Tuesday, June 8, 2010
When Phones Were Immobile and Lived in Red Boxes — a charming review
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.
The book can be purchased directly (immediate delivery) from Magpies Nest Publishing, and ordered from any good bookseller.
Read chapters at Magpies Nest Publishing, see the book's post on this author site.