Memories of the First world war
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Sharing Your collective memories
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When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways... yadda, yadda, yadda And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!
But now that I'm over the ripe old age of sixty and a bit, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy man! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a darn Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it! I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!! There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 pence! Social Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe! There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitch hike to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favourite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby! Dig? We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!
There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY !!! Think of the horror.... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are. And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister! We didn't have any fancy Play Station or X-box video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTE'S!!! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?! There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-finks! And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that! And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores! And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were luckily, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place! See! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or any time before!
Do you or perhaps your parents remember when all the girls wore ugly gym slips. It took five minutes for the TV to warm up. Nearly everyone's Mum was at home when the kids got home from school, only posh folks owned a thoroughbred dog. You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny and can you remember how much you could get for a penny Your Mother wore nylons that came in two pieces. You got your windscreen cleaned, oil checked, and petrol served without asking, and it came with a smile and all for free. It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. They threatened to keep children back a year if they failed...And they did it! When a Ford Zephyr was everyone's dream car... And people went steady not dated or went out with each other. No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car and in the ignition, also the house doors were never locked.
Playing cricket with no adults to help the children with the rules of the game. Bottles came from the corner shop without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger. And with all our progress, don't you wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savour the slower pace, and share it with the children of today. When being sent to the head's study was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home. Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat. As well as summers filled with bike rides, rounders, Hula Hoops, and visits to the pool, and eating sherbet with liquorice sticks. Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, 'Yes, I remember that'? Coca Cola in bottles. Blackjacks and bubblegum. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with tinfoil tops. Hi-Fi & 45 RPM records. 78 RPM records? Adding Machines?? Scalextric. Do You Remember a Time When... Decisions were made by going 'eeny-meeny-miney-moe'? Race issue' meant arguing about who ran the fastest? Catching tiddlers could happily occupy an entire day? It wasn't odd to have two or three 'Best Friends'? The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was 'chickenpox'? Having a Weapon in School meant being caught with a catapult?, War was a card game? Cigarette cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle? Taking drugs meant orange - flavoured chewable aspirin? Water balloons were the ultimate weapon? If you can remember most or all of these, Then You Have Lived!!
The Jazz age.
The women’s independence movement of the 1920’s resulted in a dramatic change in dress as shown by the desire to look youthful, boyish, flat-chested, and at the same time to wanting her independence in the new decade of the century. This was the Jazz Age, the decade of the flappers. The 1920’s opened with an explosion of colour, wailing sounds, fast rhythms of jazz, and energetic dancing. the colourful decade of the 1920s still resonates among generations that never experienced it. The decade of the 1920s is often characterized as a period of American prosperity and optimism. It was the "Roaring Twenties," the decade of bath tub gin, the model T, the $5 work day, the first transatlantic flight, and the movie. It is often seen as a period of great advance as the nation became urban and commercial (Calvin Coolidge declared that America's business was business). The decade is also seen as a period of rising intolerance and isolation: chastened by the first world war, historians often point out that Americans retreated into a provincialism evidenced by the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the anti- radical hysteria of the Palmer raids, restrictive immigration laws, and prohibition.
Like today, young people of the 1940s enjoyed wearing their clothes a certain way. Baggy, rolled-up blue jeans with dangling shirt tails seemed to be the teenager fashion of the 40s. Bobby socks and loafers were also part of the day’s dress.
In the first half of the 40s, American dressmakers designed dresses that looked a lot like the war uniforms of the day. Wrap-around skirts were made because zippers and metal snaps were scarce. Remember, people were asked to conserve on products and materials needed for the war. Katharine Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy, Vivien Leigh, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Lauren Bacall, and Humphrey Bogart. Each of these stars had a style all their own. Kate Hepburn, especially helped usher in a new style, in that she always wore slacks, she was hardly ever seen in gowns or skirts. The 1940s were seen as a transition period between the radical 1930s and the conservative 1950s, which also leads the period to be divided in two halves: The first half of the decade was dominated by World War II, the widest and most destructive armed conflict in human history. So consequential was this event and its brutal aftermath that it laid the foundation for other major world events and trends for decades to follow. This war was also the first modern civilian war. The second half of the 1940s marked the beginning of the Cold War.
Rock and Roll.
Some British teens developed a real feel for the rock-and-roll and American blues idioms. Blending that with such local traditions as music hall, pop, and Celtic folk, they formulated original music they could claim, play, and sing with conviction. Young groups with electric guitars began performing and writing up-tempo melodic pop, fiery rock and roll, and Chicago-style electric blues." The rebellious tone and image of past American rock and roll and blues musicians also deeply resonated with British youth in the late 1950s, influencing all the British Invasion artists. By 1962, encouraged by the anyone-can-play populism of Skiffle and self-schooled in the music of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, Roy Orbison and Muddy Waters.
