Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An old family photo of my Dad

This is an old photo of my Dad taken back in the late 1960's. I am not sure of the actual date. It was when I was still living in Wednesbury in Staffordshire, England. Dad was a Detective Inspector and wore plain clothes but occasionally had to appear in his dress uniform for ceremonies, inspections and occasionally for visiting dignitaries. My Mum was probably the photographer.

When I was a lot younger I wished that they had chosen a more dignified background as you can see the drainpipes and a short strip of washing line. As I have matured I realize that they are just part of the photograph and add to its character.

I remember the washing Mum put on her line and the short entry way before you reached the kitchen door on the left. There was an outside bathroom, a coal shed and a place where Dad kept all his gardening equipment and carpentry tools.

Occasionally if Dad came across a man down on his luck he would bring him home, give him blankets and an old pillow and let him stay the night in the old shed. Mum was quite used to this. They were given a pillow and a couple of blankets and she would fix them a sandwich for the evening and a good breakfast to send them on their way in the morning. Dad had uncanny instincts about people and they never steered him wrong. We never had any trouble with our occasional overnight guests. That's not to say that he didn't use caution and was always very protective of his family.

Dad's carpentry and tool shed was always a big draw to me and I used to sneak into it at every opportunity. I loved looking through Dad's carpentry tools, and cut myself pretty badly when the little boy next door said we should play Cowboys and Indians, and I would be the Indian but I needed a bow and arrow. I actually tried to carve an arrow out of an old piece of wood, but I didn't get any further as I slit my thumb with Dad's carpentry knife and Mum almost fainted seeing all the blood. Another trip to the doctor. I was a bit of a tomboy and I might add that the little boy wasn't allowed around for a long, long time. As I look down at my thumb now, I still have the scar running down one side.

This was also a police house and Mum lived in fear of 'the inspections'. Officials used to turn up unannounced and she couldn't have a thing out of place. The dusting had to be continuously taken care of because she knew the 'white glove' treatment would be included. The house always had to be neat and orderly in fear of a black mark put on Dad's career. I'm not sure if this was exactly true but Mum was convinced. She had a hard time keeping up with my untidy ways. My sister was a lot better at keeping things in order and I am a lot better myself these days, but back then not so much.

The day we moved down to Devon and Mum and Dad bought their own home was the happiest day in my Mum's life. No more inspections, no more white glove treatments, and no more "Denise, would you please pick up after yourself." Well, not quite. I always tried but my idea of 'picked up' was definitely different from my mum's.

The photo above was taken in the late 1950's on an outing with the Police Wives' Club. Mum is sitting on the right. I can't really remember the other two ladies names but I think the one sitting in the middle was called Beryl. That's as far as my memory goes.

22 comments:

  1. Your dad looks very smart and proud in that photo Denise ! Don`t you just love the fifties fashions ? great photographs-have you any more ?

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  2. Lovely old photos and memories Denise. Great one of your Dad.
    Sounds like you were a naughty little girl though.{:)

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  3. I love family history stuff. I collect as much of it as I've ever had and as much as I can drag out of other people. And usually that's like pulling teeth. People have some interesting things, but they don't want to part with it for even a minute. Or worse they just don't care and throw everything away. :(

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  4. My friend's Dad was a uniformed officer. I used to dread meeting him on the way to school. For some reason in those days, I was convinced everyone would think he was reprimanding me - or worse. :)

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  5. Great old photos, and lots of good memories. I would hate to live in a police house and have to keep things tidy all the time!

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  6. Ah, days gone by, memories - memories.
    Your Dad looks very much the part here, brill.

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  7. Nicely uniformed father and your mother was very attractive, also.

    I used to be a neatnik, but as I age, I have become more careless and untidy. It is what it is. I can imagine how stressful it was for your family to be subject to inspections. Good to know you could relax later on.

    Great story, Denise!

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  8. Ι think you look like your mom! Your dad looks so serious at that photo!!!
    Please so us some more!!! I really enjoy old photos...

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  9. I love to see 'old' photos. The photo of your Dad reminded me of a friend of my parents when I was little (1960s). He used to come to our house in police uniform and pick me up and lift me high into the sky (he was very tall and I thought very good looking!). Thank you for reminding me!
    Jane x

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  10. I love seeing these old photos Denise. Your parents made a lovely couple.

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  11. bless him!



    Aloha from Waikiki


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  12. That is a great photo of your Father. He looks like an English policeman.

    My father was in the US Forest Service and we lived out in the boonies in Forest Service houses until I was about 7. The nice thing was that when we moved the new house looked exactly like the old house.

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  13. Just think, you lived not too far away from me. Do you remember the Outer Circle bus? The sort of kindness shown by your Dad seems to have gone out of fashion. Coppers are much harder now, I suppose they have to be. I worked for the police in Birmingham for many years doing secretarial work in the CID. Mid 50s until 1962. It was the best job I ever had.

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  14. What a lovely post. It bought back so many memories of my childhood, the coal hole, the shed full of spiders etc. I had a bit of a lump in my throat reading it.
    As for the house having to be spotless. My son was in an Airforce house and he suffered the same thing. everything had to be spotless including the cooker when the house was handed back.
    What about the picture of your Mum, I remember my Mum had an outfit like that when my brother got married, Ahhhhhhhhh memories........
    Briony
    x

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  15. A lovely read Denise. The old Coppers had a lot more character than todays politically correct lot. Thanks for sharing the memories.

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  16. Lovely reminiscence, Denise! I can relate to your family moving into their own house. How dreadful to have inspections of your home. It was bad enough 'marching out' of army quarters but at least I knew when that was going to happen.

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  17. Your memory served you well, Denise. I love that photo of your dad and you're right the background does add character and interest to the photos. I've been noticing that about backgrounds lately as I do my husband's genealogy.

    Your parents were truly people to be proud of. What kind and caring people they were. I loved reading this post.

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  18. "The Old Bill" living with you. He looks a very proud man. They had a tough beginning. I can imagine how pleased your Mum must have been when they got their own house. I love the buildings in the background of the bottom photo too. Great photos and great memories.

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  19. Great memories, thanks for sharing.

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  20. This was the most wonderful post. I loved seeing your father in uniform. So serious. And you're right, the pipes lend the photo character and a place in time. It must have been really hard for your mother to be under someone's eye all the time. I'm happy she got to have her own place. Thank you for sharing the story and the pictures.

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  21. Wonderful old memories and awesome pictures with many tales to tell.
    My gran's bakery was a stopping point along the walking beat inspectors and bobbies throughout the day. Always a cup of tea and a custard and a little sit-down.
    Your dad reminds me of those days, smart fellow he certainly was.
    Love this post Denise.
    ~Jo

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