Times Past: Grainy memories

Times Past 3

Times Past is a monthly prompt challenge that I hope will give us social insights into the way the world has changed between not only generations but also between geographical location. The prompt can be responded to in any form you enjoy – prose, poetry, flash, photographs, sketches or any other form you choose. You may like to use a combination of the two. I will also add a series of questions for those that would like to join in but don’t know where to start.

Heading your response please put what generation you belong to, your country and whether you lived in a rural or city environment at the time of your story.

The second prompt in the series examined what I expected (and found to be true in the small sample submitted) that doing the laundry was women’s work although both Gen X submissions seem to be breaking the mould, both attributing it to their mothers, one pushing the boundaries and the other wanting to do her man’s laundry alone. There were remembrances of grandmothers and various sorts of equipment. Some fascinating remembrances, all worth reading if you haven’t done so already. For the links press here. What I found interesting in these was a very definite difference between the U.K. and the U.S.A. when it came to washing. Those women in the U.K. resisted the washing machine into the sixties whereas their U.S. counterparts embraced not only the washing machine but also the drier. Drying in the northern hemisphere was more difficult than we experienced in the south where predominantly clothes were hung outside. Another unexpected outcome was finding that pegs in the U.K. and Australia, in the U.S. are called clothespins. Thank you everyone that took part.

The Generations that I think may possibly be blogging:

Greatest Generation

G I Generation: 1901 – 1924 Experienced WWII in adulthood.

Silent Generation 1925 – 1945 Experience WWII in childhood

Baby Boomers

Boom Generation/Hippie 1946 -1964 Space Exploration/ first counter culture

Generation X 

Baby Busters 1965 -1980 Experienced Vietnam War/Cold War

MTV or Boomerang Generation 1975 – 1985 Rise of Mass Media/end cold war

Generation Y

Echo Boom/Generation McGuire 1978-1990 Rise of the Information Age/ Internet/War on Terror/Rising Gas and Food Prices

Generation Z

New Silent Generation 1995- 2009 Never experience pre Internet/dot com bubble/ Digital globalisation

Generation Alpha

No sub name as yet but possibly the school or materialistic generation 2010 – These are predicted to study longer and be more concerned with material possessions.

My belief is that our location and the generation into which we were born see very different experiences of growing up as we relook at Times Past. I hope you’ll join in. Put a link to your post and I will add it in my post so that it is easy to read others experiences. Lets get started.

Prompt No 3. Beach Memories. Did you go for holidays to the seaside? What kind of swimming costume did you wear? What activities did you do? Did you slip slop slap from an early age or did you bake yourself to a crisp? Did you eat ice cream after a swim? If so what kind did you normally have or was your favourite. The first time you went to the beach without your parents who did you go with? Any beach memories you’d care to share – I’d love to read them.

1958.36 Coney Island with Lawtons

© irene waters 2016

These beaches I don’t remember. This one is Coney Island New York and it looks like we were having a picnic. If anyone can fill me in on the bizarre tower structure in the background please do.

1958.46 MountStMichael

© irene waters 2016

Mount St-Michael Cornwall. It looks like I wanted down but my Mum wasn’t going to let me onto the sand.

1958.65 Worthing Beach,Colin

© irene waters 2016

My brother on the beach at Worthing. I bet this has changed a bit from these days. I imagine there would be a lot more people.

1959.7 Irene 3yr 6mth

© irene waters 2016

My Father’s family lived in a beachside suburb of Sydney and he grew up swimming like a fish. As a child I loved looking at photos of him on the swim team wearing a costume similar to those my Great-Uncles wore a generation earlier. (pictured in the first photo). We loved the beach. We’d spend part of our Xmas holidays at the seaside often at Ballina and then Avoca when my grandparents bought a house there. We loved to swim. Mum rarely went swimming but my Dad was a good swimmer and ensured we were too. They had trouble getting us out of the ocean as kids and only the shark alarm sounding or the promise of an ice cream made me move towards the beach.

1964.4 J,C,I,Ballina beach

© irene waters 2016

Often, however, as we got older, our beachside holidays would consist of  the other members of my family laying in bed all morning reading their books and eating their Xmas chocolates whilst I annoyed them all, agitating to go to the beach. Books during the day did not hold me, not when there were sand castles to build and surfing to partake of. I pleaded for everyone to arise but even threatening to hang myself moved no-one from their books except my brother, who stirred out of bed to watch. It only gave him something to crow about as my attempt failed because I tied a slip knot in my noose. Luckily, I had not yet read “How to tie knots.”

surfer irene

© irene waters

Even into my forties the surf held a great attraction for me. I didn’t sunbake but I loved to catch a wave.

