Wedding Shoes

Kreg Steppe (CC)

It’s every little girls dream to know the feeling of importance, sophistication, and most of all, the high heeled elegance one pair of attractive shoes can deliver.

In my teens I had my share of stunning footwear, to know what it was like to effortlessly balance into infinite party hours on 41/2 inch shining pins and not flinch one bit as bones ached to be free.  I remember every beautiful pair.  But the one pair of shoes I loved most of all – were yours.

They hid in a gloomy corner at the bottom of your wardrobe, concealed by long dresses and heavy coats, never once seen on your feet.  I wondered why such pretty shoes should be condemned to shadows?

Pressing girlie feet into the toes of your divine shoes, I was Cinderella in glass slippers. Clumsy, teetering on falling, I clipped and flipped all the way from the bedroom to the kitchen, to demonstrate what you were missing.  Hands on hips, question marks in radiant eyes, I asked, “Mummy, are these your shoes?”  Your expression was a mixture of impending laughter and annoyance at the realisation of how clever your baby had become.   Hidden things would no longer be easy to keep to yourself.

You told me they were your wedding shoes.  I looked at your flat heeled sensible footwear and guessed those pretty shoes were a part of you I’d never know.  You would have liked to have told me to put them right back where I found them, but you were were too kind to say such things.

Jubilant at my discovery, I blundered my way round the house in wedding heels, wondering what kind of man I’d marry and if he… he’d like my shoes. 

I imagined living in London just like you, where traffic was never still, pavements filled with shoppers, and I… lady of the city, walked with confidence.

Just for one day, I borrowed the image of a beautiful woman I found in an old black and white photo, and walked in her shoes.

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My mother on holiday wearing those wedding shoes.

Did any of you girls clip around the house in your mothers shoes?

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of boys wearing their fathers shoes… so what is it boys do to feel like they could be their dad?


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The Snail’s CastleMark Gordon
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

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Power cuts of the 1970’s – Out Of The Ashes

 child by candlelight

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Out Of The Ashes by Arlene Hassan

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I was about ten years old when the three-day week started in the early 1970’s.  There were endless power cuts and the electricity to homes, street lighting and non-essential business was often simply cut off.

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At our house in Motherwell, in the shadow of the Ravenscraig steelworks, we had a coal fire, as did most of our neighbours.  Like them we could rarely afford to buy enough fuel to last all week, so everything in the house that could be burnt and was not essential would end up on the fire.

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Much to my grief, during the worst weeks of the cuts the oil paintings by my stepfather, Joe, who worked at the steelworks, found their way onto the fire.  Joe was always the one to select the painting to be sacrificed and he would be the one who, without emotion, would snap it over his knee and place it on top of the bundles of rolled up paper and splinters of wood.

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With no radio or television, and without sufficient light to read by, the entire family would usually go to bed in the early evening – our beds had been moved into the living-room as it was the only room with a fireplace.  To begin with, these evenings were a bit of an adventure for us children.  The two oldest would tell ghost stories while I, the youngest, would cling to my mother in fear.  But my parents, exhausted by the struggles of everyday life, just wanted to get to sleep; chatting was discouraged.

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It was on one such evening that Joe put the last of his paintings on the fire.  I had hoped that things would improve and this painting would not have to be burnt.  It was my favourite. In my childish self-absorption it never occurred to me to think how it must have effected Joe.  The painting was of his oldest son as a toddler and he had no photographs of him at that age.  I was determined to watch every inch of that painting succumb to the flames.  As the rest of the family slept, I watched the yellow and red of the boy’s checked trousers mingle and melt into the rough side of the cheap hardboard which Joe had used as a canvas.

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As I looked up from the flames I saw the dark outline of a man.  I caught sight of him picking up the clock and the ornaments from our mantelpiece and putting them into his coat.  I let out a cry and my parents awoke to see a close neighbour of ours standing among us, stealing from us.  Joe calmly told the old man to put the things back and get out.

