I suppose it's because I have so much time on my hands these days, that all these memories come flooding back to me.
When I was young I used to listen to all the older people go on about what they called The Good Old Days. I met quite a few of these people in my daily life as my parents owned a café whose cliental were often older working people. When I say older, they were workers mostly from all areas, where I was just a young school boy. I did have a paper round, however, which meant my getting up very early every morning, including Sundays.
In fact Sunday was the only day when I actual met my customers, as that was the day when they actually had to pay for their papers, as opposed to paying their paper bill in the shop at the end of the week.
My paper round covered most of the small town where I stayed, which meant I had to deliver to the posh parts as well as the working class estates. Speaking of class, I think that was far more important in those days way back in the late fifties, far more important then as it is now. Ironically, when I had to collect the money for the papers, most of the good tippers were on the housing estates rather than the larger private houses. In some cases it was a struggle to get the money from the people living in those houses.
One of my jobs in those days was to get the rolls from the bakers at the bottom of our street for all our lodgers' breakfast. Most of our lodgers were ex-forces and wore their old uniforms as working clothes.We had soldiers from various regiments as well as RAF demobbed from the nearby air base. In order to collect their rolls freshly made I used to pick them up before leaving the house to start my paper round. I remember standing in the queue and listening to all the workmen talking about things in general. They all knew me and my parents so sometimes they let me infront of them knowing that I would not be long as our order, although a large one, was always waiting for me to pick up.
I can still remember that lovely smell and warm blast of heat as I entered the bakers' back door - especially in the cold winter mornings when I used to see one of the bakers having his regular smoke of his pipe just outside that door and the smoke used to mingle with the smell coming from the bake house.
In those really bad winter mornings, when the snow that was that deep that it was impossible to cycle, I used to have to walk my route. This used to slow me down so much that I had to start an hour earlier. All that for just one pound a week! So I suppose this makes me one of the old men talking about the good old days, that I mentioned earlier! At the top of our street there was a cobbled area with benches and a small water fountain and a large chess board made out on the ground where they would play chess and draughts. I used to sit with them on my way back to the house after my round, or on my many trips up to the shops which were frequent. All these older men would talk about the good old days (as they called them) about the days before machines. Technology in those days was on a far slower scale than today.
I can still remember when my father got his first adding machine in order to do his books; it was the size of a type writer and had to be hand cranked after every entry. Years later he bought the latest calculator, which was a fraction of that size, yet still clumsy-looking compared with the present ones. Who would have thought, way back in those days, that so much progress could be made in one lifetime. I mean if someone had told me back then that I could sit in my house in front of a computer and talk to people from all over the world I would not have believed them! Consider just how much technology has advanced in the past few years; mobile phones that can take video and digital pictures and send them anywhere the fax machine, the photo copier, the satellite navigation system, the list just goes on! When these personal computers first came out, I never thought that I would ever manage to even switch one on, now here I am sending E-mails and communicating to folk all over the world.
I believe that this generation has had the most advancement ever made, especially when you remember that people in their fifties can remember using ink wells at school - well this one can at least!