Sunday, 21 April 2013

I Survived the Seventies!

It's a small wonder that I made it through childhood and lived to celebrate my 18th birthday with a slap up meal of scampi and chips.  Here's are some of the life threatening hazards I encountered on the way to this landmark date.

The Cheesecutter:  Anxious modern day mums would immediately notice that there isn't a safe surface in sight.   The loading looks somewhat suspect and there's a distinct lack of parental supervision going on.  Check out the little fellow hanging off one end!  Add into the equation that about 50% of the kids hanging around on this particular piece of playground furniture were the bullies in their respective classes and you'll understand why recreation grounds were a latter day version of combat training.

Itching Powder: It was considered a right laugh in my day to  inflict a bit of contact dermatitis on your mates.  I understand commercial itching powder was made from powdered rosehips.  Resourceful and thrifty even in those days, I made my own budget version from the fibre glass insulation that I pulled through a hole in my classroom wall.

Bendy Toys:  Button eyes abounded in my day.  There wasn't this namby pamby rule banning excessively fluffy toys from the under threes.  In fact excessively hirsute bears were the least of a 1970's toddlers worries.  Once you'd munched your way through the foam body of Rupert, and maybe avoided a bit of toxic paint to boot, you'd have to be careful that you didn't poke out your eye on his exposed wire frame.

Sweet Cigarettes:  Just one way in which lifelong habits were fostered through play in my day!

Plasticraft:  Gifts containing toxic chemicals were gratefully received.  Here was my personal favourite which won the  'Toy of the Year' for 1972.  I remember it fondly but then my judgement is probably affected by the fact that I was so high on the plastic resin's toxic fumes.

Girl Guide Handywoman Badge: To earn this I rewired a plug, a job considered so dangerous these days that it is only the reserve of a qualified electrician.

Clackers:  What's there not to admire about a toy that, when used correctly, could trap fingers, give you a black eye and then shatter into a million pieces of acrylic shrapnel?  War zone training indeed!

Snorkel Parka:  A must have item of clothing for the 1970s lad.  He could lose himself in his thoughts snuggled in that  cosy head encompassing cocoon to the extent that he'd forget to take it off when crossing a road and get squished by a bus because his vision was obscured.

Tic-Tac:   Has the world gone so mad now that we can't see the  character building benefit of a toy set for teeny tinies containing real nails and hammer?  Just the thing that used to be found in every reception classes toy cupboard.

And finally forget that expensive factor 50 suntan lotion that we have to slather on our kids these days to avoid charges of neglect.  Mama Lovelygrey used to make her own out of malt vinegar and olive oil!


  1. I had to smile at these - I recognise so many from my childhood. And remembered that when I was nine, my friend lived ¾mile away - I crossed 2 roads and walked through the park ALONE to get to her house, regularly. Then we'd go back to the park to play on those lethal bits of equipment. And no mobile phones for instant parental contact either! But I am still alive with all my limbs intact. great post - thanks! x

  2. It is a wonder we survived! Great round up of some of the childhood hazards of earlier decades. I'd never seen a cheesecutter, but the witch's hat was an equivalent that I loved and was very sad to see fall prey to the safety brigade. Broken legs? All part of growing up surely?

  3. What a brilliant post. How fondly I remember flying off the roundabout in Ravenscourt Park, narrowly avoiding concussion, because the 'big boys' wanted to go faster.

  4. Still have the scar under my left eye where THE CHEESECUTTER whacked me in the face.
    The boy from next door helpfully ran home to get my mother - telling her I'd 'poked my eye out'.

    Granny G

  5. All of these things were part of my childhood and much loved. We were just not allowed to play in the house unless it was raining and nor were the other kids in our road. You "played out", it was what kids did. There was the unwritten rule of olders looked after youngers and that was it.

    I remember when I was 7 and the oldest of the eight of us playing out one little girl of four got stuck in some mud in a field, her mum went BANANAS at me cos she had had to come and get her out and I hadn't done it. I was "in charge" and she had had to stop what she was doing. It's only looking back that's odd, at the time I was most apologetic.

  6. Thank you for the memories. Sun tan lotion - what was that? We used to burn ourselves in order to cultivate that cool tan.
    Love from Mum

  7. I remember 2 of us piggy pagging my friend home when she broke her ankle on the witches hat. Happy days. LOL

  8. That made me laugh, thank you.