Tales of Terror: Times Past

1963.7 SSPicnic Col,Cris Gorton

Happy New Year to all readers and contributors. Late I know as one month has gone into the New Year. School has just returned  from our summer holidays and again parents are lined up to collect children that they are too afraid to let make their own way home from school.

This morning I thought of our ex next door neighbours and their children. How lucky I thought that they lived next to the park and river and had that entire area as their garden to ride their bikes, skateboards and swim in the river. Then I wondered if they were allowed out without parental eyes watching them. Probably not. Although most people in the dog park are regulars and would notice anything amiss can you take the chance. Lucky for the kids their parents are adventurous outdoors people so they often get to be there.

As children we lived next to a park with a river flowing through it and we weren’t allowed past our boundary fence. I can remember only a few occasions we ventured over without an adult being present and on all those occasions there were more kids than just the two of us. What were my parents frightened of. Us drowning in the river? We were both strong swimmers. Perhaps a spate of well publicised murders such as the one at Wanda Beach. We didn’t know, we didn’t think about it but I know my Mum came up with stories to explain her actions. Terrifiying stories  that stuck even to this day.

Can you remember any tales of fear  that your parents used to stop you going out of bounds. 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 – Rural Australia

One of the stories told to us by my mother ensured that we didn’t leave this beachy area of the river. It was a wonderful river to explore and one day we did just that, putting the fear of God into my mother. She was angry when we were found only a little bit further downstream. She then told us in vivid graphic detail death by quicksand. We could have the quick death by struggling against the sand as it sucked us in or the slow one by keeping one hand raised as though we were wanting to ask a question in shcool and allow the sand to slow engulf us. Keep the mouth closed and tip the head back so that the nose would be one of the last orifices to have sand enter. And pray. Hope that someone came along and could find then necessary log to put across the sand – this would sink slower otherwise our rescuer would probably find himself in the same predicament. She went on to tell us of the woman who’d sunk in this way, in this stretch of river. I have no idea whether this was true or not. Perhaps this could be my next research project but she did succeed in stopping us from wandering.

Baby Boomer – City Australia

Tales of Terror: Times Past

Baby Boomer – City Taiwan

Yes, I Miss Firecrackers

Baby Boomer – USA city suburbs

Tales of Terror: Times Past



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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24 Responses to Tales of Terror: Times Past

  1. ksbeth says:

    i love your mom’s intense cautionary tale, though like you said, it never stopped you )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought it was still quite safe for children in your part of the world, Irene, so I was a bit surprised to read this. I grew up in South AFrica which has always been bad for crime. We were told plenty of scary tales to keep us in check.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think on the whole it is but it only takes one incident and it naturally puts the fear of God into parents. In my childhood we did have freedom – we could walk home from school unsupervised and we played outside with no worries. These days a lot of those freedoms have gone. You probably have more things happening on the streets – we just have a major event every so often.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. colinmathers says:

    Where did you get all these photos of me and Chris? Can I use that one? I have just read “The coddling of the American mind” which has a theme of how “safetyism” has gone mad in USA. Mainly focused on the shut down of free speech in Universities in the name of protecting fragile students from being “triggered”. But describes how parents and society have largely prevented children from learning to cope with the unknown and deal with uncomfortable interaction or experience. Gives some real life examples such as the parents who were delayed getting home for an hour or so, and their 11 year old son played basketball in the front yard while he waited. The neigbours called the police who arrested the parents, and the son was removed to foster care for several months. Parents eventually got him back but spent time in gaol and had to take compulsory parenting classes. Apparently an Ohio police chief advised parents that children should not be allowed to go in public alone till the age of 16. I’ve advised my 15 year old, that I will have to escort him between home and school and anywhere else he goes outside the house now.

    But my memory of the river is somewhat different. I do remember being told not to go down there when I was younger. But the last couple of years we lived there, I did go down there to play and swim and explore the river, with Chris and probably one or two other friends. Maybe you didn’t know about it. I think Mum knew, but I can’t remember, and maybe I kept it secret. I have clear memories of the footbridge and swimming in pools upstream and downstream from it, and exploring the river bed with lots of interesting pools and little rapids. And of going up the other side, where there was a sports oval.

