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Sixties City - bringing on back the good times!

Clint feeding next door's chickens   Clint, Dad and the O.B. van  
Clint - Click for Clint now!   Dee   Clint, Stephen and Val Littlechild   Phil Jeggo, Stephen Hall, Clint at the back! Colney Heath J.M.I. c. 1961

If you lived as a child in the 50's or 60's, looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have...
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding with all the windows open on a warm day
was always a special treat. Our cots and beds were covered with bright coloured lead-based paint.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cupboards, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle - Horrors! We would spend hours building go-carts
out of scrap and then ride them down the hill, only to find out that we'd forgotten the brakes.

After running into the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem. We would leave home in the morning and
play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No mobile phones. Unthinkable. We got cut and broke bones and broke teeth, and there were no law suits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame, but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights, punched each other and got black and blue, and learned to get over it. We ate raw cake mix, bread and real butter, and drank neat cordial, but we were never overweight...we were always outside playing.
We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one died from this. We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, video games, 65 channels on pay TV, video tape movies, surround sound, personal mobile phones, Personal Computers, Internet chat rooms ... we had friends. We went outside and found them!

You just want to be a child again? .... close your eyes and go back in time....

Before the Internet or the Apple Mac.... before semi-automatics, joyriders and crack.... before SEGA or X-Box or Super Nintendo.... way back........ I'm talking about....

Hide and seek in the park, The Corner Shop and four-a-penny chews, hopscotch and butterscotch, skipping, jacks, marbles, handstands and football with an old can.
Conker fights, kiss chase, home made kites, Beano, Dandy, Bunty and Twinkle, roly poly, bows and arrows, hula hoops, swapping scraps and tea cards, jumping the stream, rope swings, building dams and collecting returnable bottles.

The smell of bonfire smoke and fresh cut grass, an ice cream in a square cone on a warm summer night from the van that plays a tune - chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or maybe Neapolitan ...... or perhaps a wafer? Saturday morning club at the cinema, Cubs in proper uniform, British Bulldog in the playground... when around the corner seemed far away and going into town seemed like really going somewhere. Earwigs, wasps and bee stings. Sticky fingers, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, and Robin Hood.

Climbing trees, building igloos out of snow banks and forts out of newly cut grass. Walking to school, no matter what the weather. Running until you were out of breath.
Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Jumping on the bed. Pillow fights. Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles. Being tired from playing....remember that? When the worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon, football cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle. Eating raw jelly. Orange squash ice pops and Corona from the milk van. Remember when there were three types of trainers - girls and boys, and Dunlop Green Flash - and the only time you wore them at school was for P.E. or Games. You knew everyone in your street - and so did your parents. It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends. You didn't sleep a wink on Christmas Eve. When nobody owned a pure-bred dog. When five shillings was decent pocket money and you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.

When nearly everyone's mum was at home when the kids got there and it was 'magic' when dad would "remove" his thumb. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him, or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it. When being sent to the Headmaster's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! - and some of us are still afraid of them!!

Didn't that feel good? Just to go back and say, "Yeah..... I remember that...."

Remember when.... decisions were made by going "Dip Dip Dip", "race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly" The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was germs......... and the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to one.

It was unbelievable that British Bulldog and Ice Sliding weren't Olympic events. Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a catapult or a pea shooter. Nobody was prettier than Mum. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant orange-flavoured chewable aspirin. Ice cream was considered a basic food group. Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true. Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors......

If you can remember most, or all of these, then you have LIVED.

We were born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill. We were born before rada, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ball-point pens; before dishwashers, tumble dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip dry clothes . . . .

We got married first and then lived together. We thought "fast food" was what you ate during Lent, a "Big Mac" was an oversized raincoat and "crumpet" was what you had for tea. We existed before house-husbands, computer dating, dual careers, when a "meaningful relationship" meant getting along with your cousins and "sheltered accommodation" was where you waited for a bus.

We had never heard of FM radio, tape decks, word processors, yoghurt, pizzas or young men wearing earrings. A "chip" was a piece of wood or a fried potato, "hardware" meant nuts and bolts and "software" wasn't even a word. "Making out" referred to how you did in exams, "stud" was something that fastened your clothes and "going all the way" meant staying on the double-decker bus to the depot . . . .

Cigarette smoking was fashionable, "grass" was mown, "coke" was kept in the coal shed, and a "joint" was the piece of meat you ate on Sundays. "Rock music" was a lullaby and a "gay person" was the life and soul of the party.

Simon, Clint (me) and Paul

Simon, Clint and Paul
...... Now

If you want a bit of musical nostalgia, try these records..... listen to the words...... get the feeling....... some more than others - depends on you!

1,2,3 O'Leary - Des O'Connor
Childhood 1949 - Bobby Goldsboro ( the 'B' side of 'Summer - the first time' )
Pamela Pamela - Wayne Fontana
The Special Years - Val Doonican
Remember When - Showaddywaddy / ShaNaNa
Those Magic Changes - ShaNaNa
Saturday Night at The Movies - The Drifters
Jennifer Eccles - The Hollies
Beach Baby - First Class
Memories - Elvis
Going Back - Dusty Springfield

If you have any suggestions for the record list - I only gave a few to get the feeling of the 'genre' - send 'em in! Also, particularly, any passages like the ones above that you come across, or even that you have written yourself.

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