What was it like when you were growing up?
I get this question from my children. "Mum, what was it like when you were a kid?"
I grew up in Toronto in the 60s and 70s. TVs were black & white with rabbit ears (or, if you were lucky, a big antenna tower attached to the side of your house so you could get the Buffalo stations), telephones were firmly attached to a wall, had dials instead of keypads, and were so heavy that if you dropped the receiver on your foot you'd be seeing an orthopedic surgeon in short order. We had yet to hear of FM radio.
Our neighbourhood, by the standard of the day, was culturally and ethnically diverse. Our street boasted one Black family, refugees from Hungary, a couple of Italian immigrant families and a family, recently from Romania, whose youngest daughter was my friend. One day I was having lunch at their house, and had what I thought were roast beef sandwiches. It was horsemeat, I was casually informed. Oddly enough I wasn't grossed out, just kind of surprised and confused. Still, I think I preferred the goulash from the Hungarian refugee kitchen - no surprises there.
You'd hear a lot of different accents on our street. Our next door neighbours were from what was then referred to as British Guyana. They spoke in a way I imagined people from England did, but now that I think back on it, their accent had more of a Caribbean sound.
Almost every summer their aunts, uncles and cousins from Guyana would visit. There would be backyard parties filled with exotic food and musical laughter from people who descended from African slaves, British colonialists and indigenous people. They owned a sugar cane plantation, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. The cousins would organize backyard games like Capture the Flag and British Bulldog, and all of us neighbourhood kids would join them in games of hide-and-seek that spanned several backyards. It was heaven. It was also where I learned that not all families were normal on the outside and hideously dysfunctional on the inside.
There was some economic diversity as well. Being renters who drove an old beater, we were pretty much at the bottom of the scale, along with a handful of other families. At the other end, there was the family across the street who owned several properties and were landlords to many of our friends. The dad was a nice guy, friendly and chatty. The mother was an unapologetic snob, inordinately proud of their Scottish heritage.
That was the 60s and early 70s for me. Well, a lot of the good stuff at least. So. What was it like when you were growing up?
Just asked my London-born husband. He remembers eating there with his family as a child. Out on Wharncliffe on the way to Lambeth.
I've only been in London 10 years now, so never had the experience ...
I remember the Seven Dwarves, although I never ate there. I remember:
Hot wheels, Star Wars figurines, He-Man, Pacman, The Voyage of the Dawntreader, Michael Jackson and Raffi on my Fisher Price record player, Frank Vetere's, Wacky Wednesday, shag carpets, central vaccuum, fake wood panelling, K-cars, Dodge campervan with a raised roof, Western Fair
Nobody does He-Man like Robot Chicken.
My parents had a particularly hideous burnt orange striped couch in the 70s. Tommy Paine and I have something similar - a hand me down from his parents. It's so painfully ugly I keep it covered at all times with various and sundry throw blankets, but it's the most comfortable spot in our living room.
The only drive-in restaurant in my city, like most places in Canada, was the A & W. It was a big deal when it first came to town.
We had a couple of A & W drive ins in my youth. Loved the frosty mugs of root beer.
60s and 70s for me -- Vancouver, England, then Victoria. I started school in London, England (Islington: Go Arsenal!) and had a full Cockney accent which didn't shake off for quite a while back in Canada.
My most vivid memory is freedom. Weekends, I remember leaving the house at 8 a.m. or so and running around with my pals until supper time.
Crazy about horses since I was an infant, I was especially enchanted with Carly's Riding Academy up across by the university. Oh, my four-legged friends! Felix, Wonder, Flea, Sam, Alum, Tweedy, and many more. I practically lived at Carly's.
We didn't have a TV until I was 8 or so. It was black and white, of course, and I loved the Waltons, Gilligan's Island, I Love Lucy, the Brady Bunch, and other examples of high culture.
And, oh yeah, I remember the A & W, drive-in too. My dad used to take my sister and me there (which really must have grossed him out because he's a lifelong vegetarian). I also remember "Candy Day" -- we kids were only allowed to eat sweets on Sundays and, boy, were those Sundays sweet.
School, piano lessons, ballet lessons, riding lessons, swimming, skating, camping; it was a blur of activity. Lots of happy memories -- thanks for starting this thread.
Loved the frosty mugs of root beer.
Anyone from the rural areas remember people coming by in vans and other vehicles to sell their wares. We used to have some regulars when I was a kid. I remember a man selling rugs but there were more that I can't really remember. Wonder when they stopped coming around.
Born in July 1980 in Vancouver. Grew up in Burnaby in the 1980s and 1990s. My brother was born in December 1984.
Both sets of Granparents lived in the Burnaby-New Westminster area. Mom had three brothers and one sister; dad had one brother and one sister. Dad's brother and all of Mom's siblings had kids. Though some of my aunts and uncles lived in the Vancouver area for parts of time while I was growing up, none of my cousins ever lived here.
