Conversation Time: Times Past

015 Jenny,Grandma, C,m&d Keith

© irene waters 2018

The prompt for this month is Conversation Time.Did you have a place that you tended to talk as a family? Perhaps the kitchen, laundry or dining room or somewhere else altogether.  I wonder if the advent of television changed how often we had conversations with the family as a child. Certainly I believe, and it will be interesting to see if I am correct in this belief, there will be a difference between generations as to how encouraged you were to partake in conversation. Did this differ depending on circumstances or what room you were in? One way of bringing back memories of childhood is to start off describing your childhood house room by room. It is amazing what the details of a room will prompt in regard to the memories you have of it. What room did your family conversations take place in?

Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and  your generation. An explanation of the generations and the purpose of the prompts along with conditions for joining in can be seen at the Times Past Page. Join in either in the comments or by creating your own post and linking. Looking forward to your memories.

Baby Boomer – Australian country and later Australian city

I was born into a family of introverts.  Of all my family members I was the only one that craved company and yet I am as introverted as they are. When it came to conversations they were all over dinner which was eaten in the dining room.

The dining room was a boring room which had openings into the kitchen (separated by a breakfast bar), the big back porch , the hall and the double opening into the lounge room. The room, bare apart from a table, six chairs and an old side board, acted as the hub of the family. My father read the paper at the table in the morning. My mother read it in the afternoon when she came home from her day school teaching. We knew not to try to talk to her until after she finished both her coffee and the paper. She’d had kids all day and the last thing she wanted to come home to were two talkative kids. We ate dinner around the table in the evening and talked as a family.

My father had a great sense of humour and would usually have a funny story or a joke or two to tell us. We particularly liked the stories he told of his childhood. He grew up in Mosman around the corner from the family house which my great grandparents built in 1899. My great-aunt and uncle still lived there and as they were as keen on books as my Father he spent a lot of time there. A Chinese greengrocer use to come to the house in his horse and cart selling vegetables. Whilst he haggled with my aunt around the back, my Father and his cousin unhitched the horse, took the cart inside the yard then re-hitched the horse through the closed gate. They promptly hid from sight and watched with great delight the Chinaman’s reaction when he returned to his contraption.

My mother, was more reserved than my Father, and preferred to talk about news items or books which she had read. She did spend a considerable amount of time teaching us table manners. Of course, my brother and I chatted away about the exciting events which had happened in our day so it was lucky my mother was more of a listener.

After tea my brother and I had to clean and wash up. After completing these tasks my brother and I would either play games on the table until bedtime, as long as we had done our homework in the afternoon, or retire to our separate bedrooms to read or in my case play with my dolls. When we purchased a television we stopped playing games as we were then allowed to watch the news and one other “suitable” program on week nights.

Sunday Lunch was the big meal of the week. It was always after all the morning church services and always a roast. Often another family would be invited to join us and occasionally we would go to someone else’s house. It was a big deal with the good china coming out and the silver which housed in the sideboard.  I grew to loathe the silver, as I had to clean it with silvo every three months. When we had guests however, we were expected to be seen and not heard. We were normally sat at an end of the table with other children (if there were any) and could converse amongst ourselves as long as we did it quietly and didn’t disturb the adults. So different from what I see and hear today.

We did talk to each other at other times but the dining room table seemed to be the place that conversations happened. Even now, we eat every meal at the table. I saw a family who eats together stays together. I don’t know if that is true but I insist on a set table and conversation.

Baby Boomer – Australian City/suburban

Conversation Time: Times Past

Baby Boomer – USA suburban

Gen X USA Rural

Gen X USA Rural

Times Past: Conversations

Gen Y – South African city

I’m looking forward to reading  your memories……. and don’t forget that if you are interested in memoir check out the series on the second Friday of the month over at Carrot Ranch. Join in the conversation.

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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27 Responses to Conversation Time: Times Past

  1. A super topic for this month, Irene. I enjoyed reading your memories of past dinners and conversations.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Conversation Time: Times Past – Our Other Blog: Two Sisters and Two Points of View

  3. macmsue says:

    I’ve wracked my brains to recall any conversations and I can’t! We all sat around the dining room table for evening meals but I’ve a feeling we were too busy eating to chat. I’m sure chatting went on if we were doing something outside and I remember us all going outside to watch “Sputnik” pass overhead which definitely would have initiated conversation. I guess like so many conversations they all went in one ear and out the other.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Annecdotist says:

      I feel similar.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s interesting isn’t it that conversations aren’t generally remembered. I can only remember the types of conversations or lack of conversations we had and perhaps that is because they didn’t change in my lifetime. I don’t remember specific conversations at all. My great aunt on the other hand could recount word for word every conversation she’d had in the last sixty years or more. Most weren’t worth remembering. Perhaps that is why they go in one ear and out the other.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Annecdotist says:

    Interesting prompt, Irene. We had regular family meals around the dining table and must have talked yet I don’t remember anything that would merit the term “conversation”. I wonder if it’s a social class thing as much as generational?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi there, I am somewhere in between Boomer and X. I recently went to a cool car auction and took some great photos of Barn Find Cars (still in their element) your readers might be interested in. I feel like it could be right up their alley especially if you have a lot of Boomers! Enjoy! Thank you, Jenny

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That first link should have been the following…thank you for pointing that out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am old enough to have had family meals around the dining room table. I don’t think that is common anymore. But you have me remembering that dining room table, and the better conversations were not necessarily evening meals with immediate family. This was not a large nor a formal dining room; it was control central, transformed into deer camp during hunting season, maps and gear spread out, or just food as we snacked, strategized and bullshitted between time in the woods. The table was where my father held court, and I enjoyed watching and listening in on the proceedings when court was in session. Our neighbor Ken could drink a remarkable amount of coffee. An extra pot was put on if he pulled in for a morning visit. He might have had a purpose for coming by but there would be many stories told before he eventually got around to it. Sometimes Old Man Granger from further down the road would need to visit my father. While orange juice and vodka was my father’s signature drink at that time, he did not drink in the morning, but would for Old Man Granger, about 90 years of age, who would come in and remind us how his wife didn’t approve of drinking and how fond he was of my dad’s coffee and then vodka and oj was served in coffee mugs. And then he might tell about logging in the old days with a team of horses and about a time skidding a sledge down a steep hill and the brake didn’t hold and the sledge was catching up to the team until Mr. G had to cut the traces and rode the load of logs down with nothing but a prayer to steer through the trees.
    The best time at a dining room table is when the old ones push back from it a bit, stretch, and settle in for a spell of story telling.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Conversation Time: Times past – Robbie's inspiration

    • Wonderful post Robbie. I love the idea of the family gathered around the table and the conversation flowing to the point the men feel the urge to leave. Even more special to have your parents still part of it. I hope the tradition lives on with your boys. It is a family time that is to be treasured.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Conversation Time: Times Past – one letter UP ~ diary 2.0

  10. oneletterup says:

    Hi Irene! I love this topic. Once I thought about it, a few hilarious memories surfaced.
    This is my contribution:

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Times Past: Conversations « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  12. Pingback: A Gathering of Ingredients | ShiftnShake

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