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The next day, the incident was not mentioned.  When the man passed my parents in the street, they exchanged a salutary nod as they always had.  My parents despised dishonesty but this man had been made redundant from the steelworks several years earlier and was struggling to bring up two small sons alone.  They had decided that he had been desperate and to take action against him (legal or otherwise) would only hurt the sons he loved.

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Eventually electricity supplies, and life in general, returned to normal but Joe never picked up a paintbrush again.  Although in earlier times some paintings had been given to friends and neighbours who had admired them, to my knowledge none has survived.

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From > In Your Own Words – Anna Murphy/The Sunday Telegraph
Picture > Candlelight by RainbowGrumpy – Deviantart

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article-1062089-02CC773200000578-185_468x286-001

Picture > Daily Mail Online

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My friend very kindly loaned me a book called In Your Own Words, an interesting collection of stories told by readers of the Sunday Telegraph Magazine, I thought I’d share a couple of those stories with you this year.  Some are very amusing, but this story of childhood in 1970’s Britain during the power cuts was certainly no laughing matter.

I was a child at the time of the power cuts, blissfully unaware of how much some people were suffering during that time, this was an education to me as to how other people were affected.  I’ve heard of furniture thrown on the fire in desperate times, but never heard of art for fuel.  I wouldn’t have thought much heat came from one small skinny painting!  What a sad way to lose years of hard work.

I remember those days in the early 70’s when the electricity would just turn off without any warning.  Candles were always near by, ready to be lit, as the power cuts would often occur in the evening.  One of those cuts really stands out in my mind, as the lights suddenly went out, I over reacted and hysterically screamed.  There was something about sudden blackness that really freaked me out.

In an effort to calm my wild panic my Dad caught hold of me in the dark telling me everything was okay, pulled me towards the front door, opened it wide and pointed up at the moon.  It was a really clear sky, large bright moon, lots of stars, and most reassuring of all I could see my Dad standing next to me illuminated by moonlight.  Candles were lit, and I calmed down once I realised I hadn’t plunged into some kind of horrific Twilight Zone where everything I knew had vanished into a dark hole!

On those occasions we could no longer watch television or play records and could only listen to a small radio powered by batteries.  As soon as candles were safely in place, playing cards and board games would be brought out, and to make it more fun my Mum would disappear into the kitchen to make pancakes.  My shock was easily erased by yummy pancakes dripping with lemon curd or blackberry jam.

I realised while reading this story my experience of those electric cuts was idyllic, and turned into memorable evenings.  Very different from those who’s lives and jobs in one way or another were threatened by the power and coal strikes.  If you’d like to read more on those electric cuts, there’s a Wikipedia page all about it.

Does anyone else remember the 70’s blackouts in Britain, or possibly another kind of blackout, anywhere in the world?

Other articles about the 1970’s power cuts.
Memories of the 1970’s shortages and power cuts.

Forty years ago the lights went out over Britain.
DS Forums discussing memories of the 1970’s power cuts.

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Tiger Feet – Mud
(click picture for video)

xmas_mudTiger Feet was a big hit in 1974, and I know my brother will be smiling watching this!  I remember him trying to teach me the dance they’re doing during that performance on Top Of The Pop’s.  But I was more of a ballet girl, I struggled with some of those moves!

It’s one of those songs where you need to be at a party, music loud, fairly drunk and preferably teenage memories of strutting that dance at the school disco – old time 70’s rockers!! 

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Old Maid Card Game

Old Maid Card Game


I was so pleased to find an image of the Old Maid card game on Pinterest, it was one of my favourite games at the time of those powers cuts, I haven’t see it for years!!  Do any of you remember this card game?

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duskinwinter_karengadient1Dusk In Winter
stygianspirits_karengadient1Stygian Spirits
Art by Karen Gadient @ RedBubble
karengadient.com

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To Find The Lost Girl

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Fairy tales
grown up dreams
fantasy for little girls
counting snow flakes
falling from sky
jumping in puddles
and skidding on mud
free of care upon my shoulders


These things that used to be me
Where are they now?


