Friday, 9 April 2010

Friday 9th April

I had an email today that started me off reminiscing again.  I was thinking how differently we used to be towards our neighbours.  By 'neighbours' I mean the people in our street, not the general population.

We had Aunties and Uncles, lots of them, but they were actually no relation to us.  Nor were the 'uncles' our mum's boyfriend!!  No, they were all immediate neighbours or people mum and dad were friends with.   Everyone else was Mr so-and-so, or Mrs.   You could actually determine the degree of friendship which existed by how they were addressed.  Well, that didn't occur to us at the time but, when you come to think about it............

Next door was Auntie Betty and Uncle Harry.  When I picture them I see a tall woman who wore her stockings rolled down round her ankles, a turban and a crossover pinny.  I can't recall her voice except it was LOUD.  Uncle Harry was a little guy who had been a sailor.  You could tell because he had a tattoo on his forearm and I once or twice got to try on his sailor hat so that proved it.  Their kids were Ann, Paul and Graham, friends after whom we named various dolls and Teddy bears.  Ann had something wrong with her teeth, which we were always told was because she crunched her sweets.  It was nothing of the kind but a good enough excuse for our mum and dad not to buy us sticks of seaside rock!

Next door the other side were Auntie Joyce and Uncle Walt.  There wasn't much to remember about Uncle Walt.  He was reputed to be Welsh though I never heard any sign of it and, even then,I knew what a Welsh accent sounded like.  He was a kindly man, as I remember, but he must have been absolutely terrified of Auntie Joyce;  everybody else was!  Oh she was a harridan, she was.  Her kids, David and Brian, were always in trouble, or so it seemed.  They couldn't do anything right poor things.  David, the eldest, was reputed to be 'backward' as they called it then.  I'm not sure what they call it these days - but 'backward' was a cover-all expression for anyone who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  I remember we were discouraged from playing with him and, by association, with Brian too.  I was sad about it then and I'm sorry for it now but in those days you didn't question your elders.  Auntie Joyce was reputed to be 'a bit odd' because she had a brain tumour and might die any minute.  Well she never did and I believe she's around to this day, though Uncle Walt's gone.  Don't blame him!

Next door to Auntie Joyce were Auntie Jessie and Uncle Pip. parents of Kevin and Shane.  My mind's eye picture of Auntie Jessie is of a small, pretty woman with beautiful shining, short, brown hair and a lovely Northern Irish accent.  She must have been exempt from the turban which everyone else's mum wore.  I don't recall her ever wearing one.  I don't recall any pinny either. Uncle Pip was a carpenter and obviously very clever with bits of wood.  He once built a collapsible caravan in his back yard but I don't think they ever used it.  They always had a nice car - a rare thing to see parked outside a council house in the 50's.  There is one incident concerning Auntie Jessie which must have made a huge impression on me, though I won't have known what it was at the time, I'm sure.  She had been getting really fat for ages then suddenly,one day, Kevin and Shane weren't allowed to come out and play and we hadn't to make any noise in the garden or the field beyond.  Such intrigue and no-one breathed a word to us, though women seeemed to be popping in and out of there like nobody's business.  We found out much later that Auntie Jessie had given birth to a 'blue baby' who needed his blood changed but died before they could get him to the hospital 30 miles away.  Tragic.  Tragedy just would not leave that family alone.  They went 'home' to Northern Ireland for a holiday, where Pip died.  Auntie Jessie and the boys stayed there in Ireland. 

These were the only grown-ups whose Christian names we were allowed to utter.  Everyone else's parents were Mr and Mrs.  Even as an adult now, anyone who was Mr or Mrs then would be today still.  Quite diffrent from today when Christian names is the norm.  I don't mind in general unless it's a call centre.  "Good morning, Duh-di-Duh Limited, Perry speaking, how may I help you today?????"  The first thing they ask is your first name.  This is just so they can be your new bezzie mate.  Well, just for them, my first name is Mrs!

Enough for today.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I too remember the days of Mr. and Mrs. except for those special aunts and uncles. Every once in a while someone younger still will call me Mrs. and I love hearing it but it is rare.

Andy said...

With some name changes that just about sums up my childhood years.

Jan said...

Oh yes that is just how it was ,and when I was caring for the elderly ,you could see some of them thought it familiar,and not respectful to be addressed by their christian name Jan xx

Blessings each day said...

