his memory prevailed from t e to time. How the older boys treated him. How strict the masters were. Very small amounts were divulged, and to be honest, I am sure he did not recall much of his earlier life. I do not remember him speaking about any of it apart from his early teens.
All these bad memories should have had a traumatic effect. Perhaps he hid it well? Too late to ask, by many years now. And as for mum, she did not say a lot about her young life, or if she did, I have no memory of it. Of course, the early part of their married life coincided with the Depression. Tales of men coming to where you live, checking on what you had, and if you had more than two chairs, you were told to sell them to get money for food, or anything else they thought you could sell. No Government help in those days. You made do and survived, or went to the wall.
In my country now, there is all kinds if help these days so, if you imagine what it was like to bring up even a small family then, it was almost an imposibility but it gave peope fortitude. I remember my father telling me how he bicycled 40 miles in search of a job, only to find they had all been taken by the time he arrived. Then he had to cycle the 40 miles back home empty-handed and a young baby to feed ( my brother) .
After a few years, there were rumblings of war. Munitions began to be made so work and jobs were more plentiful.,
The Second World War brought its own privations. Foods that may have been plentiful, were rationed. Special things became scarce like oranges and lemons. Fish also because UBoats straffed the fishing vessels. Butter, eggs and so on, even though our farms had cattle and chickens, became scarce also. Never mind if you had the ration coupons, if they were not there to be bought, you were out of luck and had to go without.
If you see what I am getting at, you will find that life for parents in those times were very stressful and that brought a bearing on how you dealt with your children. OK, not all have been so lucky. I understand that and am sorry for those who have lost one or both parents. Very sad. Also those whose parent/s were not so understanding of their children. For that also, I am sorry. I had good parents. I was and am still very proud of what they gave up for my brother and I. They brought us up with decency and a thirst for knowledge. I only wish they were here today.
So, when you look back at your parents from a later time in your own life, please give consideration as to how their parents treated them and understand what they went through. It may make a difference.
Be careful out there, my friends, and look after yourselves,