CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
Keeping on the general theme of shared expertise and experiences, I have decided to set
up this new page. I have no real set plans as to what it should contain - it will
largely depend on input received from our site visitors. In other words, it is down
I am sure the first piece will resonate
with many of you, and if you are too young it really is an insight into
how things used to be.......
A PIECE OF NOSTALGIA
by Diana Tranter
I absent mindedly
adorned my “doggie trainers” to come into work today. I hadn’t realised
the “boats” I had on my feet were my “doggie shoes” until it was too
late…I was nearly at work.
My mind reflected
back – all those moons ago – when I was a mere 17yr old, fashion
conscious young lady. Our regular dress for work was very smart – us
girls always wore a knee length skirt with matching ‘box’ jacket, plus
our fashionable shoes which in those days were stiletto heels with
winklepicker toes. Long beaded necklaces were in fashion at that time
and we would wrap the long string of beads twice round our neck so the
beads would hang like a double row of beads, laying neatly against our
‘little’ chests. We were all very trim in figure, mostly a size 6-8-or
|Our hair would be
backcombed into a style we called “Beehive”. Indeed our top knots would
resemble just that – a beehive perched on top of our heads.
morning was at all wet, we would wear a 3 cornered headscarf (like the
style the Queen still wears today when she is casually dressed in a
Sometimes I would arrive in the bathroom at work with my
headscarf neatly concealing my hair rollers as I would not have wanted
the damp weather to make my hair curl. Before I got to my desk, I
would have spent a quick 10 minutes, backcombing my hair into the
fashionable bouffant style.
||The men would,
without a doubt, be dressed a pin stripped suit with sharp creases in
their trousers, wearing a bowler hat perched squarely on their head (‘bonce’).
They would strut along with their brief case in one hand and a rolled up
umbrella in the other. Their shoes would be black and well polished
and if they had wanted to look particularly important, they would have
carried a folded newspaper under their arm.
Along the pavement we would
walk past ‘boot boys’ who, for a small fee, would be ready to polish our
foot wear if we noticed our toes had been scuffed en route to work.
One day when I
arrived at work, I witnessed a young rebellious lad in the office who
had dared to come into work wearing BROWN lace up shoes. He was sent
home immediately to change into black shoes. Brown shoes were not
appropriate for “office wear”, unless it was a Saturday morning when the
brown shoe would be tolerated but we still had to wear our suits. A man
could wear a plain grey suit on a Saturday i.e. no pinstripe. A young
girl I worked with came into work once, wearing a gathered skirt, no
jacket but instead wore a shawl around her shoulders. Our boss was onto
her like a ton of bricks and she too was sent home to change into a suit
!! This young girl lived at Golder’s Green and we worked in
St.Swithin’s Lane, near Bank/Cannon Street underground station. She had
to be sure to hurry to get back to work before she would have been in
trouble with “Mr King” for a second time. He had given her a time frame
in which she had to get back to work. She had to return in a taxi to
meet the deadline.
We were never
referred to by our first names, but always “Miss”, “Mr”, or if the boss
was scary enough, then we would call him “Sir”. No women in those days
carried on working much after they were married, so I don’t recall a
“Mrs” at work. My desk was next to a little old spinster named Kitty.
She was my saviour and helped me learn correct office procedures etc.
Over the years, I have sometimes been reminded of Kitty and I have
wondered how old Kitty actually was at the time – probably younger in
years than I am now, but in those days people lived hard lives and she
would have resembled someone of over 100yrs old today. She had white,
wirey hair, held together in a little bun shape at the back of her neck
– and she stooped over. Maybe she was a Charles Dickens fictional
character come to life to help me adjust from school girl status to a
working ‘Miss Collins’.
|One other thing I
remember is that we all had to be at our desks before the hour, in
readiness to commence work on the dot of 9am. If we were a few moments
late, we would have been in trouble, and a delayed train would not have
been the correct answer as to why we were late. We were always told we
should have caught an earlier train if ours was delayed (never mind if
the earlier one might have been held up on another line).
No answer was
satisfactory if one was late for work. We would have had to forgo part
of our tea break or lunch break to make up the time, or if Mr King was
in a particularly nasty mood, he would make us stay behind after 5pm.
….and returning to
today (….in this century – ha! I like it!)……. it wouldn’t matter if I
continued to wear my doggie trainers at work. Nobody would take any
notice at all…….and did I actually brush my hair before I came into
work? No, probably not. How times have changed !! I am also late for
work most days !! Nobody cares !!
The following are some messages received from a lady who is a retired
vet assistant, she enjoys art and pottery and is a "hands on" grandmother to her
three grandchildren. She would like to hear from other people in a
similar situation, to exchange tips, ideas and experiences.
"I have just bought about a 60 year old piano bench at a yard sale. It
looked pretty rough, but was sound, has a design that will mix with anything, stood firm
and missing the hardware that allows the seat to fold back but the price was fabulous and
I brought it home.
I live in a small home and we use a lot of small pieces that can serve
purposes. I stripped several layers of white paint off and discovered this beautiful
cherry wood. We use the bench for anything from an actual bench to a t.v.
tray, desk to write bills, do homework, craft table, sewing table -- has good storage and
I left the seat loose, so I can put it on the floor or on a table to use as a cutting or
ironing board. They're cute, old and a lot of fun ... wish I had one in every
"I have been recycling and creating denim items for almost 20 years. I began
hand-embroidering my own designs on jeans, shirts, purses, everything! Now I make
purses, pouches, cover notebooks, book dust covers, make book bags, throw pillows, cover
lampshades, the list is only limited by your imagination. I made a cover for my
sewing machine, place mats and napkins. I especially love the purses,
because I can
embroider them and customize the style (pockets, handles, etc.) and the best;
they're washable, which with grandchildren is a must for me.
"I am beginning my first denim quilt from my scraps and so far so good. I
just the idea because the cloth is so durable and I believe that denim reflects our
generation just like our grandmothers' scraps reflected theirs. My plan is to line
it with recycled flannel shirts but I may just go buy a piece of flannel. I plan to
embroider simple designs on certain squares and tie it with colorful embroidery thread.
I would love to hear from anyone who is a quilter with advice
or who has made a denim quilt."
In response to this I received the following suggestions for using old denim -
- as trim on cuffs and bottom of sweatshirts
- cut off pockets and reuse on sweatshirts
Anita Segner sent these hints in - thankyou.
Advantages of Getting Older
In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
No one expects you to run into a burning building.
Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
People call at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"
People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
There's nothing left to learn the hard way.
Things you buy now won't wear out.
You buy a compass for the dash of your car.
You can eat dinner at 4:00.
You can't remember the last time you laid on the floor to watch television.
You consider coffee one of the most important things in life.
You constantly talk about the price of gasoline.
You enjoy hearing about other people's operations.
You get into a heated argument about pension plans.
You got cable for the weather channel.
You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.
You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.
You send money to PBS.
You sing along with the elevator music.
You talk about "good grass" and you're referring to someone's lawn.
Your arms are almost too short to read the newspaper.
Your back goes out more than you do.
Your ears are hairier than your head.
Your eyes won't get much worse.
Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them
Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
You have great friends who think of you often and send you lists like this!
We now need more articles, observations, stories, features, poems etc. whatever you
would like to share - don't by shy send them to us at email@example.com. I look forward to
hearing from you.
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