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Things I Did as a Kid in the 1940s

Updated on May 22, 2017

Confessions of an East End Urchin

1940s, World War 2, Hitler bombing London in the Blitz, food shortages, rationing, poverty — a hard life for kids playing in the streets and on bomb sites.

This is me aged about 7 or 8 standing in the back garden of my house in East Ham, London. I'm standing on the spot where our Anderson Shelter used to be, so this was a few months after the end of World War 2. You can see the freshly replaced earth at my feet where the 3 or 4-foot deep pit had just been filled in, judging by the shovel and rake behind me.

My dad would have done that. Like most adults at that time, he was anxious to forget the war and move on, besides which I had three younger siblings aged 4 and 2 (twins) who needed a place to play, and the old corrugated iron shelter would have been very dangerous for toddlers.

The clothes I was wearing were probably just about all I had. I would have worn them to school, for playing out in the street, and probably Sunday best. The jacket was fashionable at the time, and ideal with its big pockets (as you can see, filled with all the junk boys collect). I was a bit of a "Just William", and a street urchin getting up to all the tricks kids of today are denied.

Updated 19th September 2014

1940s East End Kids
1940s East End Kids

East End Street Kids 1940s

I've no idea who the kids in this picture are, but they look just like the ones I went to school with, lived next door to, and "played in the street" with.

Playing in the street in those days did not just mean on the drive or the pavement outside the house as it might today. It meant literally anywhere within about a mile of home. My friends and I played and wandered wherever the fancy took us, from morning to dusk and sometimes after dark. We only came back if we were hungry or thirsty or had gotten hurt, and not always then!

What a fantastic playground the East End of London was in those days. There were bomb sites to investigate and climb over. We would search for "treasure", build camps and chuck stones and half-bricks at each other. There was the rubber dump which seemed to stretch forever, where old tyres from cars, lorries, tractors and even aircraft were piled up ready to be climbed over and crawled inside. There was the "dump", a vast area containing industrial slag heaps and discarded rubbish, where you could slide down the side of an enormous hill of black dust on a makeshift sled, or climb inside the rusting carcass of an abandoned vehicle.

There were rudimentary parks with small lakes and rivers where you could paddle, or catch "sticklebacks", or just chuck things in. There were trees, lamp-posts, walls that could be climbed. There were slow-moving horse-drawn delivery vehicles that you could run after and hang off the back of until the driver shouted and shook his whip at you. And finally, there was the railway at the top of my road where you could stand on the bridge and get covered in soot as a steam train passed underneath. When you got fed up with that, you could climb over the wall and play on the heaps of coal stored at the side of the tracks.

No wonder we were always filthy!!

1940s after WW2 - Kids playing on bombsites
1940s after WW2 - Kids playing on bombsites

Blitz Bomb Sites Everywhere: Kids' Paradise!

There were bomb sites all around us in East Ham in the 1940s. Unsafe buildings had been demolished and cleared of 90% of the rubble, but there was still enough left to keep us kids occupied day in day out.

Some sites, where several houses had been hit, were as big as half a football pitch, where gardens were included. Some had exposed cellars. They were great fun. I don't think we ever thought that these had once been people's homes or that the occupants had been killed. To us, they were just a glorious playground.

Grass and weeds had begun to take over and added to the jungle effect. We played "Cowboys and Indians" and galloped around re-enacting the latest films we had seen. We pointed two fingers at each other to simulate our six-guns and made "Peeoung!" noises supposed to be bullets ricocheting off rocks. When we shouted, "You're dead!", the other boy had to fall to the ground clutching his heart just like the "baddies" in the pictures.

Football in the Street

If there were enough kids out in the street, you could play football. There were no parked cars. Nobody in our street had one. Occasionally a delivery vehicle would come through but that only happened once or twice a day. So we would mark out goals in the middle of the road with our coats.

We all wanted to be Stanley Matthews, the great Stoke and Blackpool football hero, and arguments would break out. "I want to be him!" "You were him last time! It's my turn!" Someone else would chip in, "No it ain't! You said I could be 'im next time!"...

Arguments over, we were ALL Stanley Matthews. We'd start kicking a tatty old football about and doing lots of shouting. That's if somebody had a real football. More often than not, we made do with anything that was kickable, including tin cans or even somebody's school cap!

If a delivery van or cart came along, they would stop while we gathered up the "goals" before passing through. The drivers didn't seem to mind. Once they'd gone we carried on with our game.

Games We Played in the Gutter

The gutter on each side of all urban roads was defined by the kerb, a line of long, heavy granite stones about six inches high. The kerb signified the edge of the pavement. The gutter served to collect water when it rained and channel it along to the drains where it dispersed into the sewer pipes under the road. The gutter also made an ideal seat for 8-10 year olds to sit by the side of the road and play. The gutter, when dry, was also the perfect place to play marbles, as long as you kept well clear of the drain hole grills. The game of marbles was simple enough. One boy would roll one of his glass marbles a few feet along the gutter. The next boy would roll one of his to try to hit the first one. If he managed to hit it, the first marble became his. Then he would roll out a marble. This simple game could go on until one boy either lost all his marbles or got called in for his dinner. Marbles were eminently collectable, like priceless jewels. No two seemed to look alike. There were two basic sizes; ordinary and "kinger", which were about twice the diameter, rarer and obviously more valuable.

When we got fed up with marbles, or had lost them all, there was another distraction; rolling up tar balls.

Every so often, the road would be resurfaced. The road-menders would spray hot tar all over the road and spread grey stone chippings to cover the tar. When the tar cooled with the chippings firmly embedded in it, it became a good hard surface. After this, on a really hot day, any exposed tar at the edge would begin to melt again and run like candle wax into the gutter. We could sit with our feet in the gutter picking up tar and rolling it into shapes like Plasticine. It also had the consistency of chewing gum so I'm sure we tried licking it to see what it tasted like. 'Orrible! I imagine!!


There were very few cars about in those days just after the War. Certainly nobody living in our street owned one and probably never thought they ever would. If a car ever appeared parked up the road somewhere, it was a cause to run indoors and report the fact to Mum. She would wipe her hands on her apron and come to the door to look, to see whose house it was, and to speculate who the car belonged to. "Probably the doctor", she'd say, and go back inside to carry on with her baking or washing. Us kids would probably go up the street and hang about near the car, being nosey and wanting to see who came out of the house.

Because cars were a comparitive rarity, we sometimes sat in the gutter at the top of our street, "collecting car numbers", that is, writing down in an exercise book the registration number of every vehicle that passed . It was the most pointless activity ever, but some numbers seemed to have some special significance, for instance if the letters made an actual word. I expect we were constantly hoping to record something like "BUM 999" to be the envy of our friends!


Another favourite game was "Five Stones" sometimes known as "Jacks". You could buy a set of five hardened clay blocks about 1.5cm square with some corrugated sides. Or, if you had some extra cash, you could get a posh set of metal 3-dimensional star shapes which were easier to catch and pick up. If you had no money at all, you could find 5 pebbles in your garden or someone else's and make do.

I forget all the rules, but the game consisted of throwing the five stones up and catching them on the back of your hand. Depending on how many you caught, you then proceeded to throw one jack in the air and pick up one of the others before catching the first. That was "Onesies". On the next throw, you had to pick up two of the others, "Twosies", and so on.

A game that improved our dexterity and kept us occupied sitting in the gutter for hours.

1940s Kids used to hang on the coalman's cart
1940s Kids used to hang on the coalman's cart

Hanging on the Back of the Coalman's Cart

Every house was heated by coal fires where I lived in the 1940s. Coal was delivered in hundredweight sacks round the streets by coalmen driving horse drawn carts.

Whenever one of these rumbled by, a few of us kids would creep up behind it, hang on at the back, and try to see how far we could get before the coalman spotted us and chased us away. We were always too quick for him and ran off to a safe distance laughing and boasting about who held on longest.

When the coalman called at our house, Mum would pay him a few shillings for one or two bags, or whatever she could afford, and then he would get the bags off the cart and tip the contents down our coal-hole into our cellar.

Every house in our street had a cellar. The coal-hole was a round hole in the tiled path near each front door. It was about 12 inches across and had a simple lift-up cast iron cover. Underneath was a short chute down to the pile of coal. When we needed coal for the fire, Dad would go down the cellar steps from under the stairs inside the house with a bucket and shovel to get it from the pile. As you could imagine, the cellar was filthy with coal dust. That didn't stop me sometimes opening the coal-hole from outside to squeeze through and drop down the chute into the cellar if I needed to sneak into the house!

1940s Kids Hobbies

Collecting Old Fag Packets - mostly found in the gutter.

Every kid I knew collected cigarette packets. It was easy and cost nothing. In those days there were no litter bins on the streets. However, Londoners then were strangely more particular about litter than now, and never simply threw it on the pavement. Sweet bags, chip bags, and other assorted wrapping papers were screwed up tightly and dropped carefully in the gutter at the side of the road along with cigarette ends and used matches. This was considered good manners and also helped the army of road sweepers who kept the gutters clean.

Empty fag packets and match boxes were usually discarded without crushing and provided a treasure trove for schoolboy collectors.

All boys of my age just after the war used to "collect things". The list was endless. You name it - we collected it!

One of my favourites was my collection of fag packets. Most of the adults in my family smoked as the practice was widely considered not only fashionable but positively beneficial! Each adult had their own favoured brand so my collection was easy to start, first at home and then on visits to grandparents and aunts and uncles.

Once a collection got going and was safely stored in an old shoebox, we began to scour the gutters everywhere we went for more specimens. Some brands of cigarette were more common, some were less usual and a few were extremely rare. To discover, for instance, an empty packet of "Passing Clouds" was a triumph. If two or more boys spotted it at the same time, a fight ensued. To the winner the spoils!!

Make Do and Mend - 1940s Fags

I often walked through the streets with an aunt who was a heavy smoker. She was always on the lookout for "dog-ends", discarded cigarette ends, which she could use to make roll-ups.

My aunt wasn't poor, just frugal. She would suddenly stop and say, "Look, Robert, there's a big one!" I would pick it up out of the detritus in the gutter at the edge of the road and she would pop it into a tin for later.

We Made our Own Toys!

... sometimes with a bit of help from grownups.

We were always making bows and arrows, particularly after seeing a Cowboys and Indians film at Saturday morning pictures. For a few coppers (old pennies) out of our meagre pocket money, we could go to the "oil shop" on the corner of our road and buy a bamboo bean pole and a few pea-sticks. Somehow we would beg, borrow or scrounge a length of string and then we had everything we needed. You had to tie the string to one end of the beanpole, bend the pole a bit and tie on the other end. This sometimes required Dad's help to get the string taut enough. Then we were off, with parents' cries of, "Be careful with that thing! Don't come crying to me if you shoot some kid's eye out!" ringing in our ears.

Anything was a legitimate target. Trees, cats, dogs, other kids ...

We roamed the streets with these lethal weapons, re-enacting Custer's Last Stand or Geronimo raiding the US Cavalry's Fort. Despite our parents' warnings nobody ever seemed to get hurt, though we were told off a lot and often got chased out of someone's front garden when we were trying to hide from whoever was firing back at us.

