Sunday, 25 April 2010

Flashing back to the '50s

A self-indulgent memory post this morning. I recently acquired a new tablecloth. Well, not new new, but new to me. I believe it was a “gift from the Almighty”, as I don’t exactly have money to buy non-essentials at the moment. After I had washed out the fusty, second hand “stored too long” smell out of it, I realised what a gem I had found. Not only that, as I was ironing it, I had a full colour, 3D flashback to my childhood. The memory is only about 40 years old, but I had to smile, as it would indicate I have joined that age group where distant memories are often more vivid than yesterday’s shopping list.
The cloth is the style which has the design “cut out”, and each cut edge is stitched with a coffee coloured over-lock; delicate without being too fussy. The memory involved a small living room in a 1950s bungalow in Yorkshire, my childhood home. We had two armchairs covered in dark blue moquette, with a wooden hand rest on each wide arm. The back of the chair had an antimacassar on it – I think designed to be a Brylcreem repellent. Uncle Ernie was a barber and fond of an oil slick or two, so was Dad and my Grandpa Cyril. So the antimacassar was a barrier to a permanent greasy stain on the headrest.
For some reason, my mum had a set of tray cloths in the same design. Or perhaps it was that the tray cloths were antimacassars “surplus to requirements” as we only had two armchairs. I don’t know.
My mum did use the tray cloths with a lovely coffee set she had when her lady friends came around for a coffee afternoon. She made coffee half milk, half water, and put a glass device, like an overweight coaster in the bottom of the milk pan to stop it boiling over. The minute it rattled, you knew it was time to dart into the kitchen and turn off the gas.
I am left wondering if my love of all things 1950s resides in the happy childhood I experienced in the cute little house furnished by a couple who have now been married 53 years.

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