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How Times have changed

Updated on March 9, 2015
tonymead60 profile image

Tony is now a full-time writer and he has currently 4 published books with many others planned.


This article came about because my grandson asked me what was my favourite DVD and CD when I was a boy. We then went onto discuss other changes. Health and safety, and the political correctness mob would have had a field day.

Our cots were painted with brightly coloured lead paints, which we sucked on and chewed whenever it took our fancies; there were no steriliser kits or cleaners that killed 99% of all know germs. We tore up newspapers to thread and hang behind the toilet door, and Izal toilet paper was sheer luxury.

We walked to school, carried our own pump-bags and satchels if there was a bus, then we would spend our bus fares on sweets. Kicked stones and cans along the way and generally just wandered home after school.

It was great sport to jump on and off buses whilst in motion, swinging around the handrail on the rear platform. Smokers of course were confined to the top floor. now kids need an army of adults to organise their games, but played cricket, football, hopscotch and many more with an adult in sight to tell us the rules. What time is it Mr. Wolf was one of my favourites.

There were no supermarkets, [thank God] just proper shops, that would deliver your order if asked, usually by a lad on a bike. He would not wear a helmet, knee pads, flak jacket, or high viz vest, and invariable his brakes needed adjusting. Shops always smelt great, a mixture of open boxes of biscuits and coffee being ground fresh. Butter was cut to size from a large unrefrigerated block, so was beef lard. Hams and sides of bacon dangled from chrome plated racks and were taken down when needed. The staff were polite and had good manners they referred to customers as ‘Sir or Madam’, and they did the walking around the shop to fill your basket for you. Mum's would put on 'a bit of makeup' to nip down the shops, Lord they would have died at some Mums dress now.

One day a week, you took your spending money and went to the sweet shop, a place designed as near to kid’s heaven as possible. Penny trays and long lines of bottled sweets made the visit perfect. Do you remember these sweets; milk bottles, gobstoppers, pineapple chunks, sherbot lemons, and everyone's favourite, flying sauces?

In summer, we played out all day; our Mums had to call us in for tea. There were no videos or DVDs to watch, we used our imaginations. We shared a bottle of pop and took the empties back to get a penny on them.

We drank from streams and hosepipes, ate dripping sandwiches and jam on bread, treacle and thickly buttered fresh bread. Sometimes, instead of school dinners, we’d go to the local confectioners and buy a small loaf; then we would eat the soft, white inside and fill the crust with chips. Fish and chips shops did not open until 8 pm and we would eat our suppers out of newspaper as we walked home from cubs or scouts or youth club.

If you fell and hurt yourself, it was your own fault we did not immediately ring a solicitor for advice. We had fights and fallouts but we sorted it out ourselves usually behind the bike sheds, where you also got your first sex education lessons and learnt to smoke.

If you were thin, fat, tall, short, wore glasses, had red hair, blonde hair or brown hair, if you were Christian, Jewish, Muslim or anything else then someone would call you names; we did not run to our teacher and say we were being bullied we just called someone else a few names back.

We built bogeys out of old pram wheels and broken boxes and then we would find the steepest hill we could to whizz down. If you didn’t have a bogey but did have a grassy hillside then any piece of cardboard or plastic sheet made a great sledge. We played cricket with corky balls and no leg guards, conkers had shoelaces through them and you regularly got your fingers rattled. We built tree houses and rafts and wig-whams from old tablecloths; we fired catapults and throwing arrows across any open land. If your parents were out when you got home, the neighbours would keep their eyes on you, and feed you if necessary.

Paper- rounds were the only source of income, you walked for miles with a great heavy bag and boy did you get a telling off if you missed one house on your round. i had a job for the local coalmerchant, smashing great chunks of the stuff with an old lumphammer.

England was first in music, fashion, design, and we even won the World Cup; with footballers paid £20 a week. Some not that much if they played for the smaller clubs.

Sportsmen and women still believed in fair play, I watched a footballer this weekend; who is probably on 30,000 a week roll about on the floor holding his face as if he had been hit with a hammer, the replay showed that he not even been touched; not in our day.

You could leave a job Friday and have another by Monday, because we had manufacturing companies, not just offices filled with people doing…what. Dustbin men emptied your bins, you bought your gas from British Gas and the Electricity from you regional supplier. You pressed button ‘A’ to talk on the phone or ‘B’ to get your money back, the only adverts were for the local shops.

No one swore in front of children or women, if you did you had to apologise, and I’m talking in industry too. People could express themselves without using foul language to fill in the gaps. Respect for yourself and for others was the key rule, respect for authority, the police, your teachers, your parents, your friends; it may sound corny now but it was a far better place to live.

We produced some of the best problem solvers and innovators that have ever lived, technology accelerated away because people were not afraid to take risks and did not have to fill out things in triplicate and be risk assessed before they made a move.

You knew politicians would lie to you but you didn’t think that they were stealing from your back pocket at every opportunity, just to feather their already overstuffed nests.

