As I was looking through childhood photos last night, I was fascinated with some of the toys my sister and I had, so I thought you might like to have a look at some of them, too.
I'm the elder of the two of us, so that's me in the wooden rocker. My sister, on the other hand, looks like she's sitting in some kind of a wooden box. Age has some advantages at that stage of life! Maybe it was a dolls' bed - I really have no idea.
Behind me, on its side, is a wooden wheelbarrow. I have no recollection of these toys, but I'm not surprised they were made from wood. Were they passed on from another family, or did Dad make them? They most certainly would have been passed onto other kids after we finished with them. Mum, I hope you read this, because I have lots of questions.
It wasn't all wooden toys, though, as hanging from the wooden rocker is some sort of bear with a painted face. I'm guessing it's made from plastic, which became common place after World War 11. My sister's doll looks like it was made from some sort of soft material. Was it knitted, or maybe sewn by Mum?
Don't you love my stripy overalls? Either Mum or her sister would have sewn the overalls. The jumpers would have been knitted by Mum or Nana and most probably required hand washing.
Ha, ha... my sister progresses to the rocker that moves, while I read to her. Don't think I was quite up to actually reading the Readers Digest I was holding. We were, however, extremely fortunate to grow up in a household where reading was valued. There was no shortage of books in our house, both for us kids, and for Mum and Dad. We were also encouraged, and indeed both loved visiting and borrowing books from the local library, as well as school libraries.
Thought this photo may give you a laugh. Don't think I was impressed at the time, though, and obviously didn't know how to pull up my cloth nappy (diaper). My cousin doesn't look at all concerned.
We didn't have toy trucks or cars, but our male cousins did. There were some toys that were definitely meant for boys only, and vice a versa. If only I could have pulled that nappy up, I could have played with that truck, if my cousin had let me, that is.
Another wooden horse, but not a rocking horse as it has wheels. It would have been hard going getting it to move on the grass. Mustn't have worried me, though, as I look happy enough. Obviously I hadn't looked in the mirror to see that haircut. It's diablolical - a bad bowl cut!!! Sorry, Mum, but you have to agree.
Our cousins were our playmates. Mum took us over to their place all the time. My cousin - the one bawling his eyes out - would have wished we hadn't come over that day. We were the same age and it seems I won the coveted driver position that day.
How cool is that car? No wonder I wanted to be driver!!! Judging by the position of my legs, I'd say it was a pedal car, where you pushed the pedals back and forth to make the wheels turn. The body of the car was probably painted metal.
Poor little sis - she gets to tag behind in the stroller, depending on the oldest cousin to move her along.
That wooden contraption is the end of the clothesline. Moving the wooden parts enabled the lines to be brought down or up - down to peg the clothes and up to dry them. It would be unusual to find a house in Australia today that doesn't have a clotheslines, although they look a little different to the ones in the photo. I believe there's now some controversy, in various parts of the world, about clotheslines.
Again at our cousins, this time riding a tricycle. I'm sure we had tricycles of our own at home, but I can't remember them. I know we didn't get two wheeler bikes. I so badly wanted one, but our parents said that living in the city, there was nowhere to ride one. I suppose they were right, but that didn't stop me wanting one.
To this day I have difficulty riding a pushbike. Motor bike, no problems, but I find it hard to balance a push bike to get it going.
We didn't live especially close to a beach, but we still went often enough. Most of our time was spent in the outdoors, with one activity or another. Plastic buckets and spades were around then, and thankfully, they're still used by kids today - a simple toy which has been loved across generations.
Don't you love this cute swimsuit. It looks more like a playsuit. My history of swimwear post shows more pics of costumes that I wore back in the 50s and 60s.
We didn't need a lot of toys. Simple things kept us amused. Here I am on a family holiday playing with my Dad's binoculars. I obviously hadn't cottoned on to the concept that binoculars made it easy to see things in the distance.
The lady in the background is my Mum's sister. Luckily for us, she was a dressmaker. Every Christmas and birthday we would be given the most beautiful clothes. Mum sewed the everyday clothes, while our Aunty spoilt us with stunning creations twice a year. Sorry, Mum, but Helen's are the clothes I most remember.
Every backyard had a wooden swing. Here we are at our cousins', wearing our red and white playsuits. Wish I had a colour photo. Love, love, loved those outfits. Did you make these, Mum?
