Thursday, 10 February 2011

Don't Panic! Don't Panic!

This is a very lazy way of writing a new post but I thought I'd just copy an email I sent out tonight on our Home Ed list onto my New Post space to play around with - but it's getting late and I'm a lame slut.

It follows a trip out today at The Museum of Kent Life where we had a Word War II Day. Some of us dressed up - I did me best. I wanted to go as Lilli Marlene (and being a fictional character I could do WHATEVER....) but the weather was eeeuucchhhh and so Land Army Girl it was. Well - kind of. More like a glam-er 1950's version - not a stitch of khaki in sight but a very nice headscarf that once was an impulse-buy skirt. Make Do And Mend me. Minx was also a Land Girl. So were several of her friends. And well.... let's just say there was plenty o' headscarf action out in the fields today. I tied an evacuation label onto Thuglet's cardigan but he wasn't impressed. Probably something to do with the information on it: 'Please look after this strange alien being carefully. Do not feed it after midnight. Answers to the name of Monkey Pants. Thank You.' Soon hoisted by my own petard, I found myself wearing it for most of the day. This and a large metaphorical dunce's cap for asking THE most stoopid question of the day addressed to Mr Potts of The Home Guard. Not quite ready to share this Special moment with you just yet. I'm rather tired and emotional. (Read as 'thick and embarrassed'.)

Anyway - I splurted this e-mail out tonight in reply to someone wondering if, further to the WWII collages that the older kids had been doing at last Monday's Hall meet, they might like to do some more stuff in a similar vein and perhaps do a page each and bind it all up in a big book. Just thought I'd explain that in case anyone was in danger of believing I'd had an original thought.

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'Ere chaps

I had an idea this evening after our WWII day at Kent Life - but it's probably not viable..... But here comes a bit of a stream on consciousness kinda thing (bear with....)

When my lot ask my mum or J's mum and dad about what they got up to during the war there's always loads of stories. I grew up with talk of The War as an everyday subject as it was just my parents' childhood - our kids have it as an odd conversation here and there and it seems so exotic in a weird way but they love hearing about it - like their grandparents were involved in a 'famous' event or something. When they ask J or I about it we seem to get slightly muddled with the stories already and tell them to ask Nanny and Granddad etc themselves. If it was left to us the stories would get fuzzier and in turn THEIR kids are going to get the family stories even more vague probably....

My Not Viable Idea was to invite some of OUR parents along to the hall one day and get them to tell some of their stories - but I immediately thought the better for it - knowing how difficult it is to extract any of my elders from their comfort zones etc (and like - no way should anyone I know who's met me as an adult get to meet my mother and tell me I'm so like her - No. Way.) BUT what if (hang on - I know this is going to sound like 'homework' but believe me when I say I am the LAST person to suggest THAT sort of thing - BUT) - what if the kids gathered some of their own grandparents' stories (even if their grandparents would be too young - they'd still be 'closer' to THEIR parents' tales) - and shared them in the hall one day? Whether orally, or with an object or photos or clothes or their own drawings etc - or even songs?

It struck me recently that when I was a kid, there were old people who could remember WWI - and now there aren't. It won't be that long before anyone who can remember WWII will be gone - and it's OUR personal family histories that will be fading. My grandparents - adults, parents themselves during The War are gone already. My dad's gone and we've kind of lost contact with his side of the family - and that side of our history. My mum's only a couple years off 80 (but don't you dare tell her I said so even though obviously you're not ever going to get the chance) - so the time for gleaning this personal stuff is really running out. My memory is so appalling already that I want my kids to capture as much of this stuff as possible while they can.

Much as I loved all the workshops today I wanted them to last longer and ask for more anecdotes - and share snippets of stuff I remember hearing etc. Obviously they are timed with gangs of children in mind and not grown-ups who love lingering and waffling - or asking really stupid questions (sorry about my blonde moment with the Home Guard chap - it came out wrong honest!) But you know what our lot are like when they start gassing and swapping tales themselves - chips off the ol' blocks in fact. And they might even listen to some of our yarns too. This h'educashun lark ain't just for the kids eh? I reckon it'd be a good laugh too.

So whatdya reckon? Any takers?

If anyone does want to get more 'down on paper'y - the big bound book idea of these stories could be a fabulous thing..... Now my mind is drifting off towards a time capsule thing again........... somebody stop me - I need to go to bed.

PS - Daddy is getting a bit pissed off with London's Burning. I say play it LOUDER!!!!!!! That'll teach 'im to call me Hilda Ogden this morning.

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So now you know I don't save all my twaddle for just blogs - I spread it out good and thin. Like the wartime butter ration. Oh and the London's Burning bit was about our latest (somewhat unpopular) attempts to get some recorder/percussion jam sessions going. Yeah - jaaaaaaazzzz. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed making such a horrible noise.

I'm off now to have a little think. Just a little one. Well, there is a war on you know.....


  1. You're right. I don't like the look of Granddad.

    Idea sounds fab. I wanted to do this with my late MIL (obviously before she was 'late') who seemed to be full of war stories. However when I suggested it she looked at me as if I was completely barking. It appears she was happy to ramble on for hours about the war...up until the point where I mentioned it would be interesting to hear about it. (!)

  2. Bloody old people! What are they like?

  3. You're right - it's sad to think that soon there will be hardly anyone left who really remembers. Who was there. So we need to hear their stories before they get lost to the winds of time and we can't learn from them anymore.

    Having said that, that's all my father in law ever, ever talks about. That's all he reads about, that's the only documentaries he watches. Sometimes I want to say - please, watch something else. There are other things on too. But I suppose it was the absolute, defining time of his life and he's still stuck there. Understandable really.

    We have nicknamed one of our neighbour's 'Land Army' because she wears a headscarf every day. And sometimes dungarees. Not very nice neighbours are we?

  4. I can think of worse neighbours.


    Which is why we now live surrounded by fields.

    Maybe you could make friends by offering half a pound of marge in exchange for a borrow of her rat splatting stick?

  5. yes, and make audio recordings too. that way, you can set people going and just quietly switch on the record button.

  6. You're a genius. Can the young people do this sort of thing on those cute little i-pod thingies? Can't remember last time I saw a clunky button tape recorder....... Think I bought a dictating device for Mr B once - way back when we had ideas and stuff....... god..... what were we talkin' about?

  7. My niece's school did something similar years ago (she's 21 now) and they did invite all the grandparents to the hall for tea. My mum and dad loved reminiscing with the children, taking in gas masks and ration books (my mum keeps everything!)

  8. I did set my mum off when we went there last - and raided her piano stool for WWII era songs (found lots). No gas masks tho'. How many has your mum got? Sounds like a fun house!!!