Oral History Interviews

Complete freedom to play outside

Growing up in countryside in 50s and 60s with complete freedom.

One of our volunteers first interviews with a lady, Jean, held in a cafe in Bridport.

As a young child Jean rarely went out at weekends as her father worked on a farm and he didn’t have any free time to take her. She’d go out at breakfast and not come back till teatime. Her parents never knew where she was. She played hide and seek, or went to friends houses. She hated playing cowboys and Indians. She went on long walks, when coming home she’d have to hide her wet socks. She had complete freedom, parents didn’t know where she was, but she had to be home by teatime.

She had an older sister who had to look after her and the sister hated having to do this.

When they were indoors, they didn’t have a television until she was 12, so they used to listen to the radio a lot. Played games like snakes and ladders, cards and she read a great deal, Mainly fiction. When she was very young she had dolls.

She used to cook, she’d make chocolate eclairs and Turkish delight. the kitchen would be in an awful mess once she finished. She didn’t care about the condition of the kitchen afterwards and her mother would dread her cooking.

She used to deliver the Echo, the shop didn’t pay her to do this, but people would pay had to deliver the newspaper for them.

She played an active role in the youth club in the village. She went once a week. The headmaster was keen on swimming and would take children swimming in Weymouth once a week, he had a Beach hut. She chose to do these activities, she wasn’t forced to do them.

At school during break times she used to play cricket. She was good at it and used to enjoy it, which is strange because she doesn’t enjoy watching it, but did enjoy playing it.

During Summer she used to go away for six weeks, she never got homesick.

One thing her parents didn’t know she got up to was that two boys her age had motorbikes and and she used to ride pillion with them.

Any spare time she had, friends and her would go to the beach. The get there by bus or train. Should swim and sunbath, some weekends she’d stay with a friends sister in Wyke Regis.

As an adult she enjoyed going to evening classes where she enjoyed learning languages and computers. She was married at 19. And She moved around a few times – a lot of the time was making new friends. Her free time which she had once she’d had children was spent entertaining, though she also went to a theatre once a month.

She still plays badminton and enjoys sporty things, goes to cinema more nowadays, or would like to be able to walk more. Her family takes up a lot of her time.

Download this interview here.

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