Sometimes we shot arrows up into the air to see how high they would go. Sometimes they got lodged in trees or landed over a high fence in someone's back garden. Eventually we lost them all and that was the game over. We couldn't afford more pea-sticks!

We made lots of other toys, of course. We would hunt around for a small tree with cleft branches, from which to make a catapult. We would whittle a "Y" shape with our penknives. Every boy carried a penknife! Then it was back to the "oil shop" for a yard of rubber (they sold some strange things!) and a hunt for an old piece of leather for the sling. The whole thing was assembled by attaching the rubber to the cleft stick by binding it with thin twine, then we went off again on the rampage.

Ammunition was plentiful. Loose chippings left in the gutter by road menders, bits of rubble on bomb sites, stones from anybody's garden. We filled our pockets. The best fun was to put an old milk bottle or jam jar on a wall and try to smash it!

Guy Fawkes Night

Time for a bonfire and fireworks!

For a good month before November 5th, Guy Fawkes night, all the kids were excitedly preparing. Fireworks had to be bought. We had to get some money from somewhere. Pocket money was meagre, Mum and Dad were always hard up, so we had to do our bit. Lots of kids made a "Guy".

A "Guy" was an effigy of Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up Parliament in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Quality varied from a reasonable likeness made from old clothes stuffed with straw, with arms, legs, and a head with a shop-bought mask, to a miserable attempt consisting of a single old torn sack filled with crumpled newspaper with a pencil-drawn face on a sheet of paper pinned at the top. My guy was always a good one because I got enthusiastic help from my Aunt Daisy who always managed to come up with some old clothes.

The purpose of the guy was twofold; primarily to burn on top of the bonfire on fireworks night, but also to show to passers-by to beg money for fireworks! For some weeks before the big day, kids would cart their guy up to the high road, prop it up near the station or a bus stop and blatantly ask people for money. "Penny for the guy, Mister?", "Penny for the guy, Missus?" People were actually quite generous, despite the hard times everybody was going through.

Of course, having collected some money, we then couldn't wait to buy fireworks ...

1940s Fireworks

A very different culture

Just after World War 2, fireworks once more appeared in shops and the Guy Fawkes bonfire tradition was revived. Fireworks in the late 1940s were nothing like they are today. They were smaller, less powerful, and designed for home use. There were hardly any public displays.

Shops put fireworks out on the counter for sale in boxed sets or loose. There were no safety precautions and anyone could touch them to sort out a selection. Any small child tall enough to reach could pick out and buy fireworks even if they came into the shop unaccompanied.

From the age of about seven my chums and I would take some of the money we earned from our "guys" and go to the corner shop to buy fireworks. For a few pence, we could each get a handful of penny bangers and a box of matches from the smiling shopkeeper who saw no wrong in obliging us. Then we would ride round the streets "no hands", lighting bangers and chucking them at each other for fun. The occasional burnt hand didn't seem to put us off. Sooner or later some bright spark would suggest putting a lighted banger into a milk bottle or jam jar to see what would happen. Fortunately we all had the sense to retire to a safe distance for the resulting explosion!

When Guy Fawkes night eventually came, Dad would build a small bonfire in our tiny back garden, fix the guy on top, and set it alight. As poor old Guy went up in smoke, he would produce a small box of assorted fireworks and proceed to light them one by one. There were Roman Candles, Rockets fired out of a milk bottle, Catherine Wheels that had to be nailed to the fence, Chinese Crackers that jumped all over the floor, and various kinds that could be held in the hand. Looking back now, they were all a bit naff but my brothers and sister and I watched with joy and cries of "Ooooh! ... Aaaah!"

In the darkness, we could see similar little displays going on in back gardens all around us. In fact, this was happening all over the city. The London Smog was always particularly bad in the week around Guy Fawkes Night!

Singing Christmas Carols

Another chance to earn a few pennies

As Christmas approaches in 2011, I am reminded of another activity we kids loved to do in the 1940s: carol singing. I would wander the streets far and wide with a couple of friends, all under 10 years old, out after dark, dressed as warmly as possible, bearing in mind we only wore short trousers, singing Christmas carols on people's doorsteps.

We must have looked pathetic! Bare knees turning blue, socks pulled up as far as they would go, tightly wound scarves with jacket collars up, woolen gloves full of holes and covered in snot, all topped off with knitted balaclavas under our school caps. What a sight! But we didn't care. We knew we would pocket a few pence extra pocket money.

Mind you, unlike today's kids, we did a proper job. We knew all the best carols by heart, at least a few verses, and sang them with gusto. We would pick a doorstep where we could see a light on inside the house, meaning someone was in. One of us would count us in and we would sing at least three carols right through. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "Silent Night, Holy Night", "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", etc, from our list of favourites. Then we would knock at the door. Very often the family inside would have been sitting listening to us and when we finally knocked they would open the door, smile and thank us, and offer us a penny or two. Sometimes they would ask us to sing one of their own favourites and stand in the doorway while we obliged. Then they might clap and wave us off to our next "gig".

So much Christmas spirit in those days. We were all poor but lived in friendly communities and made the best of what we had.

By way of contrast, last Christmas, I answered a knock at my door to find three gangly teenagers looking grimly at me. They waited until I appeared then in a bored monotone mumbled, "Wish you Mer Chrisma, wish you Mer Chrisma, wish you Mer Chrisma 'n' Hap New Year!". They then thrust their open palms at me expectantly.

"What was that?" I asked.

"Carol singing", grunted one.

"Do you actually know any carols?" I inquired.

"Ugh?" They stared vacantly at me.

I suggested they go away and learn some real traditional carols and come back and sing them for me, in which case I might give them something. Naturally I never saw them again! Bah! Humbug!!

Kids' Street Games

I came across this old picture on Wikipedia. It's a picture of some kids playing leapfrog in a street in Harlem probably in the 1930s. It reminded me of some of the games we played in the street and the school playground in the UK just after WW2. I remember leapfrog but I'd forgotten playing it in a line where each kid leaped over all the others and then bent over at the front for the next kid's turn. This way the line would move steadily along the road. Sometimes we did this on the way to school.

Another playground game was "Bung the Barrel". I think this involved a line of 4 or 5 boys bent double in a line coming out from a wall. Each boy had to hold firmly on to the boy in front. The other boys would run up in turn and leapfrog as far as they could up the line and then shuffle their way to the front. More boys would pile on until the weight got too much and we all collapsed in a heap laughing our heads off.

Slightly more sedate games were: "It" (possibly called Tag now) where one child was chosen to be "it" and had to chase all the others round the playground until they caught and touched someone else, then that kid became "it" and so it went on. Another was Hopscotch, where a lump of chalk, probably from the ground on a bomb site, was used to mark out numbered squares on the surface of the playground or pavement. There were various ways you could hop and jump up and down this matrix while singing out "rhymes". It was mostly girls who played Hopscotch, as it was with skipping with a rope. Boys' only use for a rope was playing high-jump, tying to a lamppost for a swing, or tying some kid you didn't like to a tree and leaving him there to be rescued by an angry teacher or parent.

Conkers - Annual Kid's Street Tournament

In the Autumn, between the summer holidays and Bonfire night, came the Conker Season. The horse chestnut trees began to shed their seed pods, and as they hit the ground the green spiky husks would split open revealing the large shiny brown nuts called "conkers". As soon as the conkers began to fall we started to collect them, filling our pockets with the biggest ones we could find. This sometimes involved an element of trespass if a good tree was found on private land. Occasionally we would hurl objects up into the tree to dislodge a particularly fine example which was not quite ready to fall of its own accord.

With pockets bulging, we would gleefully head for home to prepare our conkers for battle. This would involve "borrowing" Mum's best meat skewer to make a hole through the nut to thread it onto a piece of string or old boot lace securing it with a large knot on the other side. This had to be done carefully. I knew boys, including my own brother, who without thinking, skewered their own hands. We usually ignored the stories about making conkers extra hard by soaking them in vinegar or baking them in the oven. We were too impatient to get out into the street to play the game.

The game of Conkers simply involved two players taking it in turns to try to hit the other's conker and smash it to smithereens! One boy would dangle his conker on its string at about chest height. The other would line up his own conker with the string taut and would get one attempt to hit and damage the other. Sometimes the attacker would miss altogether and accuse the holder of moving. Arguments and fights often broke out. If a conker managed to smash another off its string, it became a "one-er" then a "two-er" and eventually a "king-er". Much bragging and boasting and psyching out went on! Plus there were plenty of bruises when flying conkers missed their target and made contact with one of the players!!

Rhubarb and Roses

Sorry if you are just having your breakfast!

There was lots of this stuff around in the 1940s. Horse manure! After the war, there were still many horse-drawn delivery vehicles on the streets of London. Bread, milk, coal, and various other commodities were brought to our doors by horse and cart. And, of course, all the horses occasionally made their own personal delivery!

You might think all the roads were awash with horse droppings, but this was not actually the case. Manure was a valuable fertilizer and, being free to pick up from the road, was much sought after by gardeners. That is, everybody with a couple of square feet of dirt in their backyard where they could grow rhubarb, spuds, cabbage, or even roses. We had some lovely rhubarb. Wonderful stuff for "afters" (dessert) with runny custard, and so easy to grow. It just came up every year and grew thick and juicy as long as you gave it a generous helping of "horse's doofers" every so often.

If someone came into the house, they might say, "Quick! A horse has just done a load at the top of the street. Go and pick it up!" That was my brother, Pete's job. Only about six years old, he would grab a bucket and the coal shovel by the fire, and run up the street and collect the hot steaming pile before anyone else got it. He would bring it back, grinning from ear to ear, and proudly show us all his "treasure!"

Happy Christmas!

We didn't have much, but we made the best of it.

Our 1940s Holiday consisted of:

Christmas Eve - Go to bed with an empty pillowcase at the foot ready for all the hoped for presents which Santa was going to bring.

Christmas Morning - Wake up at "silly o'clock" and rummage around in the dark to find "Santa" had been! Finally persuade Mum and Dad to get up so you could open your presents. Conceal disappointment at finding the Train Set had not come again this year. "Maybe next year", Mum would say as you tried on your new pullover, scarf, gloves etc. Read Beano and Dandy albums while Mum cooked dinner.

Christmas Dinner - (Eaten at lunchtime) Usually Dad had managed to find a chicken. I was almost a man before I ever tasted turkey. Chicken was a great treat anyway. Christmas was the only time we ever had it. Throughout the year, we ate spam, corned beef, luncheon meat, powdered egg, and occasionally a bit of roast beef if we went to my aunt's for Sunday dinner.

My aunt and uncle usually joined us for Christmas dinner. There was no wine for the grown-ups. People like us didn't drink wine. Dad would produce a few small cans of Pale or Brown Ale for the men. The women would have a tiny glass of cheap Sherry. Us kids would have lemonade. We all tucked in, smiling and licking our lips. Everyone cleared their plates; we were always hungry. This is a war-time habit I have followed all my life.

