Thursday, 12 December 2013

Writing - Memory may play tricks.

Christmases in my past. We as writers are advised to write from our own experiences but beware memory can play tricks.

I was born in the 1950s and Christmas in that decade was very different from any that have followed since. Quite a sweeping statement but it was during the fifties that TV became more commonplace, forms of entertainment was more varied than had previously been the case. 

In 1953 we moved to a brand new council house on a new estate. It had a bathroom upstairs but the toilet was downstairs off the back porch. Still it was inside unlike the 'netty' down the yard in our previous elderly property. I have vague recollections of a Christmas without TV.
I woke on Christmas morning feeling the weight of the Christmas stocking on my feet, the cold of the unheated room didn't matter. I don't specifically remember what was in the stocking as I was only three years old but I know in subsequent years that the material of the stocking was a sort of course netting that was very scratchy. Inside there was always, a tangerine, some nuts, hazelnuts were my favourites, a small sack of chocolate money, a bag of glass marbles and a Dinky toy among other things. It was great, I loved the variety and wasn't at all interested in the value, I just had lots of new things to play with.

Christmas Stockings made of net.

The rest of the day followed a similar pattern for a lot of years, well into the sixties until I went to college. Mum always cooked for Dad's relatives, she'd been orphaned aged 11 and although she had two brothers, they had been separated when their mum had died and were never that close. Dad had three brothers and two sisters and we catered for the sisters and one husband as one was a spinster. 
Christmas day was almost scripted. 
1. Open presents and have breakfast
2. Collect relatives from their homes.
3. Men go to the club at 12 noon
4. Lunch served at 1.00pm
5. Watch the Queen's broadcast at 3.00pm
6. Dad would wash up.
7. Aunts and Uncles snoring in front of the TV (latterly)
8. Tea time.
9. Wash up.
10. Take relatives home.
11. Watch TV until bedtime.

And that was the way it was until I left home aged eighteen. Then relatives began to pass away and so the pattern changed.

Actually the day was hard on Mum and it probably hasn't changed that much for ladies in similar situations to this day. It was considerably simpler and listening to the radio, including a morning service, was pleasant and secure in many ways.

Christmas Day

Do you think he's got enough?
Is the turkey cooked properly?
We've spent a fortune on the stuff!
He's playing away happily.

Why is it always the boxes?
Aunt Doris could be more helpful!
Hope heat doesn't cause me blotches.
Aunt Gladys never thinks me able.

He'll get into the toys tomorrow.
and Doris is the same every year.
Stick your head out for a blow.
Gladys has always been queer!

A beautiful meal - well done,
Time to take aged aunts home
How about brandy and a bun?
No more your shaped like a dome!

Happy Christmas one and all
we hope the message is clear.
Jesus is there to answer our call
and will be there again next year.
©David L Atkinson December 2013

God Bless