Childhood memories with Tony Young

Tony Young
Tony Young
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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

THIS WEEK IN 1975: Reunited after 30 years – but only thanks to a kind stranger

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Tony Young is 69-years-old and lives in Waterlooville. Retired Tony is a keen supporter of the Kings Theatre in Southsea and is responsible for maintaining its archive. Here he recalls some of his fondest childhood memories.

· What is your earliest childhood memory?

I can just about remember my father returning from the war in late 1945. I was about three and was allowed to sleep in the front room. I woke to the front door being opened, then a body appeared and my mother introduced me to my father. It was the first time I had seen him.

· What do you remember about your birthdays?

The immediate post-war era was one of rationing and shortages but I am sure my parents would have done their best to make my birthdays memorable at the time. It’s not until my 21st that I have a real memory – when I was dumped by my then girlfriend!

· How was school?

I enjoyed primary school but secondary school was better. I became very keen on languages and geography. I also discovered I had a complete lack of ability in the sciences.

· What did you get up to with your friends?

We had a small gang who played together in a friend’s garden. He was fortunate in that the garden was large, with trees at the bottom. These trees held no danger for climbing and were useful for making dens. In those days there was much less traffic, so we were able to play in the street, or go alone to the park.

· What did you watch on TV?

Our first family television had a nine-inch screen, was black and white and appeared just in time for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Programmes started at about 4pm, with children’s hour, then the service closed down at 5pm. Evening programmes started at 6pm, with the news, then the service closed down again at about 11pm with the National Anthem. There was only one station!

· What music did you listen to?

My grandmother had an old, wind-up gramophone and several 78rpm records which my brother and I played almost to destruction. The music tended to be the pre-war big bands, together with some classics. Then I heard Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley and my life changed forever.

· Any clothes that stand out in your memory?

My wedding suit was made to measure but I think it was against someone else’s measurements! It was very tight and I never wore it again.

· What toys did you play with?

I was fascinated with my Bayko set – a precursor to Lego – but was more interested in playing football or cricket in the street or the park.