After dinner, Dad would say to my uncle in his Scottish brogue, "D'you fancy a wee dram, Pat?" He would open a quarter bottle of Scotch Whiskey and pour them each a glass the size of a small thimble. They would sit back grinning at each other knowingly, savouring the taste of the precious liquid and making it last about half an hour.

Later we would all have tea and cake and play card games like "Beat Your Neighbour Out Of Doors" for match sticks. My aunt always brought a homemade fishing game where we took it in turns to fish an extra little present, wrapped in newspaper, out of a box using a stick with string and a hook on the end.

We would end up with a sing-song. We knew all the words to all the old war-time music hall songs like "Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner" and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary". Then it was bedtime. We'd had a great time, but we knew that was it all over for another year. Boxing day was just another day.

History is best kept alive by passing down stories of what things were like for ordinary people 50, 60, 70, 80 or more years ago.

I'd love to hear your stories. Got any childhood memories of the 40s, 50s, 60s?

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    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 9 days ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      That was an enjoyable read, Bob. You had no shortage of fun things to do as a child. I grew up on a farm in Indiana and had plenty of trouble to get into.

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      Barney Courtenay 6 weeks ago

      This too was my childhood. Your words described perfectly the way it was. You have taken me back to when happiness came naturally!

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      richard terence cleverley 19 months ago

      Bung The Barrel, it was played by usually about 6 to 8 players.

      exactly as you explained, but with one difference at my school.

      ie, instead of leaning against a wall, we would have a boy at the front supporting the boys bent over, who was called the POST.

      the object was to jump and try to knock the post over so that there team would allowing your team to have a second jump.

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      Peta 2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experiences!

      I'm doing some research on the 1940s for our Easter Production (the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). It's so fascinating learning about how people lived during and after the WW. I was just discussing with a friend how if we were to have a WW3 now that our world would look so different!!! Anyway, thanks for sharing - it's definitely an eye opener for this 1989 baby :)

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      jeremy-johnsongood 3 years ago


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      harrisarshad76 4 years ago

      very great full idea...

      Thanks for sharing

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      rattie lm 4 years ago

      Oh my goodness Bob this is such a terrific lens. I loved it.

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      Titia Geertman 4 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Came back with my wings on now. Blessed.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I greatly appreciate this account of your childhood during the Blitz. I am in the midst of working on a story game called "Urchin" where the players play the role of street kids in small family gangs which is about the ideals of family and friendship and helping one another as they try to survive the bombings and get reunited with missing family or find new homes in the case of orphans and this gives me a great perspective for keeping it more lighthearted and less grim, which is my intent with the final product.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I really enjoyed these articles. They helped me understand what life was like in London during the WW2. It also explains the book (Goodnight Mister Tom, I advise you to read it) quite well, and what Willie's mom forbid him to do. It is quite interesting to see how the London kids made the best of their circumstances. They used what the war destroyed to make their toys, they played at bomb sites, and continued with their cheerful games. I am sure they helped the grown-ups to look at life a little more positively with their innocent, yet understanding and cheerful attitudes. They were truly a blessing to London during WW2. xxx Annika

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      Came back to check if my blessing took. Enjoyed your article.

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      BobBlackUK 4 years ago

      @favored: It has now. Thanks for that.

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      Thrinsdream 5 years ago

      What a superb article, what makes me REALLY smile is all the games, football anywhere, leapfrogging, climbing trees even catching sticklebacks in the pond are all what my 13 year daughter is still doing!! I love it! She even said the other day she was so happy we moved to the countryside as she could stay being a child longer!!!! Thank you for my little jaunt into your life, it was wonderfully interesting. With thanks and appreciation. Cathi x

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      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @LaraineRoses: Thank you so much for all your kind comments.

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      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      I just realized that although I read this beautiful lens months ago .. and enjoyed it, I had forgotten to favor it with a blessing! I am here now to rectify that. ~*Angel Blessed*~ and congratulations on your purple star!

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      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @Rankography: Thanks for the comment and congratulations on your promotion.

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      Rankography 5 years ago

      I recently got my wings and wanted to swing back by your lens to Bless it. You put so much work into it and it was a very enjoyable read.

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      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      What a truly innocent and innovative childhood. I loved reading your story. Blessings.

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      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      You brought back a lot of memories. Even though I'm five years younger and grew up in Chicago, we have a lot in common. Life was very simple then.

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      Forrest McKinnis 5 years ago from West Richland

      This is one of the coolest topics for a lens I have come across. Its even more awesome, when I sit down and think about how I could use the historical snapshot of the era in my classroom. Thanks for sharing this one!

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      allenwebstarme 5 years ago

      Wow, feeling great to know about your childhood and glad to meet you. Super like!

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      Namymartyn 5 years ago

      nice lens created by you really appreciable..........

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      wonderful read. thanks for sharing your interesting childhood memories. ~blessed~

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 5 years ago

      I love this lense. A fascinating insight into your childhood and amazing presentation. Thank you.

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      I don't know how I missed this lens the last time I visited, but it's wonderful! I really enjoyed learning about your childhood in the '40' I wish life was still so simple! I have always tried to encourage my kids to just use their imaginations and create their own games. I limit how many flashy, plastic, noisy toys we have in the house and I make sure they have lots of simple games, puzzles, wooden blocks and toys, books, music and coloring books...and of course, they play outside a lot. We did finally get a Wii system this year, but we only play it a couple times a week as a family...and we only have educational games or games that encourage physical activity.

      Awesome lens...I really enjoyed this! And I love that you have so many wonderful memories from your childhood! :)

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 5 years ago

      So fascinating to learn about your childhood. It is nice to slow down and remember how life used to be. The joy of being grateful for what you had and not discontented over what you lack. I love your description of Christmas.

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      JohnWarley 5 years ago

      A very interesting reminder of an era that continues to fascinate. We too played football, but you wouldn't have recognized ours and we wouldn't have had a clue about yours. A memory of the early 50s, once TV became common, is waiting on Saturday morning for our favorite western heroes -- Roy, Gene, Hopalong, Cisco Kid. Then we'd strap on our six-shooters and argue about who got to be the hero and who had to be the sidekick, and there was always a sidekick to ask the questions that made the hero look like a true hero.

      Great Lens. Good work.

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      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for that excellent explanation, Richard. I'd forgotten some of the finer points of the game. It's me age, you know!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Here are the rules for "5 stones" when we were kids playing in the late 40's and early 1950s.Five Stones

      It is similar to our Jacks game.

      - we called it 5-stones and it was played with stones bought from a shop - these stones were cubes of varying colours - like dice, but made of stone with corrugated ridges, not to be confused with "Jacks". I never actually played jacks but 5-stones was similar; this is how it was played :-

      It started like jacks with

      Ones - tossing one stone in the air and picking up 1 stone

      Twos - picking up 2 stones

      Threes - picking up 3 stones

      Fours - picking up 4 stones

      Creeps - one stone was placed on the back of the hand, the others picked up between the fingers and then the 1 stone tossed in the air, caught in the palm of the hand and then the remaining 4 gathered into the palm - not as easy as it sounds)

      Cracks - the stone being caught had to crack against the stone picked up.

      No cracks - the reverse of cracks in that the stones couldn't make a noise as one was caught.

      Little titch - the stones that had been picked up were retained in the palm as the subsequent stones were picked up - that meant that finally 3 stones were in the palm as 1 was tossed in the air to be caught and the 5th picked up from the ground.

      Big titch - the stones that had been picked up were tossed in the air as the subsequent stones were picked up - that meant that finally 4 stones were tossed in the air to be caught as the 5th was picked up.

      I hope this may be of interest to you; a further point of interest is that my parents had played the same game in their childhood - that would have been back in the 1920s and much earlier.

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      DebtHarassmentLawyer 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experiences in London during the war.

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      DebtHarassmentLawyer 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experiences in London during the war.

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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      Very good outline for a good book. I can identify with much of it although we were an ocean apart.

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      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      I already liked your lens before - now coming back to congratulate you for making the front page! :)

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      nikyweber 5 years ago

      awesome lens! Squidlike!

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      knitter82 5 years ago

      I'm a child of the 80s but my grandparents have always told us stories about growing up in the 30s and 40s. I've always loved hearing their stories and those of others.

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      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      What a fabulous page! Brings back tons of memories. I grew up in the fifties in the US and, like you, we neighborhood children played outside year round from sunup to sundown, except when we had to be in school or church. We traipsed all over the place, and played a lot of the games you mention.

      I'd heard of Guy Fawkes day, but never looked it up. What a story! He sure found a way to immortalize his name. Angel blessed.

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      TheHealthCabin 5 years ago

      I love this lens, it reminded of all the stories my Nan used to tell us. Thank you for reviving my memorys.

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      opheliakeith lm 5 years ago

      I love this lens. Such a great reminder that no matter the circumstances, children will find a way to be children.

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      Nirmal Shah 5 years ago from India

      After reading this lens it makes me think that lack of technology was better than it's excess now a days. Fabulous lens.

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      victoriuh 5 years ago

      This reminded me so much of my father and uncles stories of when they were growing up. Thank you for sharing! As for me, I grew up in the late seventies/early eighties. Even then, I had a lot more freedom than kids do today. A lot more playing outside too.

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      grnidlady 5 years ago

      what a wonderful nostalgic lens!

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      writerkath 5 years ago

      Hi Bob! I am so glad I found this lens! Firstly, congratulations on your "top 100" status... Absolutely and incredibly well-deserved!

      I thank you so much for this glimpse into life as it truly was after the war... Your stories are mesmerizing, and I can almost "feel" how it may have been. You are a wonderful, wonderful, story teller. Of course, the fact that it comes from real life helps! :) The 1940s were a little before my time - but, I've got 1960s childhood memories. Perhaps I'll also make a lens!

      However, my own upbringing is probably a lot more boring than yours! :) Thank you, again, for sharing your life with us. Here's a little angel dust to add to what must undoubtedly be quite a pile by now! :) *Blessed* :) Kath

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      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      Happy New Year! Congratulations on your lens being chosen as a top 100 Community Favorite for 2011!

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      poutine 5 years ago

      I love stories from the 40's.

      Very well presented.

    • sherridan profile image

      sherridan 5 years ago

      Fantastic, what fun everyone had with no money or technology!

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      Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I remember when I was as young as six, my brother and I were allowed to roam alone around Southend (an English seaside resort) and we were allowed to do anything we liked provided we didn't accept sweets from strangers, or go into public lavatories. I thought it was because the sweets might be poisoned and the toilets were germy. Nobody mentioned accepting money from strangers, so we used to go begging, and use the money on fair rides and slot machines, My parents (respectable, middle class) would have been horrified!

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      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      It sounds like your childhood was much like mine, although we lived across the world from each other. Our times must be inconceivable to our grandchildren. congrats!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      It sounds like your childhood was much like mine, although we lived across the world from each other. Our times must be inconceivable to our grandchildren. congrats!

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      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      Enjoyed your stories recounting your childhood memories ... very nicely done. Congratulations on being one of the final 100 favorite Squidoo lenses of 2011!

