Tuesday, 18 November 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Salad Days

Is there a period in your own personal life that you think of as the good old days? Tell us a story about those innocent and/or exciting times (or lack thereof).

Me and Kit

My cousin and I ten years ago on a visit I made to London. We sort of grew up together in the family, Many years later we still have contact, he in England and me in Switzerland. We had some good times when we were kids, he has a twin brother. This is all in the past. He is now a grandfather and the days have gone at the speed of light, but were they good.

Good old days? The days were old, but only good now and again and not very often. I grew up in  the poorest part of London, but London was a large town and we had busses and an underground. London was my town and the memories of walks in the city remain. The old buildings no longer exist, long replaced by glass towers, each one competing to be the tallest in the town, if not in Europe. I miss it a bit, but there is a lot I do not miss.

My area of Bethnal Green was rough, dirty, not very nice, but we knew nothing better. It was all accepted. Your furniture was never bought in a shop. You knew someone that knew someone, who didn’t need the armchair or settee, so you got it at a good price, or in a devious way. It might have fallen off the back of a lorry.

Funny thing is I felt more or less safe. In my teenage years I would spend Saturday evening in a dance hall somewhere in the middle of London and manage to catch the last tube train (subway) home at midnight. I then walked the main road home and mum would apparently lay awake in bed waiting to hear the tap, tap, tap of my high heeled stilettoed shoes along the street. Then my key turning in the door and she knew I was safe. The walk along the road might not have been so safe, although I never realised it. You weaved your way through the drunken louts, older men who drank methylated spirits because they did not have the money for a bottle of whisky.  If I was early, before midnight, I might buy three portions of jellied eels from a street stall to eat with mum and dad when I arrived home. They were watching the late night shows on the TV and very much appreciated it.

Were these the good old days? They might be. Only today I read a report from the Old Bethnal Green road, the name deriving from the really old days before they built the wider more modern Bethnal Green Road. Apparently there was a fight. Ok, there were always fights, but no big deal. This time it was gang warfare, and no less than 100 youths decided to have a riot. Only one person was delivered to hospital because he got a little cut up and they kept him there for the night. The police were called. That never happened in my younger days. The young blokes were too busy looking good in their cheap suits and ties. Fights? no, there were no gangs.

Even our gangsters in the good old days were organised. They were not exactly good, but they kept themselves to themselves. The Kray family were most well known. Of course there were a few murders. a rival shot and killed in the local public house, but it all stayed in the family and the gang. We innocents were never really affected and I remember Aunt Lil telling my proudly that she knew Mrs. Kray, their mother. This was not difficult as the Kray family grew up in a house just around the corner from where I lived.

We did not have  computers just so-called adding machines, but very rudimentry and they were not allowed in the school. We actually did our additions in our heads, there was a thing called mental arithmetic. If there was an addition to be made with large numbers, you wrote it down on paper and worked it out in your brain. No plastic toys to push in the numbers and press = for the answer. I do not know if that was good or not, but we could do it. There was even something called logarithms ad antilogarithms as I grew older, to organise the complicated mathematical problems. You had a book of tables to do it all and I am sure they are now extinct, like the dinosaur.

To sum it all up, I do not have a period in my life as the good old days. My life takes place now and not so many years ago. I love my computer, love my washing machine, love my vacuum cleaner and love paying my bills on line (Ok, I do not love paying bills, but it is so much easier on the computer). I never wrote daily prompts in the “good” old days. I did not know what a “blog” was but we progress. In the hope that our daily prompt progresses and brings something different tomorrow I will now come to close.

I had an hour Tai Chi this afternoon, which I never had in the good old days. Come to think of it, I think the Chinese were doing Tai Chi when the Neanderthal was learning how to stand upright and make a fire. I am sure the Chinese could write a good prompt on this subject.

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