    Also explored the river further upstream. The tennis courts where I went for school sport were on the river and we used to sneak down there where there was a weir across the river, with the river flowing over the top making a small waterfall about 4 or 5 feet high across the river. The scene of one of my most traumatic school experiences. I and another boy were basically bullied into fighting. But we agreed to walk out along the top of the weir and fight in the middle. Our idea was that one of us would quickly fall off and that would put an end to fighting. Unfortunately, we traded a few punches and got upset. So when we fell off we waded ashore and continued the fight. Both ended up quite muddy wet and distraught.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes of course you can use them. I think you’ll find you have them also as they are from the slides. Still have to go through the rest of them. I bet that didn’t go down well with A when you said you’d have to tag along with him. It seems bizarre to me that the US has laws like that when they allow laws that give people the opportunity to go into schools and kill many. If I was a parent there I think I’d have to home school because I think school would be more dangerous than walking home unsupervised would probably be. We have lost our freedoms both as children and adults. I think they try and legislate to the lowest level when in reality most people can behave like sensible thinking human beings and do what is right for their circumstance. The idiots will do stupid things whether there is legislation or not.
      Yes I know you used to go down and the couple of times I went were with you – probably on sufferance. Once was because you’d built a billy cart and were going down the river bank and once was to that weir when there was a drought. I remember all the eels in the puddles in what usually had flowing water. I don’t know whether Mum knew where you were or not but being a boy you were given a lot more freedom than me (or it could have been that you were older and considered sensible.) I didn’t know about your fight. I just can’t imagine you fighting.

      Liked by 2 people

      • colinmathers says:

        I realized after I commented, that I was 3 years older and a boy, and Mum would have given you a lot less freedom for both reasons. And we were both constrained a lot more than most of our friends for unrealistic fears. Yes, the culture of USA is bizarre to outsiders. Kinder Surprise toys banned, machine guns not so much.

        Liked by 2 people

      • LOL. that is funny banning kinder toys when as you say they can run around with machine guns.
        Yes I think you were lucky to be a boy plus you were deemed sensible.


  4. Pingback: Tales of Terror: Times Past – Our Other Blog: Two Sisters and Two Points of View

  5. macmsue says:

    I’m a Baby Boomer who grew up in an Australian capital city but we lived in a suburb which had lots of market gardens so the housing wasn’t dense. I don’t remember any “Tales of Terror”, I think Mum liked peace so allowed us to wander off and do our own things. I don’t remember having to tell her where we were going or when we’d be back but suspect hunger always brought us back before too long.
    I don’t know of anything scary happening to anyone until I was a teenager when 3 children didn’t return home from a day at the beach. They’ve never been found and I think their disappearance probably caused a lot of parents, in our city, to limit their children’s freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Yes, I Miss Firecrackers | HHC Blog

  7. Charli Mills says:

    This ought to be an interesting prompt, Irene. I just read your brother’s comments and that safteyism culture confounds me. I grew up riding my horse all over the place and was working hard labor jobs by the time I was 12. That was typical of many western and farm communities. And I’ll poke into some of those memories. I believe it is the suburbs that have changed Americans.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes it is strange how we change. I think some of it is to do with the media hyping up a single event so that it becomes bigger than Ben Hur in the minds of the viewer/listener. These events were remote before whereas now we hear of them from round the world and they sound common place and it puts fear into parents hearts. I wonder if your wild west still has the freedom you had as a child. Perhaps it is just the suburbs and towns.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        When we moved back west, to Idaho, we saw different factions. Locals, like us who grew up out west and still took kids hunting and expected them to do chores and stack wood, climb the hills for fun. Then there were parents fearful of an apocalypse and kept children home from school, teaching them “biblically” and protecting them from the unholiness of technology and science. Then there was yet another faction that moved by the droves into Idaho to escape crime in California or the impending collapse of the economy. They invested in good school systems and added to the communities, but then they built gated homes. And then, there were at least three private, secret, schools for children of the extremely wealthy who were deemed rebellious and sent to “wilderness school.” It was bizarre! But the simple westerners, they seemed most likely to be down to earth and they certainly didn’t coddle their children the way the other groups did.

        But every time I think I can “group” people, I get to know individuals and we are each human with hopes and fears, experiences and environment. I hope that we get better at meeting on common ground and creating lives that do no harm but allow for individuality.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You’ve hit it in your last paragraph Charli. We are all people with hopes and fears and our own world experiences. We all just have to learn to be tolerant of each other even if we don’t hold the same belief system.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Tales of Terror: Times Past – one letter UP ~ diary 2.0

  9. oneletterup says:

    I think I/we may have been more sheltered from the specifics of many actual terrible things that happened during my early childhood. I watched very little news (when we had a television – which was a small B&W one in my parents’ bedroom). Very different from today and the constant onslaught of news about horrible events. Two things did come to mind though:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for joining in. You had me laughing and feeling a little sad. Loved your memories.
      I agree we had little news where now with 24 hour news we are bombarded with horrific tales until the next one comes along to replace it. Leaves you feeling the world is a dangerous place to live.

      Liked by 1 person

      • oneletterup says:

        And…if the world is such a dangerous place to live (as implied in all the news out there), what kind of hope does that give the next generation? Most people are good, but it usually isn’t broadcast. This concerns me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. We are getting a very slanted view of the world and I’m sure that some suffer traumatic stress injuries as a result whilst others become immune to violence and the sadness being depicted. Agree – good news stories would do mankind much more good.

        Liked by 1 person

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