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      Pip Gerard 5 years ago

      I can very much see why you're proud of this lense and chose it as your best! It's fabulous. enjoyed it very much. thank you

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      MCB2011 5 years ago

      I love this, very uplifting. It's so nice to turn memories into nice stories. Thank you. Congratulations!

    • Winter52 LM profile image

      Winter52 LM 5 years ago

      My in laws would have been living in that time and they too had some amazing stories. You shared a lot that I had never heard... fascinating. I was born in the 50s and can't think of anything that can compare, but I do remember that we played outside A LOT compared to kids these days! Definitely a worthy lens! :)

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Back to this great lens to congratulate you on being in the Top 100 Community Favorites.

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      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      My husband was born in 1939 and lived in Belgrade during the war before his family escaped finally. He recalls dodging American bombs, finding grenades, and some of the other things you mention. I came along when the war was almost over and lived a sheltered life in the US. But we played some of the same games and also had the run of the neighborhood, running through each other's back yards and walking on the block fences some people had between yards. We played tag and hide and go seek, marbles, and jacks, but we had store-bought jacks with bouncing balls like the ones being sold today. There was certainly a lot more freedom for kids to run and play in those days and our parents didn't need to hover and our government didn't feel it had to protect children from every single things that could hurt them with regulations that today have even caused the much loved merry-go-round to be banned from most playgrounds. Thanks for sharing. Hope you make the top 11.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @BobBlackUK: Ah! But did you go dustbin raiding?

      We did, amazing what people chucked away even then, i remember getting a tin with oval cigarette cards in & a load of books all were full with sets; they would be worth a fortune today.

      Old newspapers that we sorted & sold to the fish &chip shops, jam jars, well they were worth a halfpenny for 2 x 1lb jars & 1d each for 2 lb jars.

      We must have done well out of it because it went on for a long time, none of the kids around our way were evacuated but we knew how to âturn a pennyâ

      Thinking back we must have looked like a load of brigands, no school uniform ( i went to Raynham Rd school in Edmonton) none of this health & safety or pc rubbish then.

      Very nice chatting Bob, thanks for the site & the memories , âBillâ

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      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks Bill, I'd forgotten about "grottos". Some kids made little shrines on the pavement using old broken toys, bits of stone, bottles, wild flowers etc., they had gathered, and cheekily asked passers-by for money for their efforts. Nice to hear from you.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a great site, Brought back many memories, like playing in a bombed out house at the top of our road, we managed to get a piano over to the edge of the damaged floor the pushed it over the edge, i can still remember the sound it made as it hit the deck, or the swopping of comics & shrapnel, use to take ages, real bartering took place.

      Getting theâ tarry blocksâ when the high road got flooded, or going to the gas works on a Saturday morning with the pram to get the coke ration &while mum was getting her ration picking up with a frenzy that had to be seen to be believed the bits of coke on the floor.

      And what about the peanut butter & the chocolate powder ration, a dollop of peanut butter on a bit of brown paper, us kids could have that but we had to take the chocolate powder home.

      We used to be out all day, mainly over the dump at Picketts lock hunting rats with catapults or at Tottenham marshes, that was the best you could get paper items of all sorts, leather which we made belts & âDavy Crockettâ hats, but you had to be careful of the stuff the carbon copy paper factory, otherwise you would end up all blue& it wouldnât come off without a really good washing.

      This of course was just after the war, making a grotto on a Friday night waiting for the factory workers to come out; we always got enough for some scratchingâs at the fish shop.

      But the best was to find a new empty packet of boars head tobacco, carefully fill it up with horse dung fold it all back up &put it outside the pub , somebody always picked it up thinking they had struck lucky. We used to kill ourselves with laughing.

      Ho! So much more is coming back...........thanks for reminding me, maybe if these louts we have roaming about today had a few bombs on them & very little grub they would be a bit different.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I learned so much from reading this lens. I think you covered so much...about the culture. Love the photos also. Great job!!!

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      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      Wow I was born in the 60s in the States and I lived in classic suburbia. Incredible how even in the 40s there were still horse drawn vehicles in even the most industrialized cities (then again it was right after a major war). Leapfrog was an actual game! It must've been incredible seeing the bomb sites still there after the war ended. I hear that there's still unexploded bombs in Europe dating back to WW2 found all the time.

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      Bob 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Wow! Great lens... very good reading and I look forward to reading more from you. I remember playing marbles as a kid (not as long ago as in your case) but I think kids today are missing out so much in personal interaction that they can't get playing video games. I remember as a kid we were always taking some "junk" and building something creative to play with.

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      TheGoodHut 5 years ago

      My mom was born in 1940 and she also grew up outdoors: climbing trees and brick walls, feeding the chickens, riding around on her metal skates, and playing "phone" by connecting 2 tin cans with string she probably borrowed from the barn.

      Your stories are so richly told it reminds me of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory".

      A priceless lens!

    • PTurner56 profile image

      PTurner56 5 years ago

      The 40s was such a unique time in history and still inspires books and movies today. Mom was in High School in California and told me stories about "Black-outs" which would prevent the Japs from spotting anything at night. Her saddest story was about the day all the Japanese kids were taken out of school and sent to the internment camps. Everybody was crying. It's hard to imagine that something like that ever happened in America. The 40s were hard and tragic, but also glorious for America. A special place in time.

      Thank you for sharing what life was like on the other side of the world. It was very interesting and educational. Congratulations on being awarded a "Lens of the Day"!

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      HERBMASTER 5 years ago

      Very nice!

    • Angela unLocked profile image

      Angela unLocked 5 years ago

      I love hearing stories from the past. This is a wonderful lens!

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      BlueStarling 5 years ago

      I was fortunate to live in a rural area as a kid, before the days of computers. I ran wild, was always outside, climbing trees, playing in my grandfather's barn. We played make believe and games, rode bikes or horses everywhere. Now I live in the city and never see kids playing. It seems they're all shut up inside. In spite of being poor, your childhood was rich and memorable. (And "It" was called Tag when I was a kid. I wonder if kids still play it?) This is a beautiful lens. I can picture the scenes as you describe them.

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      SupremeOptimist 5 years ago

      very interesting!

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      The world is really a small place, isn't it? On each side of the planet kids were doing most of the same things without ever knowing it. There was no internet, very little TV, but kids are kids are kids - no matter where!

      Congratulations on making the front page!

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      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I wasn't around in the 40's but my mother was in Belgium during the occupation by Germany in WWII, right across the channel!! Interesting read here. I used to hear her stories, this one is from Britain. My Dad, who was a soldier, came across on D-Day and his unit liberated my Mom's hometown. Yes, it could be a miniseries. Nice to meet you and blessed!

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      shahz123 5 years ago

      You kept me interested all the way.

      Very well written.

      Nice of you to have shared your history with us.


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      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      I LIKE this lens.

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      anonymous 5 years ago


    • toldyaso lm profile image

      toldyaso lm 5 years ago

      I couldn't stop reading. I love history, and this was so interesting! I was born in 85, and unless you want stories of my Hanson poster collection, then I doubt I have any interesting memories to share. :)

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      NidhiRajat 5 years ago

      thank you for such a memorable information...

    • Merstarr profile image

      Merstarr 5 years ago

      Thank-you... I never knew my Granddad who lived and died in UK... you just made me feel like maybe I could have :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Oh dear what a great laugh down memory lane!! I literally had tears! Lol you see you are describing the 1940s in UK... I was born in 1984, so it was early nineties for me when I was 6-9 playing these same games in the Dominican Republic. I never watched TV, I played every single one of the aforementioned games and loved it all. You are right on the comment of children being deprived of these activities nowadays. Thanks for making this lens and I'm certainly checking out the rest ... Hasta Luego!

    • hysongdesigns profile image

      hysongdesigns 5 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed your stories here. I grew up in the sixties in California but there are a few things we had the same: fireworks for the 4th of July, hopscotch, marbles and such. And of course a few new fangled things you didn't know about like skateboards and hoola hoops!

    • efriedman profile image

      efriedman 5 years ago

      Beautifully written and powerful memories. Your description of playing marbles and the excitement of these treasures brought back stories my father told of his own childhood, a generation before yours. Thanks for that happy remembrance.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      It's really amazing, all such sweet, naughty & lovable memories can be remembered & briefed. While reading I started thinking "Did I ever Done" & the movie started rolling out..............

      Thank U Keep it up............

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      PackMom 5 years ago

      What wonderful memories! Thank you for sharing. Though I was born a good 10 years later, my childhood was very similar.

    • Shana rios Chavez profile image

      Shana rios Chavez 5 years ago

      great lens

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      jvermilion 5 years ago


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      Wendy Hughes 5 years ago from Charlotte

      Being a child of the 60's and 70's I treasured some of the same items you did. We loved my dad's cigar boxes and my mom's cigarette wrappers; I can still savor the aroma of tobacco. Too, we loved matchbooks; it seems every company and business had them. The street was our playground, too. We found white rocks to use as chalk, made hopscotch boxes. We dabbled in the creek and terrorized "crawfish," tadpoles, and minnows. What a great time we had! Thanks for the poignant story. SMILES ~Wendy

      p.s. Thanks for the advice on the forums!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I was born in 1980. I have read books and watched movies about the time you describe. This first hand impression was a great read.

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      draco0590 5 years ago

      I love the lens...really gives you the feel of the 1940s and I enjoyed it a lot!

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      ekkoautos 5 years ago

      nice lens

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      RobinDM 5 years ago

      Very interesting! I'll be back again!

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      RobLPe 5 years ago

      @DebMartin: Deb...playing in the streets after a typical afternoon thunder storm

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      shandigp 5 years ago

      What a neat lens!

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      CatherineMorgans 5 years ago

      Looks like fun.

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      esetotol 5 years ago

      Great lens!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am a Support Worker to some elderly clients and do they have some interesting things to tell. I loved sharing a bit of your life, and wondered if you wrote books as your writing style was very interesting

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      Paul Turner 5 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      Great lens!

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      JennySui 5 years ago

      Congrats on LOtD!

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      catwell2 5 years ago

      Really neat lens! Thanks for sharing about your childhood.

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      JoyKitten 5 years ago

      This is a fantastic lens! Thank you, for writing about, sharing your fascinating history and recollections. It's a true treasure. As a newbie here you've inspired me. Well deserved LOTD.

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      Titia Geertman 5 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      I was born in December 1944 at the light of one candle. I loved your 1940 memories and congrats on the LOTD, well deserved.

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      DebMartin 5 years ago

      Oh my, what a wonderful lens full of memories. I am a child of the 50's and remember most of the games you mentioned, although we sometimes had different names. My favorite part of growing up in my neighborhood was, like you, that we could be out from morning to supper time with no reporting back to Mom. When the street lights came on, it was time to go home. I sure wish kids today could experience that wonderful childhood freedom. One of our favorite places was the cemetery at dusk. It was only two blocks away from home and always a perfect way to end the day with a good "scare" before we ran home for the night.

