Daily Prompt: Fearless


Thought I would start with a nice uplifting photo to show how fearless I am. If the crows gather in the trees surrounding my garden it only means that they want to be my friends I am sure. I am not frightened of crows as long as they stay in the trees, although lately I noticed that they do tend to land in my garden. Are they a threat? Did they mistake my garden for the local cemetery?

Fear was not known so much in the good old days. I read something in Facebook today, where someone wrote “do you remember when you parents could leave you outside in the pram without being worried?”. There were many replies, but it was true. I was born in 1946 in a fairly crowded part of London, but we had our parks and our gardens and yards. I know my mum would deposit me in the pram outside to get the fresh air, although I doubt if the air was very fresh in the industrial part of London, but she was sure it would do me good, especially if the sun was shining. I would be on my own, a baby in a pram, exposed to all sorts of dangers. I could have been kidnapped, although it would not have been a profitable business for the kidnappers as we had nothing valuable. I can imagine rows of prams filled with babies at this time unprotected,  as the men had returned from being soldiers in the war and there was a baby boom. However we remained safe.

As I grew older I would play outside in the street with my friends, probably some of the babies that were left outside in the street in their prams. Mum left the door open, there was no problem. Perhaps I stopped playing outside but I was free to enter the house as I wanted to. Some of my colleagues had working mothers. The door key was tied on a piece of string and suspended inside the letter box. Just put your hand in and pull on the string and you had the key. Of course everyone had access, but this was not a problem. What was there to be worried about. It was a different time and place. I cannot remember big time robberies happening, or parents returning home to find their children gone and the house robbed. It just did not happen and there was nothing to take. Funnily enough our area was well known for criminal gangs: the Kray family being well into business as the biggest threat to the law abiding citizens. However, these gangster came from the same surroundings as we did, and they took their profits in the more respectable parts of London. Now and again they might have shot a rival, but they were all part of the business. I remember a famous case when one of their ex colleagues was killed drinking his beer in a local pub known as “The Blind Beggar” referring to a historical character from the olden days of Bethnal Green. Obviously the police were called in, they arrested the culprit, one of the Kray twins, and the world was again in order. If you mixed with the wrong people, you had to pay the price I suppose.

I was soon a teenager and Saturday nights were the nights when you went into town, for me the West End of London with its dance halls and other entertainments. I was fearless, because I never knew a reason not to be. It was the swinging sixties and it was fun to go out with your friends, meet some talent at the dance hall and not have any worries. OK, perhaps we were naïve, but mum said be home by 11 o’clock and we were boarded the last underground night train somewhere in the middle of London, on our own of course, and arrived at the local railway station, in my case Bethnal Green. I then had a 10 minute walk along the road to my house. I was fearless, had no cares. Perhaps the pubs had turned out and there were a few drunks rolling around on the streets. It was all part of the show. I remember seeing one man punch his fist through a glass pane in a door. I walked on, there were all sorts of strange objects around late at night. There were always people walking along the road, even late in the evening and you never really felt alone.

I think today no mother would leave her baby unattended outside in a pram and the streets are now empty at 11 o’clock in the evening, most people being on their way in a car. Today it is not a matter of having no fear, it is a matter of self preservation and being very careful. I never felt fear when I was younger in London, but I think today I would probably think twice.

Bethnal Green MarketBethnal Green road in the evening

Daily Prompt: Fearless

17 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Fearless

  1. Yes you are so right. I was born in 1987 and I remember it was still safe right up until 1999 is where people started worrying about safety. I think the economic injustices of this world is to blame.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I played so much outside that I wonder why no one kidnapped us. Fear is so prevalent in today’s society that a few crows in the garden are worth cheering about. I doubt any right thinking mother would leave their babies in a pram outside in this day and time. Very somber time indeed.

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  3. I’m not sure the imminent danger to regular folks in neighborhoods is much greater than it ever was. Terrorism is up, but crime isn’t. It’s down. Pretty much everywhere. But all the talk and emphasis on TV and the new about crime and terror and bad guys running wild in the streets has made people really paranoid. Statistically, crime is NOT more prevalent. More babies are not being snatched from their prams. We just are a lot more afraid. Of everything.

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    • I grew up in a “dangerous” neighbourhood. At the end of the 20th century Jack the ripper was killing women and leaving them mutilated on the streets of East London. We had a lot of jewish emigrants. My school was 50% jewish, but there were no problems, we lived together and respected each other. During the second half of the 20th century the demolition and clearing began of the old part of East London. Our house was included. Houses with no running hot water, toilets in the garden and very primitive electric installations. The british government decided to build new blocks of appartments which became silos. Up to that point you knew what you were dealing with. There were almost no break-ins and no physical violence. We had gangsters, but they kept themselves to themselves. If you mixed with them, it was you fault when something happened. Suddenly it was everywhere. Schoo kids being mobbed. I know my freinds and relations that live in London would never leave a window open or a door. My friend has locks on all the windows. I am used to being in the fresh air and airing out my appartment regularly. In London you can forget it today, no-one seems to be safe and the fear that people have is bad. This seems to be modern times, but I don’t know what so super modern about it is. I think we have a reason to be afraid.


    • When I think of the playgrounds we had as kids, derelict houses from the war or ready for demolition. Even the children’s playgrounds we had would not be allowed – too dangerous probably.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think we ever looked our door when I grew up. I wish it would be still like that. We have to many burglaries in the cities, I wouldn’t dare doing that now.

    I live in a nice, older neighborhood but break-ins happen and cars get broken in to. That’s part of our every day life.

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  5. Enjoyed you post. Yes, there are many reasons why things are different. Just to name a few:

    Partly TV shows & movies have made crime more publicized (hence the fear) as well as glamorized (hence the appeal). And people are less willing to suffer silently. Wives walk now when they get beaten up. Children are more street-smart. Years ago (at least in my circles) men would abuse their younger cousins, or friends’ children, and nobody said anything. Today perverts get more resistance from children, resort to kidnapping, and crimes against children are getting more violent.

    Partly it’s all-round respect. Overall, women and children were more respected. A few years ago a 5’2″ female friend collecting for charity at a mall chased down a six-foot-something teen when he stole her collection box. In court his excuse was, “I was turning 18 in a week and wanted to try committing a crime before I got tried in adult court.”

    There was always booze, but the availability of street drugs nowadays— and the subsequent need for drug money — has increased robbery as well as murderous turf wars.

    Prisoners have so many rights and prisons are so full now. Sentences are lighter for violent crimes — at least they sure seem to be around here. We live in a society where criminals can pass themselves off as “victims of economic forces beyond their control” instead of hoodlums.

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    • Yes, things have definitely changed over the years, although it does tend to vary probably according to where you are in the world. Living in the Swiss countryside our criminals more tend to be the drug trafficking in the local town, although the police generally find them. There are also robberies in the larger villas, often by oranised gangs, although it has gone back a bit now. We don’t have so much gang warfare where I live, but in Zürich I know there are some places that I generally avoide when visiting. I lived in Zürich for 2 years about 47 years ago and it was then completely different. I have to be careful saying which groups of people the most criminality is present, but it is definitely not always the Swiss – although they are also not so innocent. Switzerland is a country with about eight million population so it is easier to overlook probably.


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