Amazing that we are an ocaen apart yet share such similar pasts (and presents). It's a shame that respect for people has been lost with the loss of Mr. and Mrs. because even the 'aunt' and 'uncle' was used as a sign of repsect rather than just calling them by their first names alone.

However, I need some more educating here as I have no earthly idea what sea side rock is, a pippin or a turban (unless it is like a genuine turban?) and a collapsible caravan??? Rather than just puzzling, I find these expressions delightful and intriguing but want to know want they are!

blessings and warm hugs,


p.s. Is Keith gardening this year?

Jojo said...

Thank you for stopping by. It is great to be home but I'm still catching up with the time.

I loved your post but I'm still trying to visual the look with a turban and a pinny. I'm guessing the pinny is an apron but the turban I'm not sure of.

These days Mr. and Mrs. is, as we like to put it in the south, Gone With the Wind.

Sybil said...

That brings back so many memories, It was the same in our village we had the Aunties and Uncles and the Mr and Mrs..what changes we have seen in the years passing. Now even some parents are called by the christian names..and I even heard my Graet Niece call her teacher by her first name .. when I asked if that was alowed,,,she looked at me as if I had come from another planet !!(maybe I have sometimes feels that way LOL)
Love Sybil xx

Anonymous said...

Interesting entry...and when I was growing up it was uncle and aunt..but they were usually really family...others were by mr and mrs...but never by the first name!!! times have changed...we always taught our kids to say yes Mam and sir...or no mam or sir..but they don't do it anymore...guess it was our military life...anyway..some things of the past I miss alot...other outhouses LOLOL..I can do without!!! happy day ... from Ora

Robynn's Ravings said...

I'm with you, Mrs.! When my kids were little I taught them to address my friends as aunt and uncle, or Mr. and Mrs. I don't like cheeky familiarity. I HAVE recently told Bo's friends (at 18) that they can call me by my first name (if they don't already call me auntie), but they can't make the switch and I'm FINE with that. I like the title of respect.

The next dr. who walks in and introduces himself as Dr. So-and-so while calling me by my first name will be called by HIS first name. Okay. Off the soap box before I hurt myself.

Grammy Staffy said...

Things have changed a lot haven't they!!!
I think it is quite amazing that you remember your neighbors so well. I hardly remember any of my neighbors... even ones we had as young marrieds. I really did like most of my neighbors... I wonder why I can't remember most of them?????

I remember my blog neighbors.... Hi Angie. By the way... I just read your last post. Tell Keith it was not funny to give you a fright at 5:30 in the morning. Shame on him.... but at least he made you tea. LOL
Hugs, Lura

Marie said...

By Gum, I enjoyed reading your remininisces here this morning Ang! (I know probably spelt that incorrectly too!) I have caught up with all your posts. I love the new kitchen curtains and also the yellow duckies! I remember when neighbourhoods felt like family. That sure takes me back. I am glad that I was lucky enough to be able to experience that feeling in my lifetime . . . something young people of today will sadly never know! Love you loads sweet friend! xxoo

Sage said...

Sorry to be so late! Getting back to normal after our holiday.
Your post really brought me back; I am older than you are so I was raised where you addressed everyone with Mr and Mrs;in French you never said (tu)to anyone older than you or your to parents; it was (vous).That is all gone on the wayside. Personally I find it sad that there is not much respect left anymore.

Jasper said...

Hello Auntie Angie!!!

I wonder who sent the email that inspired you so...?!

We had 'Aunts and Uncles' growing up... Mum still says "Uncle Sandy's coming for tea tomorrow" to me, even though I'm 35!!!

Despite being younger, I almost always call someone 'Mr.' or 'Mrs.' unless they tell me otherwise. I just think it's incredibly rude to be over-familiar, even these days. We had interviews for a job at work this week. I introduced one of the candidates to the boss and, despite me saying "This is Mr.---, the Area Manager", the chap said "Alright, mate?" as he stuck out his hand. And that was HIM off the list there and then. There's a lesson there, kids!!

When I used to work at Winchester College (v.v. posh school), the boys always called me "Miss P...(my surname)" and stood up whenever a lady entered the room. That's obviously relatively extreme - but good manners and respect should never go out of fashion...

Jasper does show respect to ladies - but only when he can be bothered... ;-)

Wise words as always, Angie.

Ruth xxx
(And Jasper - who is brewing up a new blog post as we speak. I can tell by the way he's snoring...) xx

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