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      norma-holt 5 years ago

      This is a wonderful recollection of this time and so well presented it certainly deserved LOTD. Congrats on the award and it is now featured on Squidoo LOTD Lenses, hugs

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      katiecolette 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your memories - I enjoyed reading your lens. With the abundance of food, toys, and clothing available today, many kids take a lot of things for granted and surely don't appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am not old enough since I was born in 1972 (that sounded terribly calling you old!) but I always was fascinated by the stories people from that time talk about. I listen many times stories from my dad (rip) and he was in the navy. He was born in the 40's. Also my grandfather have very similar stories even if we are Portuguese. I am a "son of the revolution" that happen in 1974/75 here on Portugal. I heard many stories of times before I was born. This is a great lens and give a very different view of the life it was back in those times. Great job.

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      Sue Dixon 5 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Brilliant lens. I grew up in Lancashire in the 1950s. Bomb craters around Manchester and flattened houses were still a very common sight. Well deserved LOTD. "Blessed"

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      almawad 5 years ago

      As I grew up in Hungary in the 1960s 1970s we played a lot too in our compound outside .The tv program was of very low level - they would give one cartoon a day for kids ... so there was no reason to remain inside the flat when the weather was good enough to be outside .

      However it was not without danger - i remember visiting an underground cave dug by some boys - it could have buried us all easily ... or wanting to climb lamposts ...luckily we did not manage to ... we got injured some times when playing outside the street ... my brother broke his nose when playing street football several times .. and my parents had to play often for broken windows as well .. :)

    • StudioElysee profile image

      StudioElysee 5 years ago

      I was absolutely mesmerized by this lens! Fantastic. A true childhood that probably no longer exists, at least in the "developed" parts of the world. Thanks for sharing.

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      squidshe 5 years ago

      I was born in 1969, so I can't comment, however I think this is an extraordinary lens! I always talk to my kids about the days before computers and cell phones!

    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 5 years ago

      What an amazing lens. Your stories remind me of all that is good with kids. They find something exiting, no matter what.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 5 years ago

      I can remember a few things from the 50s, but not too clearly. You have done a wonderful job recreating the era before that. I think this was very well done. See you around the galaxy...

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      Well my stories are only from the late 70's, early 80's but things have changed a ton even from then.... kids were always outside playing, summer...winter, didn't matter. I didn't have any video games, not that it mattered to me because I loved playing outside. When winter would come I would sit by the window just waiting for that first snowflake to fall. Great lens ~~~~BLESSED~~~~

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      Paul Franciskato 5 years ago from Junction City, Kansas

      I enjoyed reading your lens! It's interesting to learn about life as it was before my time! I'm working on a lens about the year 1975, which is when I was born. If it were possible to travel back in time (time only moves forward!), I think it would be fun to go back in time to see the world from an adult perspective in the year I was born!

    • flutestar123 lm profile image

      flutestar123 lm 5 years ago

      Wow! I love learning about and hearing stories of what life was like years ago. Thanks for sharing.

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      maternallyderanged 5 years ago

      This is a fantastic lens! My Grandmother grew up in Germany during WWII and shares similar stories. It always impresses me the lives people continued to live, even as their homes were falling down around them. I wish we saw more of that resolve in our present lives.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens- loved reading it. am currently workin on my memoirs so was delighted to find this to see what others have out there. well worth the read- a great look into a historical childhood!

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      NYThroughTheLens 5 years ago

      Wow, this is a truly excellent lens. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through it. You are a wonderful writer! Things were so very different back then.

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      vigindian 5 years ago

      nice lens

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      Oosquid 5 years ago

      What a superb lens, you certainly deserve 'lens of the day' for it. I very much enjoyed your tales and those photos of all the old fag packets. I grew up in the '50's and can remember playing on bomb sites, playing conkers and knock down ginger. As you know the East End is a completely different world now.

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      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      This was a very lovely article! Reminded me of a few games we played when I was a kid growing up in the south USA. One of our favorites was catching lightening bugs and putting them in mason jars! Congrats on being the featured lens. :)

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      Shadrosky 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens! Very well-written and intriguing!

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      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      I really enjoyed your lens. Thanks for sharing your story.

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      LisaHartwell 5 years ago

      A fabulous lens. Thanks for sharing your childhood. It reminds me of the stories my parents have told me over the years.

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      Genesis Davies 5 years ago from Guatemala

      Very interesting lens! I love the fun you had as a child, war or no war. :) Thank you for sharing and congrats on your lens of the day!

    • AshwinSajith LM profile image

      AshwinSajith LM 5 years ago

      Totally loved it :) thanks for the share

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      ourmarket 5 years ago

      Very interesting loved reading

    • starlitparlit profile image

      starlitparlit 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens. I just love learning about that time period :)

    • njoylife42day profile image

      njoylife42day 5 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading this lens and learning more about my parents' generation after the war. I really wish I could have lived life back then. Thank you for sharing your memories.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      I am overwhelmed by all the visits I have had here and the generous and interesting comments. There are too many to answer individually but please all be assured I appreciate every single one of them! Thanks again.

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      Morgannafay 5 years ago

      You are a fascinating person! I really enjoyed reading about your childhood, and wanted to congratulate you on lens of the day! whooo hooo

      I'm a child of the 70's and 80's. Born in 1974. But, I have a really strange good long term memory and remember as far back as four years old with some scattered fragmented memories of before then. I've always loved history, and my grandpa was in the US navy, and my fiance's grandpa was in the army and survived the battle of the bulge. He didn't talk about it much but sometimes he did. I loved hearing your story because it took me into another world outside of those stories to a kid that lived on the other side of the pond at the time and after all their stuff was going on. :) Also you were a cute kid. *pinches cheek*

      Congrats again! <3

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      sarbjitarora 5 years ago

      Thank you for reminding me of my childhood. I was born in the 80s but the last 30 years have changed the world so much. Children don't believe how we used to spend time in our childhood.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @Kelsey-Budden-16: Nice to hear from you Kelsey, and thank you for your lovely comments. It's good to learn that young people are working on Squidoo and with 35 lenses already I think you are doing a great job. My eldest granddaughter is 14 and I hope in a couple of years I can persuade her and some of the others to use Squidoo to express themselves and take part in this great community.

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      nsixx99 5 years ago

      I am not old enough to have many memories from any of those decades but I really enjoyed your stories. Congrats on LOTD, well deserved!

    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 5 years ago

      Forward to the 60's and your neighborhood could have been my neighborhood, minus the bombed areas. Life in small town Iowa, poor was just another word for handmade fun.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your London childhood with us. Very interesting read. Congrats on LOTD!

    • safereview profile image

      Bob 5 years ago from Kansas City

      Wow, absolutely interesting article! Well done and thank you for sharing it.

    • Kelsey-Budden-16 profile image

      Kelsey-Budden-16 5 years ago

      Wow Bob! When I was younger, I would always watch movies that were made in black and white. Such as 'Charlie Chaplan' or 'A Christmas Movie'(I think that's what it was called LOL), I would watch other movies too but, I had my favorites. I would always marvel at the idea of going back in time to see what it would be like. I'm 17 now(I know not that old) and you made me think about how much has changed in a decade! From the treats to the apparel, it all has evolved in some way.

      As for caroling, I have never went in my life! It could be because of where I live(Northern Canada) or it could be that I'm shy. I'm not sure. I do love to sing when nobody else is around though! :) I have come across some people who think they have the Christmas spirit and couldn't help but frown. Every Christmas, I try to watch some of the joyful movies that were made way back when.

      Love the lens! I don't think I'm quite old enough to make a lens like this yet but, it'll be on my bucket list! :)

      Have a good day! Congrats on LotD! :)

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      Fabulous lens! It was fun to read and quite educational as well. Thank you for sharing!

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      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      Wonderful content and wonderfully inspirational.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      Enjoyed your memories. Congratulations on LotD!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      These are great. I never realized kids collected cigarette packages.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      This is a fascinating lens which put me in that moment in time with great details, positive attitude, and love of life.

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing -- very interesting. Blessed by a travelling angel.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 5 years ago from US

      Wow, this was so interesting and cool to read. Thanks for sharing! Blessed;)

      Congrats on LOTD!

    • cory2081 profile image

      cory2081 5 years ago

      Great stories!! Sounds a lot like what my Dad always talks about when he was growing up. I know we did some crazy things, luckily no one got hurt! Thanks for sharing!

    • sandybid profile image

      sandybid 5 years ago

      What an interesting read Bob, thanks for sharing your story.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens! Thanks for sharing your memories and congratulations on LOTD! I grew up in the 50s in suburban USA. We played outdoors a lot more than kids do today, and our free time was much less structured. We played jacks and marbles, and cowboys and Indians, too, and made up a lot of our own games. No electronic games and computers for us--but we had so much fun!

    • Holly22 profile image

      Christine and Peter Broster 5 years ago from Tywyn Wales UK

      You have a wonderful memory for detail. I really enjoyed reading your lens and will pass it on to my mother who lived in London during the war.

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      luckyone924 5 years ago

      I enoyed your lens! thanks for sharing: )

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      reasonablerobby 5 years ago

      What a great lens. I have an old college mate who's family lived in Stepney and he ended up living on Haldane Road East Ham. You've really captured the times.

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      rightvpnforyou 5 years ago

      thanks for sharing its really nice

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      Paula7928 5 years ago

      I wasn't born yet in the 40s but I really enjoy reading your stories.

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 5 years ago

      I wish I could experience what it would've been like to be a kid in the 1940's. Things were a lot simpler back then. This lens gave us all a glimpse of it. Great job! Love, Sundae ;-)

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      wiedruce 5 years ago

      Thanks for's really a great lens!

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      WhitePineLane 5 years ago

      What a wonderful lens! I really enjoyed reading all the stories of your London youth. I've e-mailed the link to my mom to read. She was also a kid in the 1940s, but a suburban kid in Minnesota, USA, so her stories would be a little different from yours. But not completely different! No bombed out buildings to forage for treasures in, but jacks and marbles sound the same, and I'll bet there are other similarities. Thanks so much for sharing! It was a wonderful read. Hearty congrats on a well-deserved LoTD!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      I'm just a wee bit younger ;) but do so love to read these stories - especially the games you played, entertainment without benefit of Xbox! Keeping history alive by sharing stories is so very important to giving next generations a sense of who they are and what their place is in the big scheme of things - please keep your stories coming!

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      SugarB 5 years ago

      Great lens! I grew up in the 50's but this sure brought back some memories. No electronics but a ton of fun that we created! Congratulations on LOTD

    • QuiltFinger profile image

      QuiltFinger 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Incredible. Thanks for sharing your awesome childhood memories. I recently watched a documented about a Mexican family circus called Circo. I thought it was so crazy that the kids were playing bingo with bottle tops, pebbles and whatever other items they found around. Somethings having less means you're grateful for more things. I think that gratitude and appreciation for the small things is often missing today for children today that have everything handed to them and planned out practically before they're born. I'm so glad my parents never let me play video games or sit on my bum all day.

