Last week I talked about powerful images from the 1950’s and 60’s that bought back lots of memories for me – Similar to the one below but from Ladybird books. Here (at the bottom of the post) was my immediate response and below further thought to a lecture we had on Friday, Im not after sympathy what I’ve written here was just what life was like for many
As I mentioned I was born in 1960 and things were so different then to my home life now. There wasn’t a TV in our house and although we did have a record player being a child we would not be allowed to even touch it. Our toys were very limited and mostly consisted of crayons paper and pencils, glue with a red rubber applicator (anyone remember what it was called?), a sewing kit and a doll. I grew up reading the Famous Five, the Judy Annual, Ladybird books, the book prizes I received from Sunday school and the Bible. I have to point out that I was happy with this I loved drawing and crayoning ( as it was called then) this was just accepted I didn’t know any different and I grew up thinking every family was like our family.
We kept our milk in a milk jug and the sugar in a sugar bowl but it wasn’t because we were “posh” my mum just liked things to be done properly, we had a table cloth and china cups, they didn’t match but its what she’d had since she’d married. My mum stayed home and looked after us and my dad went to work – all seems lovely on the outside doesn’t it. Now this is where the resemblance to the images ends. Sadly it wasn’t the happy family that people looking in would see. We were not wealthy but that didn’t matter and I remember having to have free school dinners. I had clothes for school, clothes for church and clothes for playing out! I had to be seen and definitely not heard, not ask questions and I had to be in bed by 6.30pm at the latest and it was here that I used to draw and design the house and fabrics I would have if I were wealthy, my imagination was incredible, I went through a purple phase where I’d have purple carpets which went up the wall, a sunken bath, big floral curtains (purple) – the bigger the flowers the better. Exquisite lamps and so many art supplies, there was never a TV in my designs, how things have changed with flat screens, music players, mobile phones and computers.
The books I read back then must have had some influence on me – in the Judy Annuals there were articles about becoming a hairdresser, going to modelling school, being a secretary, becoming a fashion buyer and going to art school but I cant find that one anywhere. I left school and home at 16 to escape an awful situation I was in and desperately wanted to go to Art School but I had to earn money to support myself so became a receptionist, then going on to work in the Beauty Industry but my dream was always Art College. Think a picture is starting to form here.
Its interesting to see in the article above that the main tutor is a man but all of the
students are young women!
So you get the picture! Do I think the images influenced me? Yes they probably did because they were my escape. I’m not sure if things would have turned out differently if I’d been able to stay at home with the support to go and study, that I’ll never know but one things is certain I eventually made Art School!
Wish my immediate thought had been the gorilla!