How it was….

You know how it is, you’re having a conversation with someone, the topic changes and you’re left behind.  That’s when you need a back up memory aka someone to remind you of the things you’ve forgotten 

One minute I’m chatting to my next sister about what life in India must have been like during the late 1800s for our Gt Grandparents – John Joseph Patrick Doyle and Jane Muir.

John and Jane Doyle abt 1876

Even with the ‘perks’ a soldier of his rank (colour sgt) would have had,  the climate and environment would have been something neither would have encountered before.  Likewise for many of the ordinary rank soldiers who would have been going on patrol up country.

Then a short while later we are talking about hop picking.  For a few years during the late 1940s/ early 1950s we lived in Cosham Hampshire – Dad had been posted away and Mum was always looking for ways to earn some extra pennies.  I could remember during the summer school holidays travelling on an old bus along with what seemed like every local woman and crying baby up Wymering Lane and over the nearby Portsdown Hill to huge fields full of enormous poles with vines hanging down. Then having to carry bags full of ‘stuff’ my mother deemed we needed for the day.  Next sister sent me this old photo to remind me of the look and feel of the hop fields.

She remembers so many different things to me, mothers singing in the bus, primus stoves and enamel tea pots, green coloured flasks with corks in the top, door stop sandwiches (no sliced bread).  Being allowed to get dirty, running amok amongst the tall hop poles barefooted or in the previous years gutties with the toes cut out…..because our feet had grown and there was no spare cash to buy new ones.
You can tell from those memories who was the younger one with less responsibilities!

Lots of laughter because when she mentioned gutties – I thought she said putties and had returned to soldiers in India😊

No, she said, those canvas shoes we wore during the summer.
They made your feet sweat and we had to clean them outside with some pastey white stuff.
Blanco I told her, made the laces go stiff and the white stuff used to come off, floating in the air like a fine dust

But weren’t they called Sand Shoes? Gym Shoes? Plimsolls?.
No, Dad called them Gutties, something else I’d forgotten.
That’s what they’re called in Northern Ireland

I showed her the photo of me in my white shoes and seeing the dress she had on she remarked (once again) how she’d never forgotten how she had to wear my old clothes. So I had to remind her about no extra cash and everything being passed on.  There don’t seem to be any photos to prove otherwise but we think our little sister also wore the same dress one summer a few years later. Sadly she is no longer with us to say yay or nay🙁

Not the shoes tho’ – they’d had the toes cut out so we could get another summer’s ’round the house or playing in the street’ wear out of them

You know, all these years later I still wear some form of those white canvas shoes during the summer.
Perfect for round the house or down the beach.

No need for all that messy white stuff these days – I just chuck them in the washing machine and hang them on the line to dry  and if the toes wear through, no worries, they’ll be right for gardening the next year

What memories have you relived recently.
~ ~ ~ ~
I see no wrong in admitting you’ve forgotten something – to me being reminded in some circumstances makes the memory fresh again

Linking to  Wednesday’s Words & Pics hosted by Denyse. 
Where you’ll find lots of life to read about

#keeplifesimple

40 thoughts on “How it was….

  1. I forget lots of things – which means that I have whole new discoveries, some of them delightful.
    I was the only girl in the family so hand downs were limited – but what could be, was. Money was always tight. We had everything we needed (even if it wasn’t new and shiny) and as much of what we wanted as the budget would stretch to (and was considered reasonable).

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    1. It’s a pleasant feeling isn’t it EC when you smile at someone and say….oh yes I remember that. I’d forgotten all about it.

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  2. sometimes something I read, or see in a movie, something said by someone to me, will jog a memory that I did not know I had.. someone will tell something about their memory and that jogs one for me…. right now I am drawing a blank about a memory recently

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  3. For some reason I have been thinking about my early days (up to 4) in Sierra Leone. Obviously very limited, scattered memories and more like snapshots than moving pictures. Everything was so BIG! Including the cat that scratched my eyelid. And the snake that ate the frog.

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    1. Sounds like it’s time to do some scribbling Caro….get those limited memories down. ‘Snake ate the Frog’ – blog post needed on that one

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  4. For me, it’s my brother reminding me of things that were or things that happened within our home and family. For school, I have two classmates who have much better memories than me. Sigh… My brain can only hold so much.
    You have such an interesting past. I had no idea what hops looked like.

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    1. I’ll be lost if my sister goes before me – we’ve lost one already…and even though we all shared the same events because of the age difference we all remembered things differently.

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  5. I have suitcases, not the modern wheelie with handles and padlocks. But one with a lock and straps that are welded into the heavy duty “cardboard”.

    Plus yesterday I realised there is overflow, more recent personal archives in file box.

    They’ve always held memories…both real told in terms of me through this century.

    I got them open over the weekend and I’ve now got just ONE. But as I just remembered about the file boxes, I’ll look in them next weekend and probably fill the 2nd case.

    The suitcases are memories of their own. Boarding school! Traveling in the 90s. They’ve got dings but the only things missing are the keys!

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    1. I read your post about all those memories- even though you’re disposing of some of the paper/hold it in your hand physical part of the memories they’ll still be there in your mind. It was suggested to me to take photos but funnily taking photos to remember an item that sparks a memory never works for me. As for the cases, well unintentionally they are often a work of art so worthy of keeping

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  6. Very interesting. I remember having to paint a thick liquid on our sandshoes and it could be rather messy. I can’t remember what it was called. Gutties is new one to me. For some reason it seems to be the oldest child who has the strongest memories even of things when the siblings are well and truly old enough to remember. I’ve just remembered my father used to call dessert boots, brothel creepers.

