Oral History Interviews

Growing up in the 80s

We start off our conversation looking back to her life as a small child. Trudi lived in a small house, where they had an alleyway at the back of the house. All the children would go out and play between the houses. A lot of ballgames, throwing balls against the wall, no one seemed particularly bothered by that. They had bicycles and they would make ramps and jumps and pretend that they had BMX bikes that they really wanted.

They’d make tents out of fabric and poles. As a small child they were restricted to the area close to the house and they didn’t roam further out to the local park. Trudi played with children in the neighbourhood. They were back-to-back houses with alleyways between them. They were always fascinated by the house towards the end, which had drive over pit for cars – & they’d climb down and be fascinated with the place. They would spend ages going down there. At the front of the house had paving slabs which they  drew on with chalk – drew patterns and play hopscotch. It was a fairly quiet road and traffic was not a problem. Trudi was never told to keep away from the road. This was up to about 10 years old and she had more free rein after that.

They lived near the beach and when she got the older would go off to the beach. She had a younger sister and didn’t have to look after her, they didn’t really enjoy each other’s company. Trudy was fairly free to go out and play. There was never a sense “are we allowed to go and play?”.

Her parents had chickens which she really enjoyed and has continued this interest into her adult look life.

There was a lot of climbing, she’d remember climbing up fire escape at the side of buildings to get as high as I could.

trudie hanging out next to a cottage near snowdonia

trudie hanging out next to a cottage near snowdonia. Trudi and her friends did this for hours and hours every day over the summers.

The family had fairly active leisure pursuits and used to go out together on bike rides and would go cycling to New Brighton and play tennis at the local park, which they could just go and use. Going to concerts and reading. They had a playroom in their house where half the wall was a blackboard and they could do freely do chalk drawings on. Later on trudi had a graffiti wall in her bedroom.

Her dad never really liked boardgames and so they didn’t play these. They listen to music, trudi loved cuddling up with her dad listening to music with him, which was his form of relaxation. Trudi remembers going on his motorbike when she was four or five and her sister was three. They went out with no helmets. Dad just used to have his arms around the two of them in front of him, not something you’d do today.

They were not allowed to watch much telly. They were allowed 30 minutes a day. They could choose one program a day to watch and that was it. When they got a bit older he got rid of the TV completely. Trudi had wanted to watch Grange Hill but she wasn’t allowed too as it was not seen as a good influence.

ZX Spectrum computerThey had a ZX Spectrum computer and her dad made a keyboard out of an old typewriter keyboard. He’d link up all the wires, and cut a hole in the top of a desk for the keyboard. Trudi remembers making a circle, it taken hundreds of commands and was amazed when it drew a circle. They had a lot of educational games for the computer, like guess the country from its flag.

Trudi went to Brownies and enjoyed that, but didn’t enjoy the guides later. She than joined the air cadets which she really enjoyed, she enjoys the outdoors and adventures activities. In the air cadets she went on night manoeuvres, and shooting guns.

She went on music courses every year as her mother taught on the course. Same children would go every year, and it was great fun for Trudy – it wasn’t just music.

She never went to youth clubs as these were linked to churches and they never went to church. There was a perception that youth club’s were connected to the church and it wasn’t for them.

As a teenager should go down the beach with friends and see how many could fit in a telephone box. From an early age there was alcohol around and people would drink him. When Trudi was 13 to 15, getting drunk was part of weekend life, running across the golf course to see what its like running while drunk. There was a lot of parties in the air cadets, which is fairly hard living, people in the air cadets were generally older then her.

Trudi remembers her father saying to her when she was 14, I’m not going to look after you anymore, you are responsible for your own life now. She feels this really made her grow up. She never remembers getting in trouble, she never remembers her parents really worrying about her behaviour at this stage. Her parents were very liberal. She doesn’t think they really knew about her life and those of her friends. She remembers getting into terrible trouble only once and that was when she lied to her parents, she said she is staying with a friend and really she went to a party. She thinks she got in trouble more for lying than for what she was doing. A friend who she hung out with at that time become a heroin addict and later died when he was 19.

Trudi had a first job when she was 10. Started in the local newsagents and had to hide under the counter if policeman come in. She worked there for a few years and later worked at a cash and carry from 12 till she was 18. She worked in care homes from 16. The cash-and-carry was her best friends family and she used to hang out there and help out. Then from about 14 she was paid. She were there every Sunday morning and she loved it, always enjoyed being part of that working environment.

The beach was about 4 miles from her home and she’d usually walk there. West Kirby is the nearest town on the beach and should cycle everywhere, it was her main form of transport as a teenager. Should spend a lot of time wondering around on the beach.

Trudi was not part of anything you’d identify as a youth movement, but she was very into festivals, went to Glastonbury. After A-levels went to Glastonbury on the back of a motorbike with her boyfriend. She wore rainbow clothing, with plaited hair, so looked very much like a new age traveller. She spent a lot of time hanging out at ancient sites like Stonehenge and celebrating solstice. She used to go all over the country looking at ancient sites and she still enjoys doing this when she has the time. With her boyfriend on his motorbike should go off to Hells Angel gathering. She had a lot of fun, a lot of freedom.

When she was young she never remembers arranging to meet people, she just turn up at people’s houses and see if they were around. She remembers being told off for using the phone too much, as in those days you are charged by the minute and she enjoyed chatting on the phone. She doesn’t remember people setting times, they were not very good at keeping time. It was not an organised thing, it was just knocking on a friend house and seeing if they were around and then wondering down to the beach, very free flowing, you know that there would be a certain amount people around.

They had an old fleapit cinema Trudi went probably more as teenager. When she got to the stage of driving places on herself she probably went more. She doesn’t remember being ferried around by her parents. So if it wasn’t within striking distance she wouldn’t go. There was a train station. In her 20s she went to the cinema more.

As a late teen she went to the cinema but not really to nightclubs, as she didn’t enjoy dancing, so would be the person sat in the corner holding the coats. She didn’t enjoy nightclubs. She doesn’t remember getting drunk past 18, it lost its appeal once it become legal I suppose. She remembers going to the pub with friends for a quiet drink. She never really socialised with people from school, which was an all girls school. Her school was quite a long way away from where she lived.

She loves live music and loves going to gigs. By this stage in her life she wasn’t interested in drugs and alcohol, she’d seen a lot of friends messed up with drugs, she’d seen the nasty effect it can do to people, so she didn’t take drugs, but a lot of friends around her were experimenting and getting off their face. It is not enjoyable if you’re not part of it. This was another part of the nightclub scene she never enjoyed. At the festivals Trudi was more interested in the Green fields, the ecological side.

As an adult with children, leisure is severely limited. What she does with the children is not that different to what she did as a child. Her children have a lot of similarities as she had as a child. They have a vegetable garden, and they have chickens, they have a climbing frame in the garden, they go for walks. They don’t spend much money going to theme parks, they don’t spend much money going to organised places like monkey world. As an individual she doesn’t have much free time, but she enjoys pottering in the garden and growing vegetables, or going to cafe with a book. Trudi had a half day the other week and went to Weymouth, as she’d never been there since moving down. She’s been doing up her house since moving in and she enjoys this.

Last year they went to Dorset steam fair as a family day out and enjoyed this. Actually her parents used to take them to stately homes and castles, under some protest at the time, but she now enjoys going to these places.

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