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
Baby Boomer – USA suburban
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.