Echoes of Childhood


TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's & 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our pushbikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a car on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drink with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on..

No one was able to reach us all day.

And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given slingshots for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Under 12 footy had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!!

AND YOU are one of them!
   A Boys Brigade Buckle                                                             A Snake Belt                                                                            Our Bools.
                                               Football                                                                                                       Skipping
   How many children are allowed to swing that high now?                                                 Beds as we called Hopscotch
Morning delivery before school                                                                                        More Beds
              Hide `n Seek                                                                                                Conkers
The Dolls` Prams
   Ancient Merry-go-Round                                                                                 Boy with his Snake Belt
Now who escaped the followng?
                          Boy on his Rope Swing                                                                                      Cant forget Schooling
                                                   The School Belt or the Tawse
Let your grandchildren view this and see what they think..
It features an adult as the schoolboy

                        Spinning Tops                                                     Spinning Diabolo                                                     Spinning Tops
Connie Newman
Where you are:  Kent

Old School:  Stella Maris Primary School & Holy Cross Academy.

A real trip down memory lane here!  We used to call it Peevers (Beds), played with an empty Cherry Blossom shoe polish tin as the Peever.  The pavement at the front of 16 Lindsay Road was always marked up for a game!  Loved skipping as well - especially with a double rope.  Can still see the boys in the class with those belts holding up their school short trousers!  And I have very vivid (and painful!) memories of 'the strap'!  There was one teacher especially at HCA, who seemed VERY fond of using it.

Tops & whips!  I loved those.  We used to draw patterns on the face of the top with coloured chalks so they would make a pretty pattern as it spun.  I could keep mine going for ages.  But I always changed the whip bit.  When you bought them, they usually had a sort of leather thong attached, but I always took it off & replaced it with string.  It whipped much better then - at least I thought so!  Well done John.


Graham Whyte
Where you are: Harrogate

Old School: David Kilpatrick

JEEZE!!!!Do I remember getting the belt... While the Gym teacher was out of the room, I decided to jump onto the folded-down Trampette.. Just at the point where he opened the door to come back in...His Belt was one of those that you never hoped you would get the belt from...It was as stiff as a board....DID IT HURT!!!. The English Teacher ( Miss Finnie ), hers was one of those that you could take all day.


Moira Boyd (Reid)
Where you are: Restalrig

Old School:  Bonnington Road and David Kilpatrick

I loved my Whip and Peerie and Diablo, Still have a Diablo!!! The front of the Dykie was great for peevers, we used to buy half a bar of pipeclay for a penny to draw the beds, had a great lump of marble for a peever. Wont go into detail about how many times we branckled the swings in Pilrig Park (Keelies)

I was top of my Class for Geography for 3 years at DK,  reason: Got a doubler from Mr Ring (polish) on my very first day, the very thought o that belt still
makes me shudder.


Jack Mackenzie
Where you are New Zealand

Old School: Craigentinny/Broughton

I have the dubious distinction of being the first in my class at both primary and secondary to receive the belt.  At primary we were given our very first jotters and told to open them at the back page, but do nothing else.  Of course stumblebum here drew a very faint star on the back cover, not faint enough as it turned out and I was duly punished.

At secondary our first maths lesson was 'profit and loss" with the express instruction 'Write out in full Buying Price and Selling Price, not BP and SP'.  That night doing my homework I was as 'thick as two short planks' forgot the instruction, and when my answer to one of the problems was read out in class, and was wrong, I had to take my work book to the teacher.  Need I say more.  It didn't help that my father assisted me with my homework that night, I never asked him again. 


Cathy Welch
Where you are: Canada

Old School:    DK

Mr Ring yes I remember him well!! had the strap for being late for his class.Grandfather had asked me to drop his bet off at the bookie in Sandport Street on my way to school I forgot and ran all the way back to the bookies.. Don't know what would have been worse the pain from the belt or facing my grandfather had his horse won and no bet........

We had great fun playing beds on the pavement across from the barrels, Sandport Street. We utilized many things to use for our games empty tins polish, cigarette packs cut up into cards to play snap, old nylon stockings to put a ball in and bounce it back and forth saying things like PK CHEWING GUM PENNY A PACKET  FIRST YOU CHEW IT THEN YOU CRACK IT.... WE HAD IMAGINATION AND COULD AMUSE OURSELFS ALL DAY LONG.. MY GRANDKIDS ARE INTO A LOT OF SPORTS BUT.. NEED THEIR ELECTRONIC STUFF CLOSE AT HAND....AH THE GOOD AULD DAY'S


Tam McLuskey
Where you are: Canada

Old School:Leith Walk and Norton Park

I will never forget the time at Norton Park when we got a maths test from Mr.Bell our teacher and when he gave out the results of the test, he said to one of the pupils ,a kid named Ronnie Innes knicknamed "Tarzan" but really looked more like Cheeta, anyway He said to him for your results in the maths test I gave you one out of a hundred, I would have gave you two but you spelt your name wrong.


