Saturday, April 24, 2010


Some women find being confined to household tasks unendurably stifling and boring. My mother was one of these, and she had an unusual attitude to childcare, in that she solved it by leaving me, the youngest, at home by myself when I was 3 1/2.

It would be easy to say "poor me", but I can't recall feeling in any way bad about it. Not lonely, not bored, not afraid: maybe peripheral, at the worst.
As an adult, I was appalled, but she defended it valiantly, pointing out that she was accessible in the school in the photo. Our house was some distance behind the photographer: not far, but it seemed quite a trek to me.
She must have had a lot of confidence in her children.


julia said...

My own mother allowed me to walk to school alone at the age of 4 1/2
On reflection she really had little choice in the matter, I was so independent amd so determined I could cope alone I simply set off each day without her
These days social services would be involved!

Relatively Retiring said...

Only after I became a mother did I question some of my own mother's behaviour, which I now find hard to believe. Yet, at the time it's all you know and you accept it unquestioningly.
Good job social services were not around!

Frances said...

J: (Julie?) Having the confidence to set out to do what you want to do! What a wonderful attribute. I hope that you never lose it.

And R.R. Precisely. That's the shape of the world, and you take it in your stride.
I think what really frustrated me as a child was that there seemed to be years when "You're a big girl now, too old to do (whatever)", while simultaneously there were all kinds of exciting things that you couldn't do because you weren't old enough. Caught in the middle!

Susannah said...

Beautiful photo.

ThirdCat said...

That is a brilliant story.

Penny said...

I was a child in the 1950's and leaving a child like that was quite common. Frowned upon, but not illegal as it is now. I can remember going to the local shops at the age of four with a note and some cash for bread, and being left alone while older siblings were at school and younger ones were with mum. I didn't mind that as we were a large noisy family and those few hours of solitude and quiet with books and toys were welcome.

catdownunder said...

I would be sent on my tricycle to the local shops at the tender age of 3. Of course it was a country town and everyone knew everyone but there were a couple of roads to cross and I had to wait until someone opened the door of the shop! When we moved to the city I tricycled a mile to school each day. Now I know fifteen year old 'children' who do not know how to catch a bus!

Frances said...

How lovely to find all these comments. Thankyou. How nice to meet you all here: now I won't feel such an eavesdropper when I drop in on your blogs.