I have often thought that we children of the “Baby Boomer” generation are the luckiest generation in history. WW2 was over and there was a new spirit of optimism. We never had to survive the Great Depression. In my family we were pretty hard up during the 50s, but we were never starving or lacking in the basic comforts of life. We didn’t have the technology of today, or the vast array of material goods, but I don’t think we needed it.
I recall having a very happy childhood in our little world of Tawd Bridge. I had a little group of friends to play with and lots of interesting things to do. No mobile phones, no computers no hugely expensive toys. Even at school we only really had one item of play equipment, a pair of swings on the field at the back of the school. Everything else depended on our imagination and ingenuity.
We walked, unsupervised, to school. We had to go up Ormskirk road then turn up the “pads” – a footpath giving a shortcut to Daniels Lane. In the last couple of years that I was there we had a Lollypop man to supervise us crossing Ormskirk road to get to the pads. Whatever the weather, we had to walk, (or run!) We thought it was fun when it was foggy and you could not see the school from the pads. “Oh, no! The school has disappeared! No school for us today!”
There seem to have been few restrictions on what we could do. I vividly remember playing outside in the snow at night when it was dark, and I have sometimes wondered about why my Mam would have allowed me to play outside at night. Then I suddenly remembered that in winter in England it is often dark at 5:30, so I guess that is the answer, we could play outside until we had to come in for the evening meal, and it would have been well dark by then.
When it wasn’t winter, we could have a wonderful time outside. The houses at Tawd Bridge were crowded closely together along Ormskirk Road, but if you went a hundred yards to the back of the houses you were in open country. It was a real adventure playground! There were trees to climb, birds nests to find, brooks to paddle in (and fall in, sometimes!) We used to walk as far as the actual bridge over the Tawd River, then turn along a path towards “The Lump” as we used to call it. Or you could go the other way and go up the back lane. Along there was an old shed and a sort of allotment that belonged to “Owd Bill”. Near there by the side of the lane was a spring, water constantly bubbling up into a little pool. I always found it fascinating. The last time I was in England was in 1989, and I went down to Tawd Bridge to try to find that back lane. There was a sort of abbreviated and modified lane where I thought it should have been, but no sign of the spring.
Another thing that my friend and I liked to do was to walk up the brow to Dick Valentines farm. At the side there was a paddock in which was kept a friendly chestnut horse. We loved him. He allowed us to pat his nose and feed him with a handful of grass.
If you kept on walking along from there you came to a place that we called “Tom Brown’s Garden”. I can’t remember anything about the house apart from the fact that it had a lovely garden. We used to just stand there and admire it.
If any of this jogs the memory of any of the other Tawd Bridge or Digmoor children, leave a comment!