    • Doglover5 profile image

      Doglover5 5 years ago

      Fabulous lens, very interesting. Although I was born after the war in 1956, it was great to see a picture of the coalman and it just took me back to my childhood. Life was so uncomplicated then, I use to love it when the rag and bone man came down the road ringing his bell, cart pulled by a horse, just fabulous - those were the days. I know life was much harder then, but somehow it was much sweeter too.

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      BlackBoxCosmetics 5 years ago

      Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

    • maximross lm profile image

      maximross lm 5 years ago

      Great lens - made me think of my childhood!

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      ruonglue 5 years ago

      Really enjoyed reading this, it reminded me of my childhood growing up in north London in the fifties. I feel so sad for the kids of today :(

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      Dim_reaper 5 years ago

      I think that everyone did 101 things outside until the 80s, maybe 90s, me included. Now all you see is kids going outside to malls and then hurry home to their computers. You rarely see a small boy with a scrapped knee and stuff like that. Great lens anyway, keep up the good work.

    • ashroc profile image

      ashroc 5 years ago

      My Dad says similar things, he says the only toys he had were the ones he made himself.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading those 101 things you did as a London child in the 40s. As for telling my own stories, let's say that my cousin and I did 101 (sometimes bad, sometimes good) things as children in the early 70s in our traditional family North Sea holiday resort :)

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      Really enjoyed your memories of childhood! I came along a couple of decades later, but it was still safe to roam about and be totally free.

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens

    • THNeto profile image

      THNeto 5 years ago

      Thoroughly enjoyed your stories. Kids nowadays are so protected. They're not encouraged to create and simply enjoy being kids, slowly growing up and finding their way to adulthood. We keep them in a state of almost-grown-up from 10 to 25, neither one thing nor the other!

    • SheilaVine LM profile image

      SheilaVine LM 5 years ago

      I was too young for playing outside in the '40's but I do remember the vast amout of freedom I had walking to school, visiting my Grandmother . I had to walk across the fields to do this, I am sure no one would let their kids be so free today. As a country child I remember the milk coming in a churn and being ladled out into our own bottles, the coal man and my Dad's wood chopping knife which had come back with him from the Buemese jungle.Church bells and Sunday school on SUnday and great school dinners.

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      Sk8ergurl513 5 years ago

      All I have to say is it's sad how strict every1 is now, I don't see the harm in letting kids be kids.

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      Bahrns 5 years ago

      Thumbs up for this lens!

      It is really nice to look back in time and reminisce. I believe people from the 40's to the 80's era have lot more fun than the people of today's generation. This is because a lot of things are much easier to do now than before and that lessen the excitement and challenge. :-)

      Material Handling

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      Wonderful lens. Thank you for keeping your story alive and passing it to us. It is such a gift.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @ScamsOfTheHeart: Thanks Oxford and Scams, you have reminded me of some of the names of games we played back then. I must add a piece about that.

    • Beadsnresin profile image

      Beadsnresin 5 years ago

      This Lens is awesome, thanks so much for sharing!

    • daedrea lm profile image

      daedrea lm 5 years ago

      Beautiful lense....I appreciate you sharing your experiences :)

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      Brainydeal 5 years ago

      l'd love read more, amazing!

    • Srena44 profile image

      Srena44 5 years ago

      great lens

    • AgingIntoDisabi profile image

      AgingIntoDisabi 5 years ago

      You were an adventurous little fellow. Congratulations!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      The Little Rascals always made me want to be a kid during that time. Sounds like you had a blast. Great LoTD.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a fantastic personal history. I want to read more!

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 5 years ago from USA

      I really enjoyed reading this lens; you have an innate ability to recount events in an interesting and poignant way.

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      jfjones1 5 years ago

      You had me at the title. NOW, I will go and read the lens.

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 5 years ago

      You really have a gift of telling your story. I wanted to keep reading. You should write a book.

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      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      Isn't it a wonder how so many of us were able to survive a childhood without all the safety precautions and limitations today's kids have? I didn't grow up in a war zone, but I did have a lot of similar experiences and memories. Wonderful lens. Congrats on your LOTD. Blessed!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      A fascinating glimpse into that era. I think you have the start of a book here. I'd love to read more.

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      ScamsOfTheHeart 5 years ago

      @oxfordian: Oh my I forgot that game! We played SPUD too. We also played Dollar In out in the street as well and lot of other yard games. I grew up in late 50's thru early 70's. What creativity kids had back then. Roller skating and jump rope was popular too. Marbles and Jacks also but played a bit differently than described here. Some others were the ever popular Hide and Seek, Statue, Ghostie Ghostie, and Ghost in the Graveyard...not sure if they were the same games or not. A variation of tag played after dark.

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      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens. I too played marbles as a boy, for hours and hours. Such a different world now. Thanks for sharing your story,.

    • BuddyBink profile image

      BuddyBink 5 years ago

      What a wonderful lens about life after the war. Thank you.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Congratz on your LOTD! :) Informative lens!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

      My mother in law grew up in post-war Germany and her stories are fascinating too. I so loved reading this lens!!! Thank you for sharing your memories.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Awesome page. What a great insight into the life of a boy in the 40's. I grew up in the 70's and not in a city but a small town, but we did similar things to you. We played marbles in the street and made our own weapons. We had Guy Fawkes night when I was very young, but all amateur fireworks were banned not long after. I too had free run of the entire town and surrounds as a child. I would leave in the morning and come back when the street lights came on. Sometimes I would come home for lunch or I would end up at someone else's house. They were great times indeed!

    • SiochainGraSonas profile image

      SiochainGraSonas 5 years ago

      This is a wonderful lens. It really touched my heart.

    • kerryhrabstock profile image

      kerryhrabstock 5 years ago

      A treasure. Glad you shared.

    • Reginald Reid profile image

      Reginald Reid 5 years ago

      Great read! There's nothing like a good history-filled story.

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      theprettygirls 5 years ago

      this is such a sweet lens. It touched my heart.. Congratulations on LOTD...

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      In the 60's in California, my 4 siblings and I lived in a new housing tract. We'd ride our bikes all day, within about a mile radius of home. We played in the nearby half constructed houses, and we raided the trash bins at the construction sites for old plywood and pieces of shag carpeting. Then we'd make forts with it. Nowadays, we'd be arrested for trespassing!

    • oxfordian profile image

      oxfordian 5 years ago

      I grew up in Ohio during the summers (and California the rest of the year) in the late 1950a - 1960s and the summer nights catching (and releasing) lightning bugs was one of my happiest childhood memories. We played SPUD in the street (sort of like dodgeball -- the person who was "it" stood in the middle of the street and threw up a big bouncing ball into the air while everyone scattered. Everyone had to stop and freeze as soon as the "it" person caught the ball. The "it" person could take 3 giant steps and then thow the ball to try to hit someone. When hit, that person gets an "S." Hit enough times to spell SPUD and then he becomes "it." We played for HOURS. Summer nights were so fun!!

    • vendexo profile image

      vendexo 5 years ago

      Isn't it amazing how children find amusement and pleasure in the simplist of things, especially if that's all there is, and everyone is in and around the same economic level.

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens. Congratulations on LOTD and your purple star! =)

    • Rantsand profile image

      Rantsand 5 years ago

      This was a really interesting read and a trip down memory lane. While 20 years and a body of water separated us, I have very similar childhood memories. Making slingshots from old bits of rubber, marbles in the streets, collecting odds and ends in the gutters. Roaming the streets (which were quite safe in those days) from dawn till dark. It was a different world, not so focused on regulations and rules and yet safer at the same time. The tar balls made me laugh, I remember making them and then feeling guilty for undoing the street workers work. They made great ammo for slingshots though. I remember making blowgun darts from wooden matches and pins. Firing one of those out of a straw was probably just a hygenic as licking papers on used tobacco. :-)

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 5 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      This is probably the best example of what Squidoo is all about; story straight from the heart and about such a unique topic. I was born some 30 years later, but reading this was pretty much what my dad and my father in law used to tell me and what they're now telling to my kids. It was far from an ideal childhood, but I often use it as an example of modesty and possibility of being happy with what you have. Something that kids these days have trouble understanding. Great lens! Blessed by a squid angel ~

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      miaponzo 5 years ago

      How Interesting!!! Congrats on the LOTD and BLESS you!!! :)

    • Mistl profile image

      Mistl 5 years ago

      Wow this is a really unique idea for a lens. Thanks a bunch for the insight. A really cool read! :) (oh and congrats on LOtD)

    • fionajean profile image

      Fiona 5 years ago from South Africa

      Hey there, really interesting - blessed. Seems that somethings do not change - we also played marbles when we were kids. We didn't have tar balls or a coal cart. (Did have a neighbour with a coal stove.) No cars - no way :)

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      sustainableartist 5 years ago

      This is such a cool idea! I really like activities that don't involve the current digital world, and this is inspirational (and just the right level of mischievous :)). Thanks for sharing!

    • Margaret Muir profile image

      Margaret Muir 5 years ago from Tasmania, Australia

      As another kid of the 40s (in Leeds), your page certainly brings back some memories. Well done and nice to see a very British lens featured here. Regards,


    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      It's a real pleasure to see this lens featured as Lens Of The Day, well done. Life today is so different, so to be able to relive how things were just a generation or two earlier through your memoirs is a great thing for the younger generations to be able to do.

    • LakeshoreTara profile image

      LakeshoreTara 5 years ago

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading your lens... such imagination and creativity you had as children! Although I grew up in a much different time, we still enjoyed playing games such as marbles, and we too had our share of money-making ideas; one I remember clearly was when myself and all the neighbourhood kids got together and made up a theatrical performance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller", costumes and all, then we invited the parents in to watch for a fee of one quarter each.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens. Although I was born in 1951, and did not experience some of the things you experienced, your lens brings back memories of a simpler time when kids felt safe to play outside and used their imaginations to make up for lack of material possessions.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This was fun to read about your 1940s tales. I love that you helped your aunt roll cigarettes from butts you found. Too funny!

    • KevCooper profile image

      KevCooper 5 years ago

      Great stuff Bob, I grew up in the fifties in the Midlands but little had changed by then. we did all the things you did. As you said cars were such a rarity we used to lie in the gutter dangling bits of wood on string into roadside drains to catch frogs. Kids today have no idea of fun!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading this lens filled with your childhood memories. My own childhood was quite a bit different except for one thing: the tar! When I was a young school girl, we lived on a street that was coated with tar and rocks, just as you described. On hot summer days, the tar would bubble up, and my friends and I would look for a sharp rock to use to pop the tar bubbles. Of course, our mothers hated the activity because we could not help but get black tar on our clothes. Yes, we all spent hours and hours playing outdoors everyday, because we only had 3 channels on television and no electronic toys. We had to make our own fun using what we had, but that was not bad at all. I think it made us resourceful.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      An amazing lens! Thank you so much for sharing your memories. I love hearing about what life was like for generations farther back than my own. A well-deserved LOTD!! I grew up in the 70's/80's, so my childhood memories are much different.

    • talkies lm profile image

      talkies lm 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing. Amazing.

    • beckyf profile image

      beckyf 5 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens! Things are SOOO different for the kids these days, and not in a good way.