I wonder what living in different locations will mean for beachside holidays. Perhaps coming from a cold climate some generations wouldn’t have had access to swimming lessons and perhaps the seaside held attractions other than the ocean. I’m looking forward to finding out.

Baby Boomers

city USA – in comments

City South Australia


rural and then city U.S.A.


city U.K.

Sun, sand, sea, sex… three out of four ain’t bad

seaside town U.K.   rural Australia


small town U.K


GEN X Baby busters

USA rural

Times Past: Grainy Memories

UK rural


About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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52 Responses to Times Past: Grainy memories

  1. Lisa Reiter says:

    You always have the perfect and unusual photo posed for almost anything! It is as if someone knew you would write memoir and was helping out in advance!
    See you again at the end of the month! I’ll see if Mum can dig out any beach photos for this one 😀

    Liked by 5 people

    • I am incredibly lucky with my family photo records. Perhaps all families have them but they are in a cupboard buried under a pile of whatever. We have all moved so frequently we get to know where all these things are…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lisa Reiter says:

        I think your weather helps for some things! Camping in the pouring rain didn’t attract enough smiles to photograph!
        Meanwhile, I know my Mum has a suitcase of loose photos under a bed – getting her to get it out is a nightmare – I think because she feels the weight of having to sort them out one day!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Been there, done that. It was actually fun for my Mum as she had a story for each of them. Those she didn’t went in the bin. There were oodles as she not only had her own but also my Grandparents and aunt and all those from my Father’s relatives.
        Camping in the rain is not a lot of fun at all. We didn’t camp much as children as my Mum hated it although Dad was keen.


    • Lisa Reiter says:

      No luck with the photos – she did try but all the times I’m thinking of are on slides – which needs a whole nuther project to sort out!
      Meanwhile Sharing the Story – Sand in my Pants – http://wp.me/p45xAV-C4
      Thanks for the prompt! Lxx


  2. From ages 7 to 10, I loved searching for and collecting shells in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The water could be very rough and cold, so I stayed near the shore, wearing my floaty horse that would have saved me from drowning about as much as a colander makes a great boat. Still love the ocean, standing on the shore watching the far distance my thoughts can take me even if my body can barely crawl a lap. I’m a boomer but a poor swimmer.
    Love your memories, Irene. Wouldn’t be surprised if you’d swum home from Coney Island to Australia. That tower in the background was probably a parachute drop. Haul you up by your stretchy neck (OK, maybe in a little basket) and drop you down fast as a mechanical spring can let you fall — saved from a broken neck by a silken chute attached to cables. Fun if you like losing your lunch. Or if you’re 12.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Can you still buy floaty horses. I remember them (only prompted by you) but I didn’t have one. Swum home – no we were smuggled home (at least smuggled on board) as my brother had some contagious childhood illness and my parents had to leave as they had no money to pay further rent.
      Are you serious that it is a parachute drop? I’d be terrified and lose more than my lunch. Please tell me that it isn’t true….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sherri says:

    Oh Irene, I adore the photo of little you in your blue, polka dot swimming costume – or bathing suit as they’re called in America!). You are the cutest!!
    As soon as you mentioned about clothes pins instead of pegs…that is one American word I had forgotten! Took me right back…
    I’m not surprised to read the ‘wash day’ differences between those of us growing up in 60’s Britain as compared to those in the States. Even further on, when I first visited in 1979, I was amazed at how much better off everyone seemed than us back in England. We were still in waste-not want-not mode, as in my mother always telling us to turn off the lights, not let the tap run while brushing our teeth, close the doors to keep the drafts out, eat everything on our plate and never, ever use kitchen roll (paper towels) to mop up a spill, always use the floor cloth. My mother would have had a fit if she had seen the way my American GI’s mother went through a roll of paper towels every day and left all the lights on in the house, night or day (whilst keeping all the blinds down to keep the sun out, hence the need for the lighting). So, so different.
    Great new prompt. I have so many memories of the beach, I don’t know where to start! I love all your family photos, such a treat. The last one of you is fantastic, a real beach babe you! I am so glad you didn’t learn how to tie knots properly…so, so glad 🙂 I’ll be back…thanks Irene for this monthly challenge, loving it and can’t wait to read all the other responses later on ❤

