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To ask about stuff from your childhood that is strange in retrospect?

(176 Posts)
TheCatOfAthenry Fri 22-Sep-17 16:07:05

My late grandfather used to poke us in the head with a pocket knife and say "bees bees bees". He used also give us coffee and home-brewed beer in our bottles from the age of about 10 months.

Unrelated, he used also come out with statements like "a minute is a very long time" and "nobody can hear you scream if you're lost in a chasm."

When we were ill, the crystals came out. They hoped to undo my scoliosis before the orthopaedic surgeon saw me. Had abscesses treated with funny poultices and homeopathic sweeties. One particular cure involved massaging your own nose and coccyx simultaneously. (For one condition, the school got involved to ensure I got real medical care.)

We had the archangel Michael's sword carved on our front door. We were taught that if we told a ghost to go away three times, they would. I have yet to utilise this information. And we went to Catholic mass for good measure.

Spent many a night in public houses - Dad's a musician. Was reared in a cloud of tobacco smoke. Holidayed in caravans and essentially ran wild on a halting site every summer.

Mainly nice memories. Lots of lovely people around us. I grew up into a very skeptical medical doctor, but I still enjoy all sorts of people. Get out the guitar from time to time, but only enjoy crystals as decoration these days.

Would love to hear others' retrospectively strange experiences.

JeReviens Fri 22-Sep-17 16:17:48

Catholic mass. Confession. Nuns at school. Regular whackings for misbehaviour. grin Asking 'what's for dinner?' And getting told 'smoles" Every. Single. Day 😋 Getting sent out at 8am to play and not returning or making contact until 6pm. All seems weird now.

TillyTheTiger Fri 22-Sep-17 16:22:31

One of my favourite treats when I was little was being taken to work by my Grandad. He worked in an abbatoir, and nobody seemed to think it odd having preschoolers playing hide and seek among cow carcasses hmm

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 22-Sep-17 16:23:08

Your grandfather sounds incredibly odd.

When I was about 11-12, I discovered my mum was having a blatant affair with a friend of my dad's. Every day I would come home (walked from the bus stop), and see his van parked outside. I would walk in and they would come down from upstairs and ask me if I had had a good day. My dad's "friend" would always say he was waiting for my dad, but would leave before he got back. He was so cocky and arrogant. One time I confronted them and said I knew what they were doing. They just laughed about it and called me a silly girl. I hardly think about this period in my life as it's painful to think about, but they took advantage of me as they both knew I wouldn't tell my dad (fear of breaking up the family etc) and also I think my dad already knew and was choosing to ignore it. I look back on that and think my mum was just awful to me, awful to my dad, an awful person in general. It was such an odd time, horrible really.

I wish I could think of some funny ones.

ProfYaffle Fri 22-Sep-17 16:24:21

Bees, bees, bees? wtf?! grin

My Nan used to look after me and my cousins on Saturdays. If one of us complained that one kid had something the rest of didn't have Nan would say "If I gave her shit with sugar on would you want one an' all?" confused Invariably one of us would say "No, but she's got a Wagon Wheel"

To keep us amused she used to give us hammers and nails (proper ones, not toy ones) and send us out to hammer nails into the tree stump in her garden.

Ozzde Fri 22-Sep-17 16:30:10

Getting sent out to buy cigarettes with a note from my grandfather about who it was for.

Also not being in constant contact with kids seems weird now. We used to disappear for many hours at a time to be home when the streetlights came on and no-one worried. Now they either have mobiles or I get antsy if I haven't seen ds in a while or is a tiny bit late.

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 22-Sep-17 16:33:15

Ozzde yes that is so strange to think of now, we were the same. Pretty much sent out all day into the streets to entertain ourselves with zero adult supervision for the majority of the time. We were even allowed back out after dark until late. It actually makes me sad now - like we weren't cared for quite enough.

ArgyMargy Fri 22-Sep-17 16:41:28

Of course we were cared for. We just weren't helicopter parented to within an inch of our lives. We learned to work things out for ourselves, we learned resilience and to rely on friends and neighbours not just our parents.

PlausibleSuit Fri 22-Sep-17 16:44:15

This isn't that strange, more of a generational thing, I think. But it was one of those things I accepted as a child but came to find downright weird as an adult.

When we went round to my grandmother's for lunch, she always insisted on feeding the men first. They got bigger plates too, and more meat. Furthermore, when it was a roast, they got gravy made from the meat juices, in a separate jug, whereas the women and female kids got granule gravy.

I asked my mum about it when I was a teenager. Apparently it was a hangover from WWII, particularly in London, when women were either encouraged (or felt the need) to give men lots of food first just in case the air raid sirens went off, or the men were otherwise called to fight. I sort of accepted this as a reason, although I nevertheless found it oddly sexist.

