I asked my Dad if he would write a few memories of his childhood. The idea was that I would then compare it with mine and Max’s to show how radically attitudes towards parenting have changed through the years. But when I read it I liked it just the way it was and didn’t really want to change anything. So here it is, my brilliant Dad, Christopher Michael Ross, who I miss so very much, picking out bits and pieces from his childhood.
I was born in 1950 and England is still recovering from WW2.
My earliest memory was being wrapped up tightly in blankets and put in a large pram for long afternoons of sleep!
I was one of 6 children
Dad was a major in the Royal Marines, strict at times but I loved him dearly. He was warm and tactile. Up on his shoulders, thrown into the air always trusting his catching skills.
I remember the words “a damn good larruping” which were usually directed at my elder brothers. I don’t remember getting more than a smack on the bum!
Most of my clothes were too small for Nigel or Jamie so I usually finished them off!
I was 3rd to get the water in our old tin bath in front of the fire! I loved my father drying me “in the nooks and crannies” after my bath then lots of nursery rhymes and songs.
We took a candle up the stairs to bed.
I had a large red wooden train that I enjoyed sitting astride and pushing myself down the sloped drive. We also had the morning ritual of pushing dad’s old Austin 4 down the same!
Dad once built a little fire place in the garden out of loose bricks he put a grate in and then let me screw newspaper up and put on the kindling but best of all he let me light the fire!
My mum preferred the hairbrush as her weapon of punishment, to help her control 6 strong willed kids.
Mum was a master when it came to feeding us, lots of dishes to fill us up. Milk puddings, junket, bread pudding, tapioca and one of her favourites was Pobbies (really just bread cubes, hot milk and sugar). She chose this name wisely as we thought it was special!
Savoury examples included brawn; we got to watch the pigs head bubbling away for hours on the stove and also endure the smell. Stews and soups to use up odds and ends. Cheese sauce on toast or cold cheese sauce on bread. Tea was often sandwiches and if we were lucky a piece of cake or cold bread pudding. We had daily doses of cod liver oil (vile). Treats included packs of sweet cigarettes, 4 blackjack toffees for a penny, crisps with a blue paper twist of salt and if back late a bag of winkles and a pin!
We had a dog called Mac who we took for walks to a pond we called” lilly of the valley”. We threw stones in and he would dive down and always appear with the stone in his mouth. Mac was attacked and killed by farm dogs , I remember sitting with him and hugging him, he was dead the next day. I recall a fox hunt ending near the house and the tail being hacked off and red coated toffs daubing themselves with blood, some things never change!
We would walk 3 miles to school and back every day and that was at 5yrs old!
My father died in 1957 and as a 7 yr. old I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again!
I dearly love my family and my handsome wee grandson. I am also proud of my son and his lovely wife Anna, little Max is in safe hands.
For more on my Dad and his eccentric parenting ways check out an earlier post I wrote, back when I was a young scamp of a Blogger, where I looked back on my own upbringing. As a parent I often refer back to it and ask what would Dad have done?https://daddownunder.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/chip-off-the-old-block/