Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Apron hanging on my washing line

This was supposed to have been a moving picture, but as usual with my blog, nothing seems to work!
If anybody can help, I'd be very grateful.
I have been trying to add files from Paint shop Pro/anims, usually gif files, but can be in almost any format, but they only appear as a still picture.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Aprons from the Past

This is a photo of my great-great aunt, Mary Morris, who ran a shop in Manchester (UK) wearing her clean white apron.
(The "uniform" of that time)
She died before I was born and so I never met her, but from the photograph, she seems quite a formidable woman.
She was probably a very kind and gentle person, although, judging by her stern look, I would imagine that if she found any young lad shoplifting, she would not hessitate in putting him straight over her knee and spanking him!

Photo taken around 1930.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Memories of The Ice Cream Van

It is typical Summer's day on a housing estate, the sun is shining and there is a gentle breeze.
Every garden has washing hanging out; sheets billow in the breeze, school blouses and shirts of white and blue, school skirts, their pleats in sharp regimented rows, roll like an accordion with no tune, and there are socks in odd numbers.
Somewhere on the estate, a motor mower drones away and there is the scent of new mown grass on the air.
Children are playing; little girls stumble about on roller skates, which are far too big for their match stick legs, one little lady clomps around in her mother's old dancing shoes, pearls, a scarf, despite the heat, and a hat, which looks as if it has come from Royal Ascot.
A group of boys shoot at each other from their fighter planes, even though it is only their arms which keep them aloft.
Suddenly, the relative calm of the estate is shattered by the indefinable tune from an approaching ice cream van. Panic sets in, children dash in all directions, their games and bruises forgotten.
The van pulls up, belching out diesel fumes and still blasting out its tune.
A group of mothers gather, their skirts and aprons flapping in the breeze, no jeans in those days, some of them clutching their offspring of various sizes.
Just as you are beginning to realise what the tune might be, it stops. There is a swish of a sliding window, which only increases the excitement of the assembled children.
One little girl walks around, dragging her favourite rag doll by its ear. A small boy runs about with arms outstretched, pretending to be an aeroplane and the little girl looks at him as if he is from another planet.
One little urchin stands by the queue, he is dirty, and has holes in his socks, just to add a touch of irony, he wears a "Dennis the Menace" T-shirt.
Inevitably, there are tears, as some are told that it is nearly tea time, or reminded that they had previously been naughty, and what the punishment was.
Dennis was obviously one of these unfortunates. He watches longingly, as the little girl with the rag doll, shares her ice cream with a dog, and briefly he wishes that he had been a dog. He looks around, to see another mutt, lapping some spilt ice lolly off the pavement.
This is all too much for Dennis and he heads towards home crying. His wails echo down the passageway, as he slams the back gate. A shout from his mother, a slammed back door and his cries are muffled.
Soon every one has been served. After a swish of the sliding window, the little girl with the rag doll waves to the unknown vendor. The ice cream van heads off down the street, blaring out its unrecognisable tune. It is chased down the street by a group of boys on a varied assortment of bicycles, each one with cigarette cards flapping in the spokes. All hoping to scrounge a broken cone, but the ice cream man has seen it all before.
As they round the corner, all goes quite, the peace of the neighbourhood returns.

Recreating the scene

With permission from a very dear friend, an old photo of Peter, and the wonders of computer technology, I have tried to create a scene from my story below, about Peter being pegged on a washing line by Susan, I hope you like it.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Little Boy Pegged on a Washing Line

When we were very young, we lived on a military estate in Norfolk. (UK)
My six year old brother Peter, had a little boy's crush on a housewife called Susan, who lived nearby. She was about twenty two, with blonde hair and I suppose, quite attractive.

One day, I noticed that Peter was watching Susan intently, as she hung out her washing.
I remember she was wearing a pale green summer dress and a floral pinafore with a red frill.
I went up to Peter to ask him what he was doing.
Without looking at me and almost in a dream, he replied.
"I wish she'd peg me on her washing line".
I giggled and said. "Why don't you ask her, you never know, she might do".
Peter looked at me with a slightly scared expression, but I could tell that he was thinking about it. So I said. "Come on then, I'll come with you, and we'll see what she says".

I took Peter's hand and led him to Susan's back door.
He was shaking like a leaf when I knocked on her door, and I held his hand in a vice-like grip.
Susan opened the door and towered above us as she stood on the doorstep, she smiled sweetly and enquired. "Now then, what can I do for you?"
I replied. "Peter has got something to ask you". dropping him in at the deep end.
To my surprise, although he stumbled on his words, Peter asked her shakily.
"Please will you peg me on your washing line?"
Susan giggled and said. "Well, as you asked me so nicely, of course I will".

She wiped her hands on her apron, bent down and picked him up, cradling his bottom with her right arm, as you do when you pick up a small child.
At first, Susan carried Peter into her kitchen, and over to the washing machine. Teasing him she lifted the lid saying. "Shall I put you in my machine first?"
Peter seemed quite scared when he replied. "No, no!"
Susan giggled and said. "OK, I'll just peg you up on my washing line".
She seemed to be making a play of the situation, a really nice thing to do, for Peter's sake.
As she carried him out into the garden, I went back outside, to watch from a short distance, so as not to spoil his moment of glory.

Susan lifted Peter up to her washing line, telling him to reach up to the line, and hold on tight.
The line was the old fashioned sort, strung between two heavy concrete posts, but she could not actually peg him on her line, as there were not any pegs strong enough, besides, it was quite a long drop from the line to the concrete pathway.
Susan stood back with her arms folded and looked at the little boy hanging on her line.

Just then, Peter's friend happened to walk past. He saw Peter hanging there and started laughing.
Suddenly Susan swung around with a stern look. "Hey you!" She shouted. "Do you want me to peg you on my washing line as well?"
He just giggled nervously and ran off.

Susan realised that Peter could not hang there for very long and so she lifted him down.
She gave him a friendly smack on his bottom, telling him to run along, as she had work to do.

Peter was very happy afterwards, I think that the feel of Susan's apron had an effect on him, because I noticed that whenever I was wearing an apron, he would ask me to pick him up.
This was not easy, as he wasn't much smaller than me.

It is a lovely memory from innocent times past.