Quite why she was still doing it in the early 1990s was a mystery to me, but hey, there's always a war on somewhere I suppose.

opheliacat Fri 22-Sep-17 16:48:59

My mother never hit me but would recount friends (hers and mine) with stories about me being smacked hard for misdemeanours.

Sending me on a boat with Turkish teenagers when I was about seven. Then yelling at me for nearly drowning.

Not buying me clothes. That was hard, as a teenager. I had my uniform but otherwise was expected to make do with one dress then cast offs from my brother! My parents were very wealthy so it wasn't a financial problem. It just never seemed fo cross their minds I needed stuff to wear.

opheliacat Fri 22-Sep-17 16:50:31

I find the chucking kids out and not letting them back until dark awful, to be honest. It still happens in homes where there is severe neglect, of course, which should tell us everything.

SilverySurfer Fri 22-Sep-17 16:55:35

The headmaster at my school used to prowl the school corridors, flicking a cane, looking for any excuse to give a child ten of the best. Can you imagine that today? The mind boggles.

MrsOverTheRoad Fri 22-Sep-17 16:55:57

Ophelia I didn't really have many clothes as a teenager either. It was odd as both parents worked....we weren't rich but I should have had more than I did.

I got a job at 14 so I could buy some!

I had school uniform at one point plus a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt! I must have had a bit more but I remember only having one outfit that I thought was suitable.

Some distant cousins sent me a massive bag of gorgeous clothes once I still remember the joy!

I think it was more oversight than anything else.

motheroreily Fri 22-Sep-17 16:59:44

My parents decided to start their own church in our house. I thought that was weird at the time but now I think it's bloody weird. They weren't part of a denomination or a bigger organisation (which I could understand) just did completely their own thing and baptised people in the garden.

It wasn't successful and I'm an atheist now anyway.

Str4ngedaysindeed Fri 22-Sep-17 16:59:55

I had a very unusual childhood in too many ways to go into here, but one thing, which is unrelated to the other things, is that my mother would always hide me in the cupboard under the stairs with all of the saucepans and cutlery when there was a thunder storm. I still have no idea why

Fruitbat1980 Fri 22-Sep-17 17:00:57

My dad once tried to cut off my varucca with scissors!

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 22-Sep-17 17:01:47

ArgyMargy speak for yourself

PlausibleSuit Fri 22-Sep-17 17:07:42

@Silvery My first teacher used to smack me round the head with a book, as far as I can understand just because I was a shy, quiet kid. I was five. Boggling indeed.

MagicMarkers Fri 22-Sep-17 17:09:38

I was at a public elementary school in California in the 1970s. When it was a child's birthday the teacher would put the child across her knees and spank them on the bum - once for each year. Then the other kids would shout out things like "one for good luck!". Thankfully, it never happened to me, because my birthday was in the Summer holidays. She didn't hit hard, but It's odd what kids just accept as normal.

dwinnol Fri 22-Sep-17 17:10:15

Str4ngeDays
I had an aunt that used to spend any thunderstorm in what we called the cwtch dan star - under stairs cupboard in English.
All through the night if necessary and long into her old age.

opheliacat Fri 22-Sep-17 17:11:32

Gross, really, Magic!

DJBaggySmalls Fri 22-Sep-17 17:11:40

I used to be given a raw chickens foot to play with. If you pull a tendon it cocks its 'finger' and you can use it to beckon someone.
good old days my arse.

Mari50 Fri 22-Sep-17 17:13:22

Catholic upbringing. Confession, being told at 6 years old that a purposeful omission was lying to Jesus which was a mortal sin and meant I'd go straight to hell were I to meet an unfortunate accident.

supersop60 Fri 22-Sep-17 17:19:18

My parents' odd relationship with my godparents, who we called Aunty and Uncle and were very close to. My DM spent nearly all her spare time doing Church activities with Uncle, and my DF used to go dancing twice a week with Aunty. I never thought about it twice until I was an adult.

Strelitz Fri 22-Sep-17 17:20:12

Nobody realised I was horribly short-sighted until my music teacher asked if I could see the sheet music (I couldn't and didn't realise there was anything on the paper). I was 13. Being able to 'see' was actually scary.

I got measles, mumps and rubella. Didn't realise that was unusual until this year when I had to provide proof I'd had the vaccinations and the doctor was stunned I'd had the actual diseases. So was my husband, who is older than me and was vaccinated (both in U.K.)

My mum stayed in bed all day Sunday to rest.

On a holiday to America, my sister and I were left outside bars and casinos as nobody under 21 was allowed inside.

My parents were barely-functioning alcoholics but on the surface very acceptable middle class family. I only realised the scale of it until I, too, became an alcoholic (now in recovery).

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