    • Dragon 40 profile image

      Ken McVay 5 years ago from Nanaimo, British Columbia

      I recall going from house to house in San Jose, California, collecting newspapers with my big brother. We filled our grampa's garage with them for recycling. Then we collected tinfoil (from cigarette packs, gum wrappers, etc.), and rolled them into balls the size of softballs. We sold them to the Navy for a nickle... this was during 1944-45. (I was born in 1940)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Congrats on your LOTD! I'm glad you got it because this lens is so interesting! I'm glad I got to read it. Thank you for sharing your experiences as a kid in the '40s! I don't have my own memories from more than about 25 years ago so I don't think I have anything to add here lol

    • Violin-Student profile image

      Violin-Student 5 years ago

      A little before my time, and I live on the opposite side of the ocean, but some interesting stuff there. Congratulations on LOTD. It's amazing the things we did as kids that my daughter never evened imagined happened other than on television.

      Thanks for the hard work.

      --Art Haule

    • mrducksmrnot profile image

      mrducksmrnot 5 years ago

      I guess those of us who are old enough still call them "The Good Ole Days" and remember them well we do. So much fun and roaming far from today's safety zone of a fenced in yard. Those were the days. Thanks for bringing back memories of Yesteryear and Congratulations on a well deserved Lens Of The Day.

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      AmirKumarBhunia 5 years ago

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      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      What a wonderful compilation, presentation, and historical reference all rolled into one! Congratulations on your Lens of the Day!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      What an amazing accounting of childhood in the 1940s. Many thanks for sharing :)

    • Churchmouse LM profile image

      Churchmouse LM 5 years ago

      Super memories, although I was born slightly later and in New Zealand! Your game of Five Stones sounds exactly the same as knucklebones, which we used to play using sheep knuckle bones - until some spoilsport came out with artificial ones (not nearly so good - they were too standard size and shape! Thanks for the walk down memory lane...

    • DownToEarthLiving profile image

      Evelyn 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      What a great lens . . . makes me want to write one about growing up in NY city in the 50's! Congratulations on LOTD - well deserved!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 5 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Very interesting. I was a kid in the forties in Canada. It was a much different experience than yours.

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      Quirkyart 5 years ago

      Great lens I was born after WWII, but could still appreciate and relate to the simple things that give us joy. I came from modest means and new the thrill of making boats out of sticks and watch them race down the gutters or small rivers. I had acorn headed dolls on sticks that I cherished as much as the store bought ones because they were my creation.

    • Joyce Mann profile image

      Joyce T. Mann 5 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

      An amazing story. Thank you! My 1950s childhood took place on a farm in Pennsylvania. Baby lambs and planting corn. And listening to my big brother playing early rock 'n roll on the piano.

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      writer_villa 5 years ago

      What a great lens!

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 5 years ago from Washington KS

      What a wonderful lens!! I grew up in the 40s stateside, so remember very well the differences between then and now. One part of your lens brought back particular memories -- keeping the gutters swept clean. In our small town, two men swept the gutters every morning early, before the stores opened.

      Congrats on LOTD.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      So many of your memories are familiar to me, although mine were in New Zealand and a couple of decades later. I had to laugh to see 'fag packets' in writing, because I now live in California and I was warned against using the term fag (it slips out once in a while even 10 years later) What a fantastic lens, full of great information. Well Done on getting Lens of the Day!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very impressive narrative of your childhood, you indeed had a great one. Congrats on LOTD.

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 5 years ago from England

      Congrats on a very well deserved LOTD! I've already blessed this one but I wish I could again. :)

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      burntchestnut 5 years ago

      I was a kid in the 1960s in the U.S. We used to play jacks, too, but we had the metal jacks and ball. We also copied down car license plate numbers! How strange! We played in the street or in our yards; never indoors. I have four lenses of my childhood memories. I should review them again. I love your lens!

    • Surfer83 profile image

      Surfer83 5 years ago

      Well about my childhood I was born in the 80's. I still have the chance to play with some of the games from your time like the marble, "Five Stones" and we did also make our own stuff like DIY kite and sling shots. It was such a wonderful time back then. I really enjoy reading this lens thank you for passing it on here to share it with us. =)

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @Showpup LM: Thank you so much to you and everyone else who has commented on here today I barely have time to read all the comments, let alone reply to them all individually. Hope you all understand. I am utterly overwhelmed by the response. Best wishes to you all.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lense, you remind me to my dad :),

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 5 years ago

      Thank you for giving us all this treasured glimpse into your world as a young boy. You should turn this into a book, at least a small ebook! You write beautifully and have a lot to share.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Amazing. I really love this lens, so much fun. As a millennial I often am envious of the fun kids had with out the technology etc we had to distract us.

      Thanks for putting this together.

    • SquidooMBA profile image

      SquidooMBA 5 years ago

      It seems like hardly anyone plays marbles any more. Great lens and congrats on being lens of the day!

    • Gordon N Hamilton profile image

      Gordon N Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Fantastic stories and reminiscences of much simpler and possibly happier times, for all the hardship that was encountered. I've heard similar stories from my family over the years, of the bombs and the aftermath as the Luftwaffe targeted the shipyards on the Clyde. Thoroughly enjoyable read and well deserved lens of the day award.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      In the 1960s we still had a few air raid shelters to play about in :) The 1940s must have been magic for adventurous kids! We played jacks too, with little metal crosses and a red rubber ball... times change...

    • LadyCharlie profile image

      LadyCharlie 5 years ago

      Very nostalgic ... wonderful insight to life after a war. My own father has told me things about his life growing up in the 20's and 30's as a child some things enchanting and some sad. Thanks for sharing your story!

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      Joan4 5 years ago

      This page is a treasure indeed! Congratulations on a beautiful creation and LOTD. The children of the 40s here in the US lived very similar lives (it was a small world even back then, huh?). My husband and I have been working on his autobiography. I can't wait to read this page to him after lunch! We are both kids of the 40s.

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      Riezal 5 years ago

      Hi there, great stories, thank you for sharing, especially for us who's born in the 90's. so now we know how kids in the 40's doing,playing and living.

    • hughgrissettsr lm profile image

      hughgrissettsr lm 5 years ago

      great lens! made me remember my experiences as a kid in the 1950s, i shot marbles and played jacks also.

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks so much for sharing your story! I read this to my kids as a bit of a history lesson. They were excited by the idea that boys their age used to carry knives and play with fire.

    • cdcraftee profile image

      Christine Larsen 5 years ago from South Australia

      Well-deserved LOTD. Loved the stories, and found them stirring many memories...thank you from a nearly post-war vintage Aussie.

      I had forgotten the game of 'Five Stones' or 'Jacks' - my Dad was a Butcher here Downunder, and so we played the game with clean, dried out lamb knuckle bones...exactly the same way you described. Kids are kids, all over, I guess.

      The best 'Fives' were actually painted in different colours...and some years later, this idea was copied in plastic...oh yuk. No charm (or weight) at all. Half the fun was the 'toughening up' of the back of your hand from the 'clunking' of the actual bones.

      And I'm sure the skill of catching them that way did much to keep hands flexible. Well-ll-ll, I'm still typing like a Sten gun - so it must have had something going for it!

      Again, thanks for the memories.


    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Great LOTD! Congratulations on this award...loved the stories and I can relate in some ways, but only can relate from the German side. Either way war is a horrible. I did make some lenses with childhood memories, you might be interested in seeing them.

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 5 years ago from Michigan

      A terrific read! Congratulations on your well-deserved Lens of the Day award!

    • nikosgr profile image

      nikosgr 5 years ago

      Wonderful what else i can say..

      I remember my grandfather telling me stories about the war,and how hard it was to survive..The italians burned the village and they didn't have to eat.Very hard times was then in Greece.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LotD and this very unique lens. Thanks for sharing so many great memories. You have had a rich life, good roots, and ~ Blessed!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I was a child of the 1940s, about your age after World War II. No bomb sites to play on here in America, but poor as most of that time. What I remember the most is the 'freedom to roam' wherever a child's fantasy took us -- parents didn't worry if you were out from dawn to dusk... or wonder what you were 'up to'. Playtime was mostly imagination and 'make do', but we never thought we were 'missing out' on anything. It was just the way it was. It was a simpler time -- a safer time -- a time today's children will never know.

      I enjoyed your reminiscences of your 40s childhood. Congratulations on this well-deserved LotD recognition!

    • profile image

      hamshi5433 5 years ago

      Congratulation on your Lotd! So nice to read your stories..I live in East Ham too! :)

      God bless you

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Fascinating. I am a post war baby, but I often think of the things I did as a child in the US. We made our own fun it was more creative than the ready-mades of today. Great lens!

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 5 years ago from Kansas

      Love this lens and the history behind this. Very well done. Squid Angel blessed!

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 5 years ago

      Well designed lens as well as being very interesting. Angel Blessings on top of your LOTD

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      Thanks so much to everyone for all your kind comments, and squidlikes, they are pouring in so fast since I got LENS OF THE DAY, I can't keep up with them. I wish you all the very best and good luck with all your lenses!

    • CoachSmith profile image

      CoachSmith 5 years ago

      Great dear grandma who passed away 3 years ago on New Year's Eve at the age of 92 would have enjoyed the reminiscing of your stories, photos, and the 'simplicity' of it all! Thank you for sharing.~

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Just popping back in to give some SquidBlessings to this lens that very much deserves its status as LotD! :)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Congrats on LotD! It was enjoyable seeing the world through your eyes. A bit of time travel this morning. Very nicely done.

    • profile image

      MagicBeanDip 5 years ago

      Great story telling.

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. I just learned about kids selling effigies of Guy Fawkes so it was fun hearing that you also asked "Penny for the Guy" Great lens. A wonderful look at a different world from today.

    • staymor profile image

      staymor 5 years ago

      Very cool lens.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens. Congrats on LOTD.

    • GoAceNate LM profile image

      GoAceNate LM 5 years ago

      Wow what a great lens. Times have changed so very much. I was born in the 70's and I would always hear, you kids don't know how well you have it. Now I'm in my 30's with 2 little girls that are going to be introduced to such a crazily technological world.

      Great read! For the record I played with marbles and fireworks as a child. Keep up the good work.

    • sidther lm profile image

      sidther lm 5 years ago

      This was so wonderful! I did not grow up in the 40's but I love hearing about it. I have a 7 year old and I would love to teach him to play marbles and jacks. I imagine that back then kids kids probably had a better perspective of what they truly need vs what they want. Thank you so much for sharing your story and congrats on LOTD!

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations, this terrific lens has been chosen LotD and is being featured at Squidoo HQ.

      Read all about it here:

    • profile image

      Kelvinroger 5 years ago

      great lens

    • Sunflower Susan profile image

      Sunflower Susan 5 years ago

      What a great lens. It was a fun read, it was interesting to hear about how some things were different in your local that other stories I usually hear about those times; England vs America, city vs. country. Loved all your stories! My childhood memories would be American, small town/rural, and 1960's through early 1970s. Maybe I should make a lens.... LOL Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories. Kids find the brightest spots, no matter what the situation; even on the tail of a war.