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    1. My dad explained that connection once – the original service issue boots for desert conditions had a big thick sole, didn’t make a noise like other boots and where did lots of soldiers go, to brothels of course. So when Clark put out their suede boots marketed under the name of ‘desert boots’ they were often called ‘brothel creepers’. The Teddy Boy (1950s) shoe with its thick soles that were also called brothel creepers

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  7. For high school marching band, we wore white shoes. We couldn’t wash them, leather or canvas, so we put dab-on white shoe polish on them before every performance. We didn’t have special name for them. Linda in Kansas

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  8. I’ve got a pair of those white shoes. Years old because I’ve progressed to birkenstocks or their cheap equivalent. I love white trainers. So much more comfortable than ordinary shoes. And go into the washing machine as did those others.

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    1. I’m with you on soft shoes Linda…..years of having to wear ‘proper’ shoes for work (not necessarily lace up but dress shoes just the same) put me off hard shoes. Most days I’m bare footed during summer with sandals or my soft whites at other times

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  9. Black ones were plimsolls or gym shoes, White ones, tennis shoes, and then along came trainers. I recall the White stuff too. And woe betide you at school if you turned up for games lessons and they were grubby. Good to remember with friends and relatives, and so strange that each one remembers a different detail.

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    1. As you say Cathy….strange that all those present could have been at a different event. And oh the worries of having white gym shoes – I’d never want to go through that again. As an aside, Did you wear black bloomers as well?

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    1. lol it was my sister who brought back that memory for me – and how I dredged up the name of the product from deep down in my mind I’ll never know. Ghastly stuff wasn’t it

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  10. I’ve been thinking about spending time at my Granny and Grandpa’s house, when we were kids. They lived in rural Ontario, in the north. My Granny always read to us as we lay in our beds, usually from the children’s section of the agricultural newspaper. Later, lying in bed, we could hear the voices of the adults through the opening where stovepipe came through the second floor. So much comfort, knowing all was well in the universe as we drifted off to sleep.

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  11. I forget all the time. And there are big blank spaces in my memories of the old days. I do remember getting a big garbage bag of clothes from my older cousins and thinking it was better than Christmas. We got to go through them and find new, to us, clothes.
    I also remember those same cousins would always comment when seeing us in their hand me downs and making us feel like crap.
    So not so good memories

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  12. Cosham….right next door (virtually). You wouldn’t recognize the area these days. As for those white canvas shoes I had to wear them for tennis (I hated tennis anyway, the shoes weren’t to blame), painting them white was quite satisfying in some ways -especially when the paint got updated into a sort of squeeze bottle with a foam applicator.

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    1. That was definitely a step in the right direction when in arrived in that form. No more messy hands….although if you forgot to cover the end the spongey bit tended to dry out so there was a bit of dipping in water going on

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  13. HI Cathy isn’t it wonderful to have someone to discuss memories with as we certainly do forget some things don’t we. I have a cousin who is my last link to my Mum and her family and I’m always learning new things about my family history. She even sent me some letters my grandmother wrote to my Mum when she was in hospital having my brother. It was great to read about those times. Thanks for sharing at #WWanP

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    1. If my sister goes before me Sue my brother won’t be any help…..he’s nearly 12yrs younger and lived an entirely different life to me.
      How lucky are you to have the correspondence in your grandmother’s handwriting. It was often beautiful script, very different to the style of writing we were taught.

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      1. Yes the handwriting is lovely but more importantly it gives me an insight into my Nan who died the year before I was born. I also have letters my Mum wrote to my cousin (who was like a daughter to her) and this again gives me insight into my Mum’s life at that time. x

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  14. What lovely memories! It’s interesting that during our youth we’re completely unaware of the memories we are making for our older years. I have some wonderful childhood memories and I’m fortunate to have 3 sisters and 1 brother to share them with. Thanks for sharing your memories and photos!

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  15. This is a lovely post about memories. I find memories put into my head at the strangest times, and usually I can’t link them at all to anything that could have caused them. The memories I love the most are those that cause you to think back to times you weren’t even aware of – until they popped into your head. I seem to have these kind of memories more often as I get older.

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    1. I’ve had that happen as well Jennifer….all of a sudden something pops up in your mind from years ago. Would be nice if what we did a couple of days ago would come back to mind as well😊

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  16. What a meander you took us on with your memOries Cathy! I remember the white paste we used to paint our shoes with back in the day. The old photos are always interesting aren’t they?

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  17. How wonderful to read more of your life…”back then”….I grew up with white sandshoes we were allowed to wear to primary school on Fridays because they were sports days. I can still smell the white cleaner. We always had plenty in our house as Mum was a social tennis player and younger bro played cricket. I remember seeing hops growing and the stories of strawberry picking in Kent from the 1950s via Darling Buds of May! And this record was part of your living memory. Wow. Thank you for sharing your post for Wednesday’s Words and Pics. It is great to have you be a part of this blogging community & there are two more Wednesdays before a little break until Wed 4 January 2023. See you next week too I hope. Denyse.

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