The Auntie Doris Years: 1950


There is something about the start of a new decade. Its even better than the start of a New Year. There is always a feeling that things are going to really change, and hopefully for the better. When we look back at decades we tell ourselves how different they all were, The forties with the war and austerity seemed somehow better than the thirties with the threat of war and poverty. At least in the forties we felt like we were doing something about our ruddy problems. And we knew that the fifties would be even better. There was nothing to struggle against. Things would definitely improve. My Raymond said that he could feel it in his bones. I could feel it in my waters, but I wasn’t going to go telling him that. He would have only wanted to go fiddling about trying to feel my waters, and I wasn’t quite as up for that sort of malarkey as I had been in the years immediately after the War.
Little Cyril got us a lovely new radio set though, through his contacts in the business. A top of the range Ferguson it was, and much better to listen to and to look at than my old Bush. I think the coil had gone in that one and it crackled and bubbled too much. The New one was a treat. All brown Bakelite and Valves and a lovely rich sound when it warmed up tuned into the Light Programme. It filled the house with music and laughter, and once we’d got it, me and Raymond never had it off! Literally! I would much rather listen to the radio and Raymond wasn’t all that bothered any road.
We used to listen to Billy Cotton’s Band show on a Sunday morning with Billy Crying out “Wakey Wake – eeey!” and the band belting out “Somebody Stole my Gal” for all they were worth. I loved that sound. I would put my spuds in the oven around whatever meat I had been able to get from under Knaggs’ counter, and by the time the show was over, I just had time to strain my vegetables before dinner. Happy days indeed.
The Adventures of PC 49 was another favourite. He was a forerunner to pc 99, who had a chocolate flake wedged into his copper’s helmet. Life with the Lyons, The Archers, and of course, Housewives’ Choice every morning, and Worker’s Playtime at dinner. Bill Gates used to take a moment off inventing the computer to say “Good luck, all workers!” at the end of each show. It was hardly Karl Marx, but it was strangely comforting, even if it was Raymond bringing home the bacon, so to speak with his bus driving. “Good Luck Raymond!”
Course, we still had rationing, but soap came off it that year, so at least I could get my Raymond to do his neck before he came to bed. Saved the pillows a bit, that did. And when you share your bed with a man who has a clean neck, you sort of know that everything is going to be alright. You can feel it in your waters.
Auntie Doris’s Top Hit of 1950: “Mona Lisa” by Nat King Cole. What a lovely sound. What a lovely voice. What a lovely man. When that record came out, we knew it was 1950, and we were entering a futuristic new age, with new music, and new dreams. It had originally been released by George Dole and his Orchestra, but Nat had the definitive version. We knew what we wanted in those days. Cole, not Dole!

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