Things were not perfect by any means, it was tough at times, there was nothing like the amount of welfare support, family allowance was only for the second child. Kids in my class could not always afford socks, or a coat for the winter.

If you are not old enough to remember any of this, then you missed the best bit, if you know what I’m talking about pass it on to a friend before those do-gooders try to have it wiped.

It was not all perfect, there was a lot that was wrong, but we did not have the media constantly hitting us around the head with the problems and blowing everything out of proportion.


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    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      Derdriu, I don't live in the past, but I have fond memories of it, because we could trust people then. I love your reminiscences, did you put out the treats for the squirrels or did they come and pinch them? Firefly watching must be amazing, they are not often seen here thank you for sharing.

      When I was a kid some things were either still on ration or just coming back into the shops after the war, everything was in short supply. I'm pleased to say kids have it much easier in that way than I did.

      My grandson nodded, and was glad that his assessment of me was right, in other words BONKERS, 'what is grandad on about'

      regards thanks for sharing and caring.


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Tony, What a charming, nostalgic, thought-provoking look at the "good old times"! In particular, I like the mention of playing outside. It makes me think of my parents sitting out on the lawn and firefly and then star-watching. It also makes me think of all of us listening to the night sounds as part of nature goes to sleep -- for example, my favorite squirrel coming for a last black walnut treat before bedtime -- and another part wakes up.

      Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu

      P.S. What does your grandson think of Grandpa's answer?

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      6 years ago from Yorkshire

      I enjoy a little nostalgia, there is no point clinging to the past, and yet I do miss those as you say more innocent times. To me my grandchildren, a boy of nine and girl of twelve have grown up much too quickly, especially the girl.

      good luck

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I'm older than you (born in 1943), but your hub put me in a nostalgic mood. Things were so very different from today when I was a child and even when I was a young adult.

      My grandparents had the first television set in our neighborhood, and the reception was usually fuzzy, but they had guests nearly every night to watch it. My granddad especially liked boxing, so I watched it with him. I drew the line at wrestling matches--they were more show business than sport from the beginning.

      While I've witnessed a lot of "firsts" in my lifetime, not all of them have been good. I won't even get started on that! I can certainly remember when my country, especially its government, was better, but that was decades ago.

      There's nothing wrong with looking back to a more innocent time, perhaps a little wistfully....

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      7 years ago from Yorkshire

      Mr Happy

      thank you for calling in and your comment. They do seem to be over protected; the worry is that do not learn to be at least a little bit 'streetwise'

      cheers Tony

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I enjoyed this piece of writing. I certainly think kids are carried by their hand too much nowadays. There is very little freedom for them and they constantly need to be told what to do. I find that quite frightening actually.

      Great blog. Cheers!

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      7 years ago from Yorkshire

      hi wilderness

      thank you for comment, it's sad really. I get accussed of being out of date, not with it,well to be honest i'm glad

      cheers tony

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      7 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Yes, times have changed a great deal, and I do not think it is the best for children. I, too, was born in 1950 and am sorry for my grandchildren - they have no idea how to play without parents intimately involved.

      Our entire town of 10,000 was my playground; feet and a bicycle were my transport, not Mom and the car to go to prearranged entertainment a few blocks away. I learned responsibility and work ethic on a paper route, walking in the winter to stay warm and a bicycle in summer for speed.

      Many things have improved, but for children not so much.

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      7 years ago from Yorkshire


      Thanks Kash for the comment, sweets [candies] were much more fun when we were kids.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Tony, thanks for this hub and the memories, we had penny candy here to, it was so cool being a kid back then and able to get a bag of candy for a few pennies !

      Awesome hub!!!

    • tonymead60 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tony Mead 

      7 years ago from Yorkshire

      Dolores Monet

      Many thanks for your comments.

      You may be surprised to know I was born in 1950; these days were far nearer than you think. It just shows how life has accelerated over the past twenty or thirty years. When I was at college in the late sixties and early seventies we still used 'slide rules' as there were no pocket calculators,until the mid seventies.

      good luck to you


    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Tony - what did you grow up in 1923? Sounds like eating all that lead didn't hurt you one bit. It's great to share the past with the kiddies. It was a different world and, really, it's a bit of history. I used to love to hear my grandparents tell how they lived back in the day!

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      How they have! I thoroughly enjoyed the look back. I was a child during the late 50s into the 60s, so we did have television as a distraction (only three channels versus hundreds now) but we still had to use our imaginations and actually played outside in the fresh air while getting ample exercise. Oh, for simpler times! Great hub and memories--thanks!

    • Anna Evanswood profile image


      7 years ago from Malaysia

      Interesting hub... each generation believes that the had it best.. As time passes History can be viewed comfortably through rose coloured glasses. Thank you:)

    • Beege215e profile image


      7 years ago

      Absolutely great hub, but the kids today will have no idea what you are talking about, and they won't even care. Way to Go!


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