I asked Jenny and Rosie about their play ‘back in the black and white days’. Jenny and Rosie are sisters. I hope I managed to get it all down, as it came, and accurately: when they talk, they talk quickly, sometimes one at a time, sometimes one after another, sometimes it all flows together! There are no paragraph breaks in this posting because that’s just the way all the words came.
Jenny and Rosie:
We played in the rubble at the back of the house. In the bombed area. On the bomb site where there was a crater. We used to have . . . underneath the pavement we made a camp, where the bomb had hit the ground. On the site there was a hole under the pavement and that was our play. And I used to play round the back and we used to have these play houses and we had stones and that’s where we made the kitchen and we had the rubble. And that was our house. I remember that. We had – we didn’t have toys. We had a doll for Christmas. We didn’t have toys. For Christmas we had an apple, orange, a nut in an old sock. And we used to hang the sock on the bed post cos we had bed posts in those days. Four in a bed. We used to play out front. Hopscotch. Two balls. Dabs stones – they were squared stones, and you played by catching them. We had an old wheel with no tyre on it and a stick and we used to whack it along the road. Oh, and a barrow. An old barrow: a go-kart but it wasn’t called a go-kart. Tin Can Tommy – we called it [another game]. Knocking the doors and running away. My sister and me we used to play out in the gardens. ‘Keep the sunny side up’ [song] and we did all the actions [demonstrates]. Bit of fishing with a bit of old rope. Didn’t have no toys. Run-out. We used to play hide and seek. Kiss chase. We used to do acrobats. Handstands up and down the wall. Acrobats, we used to put our hands up the wall. We used to play rounders in the garden with an old bat and ball. Scooters. I got a bike. I went on the stage and my mum pushed me on the stage, I was about four, and Bruce Forsyth was on the stage and there was a big box and a bow on it, and like little Miss Muffet, and cos I was on the stage I got the scooter and that was at Chiswick Empire. And we used to go to Chiswick Empire di’nt we, Rose? We went to Saturday morning pictures at Brentford and I was 5 or 6 and we used to go. It was sixpence. Saturday matinee and all the kids used to do cowboys at the pictures. Shirley Temple. Used to walk home, get a bag of chips if we was lucky. What else did we do? Gunsbury [Gunnersbury] Park, go to the promenade, Chiswick promenade. We used to spend the whole day down there, my mum used to make a picnic, all of us, two picnics and a sandbox and a swimming pool. We used to do a dance. We used to go to Chiswick House grounds and had picnics over there, played ball. Oh yeh, carry on, I used to go swimming down Brentford pool, swimming, jumping, pushing off, throwing things in the pool, getting dry then going in again. What else did we do? We di’nt have bikes or anything cos I used to go round our friends’ and I used to get on hers. I had a bike and it got nicked and I only had it a day. We di’nt have any toys, games; we used to make our own games. Had a compendium of games. Snakes and ladders, bingo, remember playing bingo, lotto, housey housey. We used to listen to the TV on a Sunday night. Listen to it . . . no, on the radio. Wireless back then. We used to listen to ‘Journey into Space’ . . . Doc, Mitch and Lemmy. I thought it was Lemmy, could have been Lenny. Might have been a Sunday. We used to go to Sunday school on a Sunday up the Junction Road. I liked that. We used to go down St Nicholas Church on a Sunday morning, all of us, come out of there, go down the river; went in a boat with [brother] Alfie and the boat had a hole in the middle and Alfie pushed us out and we was going to go to the island – and all of a sudden the water had just piled up in the middle in the boat and the mud, and I had this little white dress, white plimsolls and both of us was caked in mud. Used to go down Gunsbury Park and I went down the hill on scooters and went smack into a tree. I used to go out on me skates as well. My mum never liked em but we used to go on em. I used to go up the Rec. Ice skating, I went ice skating. Once. I never went again cos I crashed and banged me ‘ead. That put me off. Used to go up the Rec with me friend. Used to play out there at me friends’. I can’t remember much more but that’s a lot, in’it? But you think what the kids of today do. I never ever remember my mum taking us to school. I moved to Brentford at five . . . we used to go scrumping, apples, in orchards. Scrumping, yeh. Scrumping, um, there must be a lot more really. There’s a lot more, it’s just putting your finger on it. We didn’t do dancing cos we was poor. We used to play horses round the back and gallop round the garden. Oh, Mum’s granddad had a shop at Shepherd’s Bush and he gave her all these antique plates, and we were there smashing them down in the back garden. I remember at Chiswick, smashing things. That really is a good way of getting all your frustrations out: stick it in the garden and get it all out. Alfie used to play with knives. He had all model aeroplanes, he had model soldiers. Roger [brother] had a bike and used to ride it. Cards. We used to save the – used to get cards out of packets of tea, saved them up, used to swap the cards, I used to do that and then what you used to do is throw them up against the wall and if the card landed on that card you took it. Dad made a rollerpenny . . . was it a rollerpenny? Shove-ha’penny. Tricia [sister] and me used to play out and made a stage. There’s some other things, I can’t think. That’s it for me, I can’t think . . . Hop-picking down in Kent. Blackberry picking. I went hop-picking down in Kent. I used to swim for the Borough. No, you talked for the Borough! I was a good swimmer. When I was very young and I couldn’t really swim, the teacher asked who would swim for the gala and I put my hand up and I could only do a width. I loved swimming, I was a good swimmer. Yeh. Down Brentford baths. I still remember that lady . . . I don’t know any more. Jacks, we used to play jacks with the balls . . . I tell you what else I used to do, don’t know if it was play but we used to wait outside the laundry for the coaches and they used to throw the money out and sometimes it could have been sixpence and it was a lot of money in those days, they used to throw it all out the windows. I used to do gardening outside my mum’s house in Whitestile Road with an old fork and a spoon. I used to play with a little blonde girl, and I used to play with her and she had all her dolls out. Over one of the gardens, up near the park, there was a bleeding bulldog, cos I used to climb and I dropped myself down and there was this bleeding bulldog and this bloke come out and he says, ‘I think you’re in the wrong house’. We used to play out on the road. Literally, always out on the road . . . we used to make bows and arrows and we was bloody good at it. Conkers. Conkers, climbing trees and getting conkers . . . and then we used to get an old bit of rope and swing over the canals. Oh, kids now don’t get that. I feel sorry for the kids now. Cos they’re sitting there with these bloody little things [consoles] or they’re looking at that [TV] . . . they should get to explore. They don’t know, do they? We used to have paper aeroplanes. Table tennis indoors. Used to have a piano in the parlour in Chiswick. Dad used to have all his friends round on a Saturday night but us kids used to get shoved off to bed with a lemonade. You know, when you say about you used to have a poor upbringing but when you look at this . . . we used to go to Cornwall. Dad used to hire a car and we used to go all over the place . . . all you needed was company from other kids . . . Cornwall, climb the cliffs . . . in those days it wasn’t built up and we used to walk across the fields . . . and cows on the road and it was like something out of a book years ago but that was your holiday – it was lovely. Bloke used to stand out with lovely soft two loaves of bread . . . Oh, if that weren’t black and white . . .!!!