An email from Gran in Ireland where she describes how different things were when she was a child – and how grateful they were.
While trying to find a place to vote for your Momalog, I re-read D.’s list of different childhoods. Every generation is an improvement on the previous one. In my young days we had no bathroom. We were all washed in the kitchen on a Saturday night and boots were polished and my father shaved with much ado and fuss.
My mother would provide the hot water, the cut-throat razor, and a mirror and carbolic soap. (We were also washed with carbolic soap). All this cleansing was in preparation for Sunday mass. I used to watch and wait for the Da to cut himself. He would stem the blood with a piece of newspaper. Newspaper was a very useful thing in my young days. It was used to light the fire and to clean the globe of the oil lamp, and as I said, it stemmed the blood if anyone got cut.
No buses in those far-off days. We walked to school, hail, rain, or snow, and sat in a freezing classroom. The school had two classrooms and two fires which were lit by the older pupils. In the evenings the pupils swept and tidied the rooms before going home. We never felt deprived. We were young and happy and there was no pressure to succeed at school.
Most kids went to work at 14, if they could find any work. Many of them emigrated to America or England and indeed some never returned home again. Today my grandchildren lead a very different existence. They enjoy all modern inventions like iPhones and computers and they are driven to school by car. There is no corporal punishment in the classroom nowadays but they do have to do well at the lessons in order to proceed to second level education or indeed on to university.
Were the days of my youth the “good old days”?
I think to be young is to be happy and they pass all too soon.
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