I found this photo of my mother when she was a child in the 1950's. The subject itself is pretty self-explanatory, a children's tea party. The children are all wearing their party best; the girls in pretty dresses with bows in their hair and the boys in shirts and cowboy hats. You can almost hear their excitement, maybe it's the abundance of cake and squash or the appearance of a camera? I would imagine that most of these children had sleepless nights prior to the party, it's arrival as eagerly anticipated as Christmas. It's a happy afternoon, one of many in the fresh-air-filled, kite-flying, tree-climbing, rope-jumping, camp-building, model-painting, hop-scotching, book-reading and truly free-spirited afternoons in the lives of these children. Small gifts made huge smiles and simple toys were treasured.
But what if you drew together a similar group of children today, laid tables with white table cloths and fed them simple sandwiches, fairy cakes, jelly, ice cream and squash? Would their excitement and marvel be equal? Would their eyes light up for a photo to be taken? Sadly I don't think so. There would probably be widespread vocal disappointment at the lack of cold chicken nuggets, flaccid pizza, crisps, and teeth-achingly fizzy drinks. The children wouldn't be dressed in simple summer clothes, but in uber trendy designer clothes the cost of which would have paid for the 1950's party! They would get bored with Blind Man's Bluff or Pass-the-Parcel and the lack of a party bag stuffed with goodies causing raised eyebrows from competitive parents?
What a shame that the concept of childhood is now just a marketing tool for holiday brochures, Organic Cereals and Fabric Conditioners!