Frank Ferri
Where you are:  Newhaven, Edinburgh

Old School: St Mary's Star of the Sea Henderson St

Girds… A large metal ring (Loop) with a metal guide looped on to it. If you were lucky enough to have a dad as an engineer to make you one, failing that you used a rung from an old barrel to push about with a stick. We had plenty of these from the cooperage at bottom of my street.

Glass tube Peashooters, sling shots made from a stout "Y" section of a tree branch, bows and arrows made from bamboo cane, metal Bottle tops to make officer pips on the shoulders of your jersey or badges, barrel slats strapped to your feet as skis.

MATCHSTICK GUN, fires used matchsticks, requires two clothes pegs, one of the springs a paper clip and a thick rubber band the kind used around the stopper of an old lemonade bottle.. to complicated to give details of assembly.

Mini Bombs … Take two bolts and one nut, lightly attach one nut to bolt… Scrape tip off of a Bryant & May match, place scrapings into hollow of nut, attach other bolt and lightly tighten until its secure.. throw bolt in the air, when it lands….. BANG! 


John Stewart
Where you are: Livingston

Old Schools:  Dr Bells and Leith Academy

Girds  Frank, what about the Rolls Royce of girds?  A mans bike wheel with the inflated tyre still on it.


Connie Newman
Where you are:Kent 

He was quite violent when young our Frankie, wasn't he!  I bet he was a 5-star general with all those metal bottle tops on his jersey!!


Moira Boyd (Reid)
Where you are: Restalrig

Old School; DK

Frank did ye no have your communicating tin cans and string so ye could surprise yer Victims?


Connie Newman
Where you are  Kent

Old School  Stella Maris

Oh yes, Moira, we girls had those as well,  Another 'toy' I loved was the Kaleidescope (not sure of spelling here & no time to check!)  A cardboard tube thing with lots of wee coloured shiny shapes inside.  You would shake it vigorously & then look through the 'window' end & you would see wonderful patterns.  shake again - another lovely pattern. 

There was another toy - I can't remember what it was called.  But it was a sort of wooden table-tennis bat & had several little wooden chicks all tound the top & there was a string or cord with a weight on it hanging from the underside.  You would wave it round in circles & the chickens would peck the board in turn!  Does anyone know what I mean?


Maureen Logue
Where you are  Ontario Canada

Old School  Leith Academy.

I notice that all the comments on the school belt appears to be by males. I can assure you that when I was at school girls came in for the same treatment. I myself was terrified of it and it hampered my progress at school. We got belted for math and spelling mistakes hence the constant dread of going to school. I remember getting the strap in secondary from the gymn teacher because she did not think my nails were neat and clean enough. Obviously she had never scrubbed tenement stairs among other chores.

As for toys, most of what has been mentioned I played with. Also being a girl we played with paper cut out dress up dolls, but a lot was make believe, Playing shop with jam jars full of sand, earth and what have you and rocks and bit of wood set up in the back greens on a board. Cost nothing but kept us busy and amused. # 4 Graham Street was great because they had a cement back green and backed on to the Water of Leith (the dam).


Bob Moffat
Where you are  Bonnyrigg

Old School N F st/ Leith walk/ Norton park

There is not much more to add about growing up in Leith, everybody has said it all; playing cowboys and indians, doctors and nurses, etc, you never heard anybody saying, Ah'm bored what can we do, we just made up stuff and got on with it. I had the belt at school a few times, ouch! you didnae tell your faither aboot it, cos he would give you a skud across the lug also, Oh happy days.


Margaret Cooper (Gaughan)
here you are Shropshire

Old School St. Mary's / St. Anthony's

Maureen, we also played 'doon the dam'. My mother used to get tired telling me not to go down there it was dangerous. The spare ground over the walls from 4,6,8 Graham St. did it belong to the Boncast?

We used to play tig on what we called 'the boilers' huge steel drums and sheets of steel we chalked on. I caught my ring finger on a bolt while 'dreeping down' once, caught the ring and my mum had to cut it off my finger using my dads' pliers.OUCH !! It didn't stop me and the next day I was again racing over them like a wild thing.

It was a very good thing we had that rare comodity today, imagination....because we had little else. But we were never indoors and had lots of friends to play with, boys and girls, we all played the same games, kick the can, rounders, Robin Hood ( whose turn was it to be Maid Marian and Robin?) cars,bools, skipping. There were no boys games or girls games. We were happy.  Margaret.


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