"Liverpool became the first hotbed of the so-called "beat boom." Because Liverpool was Britain's major Atlantic seaport, Liverpudlian merchant seamen often sailed to the U.S. and returned with the latest American rock-and-roll hits, often before they were made widely available in Britain. With The Beatles, other exuberant male quartets such as The Searchers, The Fourmost, and Gerry and the Pacemakers, and the quintet Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas launched Merseybeat, so named for the estuary of the River Mersey that runs alongside Liverpool. The Beatles first reached the British record charts in late 1962 (shortly after The Tornados' "Telstar," an instrumental smash that sent word of what was in store by becoming the first British record by a group to top the American singles chart); the rest joined the hit parade in 1963." Not all acts prominent in Britain by the early 1960s necessarily managed to develop a profile in the U.S. Cliff Richard, who remains popular in Britain and active today, has only rarely had chart successes in America.
Fifties and Sixties.
By 1959 an age of unbridled affluence and consumerism - "You've never had it so good", as Harold Macmillan coined it, was firmly established, paving the way for the profligacy and abandon of the past era of the swinging 60s. The new entrepreneurs of mass market consumerism on both sides of the Atlantic ensured that a week didn't go by without some new craze hitting the shops or the media, preferably both at once. Hula hoops, popsicles, 3D cinema, Davy Crockett hats, Bubble cars, Motor Bikes, Transistor radios, Remember the old Black and White TV set sitting in the corner of the room, pyjama parties etc the list is endless. "Protest" didn't enter the mainstream vocabulary until the sixties when political messages began making their way out of coffee houses and hootenannies onto the airwaves. Music festivals doubled as peace rallies. Folk songs inspired the civil rights movement to question the authority of whites. and if you asked someone over for a "sleepover" then, they would be shocked!!
The best know fashion craze of the 1950’s were petticoats and poodle skirts. Leading the pack was designer Anne Fogarty. Born in 1919 as Anne Whitney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she ended up designing this look for juniors at Margot Dresses in 1950. She moved on to Saks 5th Avenue and wrote a book entitled “Wife Dressing” in 1959 that offered housewives advice on how to look their best while doing their women’s work. She then opened her own salon in 1962 where she added the popular Empire and ruffles silhouettes to her designs. She sensationalized the fashion world by being one of the first American Designers to produce a new shocking trend in swimwear: the bikini.
The Roots of Pop music.
Encouraged by the anyone-can-play populism of skiffle and self-schooled in the music of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, Roy Orbison and Muddy Waters, many British and American teens developed a real feel for the rock-and-roll and American blues musical styles.
Originally the Alan Price Combo, the Animals were so-called after Newcastle blues-man Eric Burdon joined Price and their local musical sets became known for excessive (if exciting) raucousness. Price was the keyboard genius of the group with an appreciation for American blues and folk music; Burdon had the voice. Other members included Chas Chandler (from the Alan Price Combo), John Steele, and Hilton Valentine; Dave Rowberry replaced Price in 1965. As a Northern group, they had the exotic cast to make it big, once the Mersey Sound had been accepted by the musical establishment. Price left the group in 1965 (partly artistic dispute, partly a fear of flying) and Burdon continued, keeping pace with the changing psychedelic world.
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They came late to the ballgame by British standards, but they came to play. They were crude, crass and lacking in military finesse according to Montgomery and other Allied leaders, but they won many more times than they lost. They were a curious mixture of fervent volunteer kids and caustic older draftees. They were soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from Iowa cornfields and Detroit assembly lines. They sweated through eight abbreviated weeks of basic training. Life at war for the American GI was essentially long hours of hard physical labour, painful slogging under heavy weights and tedious boredom - interspersed with moments of sheer gut-wrenching terror.
The First World War endures in human memory as an event of especial significance. The French still refer to it as the “Grande Guerre”; the Germans and Austrians, “der Große Krieg”; and British and Americans, the “Great War.” Those who survived it are no more. Even the children of the war years have died by now. Yet the war did not pass away with the generation that waged and endured it. World The war evolved from a localized European conflict to a global catastrophe. The swift disintegration of multinational states and colonial empires that it engendered did not result only in the successful implementation of the nationality principle, however. It also brought ethnic conflicts, displaced per-sons, and new forms of radical nationalism. Even during the World War 1, people recognized in the events of 1914–1918 the seeds of the full-blown, total war to follow.
Approximately 11 million people were killed because of Nazi genocidal policy. It was the explicit aim of Hitler's regime to create a European world both dominated and populated by the "Aryan" race. The Nazi machinery was dedicated to eradicating millions of people it deemed undesirable. Some people were undesirable by Nazi standards because of who they were,their genetic or cultural origins, or health conditions. These included Jews, Gypsies, Poles and other Slavs, and people with physical or mental disabilities. Others were Nazi victims because of what they did. These victims of the Nazi regime included Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, the dissenting clergy, Communists, Socialists, asocial, and other political enemies.
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