Friday, February 11, 2005
When I was young, around 9 or 10, one of my favourite pastimes was to go for a walk in the local woods with my grandfather & his dogs. I was a lot closer to my Grandfather than my Father, probably because of his easy relaxed manner & his way of talking to you as an equal, not a child.
These walks would invariably lead to him telling me stories from his childhood which had been spent in the area where we walked. On one occasion his conversation had turned to the story of my mothers birth, he explained how in England in the Thirties work was scarce & he had lost his Job when the local foundry closed..
My grandmother was close to her due date with my mother, these were desperate times & he was walking the streets, stubbornly looking for work to buy food.Knowing that at any time his first child would be born.In those days all help from the government was means tested, which meant a government agent came to their house & assessed their circumstances before passing judgment. In this persons opinion they did not qualify for help because " they could still sell their furniture ".
My grandparents never forgot those words & never again in their lifetime did they ask the government for help ... ever. They survived the 2nd world war, they raised three daughters & my grandfather had a long career back at the foundry that had let him go. The words he finished this story with have stuck with me all my life, they come back to me when I hear people on the radio or news talking about the " Golden Age" of the past, when " Everyone knew everyone " & " you could go out & leave your door unlocked ".
My Grandfather said...
" When an old man tells you things were better in the past, tell him he's a liar & a fool there never was any Golden Age".