Despite this being a colour photo, it's not more recent than the others. In the 1950s, black and white snapshots were still the norm, mainly due to the cost of colour film. Even in the 60s, colour film was usually reserved for special occasions. We are lucky that Dad enjoyed photography and often used colour film.
My sister and I are sporting the latest swimming aids of the time - simple blow up rings. I'm assuming we could actually touch the bottom.
Pogo sticks - oh, how I loved ours. We shared one between the two of us. Made from metal, it was red and provided hours and hours of fun, as we jumped up and down. There was quite an art to balancing and jumping.
Dress ups was played by most young girls. No Disney character costumes back then. We were lucky enough to have Mum's glamorous ball gowns. We must have ruined those beautiful dresses, running around the backyard in them.
I can't see who is in this photo, or what they were doing, but we spent the vast majority of our time outdoors. Next to our swing is a netball hoop and in the background, a bird aviary.
Ha, ha...I was not, and never will be an artist, but I imagine I enjoyed playing schools. Drawing on a blackboard with chalk would only have been done outside. This is another activity that has changed little over the years. Even IKEA have a blackboard - a little more elaborate and with a whiteboard on a two sided easel together with a blackboard. Whiteboards hadn't been invented back then.
Amusement rides were fairly simple. I used to love merry-go-rounds, with music blaring and horses that moved up and down. Pretty tame for now-a-days.
They don't make scooters like this now. The tyres are pump up and boy, did it quickly gather speed as we rode down the hill on the footpaths alongside the road. Again, we shared the one.
We both had Annie Oakley outfits - skirt, vest, gun and holster. We used to run around the backyard pretending to shoot each other. Even back then Australia was copying America. I suppose the vast majority of TV shows were from the U.S., but I don't even know if we had a TV at that stage.
Chasings, hide and seek, and piggy back rides were played outside. No props were needed and lots of active running around. Every now and then, if we had guests and it was night time, we'd be allowed to play hide and seek inside the house, but this was not often.
I doubt that boys played skipping, but all the girls did, both at home and at school. No plastic handles on our skipping ropes. They were just pieces of rope of varying lengths.
You can see from the photos, that we often went around in the warmer months in either bare feet, or thongs (flip flops). Not name branded thongs, but plain, cheap rubber footwear.
Skipping has always been around, but a new craze happened in my youth - elastics. All that was required was a long piece of elastic, so we could easily take it to school. Another game just for the girls. Till I was about twelve, boys and girls had separate playgrounds at school, but we had co-ed classes. I have no idea what games the boys were playing in their section of the playground. Do kids still play elastics?
My sister was lucky enough to have a hoola hoop which I borrowed. I can still use a hoola hoop, although not as adeptly as back then.
Jacks, or knucklebones, was another game we enjoyed and this one we did both inside and outside. Older generations played this with animal bones, but we used plastic shaped as bones. A simple game, the objective was to throw the jacks in the air and catch them with the back of the hand.
Today's parents must spend a fortune on batteries, for the myriad of toys that are available. And there are some wonderful toys around now. However, there are a lot of toys that require the owner to do absolutely nothing. We had to use our imaginations. We had to make the toys do what we wanted and I believe that is a valuable thing.
From the photos above, you might think we never played inside. The vast majority of our time was spent outdoors, but we did play inside - board games such as Monopoly, Pick Up Sticks, Snakes and my favourite, Chess. We also played games that only needed paper and pencil - dots and boxes, or noughts and crosses (tic tac toe). Simple card games are another thing that occupied our time.
All girls had a couple of dolls, but not so the boys. They may have had a teddy bear. My sister had both. My doll, Margaret, had eyes that opened and closed, and with eyelashes. No dolls that cried or peed. Again, that's where our imaginations came in.
I can't remember painting or doing paper crafts at home, although we did lots at school. I do, however, remember French knitting with a wooden Knitting Nancy, a weaving loom that had beads and of course, knitting. We all learnt to knit - well, the girls did.
We didn't acquire a TV, (black and white), till I was about ten. Parents were not worried about limiting screen time! Most of us were only allowed to watch TV for very limited amounts of time and there were no other screens to look at, unless you count slides projected onto a bare wall when visitors came over. Ha, ha... we tried to get out of that if we possibly could.
There are a lot of wonderful, educational toys that are available now for kids, but I do think that as kids, we were better equipped to amuse ourselves. I'm bored, was never a part of our vocabulary.
How does your childhood compare to that of young children now?