FOWC with Fandango: Cheap

October Monthly Market 10.09 (10)

I grew up with cheap for the plain and simple reason that we had no money. It was end of World war II, dad came home and got married to mum. Dad was not trained for any special job, we were working class and so he took what he found. His first job was working on the railway. We were living in three rooms above another three rooms where grandad lived. A slum in the East End of London, no bathroom, no running hot water and a toilet that you shared with spiders and other unknown insects in the garden. As I grew up in that house I never really noticed that it was cheap, because I had never known expensive.

Our furniture all had so called “utility” marks which was a black stamp on the wood to show that it was made from recycled wood as that was all you got in the war years and above all it was really cheap. I remember one piece of furniture my parents had to throw into the garbage, because it had woodworm. We had a radio that was held together by string on the dials, a devious method from dad. Mum always said if you have food on the table that is important. Mum could not cook and of course it was the cheap cuts. No, I was not spoiled as a child.

We had a daily market and that was where you bought anything you might need. Mum and dad paid on the weekly when possible. My shoes all came from the co-op shop because she could buy cheques from a guy that called once a week. I would see shoes in other shops, fashionable and modern, but no, mum took me to the co-op to get my shoes for school. They had to be brown for the uniform and co-op shoes in brown were not exactly the last cry. I was then about 12 years old, approaching the modern teenage years, but mum had no idea of what I really wanted. Luckily I had to wear school uniform which you had to buy from a certain shop, so I did not have the problem of having to wearing modern stuff which we could not afford. The uniform was probably good quality, but she soon found that she could pay weekly. I lead a weekly life as a kid.

She would knit me pullovers, but buy only a few ounces of the wool and the rest she would reserve because she could not pay for the complete amount. I must say that I went to grammar school and stayed at school until I was 17 years old which was a privilege for my working class background. Other kids went sent to work at 16 to earn their keep, but I stayed on at my grammar school, took my GCE exams and stayed an extra year for a commercial education – typing, steno, bookkeeping etc. and had my first job in the City of London. I was on a monthly wage paid into a bank account., something unknown at home, as dad was still getting his weekly pay packet in cash.  Mum had then also started to go to work, her dream job she always wanted as a shop assistant, working in Woolworths.

I know what cheap is and today I still compare prices and think about it before I buy it, but I pay cash for what I want. If I cannot, I save until I can. I think that was something I got from growing up on the “never-never” as we called weekly instalment payments.

FOWC with Fandango: Cheap

7 thoughts on “FOWC with Fandango: Cheap

  1. That was the thing about uniforms. They were supposed to make all kids the same rich or poor. In theory a good idea but in practice there were the kids in the new uniforms and all the accessories and the kids in the hand me downs or second hand uniforms from jumble sales or a generic same colour tunic and a home made jumper. Kids notice those things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was the basic idea about uniform. But you still noticed the difference and they were not so healthy. You could not wash the skirts or tunics. One mother did and her daughters skirt was a few shades lighter than the others. Yo always realise the families that had more money than the others

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  2. My parents were desperately poor when I was little, but over the years earned some money. So we sort of rose in value with time. Then I got married and went back to poor. Then I went to Israel and got even more poor, but then I came back and married Garry and we were good — until we retired. Yikes about that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I seemed to have a continuous battle against being poor. When we married there were already two kids and then I had another two. I don’t know how we did it, but things got better when I could work again


  3. That Post brought back many memories of my similar childhood. School books from former pupils who’d passed them on to the nuns to give to the ‘poorer girls’ coming along carefully recovered in brown paper or a bit of fancy wallpaper if you were lucky. My worse memory of my childhood though is of seeing a beggar woman with a baby in her shawl, singing in the street for coppers. My mother sent me out to her with some tea in a sauce bottle, some sugar and biscuits, and a jug of milk for the baby. That incident colours my politics to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember having to cover my school books and mostly did it with left over wallpaper. things have definitely changed over the years: kids with mobile telephones and wearing their Nikes and other named shoes.

      Liked by 1 person

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