Saturday, 26 July 2008

MULTIPLY Creative Challenge #12 - Sentimental

At my age it does not need a lot to get me sentimental. I have so many things to look back on. Just now I was looking at 3 films shown on Multiply about the building of the London Transport system, the Underground trains. Now that really got me sentimental, reflecting on the days 40 years ago when I lived in London and that was my main means of transport. The noise of the trains in the film going through the tunnels and the people waiting on the stations, seeing the map of the London underground - all items that brought back fond memories.

Norah Street 2006

Looking at this photo I took around 2006 has a strong sentimental meaning for me. On this small park there used to be a street built in 1884 and demolished approximately in 1972. It did not live long, but in one of the houses on the street I spent the first 20 years of my life before I left England to go to Switzerland to live. All together there were about 100 houses all built the same.

Norah Street 1964

This is a photo showing our old house. 3 rooms downstairs, where my grandfather lived, and 3 rooms upstairs belonging to my parents and myself. With time my grandfather used only two rooms and I got an extra room as my bedroom. Each house had its own little garden which also brings back sentimental memories of my mum planting flowers in this small patch and tending to them. The toilet was also in a corner of the garden (no inside toilets in those days) and we also had a large coal shed as heating was done by coal fire. Deliveries came from the merchants about once or twice a month. We had no bathroom and in my room the gas holders were still on the walls from the older days where electricity was not yet invented. Not that I long for the good old days living in my modern home today with all mod cons, but the sentimental memories remain. They were also the days where you could leave your front door open and have no fear that anything would be stolen, or that you would be attacked.

I was then a kid getting on for teenager, but family was written with big letters then. My mum's sisters and their families were living near. Gradually the houses were pulled down for more modern accommodation, but at Christmas we always had a family party. In Switzerland where I now live, Christmas is more a time of quiet traditions. Presents are given and the real meaning of Christmas is everywhere. This too in the days gone by, but our Christmas in London was more a family reunion and party. We all met at my aunts house around four in the afternoon, the house being decorated with all sorts of Chrismassy ornaments. In the evening we all had a meal - nothing special - some cold meat and salad and as a desert I remember my aunt making jelly with fruit and custard - an english tradition - all in sort of waxy dishes. We kids loved it, it was the same every year. After the meal the celebrations begun. The drink started flowing, not too much, but for the men and women that had worked hard all the year, at Christmas it was their party. My cousins and I would get together in our own room with lemonade and other soft drinks and lots of nuts to eat and we even had our own gramophone for listening to music. We had fun. We are now all adults with our own families, made our way in the world, each of us with good jobs, but when we get together today we still talk about the good old days and we are now from 57-62 years old. I think we all get sentimental talking over those Christmas parties.

What else makes me feel sentimental. Well, of course, there is certain music that reminds me of days gone by. I grew up in the Elvis Presley days. The beginnings of rock and roll. If someone somewhere starts playing Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley, then this old lady can sing along.

The days of the good old black and white television. Colour was just a far away dream, but we didn't care if Hoppalong Cassidy or the Lone Ranger galloped across the tv screens in black and white, it was exciting and it was another world. I would love to see a couple of those films again. We even went to the Cinema (Movies) to watch films in those days. You didn't have the privilege of watching the newest films on the tv. You went out down to the picture palace (as one of my aunts called it) with your mum and dad and actually watched a film. I think I saw all the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis films. It also seemed to me that John Wayne and Audie Murphy were showing every week at the cinema. I even remember seeing Ronald Reagan in films. Now who would have thought that one day he would become president. When I see those old films sometimes on the tv these days I wonder how I found them so good then, but I still love to watch them - just for sentimental reasons probably.

My school days in London are something I will never experience again. At the time I might not have actually wanted to go to school. My mum always told me they are the best days of your life. Then I did not believe her, but today, oh yes. I can look at the old class photos and wish I was back again standing in the middle with the class around me. We were bound together by one thing and that was school. Fifty years later I sometimes meet up with my one time school friends when I pay a visit to London and what do we talk about. Our other school friends, what they are now doing, how they are keeping and they were great days. Just one sentimental bunch of elderly ladies sharing sentimental thoughts.


If you are looking for me then I am in the second row from the front, fifth from the left. As you can see in those days only some of us wore stockings, the rest wore white socks. I must have been about 14 years old then. We had school uniform, green skirt with a beige blouse in winter and naturally with a school tie in red and green diagonal stripes. In summer a cotton dress in green and white or red and white gingham pattern. I hated school uniform then but today look back with sentiments on the whole thing.

So if you ask an older lady about being sentimental, then she usually is, perhaps mixed up with nostalgia as well. I wonder what my kids will get sentimental about when they are older?

This subject is not new to me, after blogging for a year or two I have written a couple of items on similar aspects of my younger days and all to do with being sentimental I suppose, so here are a couple of links

Sentimental Memories

Down the Lane on Sunday morning with my dad

Link to Creative Challenge #12 - Sentimental

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