Monday, April 4, 2011

LIFE IN THE 1950S (Part 2)

Ih part 1 of this story I was up to winter of 1955 when my daughter was born. Will deal with that in a different blog at a later time.

Not only was the winter of 1955 very wet and quite cold but the summer of 1955/56 was extremely hot and the only cooling in the house was a small electric fan. The house had high ceilings and a high roof as well and being double brick it actually kept relatively cool compared to the outside temperature.

To keep the baby cool in the daytime I would pop her in her pram with just a nappy on and sometimes no nappy at all and then place a wet nappy over the handle of the pram and put the fan on the other side of the wet nappy causing a cool breeze to waft over the pram. It was a cane pram and I think they were probably cooler than the plastic ones of today (or are today's prams made of leather..I really don't know).

I remember once trying to attend the Menora picture theatre with the baby but she was not one to settle down too well in the evening so that adventure was short lived and we didn't try that again. We found the drive-in theatres very useful when we had the two children and Jenny the labrador would come with us as well.

We at this time were living in 518 Fitzgerald Street in North Perth only 3 houses from the place (524) dad and mum had rented from when I was 15 years old till I turned 20 at which time they built a home of their own in Joondanna. My then hubby's grandparents lived at 526 and his mum lived further up at 556. In those days families didn't move very far away from each other and one could walk to each other's homes even at night when it was perfectly safe to do so.

My own mother was busy working in the social service field so we didn't see a great deal of her and my hubby's mum (much as I loved her) was not one for minding children so if I went somewhere the baby went with me; shopping, doctor's appointments etc. I used to walk down to the shops and put the groceries in the pram each side of the baby. It was a much simpler life then and we seemed to manage without much outside help. It was several years later that I would have a little old car of my own but that's another story.

I had mentioned in the previous blog on this subject that we had lived in 2 rooms (one up and one down) in Blake Street, North Perth, but forget to mention that the owner was marrying for a second time so we had to find other accommodation. We once again found two nice rooms with share bathroom and laundry in Queens Crescent, Mount Lawley. We were very comfortable there but mum then bought the house at 518 Fitzgerald and she divided the house into three. We had the main middle section, the two large rooms at the front were let to another couple and a small section at the back of the house was let to a single lady. We were still sharing bathroom and washhouse. Mostly in those days the laundry (then called the washhouse) was a separate area either attached to the back of the house or a separate building and the toilet was always outside the house as well and often down the end of the back garden.

All this sharing houses was very common then (I mentioned there being a housing shortage and we were too poor to even considering buying a house) but I wonder if young folk today could do the same thing, especially with a young child as well.

I think we had been children of the depression and had gone through the war when items were so short and there was rationing and we were used to not having things. I don't feel we had great expectations of what the world owed us and that we had to make our own way in life if we wanted to succeed. We were fortunate to have good jobs and there were always plenty of jobs to choose from if one wanted a change. My then husband was (as mentioned) a cabinetmaker and he changed employers several times.

After living at 518 for a couple of years mum decided she would like to come live in her own home so once again we had to move. It was fortunate that hubby's grandfather who had built many houses in North Perth and Mount Hawthorn through the years had a house becoming vacant in Walcott Street. We went and had a look at it and were horrified by what we found but felt we could make a home out of it so said yes we would rent it at three pounds ($6) a week.

There is a lot to tell about that house in Walcott Street so will make that part 3 of what looks like being rather a long ramble. Once I get going I seem to remember lots of things that just may be of interest to anyone who may read my writings.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again for sharing, I really do enjoy reading about life in that era. Makes me appreciate our tiny house a lot more!