Get your memories down on paper before it's too late
An amusing email I received recently describes a conversation between an elderly man and a young man concerning life during the older man's youth.
It goes as follows, "What was your favourite fast food when you were growing up?"
"We didn't have fast food when I was growing up. All the food was slow," came the answer.
"Oh come on, seriously" said the young guy. "Where did you eat?" "It was a place called home,'' the older man replied. "Our mother cooked every day and when our father came in from work, we sat down together at the table and if I didn't like what she put on my plate, I was allowed to sit there until I did like it."
He then described how he felt almost embarrassed and couldn't relate the part about how he also had to ask permission if he wished to leave the table.
He also said he would have told the young guy more things about his childhood except he didn't think he would believe them despite their being true: "Many parents never owned their own house, travelled out of the country, owned a car or had a bank loan or credit card. No one had heard of the word austerity. In most rural areas water from a tap was an undreamt of luxury and water had to be brought home in pails or pumped by hand.
"Parents never drove children to school and I had a heavy black bicycle that only had one speed (slow). We didn't have a television in our house until I was 12. It was, of course, black and white and the station went off the air at 10pm, after playing the national anthem. Farming news featured prominently and there was always a weekly report on the cattle market broadcast on the radio.
"Ready to eat food was never delivered to homes but milk was. On farms, all the children helped with milking, foddering, feeding calves, lambing, haymaking, picking spuds and harvesting corn. Once their daily chores were finished, they then went to school, either by bicycle or on foot. This applied to all families and a child helping out at work was considered normal.