    Liked by 6 people

    • Sherri I thought I had replied to this lovely full comment. Perhaps I did and it is floating out there in the cyber world somewhere, lost forever.You can see the difference between America and England in television programmes also. England took a long time to recover from the deprivations brought on by the war and rationing lasted a long time. English woman knew how to get on and manage. The Americans hadn’t suffered the war in their own backyard and the 50s and60s were a time of huge innovation and women being freed up. Til Death us do part and I love Lucy probably show the difference. But I don’t need to tell you that as you experienced it first hand for yourself.
      Looking forward to seeing what grainy memories you will share. I’m glad I couldn’t tie knots either.
      Thinking of you with your Mum and if you don’t get back this month I understand. The most important thing is that your Mum gets better and you don’t wear yourself out. Lots of love ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Charli Mills says:

    Terrific post! What a surfer babe! I’ll have to give this more thought as I didn’t go to the beach again after the clam digger drowned, unless I consider sandy swimming holes or lakes. This is proving to be an interesting exploration!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Annecdotist says:

    Hoping I’ll be able to manage this one, Irene – it’s already sparked a lot of memories.
    Regarding the washday memoirs, I too was struck by the greater sophistication of the appliances available outside the UK. Feel a bit cheated, actually, wondering how much happier our household might have been if my mother had had an automatic!!!

    Liked by 3 people

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  7. macmsue says:

    I think this fits the bill, I wrote it a while ago so hope that’s OK. http://wp.me/s4d8rD-clawed
    I’m a Baby-Boomer and grew up in Adelaide, capital of South Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to have you join in. I would like to know what a giant ‘bush biscuit” is and if it is an Australian belief that sucking it will make it feel better. I commented on your post. A wonderful picture of the freedom youngsters had in baby boomer times but good that some adults were around when needed to lend assistance.


      • macmsue says:

        I’m relieved I wasn’t out of line posting a link. I’ve added a photo of Bush Biscuits to the post, they were just staple beach snacks and the size made them last. Dad always told us it would help to suck our hurt spot ( if it was accessible) but probably just having the finger or whatever in our mouths meant we couldn’t cry at the same time 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not out of line at all. You know I have never seen nor heard of these biscuits and I grew up in the bush. Certainly we had arnotts biscuits so I am surprised. We were given wheat biscuits and vita wheets and on the odd occasion we had a sweet biscuit it was most likely a scotch finger. We thought we’d gone to heaven if we went somewhere and they had monte carlo. Our beach treat was definitely ice cream and my favourite (although they only had it one season ) was the caramel triple treat. Smart man your Dad.


      • macmsue says:

        Have thought a bit more about “Bush Biscuits” and decided they were probably thought ideal for anyone going bush. They’re hard and would last for ages without any special storage.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe they were too hard for my parents to eat which was why I didn’t know them.


      • macmsue says:

        I think you can still buy them but the beach kiosks have much fancier fare now, like Irish Cream Magnum Icecreams, we couldn’t have even imagined such a thing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Our normal purchase in those days after swimming was a splice and we thought we’d gone to heaven. 🙂


      • macmsue says:

        Far more exotic than a Bush biscuit!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I know you’re trying to get information here so… I’m wondering if it would be possible to write a flash fiction piece (BOTS: based on a true story)? I’d make it a creative nonfiction piece, I guess. That might not be helpful but I’d stick with the facts with a wee bit of fiction to fill in the gaps. Geez, haven’t we talked about this before? Where’s that line between fact and fiction? Blurry…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. colinmathers says:

    Top photo – thats your grandfather Will on the right, don’t you see the resemblance to Dad?

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. Annecdotist says:

    I’ve just posted my memories
    and will be back later to compare them with those of others!
    PS Baby boomer generation, small town UK

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wonderful recollections of the seaside. You were lucky to be within biking distance but it seemed that you used the seaside for reading and many other things other than swimming which you did only on the rare occasion. Thanks for adding to the rich mix. The geographical differences are showing up in this month’s rememberances.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Annecdotist says:

    Ha, a bit cold for swimming!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Times Past: Grainy Memories « Carrot Ranch Communications

    • What wonderful healing properties that beach had Charli and great that it released you from your chains for which we are probably all glad (although what an experience to have to go through to get you to where you are today.) Thanks for sharing your grainy memories with us.


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  18. hi Irene, Happy Easter 🙂 thanks for the prompt, but sorry I didn’t follow the instruction, I didn’t do any beach memory, just some bits and pieces of my memory…. sorry again

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is no worry Ladylee. Just glad to have you join in. I am going to link you to the post I do on Friday as it is going to add to the mix for that prompt. It is great to have a baby boomer from the Phillipines joining in. The more diverse the participants the more we will see what similarities or differences there are despite our geographical location and our generation. Feel free to do another post on Friday if you want to. It is great to have you along and it doesn’t matter if the memories don’t fit the prompt. Cheers Irene

      Liked by 1 person

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