For open eyes
I’ve exchanged them all
for horror
I did not want to see
for truth
I did not wish to understand
sensations
I did not desire to feel


What happened to the little girl?
The one with big smiles
laughter unrestrained
swishy pony tails
and pink ribbons
dolls and prams
mud pies and playdough art
summer lunchtime in the Wendy House
hot cocoa and bedtime stories


What remains
is a woman who desires to smile
more than she is able


My hands
still they are empty
waiting
to be filled
with something
of value
life giving energy


I close my eyes
and wish
for so much


Dare I ask
to discover
there is no more to be found?


I’ll search
to find the lost girl
in all her hiding places
we will picnic together
a tea time of the mind
feast on simple things
on what has not been tasted
for so many years


Then maybe
she will come out
from her hiding place
from her little safe house
her sympathetic prison
to find the world a better place
to discover again
jumping in puddles
and counting snow
may still be possible


To feel a smile often
and maybe
just maybe
laugh until it hurts
one more time

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And this applies to the boys as well!

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Picturessuunnddeeww Deviantart

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A tea time of the mind

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70-Sus_StA_Pram02-2 (2)This is me, age 4 in the very early 70’s, with my favourite pastime in those days, my dolls pram, a tatty one too! I acquired a smart black and white one soon after this picture was taken.  For some strange reason I have no photographs of that pram. This picture always stands out as a happy time in my life, I can even remember my mum standing there on that sunny day helping me to get the right pose, and lifting the dolls arms to make her look more alive.

I think the reason that I see it as a happy time, is because it’s before I started school, before I had any major contact with the outside world. And school was the bane of my life, the day I started school was the first time I felt anxiety, loneliness, and a feeling of not really fitting in.

I didn’t want to fit in, at least not with all the teaching and relentless rules, and the long hours away from home. I wanted to be with my mum, doing the things I wanted to do, like I appear in this picture. And yes, I did grow up and get over that! And no, I don’t have problems interacting with the world as a normal adult, but I would love to return to certain aspects of this moment in my life, without the need to become 4 years old again! I would like to get in touch with the little girl I have left behind. These thoughts I began to have around Christmas 2012 inspired me to write them down, and over a few months To Find The Lost Girl emerged.


Don’t worry, I’m not having a nervous breakdown! Just some reflective thoughts on the real essence of who Suzy really is, what interested me and where and how my outlook on life was formed. Because there have been many horrible things I have had to face over the years, as a lot of people do, and I feel those unpleasant moments in life can slowly erode the real you, and the real you must never be diminished. And I am sure I’m not the only one who has reached their mid forties, to find this wondering going round in their mind. Perhaps it has something to do with reaching a halfway point in a human life, and needing a pause for thought – in order to be ready to move on, to start to become that older person, that most of us when we are young are afraid to even think about.


56748935My brother very kindly recently acquired from Amazon some of my old little girl annuals that I used to own at that age.  I am looking forward to sitting down, maybe accompanied by that cup of cocoa I used to have, and blissfully absorb myself into those old familiar pages. But when I get round to it I’m sure so much more is going to come to mind of who I used to be while reading those well loved books.  But I’ve got a feeling that I’m not going to like the cocoa!! 🙂


image051-2And this is me outside the Wendy House! I had many lunches and picnics in that little soft plastic house, and I remember being very excited when the little home was bought for me.  Oh the things that you get a thrill out of at that age! 🙂 But this Wendy House had two things about it that made it not such an ideal home.

On a hot day it would heat up so much it became airless, and I recall my mum being very concerned that I would fall asleep in there with the door flap down and suffocate! And one glorious sunny afternoon, my mum and I settled down on a blanket, inside that plastic home, our lunch attractively laid out, and suddenly an unexpected gust of wind lifted the entire house, it took off like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard Of Oz, and landed at the other end of the garden upside down in the vegetable patch, leaving us open mouthed and in shock!! 😯 From that day on the frame of the Wendy House got pinned to the ground on windy days!


ryanlerch_worldlabel.com_girlface5If like me you are in need of a childhood recharge, don’t forget to treat yourself to a tea time of the mind, whatever it requires, don’t let any more time pass – do it now!

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