War years entertainment relevant today
REMINISCING about days gone by raised many happy memories for Pauline Anderson of games and entertainment that were not electronic and would serve well in these difficult times of social distancing and isolation as the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through our world.
Yeppoon resident Pauline went to school during the war years in Portsmith England which was severely affected by food rations, fear of enemy bombings and hardship.
That didn’t stop the smile coming to her face when she took a stroll down memory lane to recall how she managed and found many fond memories from the era.
“We are fortunate to now have a proactive government and services such as Centrelink to help people get through these difficult times,” Pauline said.
“We didn’t have electronic devices, we made our own fun, we didn’t have the abundance of take away food options that we have now and we didn’t have the levels of assistance and support that are available in modern times.
“One day I woke up to get ready for school and couldn’t go because the school had been bombed and was no longer there, the thing is, we managed, as I am sure we all will now as we adjust our lifestyles according to the times.
“All we need to do is be kind to each other, support each other and get back to the basics.”
Recounting the ways Pauline, her family and friends entertained themselves, lived on a shoestring budget and survived brought a rush of memories that she had not thought about in years, along with the realisation that some things never change.
“We had strict curfews and none of the devices that young people have these days, we made our own fun and our own entertainment and, to be honest, we never had time to be bored,” she said.
“I remember getting in trouble for leaving chalk marks everywhere after playing hopscotch.
“We skipped rope, made our own kites to fly, performed concerts for our family singing, dancing and reading poems we had written, we played hide and seek and generally entertained ourselves.
“Tin can telephones were popular, we all waited eagerly for our mother to open and save cans for us then joined them together with a long bit of thin rope or string and used a coin to make a scratching noise to make it sound like line static.
“We also made stilts with tin cans and old bits of timber and walked around on them for hours.
“We kept cardboard boxes to toboggan down slopes, kept the joints from roast meat to make knuckles (five knuckles are needed to play) and constructed billy carts from old things laying around the home.
“We played a lot of board games and cards in those days, along with ball games, and I can’t forget marbles which were a big favourite with the boys.”
It was a time of lean budgets and nothing ever went to waste.
“We never had much in the way of waste, everything got used. Vegetable scraps were thrown into the stewing pot to be used as stock, there was no plastic and everything was purchased by weight and wrapped in paper,” Pauline said.
“The pantry was abundant with jams and preserves from fruit and vegetables we grew in our garden. Meat was expensive and often hard to get so we chose the cheaper offal and offcut options.
“Clothes were handmade, often being recycled and handed down from child to child. Old jumpers were pulled apart and the wool was reused for a new garment. We repaired shoes and anything that was no longer serviceable was cut down to use in patchwork quilts.
“Many homes had a piano and we would have a sing along every Sunday. Everyone had a hobby or interest and family was a priority.
“I know this is a difficult time for everyone, I just hope it teaches everyone to be kinder to each other. We will all learn to adapt just as we did back in the war years.”