Parents and Parenting! January 23, 2011
Approximate years covering these events 1948 - 1950
My father was not at home for 90% of the time being a commercial traveller (sales rep) and when he did appear I always found it very embarrasing and was very uneasy in his presence, after all he was as if a stranger in the household. My mother, being a frail person and having had to cope with the stress of coping with everything on her own, became more and more depressed and would shut herself in the bedroom for days at a time. Every month or two she would emerge and do a clean sweep of the whole house to such an extent that she would end up even worse than she had been for several days often requiring the doctor to be called to help her settle down.
We, my two sisters and brother would do most things for ourselves and the squabbles and arguments were horrendous. When my father would be at home he really wasn’t bothered where we were as long as he had his meals and went off to the pub for his nightly drink things plodded on in the normal chaotic way.
There were no hugs and kisses in our family, indeed this was deemed as totally unnecessary and demeaning by mother. The only time that we were given a hug, which was a long drawn out drama, was when the “men in white coats” came to take her off to a mental hospital for treatment. Her mother and sister arrived to try to stop father from sending her as it was such a scourge on the family name to admit that anyone suffered from mental problems. During her absence it was decided that my eldest sister would be taken out of school to look after the houshold. She was then in her last year at high school being about fifteen. This eventually led to her rebelling and running away where she was found by the police at the local speedway venue. This was of great concern as the “happenings” there were deplorable her being under the age of consent.
All the youngsters in the neighbourhood would meet on the recreation ground which was just in front of our house. There would be between 12 to 20 of us all having high jinks as is the wont of youngsters. Then later a Youth Centre was formed run by my sister and some older boys at the nearby school hall. Initially there was an older man who oversaw everything but he soon went and we were all left to our own devices. Boy! Did we have a fun time! Our house was an open door situation and we would go from there to the YC at all hours of the evening and night organising events such as dances and fetes and using the facilities of the school. We spent all day Saturday in the Domestic room cooking scones and buns for an evening social where other YCs had been invited to come along as well. It’s amazing that this was all accomplished by 15 to 19 yearolds.
Well, soon the family was to be split up by the fact that we were evicted and from then on any concern for us was absolutly zilch!!
The effect that those things had on my ability as a parent I will relate onother time.
P.S. Just FYI I shall not be able to post to this blog for several weeks as I shall be away.