    • profile image

      coniefoxdress 5 years ago

      hehe ,,you make me think a lot ,,thanks

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Fascinating stories. I was a kid in the Florida in the 1960s and we did some things that would be unheard of today too. For example we nobody in our area had a swimming pool and we used to go out to play in the eye of a hurricane (the calm in the middle of the storm) and play in the flooded streets. Then when it started to storm again Mom would call us back inside. Not something I recommend. Great lens and deserving of LOTD.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Brilliant lens. Brought back some memories of my own childhood!

    • profile image

      Tarra99 5 years ago

      congrats on Lens of the Day...a very interesting read, thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      jeremyh1 5 years ago

      Great lens.

    • Leilani-m profile image

      Leilani-m 5 years ago

      This is excellent lens and very well written :) I enjoyed reading it. I'm from Croatia, and my grandfather was about 10 at the beginning of WW2 so I've heard lots of stories how the children then played :)

    • profile image

      bibas43 5 years ago

      parabéns um trabalho fantástico!!

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 5 years ago

      how did you survive! they tell us that everything even slight dangerous is immediately lethal to us these days

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image

      sweetstickyrainbo 5 years ago

      how did you survive! they tell us that everything even slight dangerous is immediately lethal to us these days

    • profile image

      sans300 5 years ago

      I was not born in the 40's. I read about the sufferings people faced during the wars.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @OhMe: Oh, and congratulations on LOTD! Well deserved!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh wow, I certainly enjoyed reading about the things you did as a child in the 1940s. I wasn't born until 1948 so really don't remember the 40's. In the 1950s we played in the street, too only ours was a circle dirt road. Our mom would whistle like the Whippoorwill when she was ready for us to come inside.

    • JohnMichael2 profile image

      JohnMichael2 5 years ago

      wonderful wonderful ... good work

    • profile image

      aussieremovals 5 years ago

      Wow it's really awesome lens i really enjoyed. Thanks.

    • TravelRod LM profile image

      TravelRod LM 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed that read, thank you for sharing. Such a great story teller.

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      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      I adore this lens! Congratulations on LoTD - well deserved. I was born and grew up on the other side of London from you and my childhood was last 70's, but I can relate to what you wrote. You quite spectacularly transported me back to a time I did not know, and I appreciate that.

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 5 years ago

      Your stories have me wondering what kind of life my grandmother lived during the war. All I know is that she was a teenager at the time, working in London as a secretary in one of Winston Churchill's offices. I would do well to interview her and post her story on Squidoo! Congratulations on receiving LOTD, by the way. It is well deserved!

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      duodave 5 years ago

      Awesome read. It sounds like you had a lot of fun as a kid.

    • profile image

      Rakhi_Dalal 5 years ago

      You feel so nostalgic when you remember your childhood...A great lens I must say!....Took me down my memory lane and made me recollect the memories of my childhood days. Growing up in India before the economic reforms through LPG of early 90's changed the country, I had completely different environment than the Gadget savvy kids of today are exposed to. And yes, it was simpler and more enjoyable :)

      Thanks for this putting up this lens !

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 5 years ago

      This was a great read. You certainly had an interesting childhood. Awesome lens.

    • profile image

      cogirl527 5 years ago

      Beautiful Story!!

    • MamaWise LM profile image

      MamaWise LM 5 years ago

      Great Lens! I lived in England for a year as a study abroad program and absolutely loved Guy Fawkes Night! Thanks for bringing up a fun time!

    • MJsConsignments profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      I wasn't born till '66 but as a student of history and as a retired Army staff sergeant, I have to say that this was one of the most interesting lenses I've read here. You've done an awesome job with it. I think you should write a book.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @TonyPayne: Thanks Tony, those were the days eh? How the culture has changed since we were kids. As you say, life was a lot simpler back then. I used to ride, run, jump, climb, clamber over, slide down, paddle in, whatever my wanderings brought me to. Apart from the odd grazed knee, I never got seriously hurt and despite sometimes not really knowing where I was, I always managed to find my way back home to my seemingly unconcerned family. Thanks for the blessing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      came across your lens again, very well written, see ya around!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This was definitely a trip back down memory lane Bob. I was born in 1954 so I don't remember back to the war years, but I do remember playing in bombsites and in the old air raid shelters from a local pottery that had been pulled down. I also remember playing cowboys and indians, and having few toys, and I can even now remember some of the car registrations from ours and those that belonged to my friends parents back then. Life was a lot simpler, and I would go off playing in the woods (long since built on) and riding my bike, and nobody worried that they had no idea where I was going. Well I didn't know either, we just used to set off and see where we felt like going. Excellent job, I really enjoy your lenses, blessed.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I really enjoyed reading about your childhood after the war. I find it amazing that some details may be different, but the story is basically the same as my time growing up. We made our own toys, and used things up. Nobody had the money to go buy new stuff. Things were certainly much simpler then! Blessed.

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 5 years ago from Vancouver

      Love this lens! I spatter my lenses with personal stories all the time. For example in this lens I share a Forties memory about lemonade.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @Redneck Lady Luck: Sometimes homemade toys are more precious than shop bought ones, because of the interest in designing them, working out what you need, getting the materials together and making the finished article. I loved making things. It didn't matter about the end result, it's what it looked like to me and the fact that it was my own work.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I loved this article on the simple pleasures of life when you were young. You have brought back a lot of memories of these simple childhood toys: jacks - marbles - boats made from wood and played with in puddles. My sister and I had dolls made from my mother's flowers and the wild dandelions. Children have wonderful imaginations.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @FanfrelucheHubs: Thanks for coming by and your Blessing.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Looks like things my father use to do when he was a teen, including recycling old cigarettes to make his own. This is a very nice read, thanks for sharing. Blessed

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Looks like things my father use to do when he was a teen, including recycling old cigarettes to make his own. This is a very nice read, thanks for sharing. Blessed

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @TZiggy: Me too. Thanks.

    • TZiggy profile image

      TZiggy 5 years ago

      Always enjoy a true story about growing up and correlations and similarities between peoples around the world.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nothing great worth sharing, as much as your exemplary and extraordinary growing up years would suggest! :)

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you. You're very kind.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @satewas: Thank you. It was a hard but interesting time.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great unique lens you added, you get a 'thumbs up' from me.

    • satewas profile image

      satewas 5 years ago

      I wasn't even thought of in the 40's but I love to read about that era and learn how it was for people who lived at that time. Very interesting lens and great job making it.

    • creativeinc lm profile image

      creativeinc lm 5 years ago

      Very informative lens. This is a first hand account and not from text books. The 2nd world war in the Philippines was not so bad in the countryside where my parents evacuated and they did not suffer so bad.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      Thanks for visiting, and your comments and blessing. Despite all the dangers we survived and are probably better for it.

    • debnet profile image

      Debbie 5 years ago from England

      I grew up in Southampton and remember playing in the bomb sites in part of the docks. That was in the 60's and they were still there! Lots of shared memories here... happy ones too and not a computer game in sight!! Blessed by an aging Squid Angel ;)

    • klopcic profile image

      klopcic 5 years ago

      Very interesting to read your story, especially for us me - born in 80s. Thanks for sharing!

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @Swisstoons: Thanks. I have blogged extensively elsewhere about my younger days during WWII and hope to do a lens on Squidoo when I get round to it. Here's the link:

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed that. Surprisingly it wasn't that different to my 70s UK childhood. We played on building sites instead of bomb sites. And it was the pop van instead of the coal cart. Definitely very different to my kids childhood though.

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 5 years ago from Michigan

      What great reminiscence lens! Thank you for that trip back in time. Great descriptions and pics. This is one of those lenses that makes me wish I had a Purple Star to award! I think you should do another based on your experiences as a youngsters growing up in England during WWII, including how it felt (as a kid)...listening to the news on the radio...hearing what the adults were saying...etc. I'd be very interested to hear about that!

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      grannysage 5 years ago

      This is fascinating. I was born in the 50's in American but we used to run and play all day too and play kickball in the streets (I wasn't very good at it) We had a coal bin in the basement which my sister told me the boogeyman lived in. She swears to this day that she was only trying to help me. Playing in bomb sites today would be considered a tragedy but you and your friends made it an adventure. We go overboard today with trying to keep children safe, often to the point where they can't be free to be children. Lovely lens.

    • iWriteaLot profile image

      iWriteaLot 5 years ago

      ROFL! Love the "make do and mend" stuff! I wonder if you aunt would still do that today. Great lens!

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks, Dave. It's a pleasure.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your lens. Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Great read - I always love hearing about daily life in the past, really puts things in perspective. :)

    • TheHealthGuy LM profile image

      TheHealthGuy LM 5 years ago from U.S.A.

      Ok, so I am not as old as some but I can still remember when my dad used to play ball with us in the street, the milkman delivered milk in that red and white milk truck and the milk came in bottles with little white paper caps, doctors would make house calls if the patient wasn't able to come to them and one could walk downtown without getting mugged. The 50's and 60's were a much better time.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @Stazjia: Ah yes, I remember the rag and bone man too. He would drive his horse and cart down the street, ringing a brass handbell and shouting something like, "Ag, bo, rumber!"

      If you gave him some junk he would pay you with a live goldfish in a plastic bag.

      That became our new "pet" for a couple of days before it died because we didn't know how to feed it.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 5 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I was born in 1948 so I remember playing in the streets with other kids even though we had a garden. I can remember the coalman coming with bags of coal on his horse and cart and the rag and bone man too. In the 1950s, even in the milkman had a horse and cart for delivering the daily pinta. Kids were innocent then and seemed to spend their time out and about, just going home at the time we were told by our mothers otherwise we'd really cop it.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @bikerministry: Thanks for visiting, liking and commenting. Some of the things I did as a kid were downright dangerous. I'm lucky that I never broke a bone or needed stitches, but what I did then made me what I am today.

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 5 years ago

      I grew up in the 50's on city streets. This is a lens. You definitely lived in and captured an era that is GONE!! Kids playing a mile from home just doesn't happen now!

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Those were the days Shirley. Milk, bread, coal, vegetables, all delivered to the door by horse and cart, with the added bonus that you could go out afterwards with a bucket and shovel to pick up the horse manure to put on your rhubarb!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I enjoyed this Lens, as I was born in 1941, and can rmember the thrill of getting a pony trap ride with Paddy Stone the milkman, who came round every day with a large churn, and folk cam put with a jug for their milk. I use to take the ranes and drive the pony up the road to the corner. (This was in Southern Ireland though) I have lived in England for more than 40 years.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @Andy-Po: Makes one wonder how much things might change in the next 50/60 years.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 5 years ago from London, England

      Fascinating lens. It is incredible how much London and the rest of the world have changed in such a short time.

    • BobBlackUK profile image

      BobBlackUK 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks AJ, you're very kind. I've so many stories of my childhood which I tell my grandchildren. Most of them seem to think I'm from another planet!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Bob, those "Peeoung!" noises!!! Your writing creates such vivid pictures of what life was like for you "when you were a lad" - lenses like these on Squidoo are a breath of fresh air :)

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