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Life as a 13 year old in 1962

An insight into the the huge contrasts of being a teenager 50 years ago has been sent in by Heidi. Might this help our readers to do exactly the same and send in their interviews?
It came to me that life as a teenager in the early 1960s, 1962, must have been so different, yet so normal for those living through it, in spite of the lack of such advanced technology present in the 21st century. This caused me to ask my grandfather about his personal stories and reveal his childhood as 13 year old living in 1962, in a small village in Southern France.

How was life as a 13 year old in 1962?

All the children from the neighbourhood would play in the streets. We did not have a TV, but we had a radio, and we listened to audio series.

How did you communicate with your friends?

In order to communicate with my friends, I would telephone them, but we usually arranged meeting places at school.

What was school like?

I cycled to school alone; it took about 10 minutes. We had blackboards, and school on Saturdays. We wore aprons  (I had a blue and red one) with our names sewn on and lots of homework! We wrote on wooden desks with fountain pens that one dipped in ink and wrote onto paper with, and spilling ink onto them was inevitable; I remember after we had cleaned it with a sponge the table was satisfyingly clean. We usually went to the local swimming pool and attended lessons.

What did you do during the holidays?

We usually stayed at home, but occasionally we went to the seaside by steam train, where I vividly remember a museum with a whale’s skull.

Where would you buy your food?

There was no supermarket in our neighbourhood – we went to the local butcher, fishmonger, bakery, etc. All the food we ate was hand-made by my mother.

Where did you go with your friends?

Usually we would spend a day in the woods – we had a picnic, put up tents and built dens. We also went to the cinema very often; local people tended to sell lollies and sweets. We spent our money on marbles and treats.

Life as a 13 year old in 1958

Afterwards, it came to me whether the difference in decade had significance between childhood, therefore I asked my grandmother to reveal her personal stories as a 13 year old in 1958, living in Bourget.

How was life as a 13 year old in 1958?

All the children from my neighbourhood would play in the gardens; we were all free. We had no TV, but had a radio, records, and an electrophone, so we had a lot of music playing in our house. We did not have a dishwasher, washing machine, freezer or microwave, yet we had a fridge.

How did you communicate with your friends?

We called each other on the telephone, and arranged sleepovers and meeting places while at school.

What was school like?

My sister and I took the school bus, which was very pleasant; everyone on the bus knew each other. It took us 45 minutes. We had blackboards, ink pens and aprons (mine was pink) with my name sewn on. I attended a girls school – it was extremely rare for a school to be mixed. We got a lot of homework, but I tended not to do much of it.

What did you do during the holidays?

I would usually go to my grandmother’s large house with my siblings on the train or by car. We went there every summer and Easter. We also travelled a lot across Europe – once we travelled to Portugal by car.

Where would you buy your food?

There was a large market in my neighbourhood where one could find anything.

What did you tend to do with your friends?

My best friend and I went cycling together around the neighbourhood. We also had lots of sleepovers, as well as going to the cinema; local people tended to sell treats of all sorts.

Life as a 13 year old in 2017

It came to me that I could give some of my personal experiences as  a 13 year old living in the 21st century, to contrast and see the changes of lifestyle as the years progress.

How is life as a 13 year old living in 2017?

One has a lot of pressure placed onto their shoulders due to decadent people posting about their lives on social media. I don’t tend to see my neighbours very often, unless I am leaving my neighbourhood to get to school, or coming back. We have a TV, a CD player, CDs, a computer, a printer, a microwave, a fridge, a freezer and my parents and I have mobile phones.

How do you communicate with your friends?

We call each other on our mobile phones, and I text them. We would talk about it briefly at school, but in much more detail by text.

What is school like?

I take the tube in order to get to school, which takes me 15-20 minutes. We have whiteboards and school uniform; most of the students roll their skirts very high and wear layers of makeup when coming into school. We write with ink pens onto workbooks and have many after school clubs available each day.

What do you do during the holidays?

Usually during the February holidays, my family and I go skiing in France with my family. During half terms, we sometimes go abroad; in summer, we always go to Sweden too visit family, and we go abroad with our grandparents and cousins.

Where do you buy your food?

My mum buys food online (‘Ocado’), and usually the food we eat is home made. Occasionally, we eat take away or in restaurants such as Japanese restaurants, Italian restaurants or Lebanese restaurants.

What do you tend to do with your friends?

Sometimes we go to the park, or watch a movie at the cinema, or have a sleepover, or go shopping.

Heidi

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