My mother was always scolding me for dropping my H’s, and yet the title of this little story was one of her favourite sayings. Her scolding never worked of course, I always thought it sounded posh if you spoke properly, and that was the last thing I or any of my mates ever wanted to be accused of.
Another of her sayings, was ‘It didn’t happen in my day’. But it must have done, my Mum came from a very big family. The reason for both of these comments was usually because our house was overflowing with children. With our evacuees Mrs. O’Keefe and her son Dennis, there could be as many as twelve people milling around in the kitchen—or the living room as my sister liked to call it. On a cold, winters day it was the only warm room in the house, I can’t actually remember a day when there was that many in the kitchen, but it must have happened at some time.
Looking back nearly eighty years I can’t think what a meal-time must have been like, for one thing there were not enough chairs. Even if there was a chair for everyone they wouldn’t fit around the Morrison-shelter which was also the kitchen table.
In one way it was a relief when first, Deirdre left home to be married, then Bernard joined the Army and Chris joined the Land army. But this relief caused another problem, one that my mother was well used to; the shortage of money, especially as Fred was not able to work for long periods. Iris was the only person earning a proper wage, we were back to square one. I don’t know how my mother managed. I suppose she had some thing from Mrs. O’Keefe, but it couldn’t be much. I don’t think there was any child allowance or that sort of thing yet despite this I can’t remember ever being hungry. I think that the rations, although very small they were affordable and enough to keep us fed.
Today, most families are used to having enough to eat, in fact we probably throw more food away than we actually eat. But after the Governments Furlough scheme comes to an end, there are going to be many families trying to live on unemployment benefit or what-ever it is called now. At least during the war we could afford our rations, and prices were controlled. Now we are told that food prices will soon start to increase.
When I see my Grandson moving his dinner around the plate to make it look smaller so that he would be allowed to leave it. I am tempted to say.
It wouldn’t happen in my day!