COLUMN: Mum wouldn’t allow a ‘sicky’ unless you were on your deathbed

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Many will recall, as I do, the daily journey to school in the 1950s and 60s.

I had quite a walk to Bull Farm and later to Cumberlands. As kids, our journey was often just a game weather permitting.

We would play tiggy or commandos or even footy if someone had a football. Footballs usually weighed a ton and were made of leather, known as a “casey”.

The lads will remember when wearing the standard short trousers, if you were hit with a wet casey that was really painful.

Sometimes, if you were lucky during heavy rain or snow, your mother might give you bus fare to go to school, somehow they always forgot to give you the fare home.

The journey by bus then was not much of an improvement on walking really, as they had no doors and were generally freezing.

Many times in winter the buses could not get up to our estate so we had to walk anyway.

Of course then you could keep the bus fare for some “tuffies at t’shop”.

Weather proof clothing in those days mostly consisted of an often hand me down frayed at the cuff Gaberdine school mack, which was about as waterproof as a colander.

The footwear was of course wellies. These too were often handed down or bought too big “so yer can grow into em”.

The problem was that wellies always seemed to pull your socks down, and with short trousers it rained or snowed down your wellies too.

Sometimes I would try as they say now to “chuck a sicky”, fat chance with that.

Mothers then would be on to you straight away.

My mother would say ‘just go until dinner time and see how you go’, knowing full well that you would have forgotten all about the sicky by then.

It was the same story even if you were genuinely sick, unless you were on your deathbed you still had to try until dinner.

In those days many were quite poor as were we really and getting by was often a struggle. Televisions were rare and if anyone had one, they also had lots of friends.

Mostly as a young child we listened to the ‘wireless’ and the very correct English voices.

The news always sounded very dramatic and scared the life out of me.