Our house was located south of Metrotown, on Burnaby's south slope. The house was built in 1965; my parents purchased it in 1980 just before I was born. My parents did various renovations over the years. Most notably, the kitchen and all three bathrooms were renovated between 1993 and 1996.
We played a lot in the neigbourhood when I was younger, though we wern't allowed to cross major streets. We played mainly with two brothers who were two years younger than myself and my brother respectively; plus other kids, both boys and girls, at various times. As we got older, we lost contact with most of these kids. Also our parents eventually eased the restrictions on crossing major streets as we got older.
In the very early years we could hear the trains running on the two BC Hydro railway, the one that became the route of the Expo skytrain, and the one down in the Big Bend area. The BC Hydro railway stopped running trains in 1985.
We didn't go to the local school because me and my brother were in French Immersion, so we never walked to school. Went to Marlborough Elementary which was an 8-10 minute drive from our house, then to Moscrop junior high for grades 8-10, and then Burnaby Central for grades 11-12.
I got rides to Moscrop and Central, and took the bus home. Both schools were down in Burnaby's central valley, and driving time to both was 10-15 minutes. bus ride home was between 45 minutes and an hour and 20 minutes.
Our neighbourhood was all families of European background, with two exceptions. When I was two, an Indigenous girl my age, and her divorced non-indigenous mothe moved into the neigbourhood for two years. Then when I was 11, as south asian family bought the house across the street from us. They had two daughters, one who was ten, and one who was eight.
Ethnic diversity in our class at school was three chinese kids and one south asian kid, the rest being various European ethnicities. Numbers in the class dwindled from 30 in grade 1 to 15 in grade 7.
Ethnic diversity was higher in high school, as it had been in the English stream in elementary school. There was a significant increase in ESL chinese students over the course of high school, owing to the influx of immigrants from Hong Kong in advance of the 1997 handover to China.
Almost all of my parents friends were of British or other North European background. The one exception was the couple who became my god-parents. She was British, but he was from Trinidad; they became the god-parents because they played an unitentional role in how my parents met, and because my parents liked the idea of us having a black god-father.
Our family has a one room cabin on waterfront property on the Sunshine Coast. We spent a good ammount of time there over the years. For several summers we went on two week camping trips in Western Canada. There was one summer camp I went to for several years where the ethinc makeup was almost all European and a lot of the kids were from higher income areas like West Vancouver.
Mom stopped working after I was born to become a stay at home mom, though she would often comment that this was unusual in her generation. She had me and my brother in various individual sports and music programs and lessons while we were growing up, so we were kept fairly busy much of the time.
My parents also took us on a lot of outings. We went to Stanley Park on many occasions, as well as many other parks in Greater Vancouver. We had seasons passes to the Vancouver Aquqarium and Science World for many years. Went to a number of Broadway musicals while growing up, plus other classical music concerts.
We got a tv when I was four. Initially our parents restricted us to watching CBC, Knowledge Network, and PBS. At age eight we were allowed to watch weekend morning cartoons, and then at age 10 we were allowed to watch other tv. Listened to a lot of CBC radio in the car and at the cabin. When we got a portable radio cassette player I started listening to Canucks hockey games and rock radio.
Watched movies at friends houses, and at home. Went to the summer kids feature at the Gibsons movie theatre on the Sunshine Coast for several years. Started going to the movie theatres in Burnaby at age 12. Movies included Disney and other kids movies, Batman movies, Star Trek Movies, monster movies, Jurassic Park, Star Wars Trilogy, ect.
The music I listened to as a young kid was my Dad's folk music records, plus kids records that Mom bought for me. Got introduced to a lot of pop and rap music during my pre-teen years, but did not buy. Listened to tapes of 70s and 80s broadway musicals my Mom bought. In high school I listened to grunge, post-grunge, and punk, plus the Beatles. Was big on bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Green Day. A sizable chunk of the kids in high school listened exclusively to gangsta rap. Started buying cds in high school.
Clothes as a young kid were mostly corduroy pants, polo shirts, and sweatshirts. Then came the fluorescent craze, during which I wore fluorescent t-shirts and a fluorescent jacket, as well as black and grey sweatshirts and sweatpants. During my teenage years I wore wide leg levis jeans, plaid shirts, and black t-shirts. Clothes shopping was initially at Sears, and then after the Metrotown development, also Woodwards, Eatons, and other stores in the mall.
Food was a lot of meat and potatoes, chicken and rice, macaroni, spaghetti, mexican, hamburgers and hot dogs. Frequented restaurants included White Spot and McDonalds. There was a chinese takeout place in south Burnaby that we ordered from several times in the early years before they closed. For several years we went once a year for chinese food in Chinatown.