Joan Allen's Memories

December 1991 (Comics)

By Joan Allen

By Joan Allen
By Joan Allen
By Joan Allen
By Joan Allen
Favourite Comics
By Joan Allen
Photo copies of Original Documents (Which can be Viewed at Hemel Hempstead Library)
By Joan Allen




Listening to the news on the radio on November 6th 1991 I heard the results, for reading, of the recently introduced “Standards” tests for seven year olds.

Apparently 51% were of average ability, 21% were above average, they were up to, what would be expected of a 9 year old… but, 28%…were below average…non readers in fact.

I felt very sorry for the last group of youngsters and hoped very much they would soon be able to read.

I loved reading as a child…apparently my nose was always in a book!

One of my earliest memories of school when aged 5 this was in 1935 was of our teacher telling us about “Sunny Stories” by Enid Blyton…if we wished and could bring 2d she would try and obtain some copies for us as they were in short supply…she did but none survived…being well and truly read and handled.

I read almost anything that was to hand, from the packets of “Force” and “Shredded Wheat” on the breakfast table…to old newspapers that had been wrapped around fish and chips!

Each week “Picture Post” and “Illustrated” were delivered to my home plus “Chicks Own” for my sister I had the “Rainbow” my brothers “Film Fun” and “Hotspur”.

I really couldn’t get on with the “Hotspur”…didn’t like it…much preferred Mum’s copies of “Home Notes” or…”Women’s Weekly” although I was only 7 or 8 at the time.

I remember being most puzzled and worried about one advertisement in these magazines…”For those difficult days each month” it read showing a certain month with five days ringed around and stating…”A.K. tablets” would help.

At first I was quite worried…that some disaster was imminent …but when days marked, passed uneventfully…well good…but what about the next month?

Well, nothing much happened and gradually I forgot all about it…but, I had been worried!

My Dad had several books that looked interesting “Famous Crimes of the last 100yrs”…”Famous Ghost Stories” detective stories etc, Mum didn’t allow us to read these nor the Medical books they owned.

You have plenty of your own books “she said” those nice Rupert Bear and other annuals…the William books and many others beside.

But not so interesting…I thought…as I smuggled them upstairs to be read later by torchlight…under the bedclothes…my sister grumbling that I made our bed cold with my moving about, when flicking over the pages…but she never let on to mum. …think she liked listening to the spooky stories…the medical books were interesting too! but I didn’t read these aloud…

Much sniffing, mopping of eyes…choking sensations accompanied the reading of “Chatterbox” these were penny weeklies, dated around the 1880’s, owned by my Grandmother…they had been bound into a book.

One the front page of each copy beside stating “Chatterbox”price one penny were printed in black and white, beautifully detailed drawings depicting the main story within.

Typical Victorian scenes…often of a sad Father or Mother being comforted by a sad child…accompanied by an even sadder looking dog!

Problems galore had beset these families…”of drunkenness”… “raging fevers”…“Father’s having gone to war”…”people sinking into declines”…these were the main themes of these stories and I loved them!!

Well, over fifty years on and over 100 yrs. since the Chatterbox stories were written…the same problems beset people today…sadly these can be read about in any newspaper or magazine.

Only now, I definitely do not love reading them…as my Grandmother always said

This page was added on 28/08/2013.

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