Today, i am going to my grand daughter Charlotte’s 8th birthday party. It’s a theme party, a 50’s party. I was born in the 50’s. Those were the days of 78’s, My uncles and aunts had a whole stack of them and the record player was always playing. I remember we got our first tape record and we recorded the family singing, “all I have to do is dream’, the Richard Chamberlain version not the Everly Brothers. Richard played Dr Kildare on the TV, one of the first TV doctors. He was handsome and clever and such a lovely doctor,
The trotting stables that Granddad Hunter ran were at the end of Moonshine Road in Upper Hutt. On the river bank. It was a busy place. Unfortunately for me, my granddad considered horsewoman to be coarse so I banned from hanging round the stables. Didn’t stop me though, I loved the smell of the forge, watching and the blacksmiths make horseshoes.
But I never managed to get close to the horses. One of my great regrets is that I never learnt to ride. I never even got on a horse until I was about 11 in Boddytown. I remember sitting on its broad back thinking I was looking cool til it walked a couple of paces to find another bit of grass and I promptly fell off.
The next time I was around a horse was with a school friend in Akatarawa when I was 15, She told me riding horses was good practise for being married. I had no idea what she meant. It still seems a really weird thing to say
So the horse side of my grandparent’s life eluded me. There were other things. My grandmother was part of a group of Methodist ladies who used to put on shows for community groups. Nana had the props and wardrobe at her house. It was such fun. When I was older I would tag along and watch and sing all the songs. It is probably were I got my love of singing from.
But the fifties were great. I know that some American music was censored, and we heard more from Cliff Richard than we did Elvis Presley but I love listening to music from that era. One of my favourite albums by Barry Manilow is Songs from the Fifties. Life seems must more naive and innocent. Songs were about stealing kisses, now they are about sex.
And I think we are the poorer for it.
© Barbara Hart