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Saturday, 2 April 2016

A-Z: I Remember..Babies, Books, Birthdays & Brownies

I Remember When......
Recalling Memories of My Childhood

No I can't claim to remember my life as a baby!   But in recalling milestones, let's start at the beginning.  What was your first BABY photo?
I was born during the Second World War and this is the earliest photograph I have of myself - with my father.  I have no idea when he first saw me.  Here I think I must be about 3 months old.   

Following the deaths of my parents, I found a number of letters they exchanged in 1944, whilst my father was serving in the RAF as a Code and Cipher Clerk in France. In one letter, Dad asked for a "Photograph of Baby" - and this studio portrait was the result! 

The photograph reminds me of my father's war experiences through D-Day, the entry into Paris, onto Luxembourg, the bitter winter of Battle of the Bulge and entering Germany, before being posted to the Far East just after VE Day.

My mother was apprenticed as a tailoress at the age of 14, and continued to make her own clothes well into her 80's. However I cannot remember Mum having anything but grey hair which she wore in a French pleat. So this photograph is unique in showing her elegant style, lovely brunette hair and the "widow's peak" which she was so proud of.

More B's
BIRTHDAYS - How did you celebrate your birthday? What presents did you get? Did you have a party or a special outing ? What party food did you eat? Did you have a special party outfit?    I grew up in the era of a small party at home with the traditional games of pass the parcel, musical bumps, and pin the tail on the donkey (blindfold). My party dress was full skirted with a sash. We enjoyed sausage rolls, sausages on sticks, jelly and ice cream, iced gem biscuits - and of course the cake! 

BOOKS - What were your childhood favourites? What did you read as a teenager? Do you now use a Kindle? I was an avid reader of Enid Blyton and the Chalet School Stories, and the magazines of Crystal","Schoolfriend" and "Girl". Classics featured in my reading, boosted by the serializations on BBC Sunday teatime TV. I later moved onto family sagas and historical fiction. For me nothing beats an actual book for curling up on the sofa or relaxing in a bubble bath!

BALLET- I have a vivid memory of being taken by my mother and aunt to my first ballet "Coppelia" - and I began a lifelong passion for this enchanting art form. How have you been inspired by a stage performance?

BREAKFASTS - Did you have a traditional fry up or something more continental and healthy? Mine was original - I used to spread my Weetabix with marmalade, as I hated anything soaked in milk.

- No, not delicious chocolate brownies which I love, but the junior Guides. I was in the Leprechaun Six.  I have  memories of two concerts we did - singing "Teddy Bear's Picnic" as we hugged our Teddies' and being dressed in a yellow crepe paper hat with a green crepe paper collar, as we recited the Wordsworth poem "To Daffodils" - "I wandered lowly as a cloud". Fortunately there is no photograph of the occasion. 

Onto a Clutch of C's
Clothes, Christmas, Church and  Cars

In Case You Missed.....
A-Z Challenge 2016 Theme Revealed   - I Remember......Memories of Childhood

Copyright © 2016 -  Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved


  1. Lots of good B's! I loved reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Maybe that is why I enjoy trying to solve my genealogy mysteries! Breakfast was probably cereal most of the time. I liked Rice Krispies and Frosted Flakes. I too was in Brownies and Girl Scouts. At my birthday parties, we dressed up and played games similar to the ones you played, but we didn't have REAL food, just cake and ice cream, mints and peanuts, and punch, of course. Love your studio portrait with your mother.

  2. This is a great set of questions to start a discussion with someone about their past. It was be especially good for grandparents and kids.

  3. Beautiful photos! Your memories stir up my memories - thank you!
    My brother was a year older and only 4 days apart so we celebrated our birthdays together. We had all the same friends so that was easy. My Mom made beautiful cakes. One year she made waffles and we had ice cream sandwiches. My Mom made my clothes and I always got a new dress for my birthday.
    I too loved mysteries (still do) and read everything I could get my hands on.. Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, Hardy Boys etc. Now I read on my phone, so much easier to carry around and to read in bed. I still like real books tho.
    I took ballet for one year. When I was a teenager I guess I was hopeless so my parents sent me to Charm School haha.
    I had shredded wheat every day for breakfast.
    I too was in Brownies, Guides, Rangers then a leader for 11 years.

    My Genealogy Challenges

  4. What a great memory jogger this post was. I have a photo like that with my dad as well. I can't wait to see what else you write.

  5. Hi Sue - I was a seconder in the Pixies! Lots of fond memories of Brownies. I still have my guide book and manual and remember walking on tin cans with string.

  6. If I start sharing memories of childhood, I will have another blog post right here! I do enjoy reading yours and thinking mine. Finding Eliza

  7. Enjoying your theme as it is giving me ideas of what to record for future generations. Thanks Carmel Galvin from
    Library Currants
    Earlier Years

  8. I've been planning on writing a post to include all my life growing up - this A to Z was perfect for it. Maybe I'll save it for next year unless I come up with another plan. I'm enjoying your read.

  9. The earliest picture I have of myself was taken in the autumn of 1969, when I was about three years old. I was dresseed in a quilted white bunting with pink trim and little blue and pink flowers. I'm studying the camera quizzically, with a little frown, and my hair was black rather than the near-platinum blonde it would be by the time I was a toddler.

    My mother saved some of my baby clothes, including the bunting and it's little hooded jacket. My own daughter was born three weeks before my 35th birthday, in 2003, and my mother gave me all the clothes. I was inspired, that fall, to dress her in the bunting and jacket, place her in her stroller (the locale of my 1969 image), and do a photo shoot.

    It was my delight to get a picture of her staring quizzically into the camera. Even today, she looks a lot like me; as babies, we might almost have been twins.

    I loved your post, and I'm looking forward to coming back for more of your history, which is fascinating.

    Boldly Going Through the Alphabet!
    Part-Time Minion for Holton's Heroes
    shanjeniah's Lovely Chaos

  10. This is great Sue! I loved the photos and story of your father wanting a baby photo! Fantastic!
    My father, to this day, makes me lambs fry, bacon and gravy for brunch on a Saturday, when I visit! I need to write than down!

  11. What great pictures of you with your Dad and Mom. I am the keeper of the pictures in my family and I have amazing ones of my grandparents and parents when they were younger. Such great history!

    Weekends in Maine

  12. It is great reading of other's memories from growing up. Even though living on opposite sides of the world, we share lots of similar experiences!

  13. You have brought up so many ideas which need more reflection....I may have to post after A to Z. Wet is and marmalade is certainly innovative!!

  14. Ah - ballet. I remember my Grandmother taking me to see my cousin's dance recitals. I envied the beautiful costumes she got to wear for her ballet recitals, & wanted so badly to learn how to tap dance like she did, but my parents didn't have the money for lessons. But I DID finally learn to tap dance on my own when I was 38 and danced with a group of gals called the Grub Gulch Garter Girls who entertained in the local melodrama theater all summer long doing not only tap, but soft shoe and the Can Can!


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