Tuesday, 19 April 2011

My secret retro past......

I must be getting old.It is a fact.More and more often in my line of work I come across items described as 'retro' as opposed to 'Vintage' I look at the afore mentioned items with slight contempt I fear,because to me,they are all too familiar,relics of my childhood that I did not particularly care for then...or now,but hey,each to their own.
I was growing up in the 1970s,youngest child of a working class family,My Dad worked in the shipyards on the Tyne,my Mum a trained dressmaker,worked in the corner shop to fit in with family life.The corner shop was owned by a Mr and Mrs Swan, a very nice couple who seemed to be just a cut above us.My Mother,as well as working part time in their shop,also did a spot of cleaning for them,sometimes she took me along,they lived,very comfortably above the shop.I recall the Lounge(we had a living room),which had a bar in the corner,I thought this to be the absolute epitome of luxury,it was padded faux leather and had high stools around it,I was told they entertained a lot.They had a leather three piece suite and a sheepskin rug.At one point,on the G Plan coffee table they had a Lava lamp!!!! Mrs Swan would serve up 'Elevenses' in little pyrex glass cups in orange plastic holders,I swear to God I thought I was in Heaven! snippets of conversations revealed that 'The Swans' dined out a fair bit,usually at 'The golf club' all very sophisticated to me at the time,even more glamorous was their teenage Daughter Barbara,lovely girl,complete with boyfriend named Ken(true,I jest not) and a bedroom with fitted wardrobes!!!! they had louvre doors and my childish heart almost burst out of my chest at the sight of them.They also had a pale pink bathroom with two sinks!!! can you believe it?and a rather large sunken bath.Ours was a tub with feet,Oddly enough when we moved into this house I paid silly money for an original claw foot cast iron bath to be installed,it remains my best purchase.Oh how the other half lived.
And yet.....we lived a little differently,no faux leather,sheepskin or louvre doors to be found in my family home,a little bungalow with leaded windows,a garden full of roses,sofas covered by my very clever Mother in sanderson floral fabrics and patchwork quilts on the beds.Dogs running in and out of the busy kitchen,the radio playing and My Mother clip clopping around in kitten heels,Dad in his favourite armchair reading the paper.It was such a cosy life and though I was fascinated by the thoroughly modern lifestyle of the Swans,I never really envied it,No wonder I grew up loving the vintage lifestyle.

Oh blessed happy days,I would not change these memories for all the pyrex coffee cups in the world!


  1. memories are very special aren't they?
    today I was thinking about my lovely mum- for some reason I just reached over to phone her this morning and ell her something, and she's been gone 7 years!
    But how lovely, I thought, to have such nice memories, and how lucky I was to love and be loved by such a wonderful lady.

    Oh listen to em going on- it was your pyrex cups that did it; we had white and green ones!

    Have a lovely Easter Gena

  2. Ahh Elaine! I am absolutely sure your lovely Mum is with you every day and yes we are lucky to have such happy memories,They have helped us to become the women we are today,I also think our love of nostalgia lies in our past,those pyrex cups were so trendy werent they? I also recall the swans introduced us to vesta currys! ha ha! curry in a box!what were we thinking! Happy Easter dear Elaine xxx