Reviewing: BOOKS cars, films, who knows what else to come!

with Payton L. Inkletter's legendary

angle minus the fangle

Saturday, June 5, 2010

RED BOXES: Easy yet moving to read real stories, innocent yet powerful memories of growing up and living in England through 1939-80

I had been anticipating reading this account of Gladys Hobson's life, for not the least reason that she hails from England, my birthplace.

I was raised on stories of the British Depression era, War time, and post War era till the early sixties, told me by my parents. We emigrated to Australia in 1964 when I was barely 7 years of age, and I was always fascinated by the experiences my parents shared with me and my younger brother.

'When Phones Were Immobile and Lived in RED BOXES' was very easy to read, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made think of my deceased mother very much, who I've missed greatly these past twenty one years. A lot of Ms Hobson's experiences were very much like my mother's, and I was especially struck by accounts of the fashion industry, because my mother's work, before she married my father, was in the retail side of fashion. Despite war time rationing being over, it was a struggle for her to find the materials for her wedding outfit; however, one of the tailors that Mum used to deal with hand made her a beautiful tweed suit and lace blouse as her wedding present – it was a worth a small fortune. This made Ms Hobson's account of her early career in the industry resonate with me rather nostalgically.

Thinking of the times when Ms Hobson was carving out her vocation in the fashion world, she would have needed to be quite a courageous woman; she, it should be noted, was raising her new family as well.

Even though poverty was a constant in the early part of her life, Ms Hobson's tenacious spirit saw her overcome the struggles that a lot of her fellow countrymen shared with her.

I would warmly recommend this book to anyone wanting to have an insight into this era in Britain, and the making of our current senior generation. There is a lot to admire about how they came through the challenges of their times; things that younger people today would not understand, and maybe not cope with should – let's hope not – such hard times return.
Janny Inkletter


Gladys Hobson said...

Thank you, Janny.
Since the war broke out just before my seventh birthday, the only thing I recall missing in wartime was bananas. During the war everyone had the same rations. (Likely the black market ensured some had extras.) I was only aware of poverty just after the war, when, in 1946 I attended the Nottingham Secondary Art School. We were given an allowance for the basic uniform but everyone else had a gaberdine mac. I only had a pea-green second-hand coat (too small and minus a buckle for the belt) I stood out in the playground like a green parrot. So most of the year I wore my blazer as a coat— a little cool in winter! That, plus jibes by a friend's snobbish father, made me determined to work hard and never be humiliated again. I also got good at stretching the truth, when in my later teens, I was asked where I had been on holidays. Others did not need to know 'holidays' had been merely one day trips (school trip to London, Skegness when first started work and also when I was only two years old) plus a lot of imagination!
All the more to look forward to and enjoy!
Thank you for reading the book and I am pleased that you enjoyed it.

Gladys Hobson said...

And I meant to add
Oh, my! What big eyes you have. No wonder Payton is a dizzy clown with such bewitching eyes following him around!

Payton L. Inkletter said...

Gladys: How prescient of you!

Always - even when asleep on her back with one eye open - is at least one of Janny's eyes fixed upon me and my wallet, seeing through walls, around corners, and into credit cards.

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