|'A house got bu[r]nt and three pe[o]ple were bu[r]nt'|
|'50 Times Vednam [Vietnam] pe[o]ple get killed'|
|'Foot and Mo[u]th Degres [Disease] cows and pig ten got killed Five of eack [each]'|
The front page of another little paper I've managed to keep, the 'Despach' (our local paper was the Despatch) has these headlines: 'A little child got buglared' and 'Another girl ill'. Inside, 'Towns get hungry because of meat' and 'A boy got killed'. 'Town law off agian'. I can't help feeling my parents weren't doing a terribly good job of protecting me from the harsh realities of life.
But today I'm going to 'treat' you to The News Finder, which must date from a bit later as the handwriting is much better. It's such a weird snapshot of my anxieties and interests at the age of six or seven.
|Shades of Mad Men -- cigarette advertising was ubiquitous in the late Sixties|
'False Teeth by Audrey Carr' [Audrey Carr was my mum, but in fact this was a real book which she had been sent in her capacity as a book reviewer for the Northern Echo, the bigger Darlington-based newspaper which also published the Dispatch. I was obsessed with this book (published in October 1968) and I remember I also used it as the basis for one of those awful presentations you have to do at school. A couple of years ago I had to clear my mum's house when she moved into a care home and I found the book again so I've got it safely -- in a box somewhere...]. 'This book is stupid, I think, when it says 'Many had a loose tooth and it hurt' because it is obvious it would hurt. I think this book is very Rude - because I do not like talking about False theeth.' Quite so.
Finally on the front page, back to the news: 'Wood cutters are Jailed For cutteing The wrong trees down'. Again, can't fault the judgement.
Page 2 is the full-page ad for Players Cigarette. Page 3, breaking with tabloid convention, is 'Docters Diary: Hiccups'. 'There are lots of cures For hiccups. like holding your breath and counting to twenty or haveing a long long drink. hiccups are indigestible. you may think it Funny but animals have hiccups.' Always informative.
Page 4 is the Editorial -- on 'Shcools':
It's back to the news on p5, the foreign news quite conventionally relegated to the inside pages:
There are more adverts: 'go to Spain There is lots of lovely places like oporto and portugal, Madrid and many others. it is very plesant.'
And a craft feature, which could have come straight out of Things to Make and Do:
'My worst experece was when someone stupid left our bath running and it overflowed and it covered our carpets wich were pink and blue it was luky we had a kerb and it wasn't a upstars bathroom I nearly covered two of dads pots for he was studying to be a potter but he wasn't cross'.
This is a TRUE story. My dad was doing a ceramics module as part of his BEd degree (he was a mature student) and was making many grim, gritty Sixties-style slab pots which he used to leave in the bathroom to dry out before they were fired. 'Someone stupid' did indeed leave the tap in the bath on a trickle and, who knows how, the bath filled to overflowing and water cascaded all over the floor, causing that week's pots to sag and flop. I'm not sure I ever admitted to being the 'someone stupid' to my mum and dad, but I love how I unwittingly go into the first person halfway through this account. The truth will out. Specially when the News Finder is on the story.
Thank you very much for your indulgence in this post. Have you got any writings from early childhood? I may 'treat' you to 'The Ugly Elf and Beady' soon, a racy story of gnomes and 'buitful. ladies.