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Saturday, 9 July 2011

Seaside Vacations, c.1950 : 52 Weeks of Personal History and Genealogy

This is the 27th challenge in in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.    Week 27  Vacations

Sea,  sand, sun, deck chairs, donkeys, ice cream cones, sandcastles and flags - these are my memories of  childhood holidays in the early 1950's.  It  meant exchanging  one seaside location for another.  We lived outside Blackpool, the famous north west England  resort, but for our summer holiday we travelled to Bournemouuth on the south coast, where a close friend of my mother (known as Auntie Phyllis)  had moved to open a hotel.  

It meant quite a journey, before the days of motorways, though industrial Lancashire.  My brother and I hated crossing the swing bridges over the Manchester Ship Canal at Wigan and Warrington with visions of them swinging around whilst we were on them.  We would crouch down behind my parent's seats and hide our eyes. 

To pass the time, we did the usual car games of I Spy, I went to the seaside, and bought A ...B..C ...etc.. and making up silly sentences from the registration numbers of cars and also silly songs.  My father was a commercial traveller (sales rep) for the Beecham Pharmaceutical Group and one ditty we came up with was:
There was a hermit in the hills
Living off his Beecham Pills
He ate two in the morning
And two at night
To make him feel so merry and bright.

We broke the Journey  in Gloucestershire to visit my father's relatives,  staying either at Cheltenham, or the cathedral cities of Worcester or Tewksbury - which fostered my love of history, even at a young age.  The old town of Bridgenorth in Shropshire was another favourite stop where, as part of the holiday treat, we got to choose a book for holiday reading at a shop on the High Street.

Bournemuuth was far less brash than Blackpool but still the holidays had all the traditional seaside ingredients.   The memory is of hot summers, and Mum made me each year a new sun dress with bolero jacket (right).

I can remember  when the weather was miserable, and Dad took us onto the beach where we had fun making shelters out of the deckchairs. Or we took a walk along the cliff tops - the Chimes, and collected pine cones to take home and decorate for Christmas. 

On duller days we walked along the promenade for an ice cream or went into the park  and played in the stream that ran through it - the usual result was my brother fell in the water and my mother knew always to take spare clothing.  At night the trees in the park were decorated with fairy lights that made it magical.  My abiding memory was of one of a happy family time.

Copyright © 2011 ·
Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

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