Though my experiences would have been almost 6o years ago, I could still see & hear the excitement & the playing out of those activities. I remember the gangs of boys, the 'goodies & the baddies'. The almost hysterical pent up excitement & the thrill of a boy asking you to dance. Sometimes I am not sure if a good memory is a curse or a blessing.
When we were at school, there would be a dance, or party at the end of the year. We would dress up, in costumes, 'fancy dress' as we called it. Mostly our mothers made the costumes, or some of them were hired I suppose. It was so exciting, waiting while the costume got made, but the fittings were hated, as I inevitably got stuck with pins, somewhere among the folds. "Stand still!" "Don't grizzle!" "Do you want this or not?"
My mother was talented with sewing, & she made all my clothes when I was young. The costumes for these end of year dances/parties were usually made of crepe paper, which was cheap & could be sewn & evolve into wonderful creations. I tried to find some photos on the internet but couldnt. I seem to remember once being dressed as a daffodil. I think flowers were quite a popular costume choice, & the crepe paper skirts would be stitched together with perhaps a cheap taffeta lining for a bodice.
The parties would be held in a hall, which I think from memory was the local picture theatre with the seats all taken down. I remember the heat & the horrible sickly food, & the nasty bright coloured soft drinks. To me they didn't taste nice at all. I remember seeing one boy being spectacularly sick, all down the front of his fancy dress & the little girl standing next to him. The colours in the crepe paper ran hideously when wet, & so there was this giant stinking multicoloured mess to be dealt with by some hapless mother & teachers.
Of course the smell of vomit mingled with the excitement & hot air, prompted further vomitting for other children, & the evening ended most unpleasantly.
Another year, my mother dedided that all the skill & energy she put into these costumes was rather wasted for one night's doubtful fun. She decided to make my costume as Miss Muffet. She made me a lovely new frock, & then she made an apron with a huge spider on the skirt, & a Miss Muffet Cap. It was a great success, & she used sequins on the spider's body to make it shine. I copied her idea when it was my daughter's turn to have a fancy dress occasion at school, but I don't think my spider held a candle to the one my mother had made.
I dont seem to have any photos of any of my costumes, from when I was young. My brother was the Toy Man once, & our mother made his lovely costume, complete with top hat. He does have a photo of that somewhere, but I dont seem to have a copy.
This is an old photo of our son & daughter dressed for a book character at school. Son was Badjelly the Witch, & Daughter was Miss Muffet.
I remember my mother hated going to those parties. She was always such a private person, & she would stand or sit alone, & was never one to chat in idle gossip. Small talk drove her silly, & prying made her very uncomfortable.
I was more of a 'joiner', seemed to know a lot more people at my children's schools, & I would attend quite happily. I did tend to keep to myself, not liking gossip, either, but I did know some of the parents, & got along well enough to spend time talking. I watch my daughter now, & she is just like my mother. She hates the clutch of mothers all chattering nonsense, & she can't be bothered with gossip or small talk. We used to go together to her daughter's events. Now she takes her daughter to her son's if she can, or his father, if he is not working.
Small Grandson has had a spate of Birthday parties to attend, & our Daughter just hates them. A whole bunch of screaming kids is not her idea of fun... nor mine! As she says, they go so far overboard, with gifts & more gifts for the attendees, & lollies galore. Small Granson is not really fussed. He would probably be just as happy not going.
My trip into the past included memories of old books, which I still have. My Christmas was not complete unless I got books, it was all I desired. These are from various years. The Surprise Doll was a gift from my father. How I loved & treasured that book! It was about a little girl whose father went to 'sea'. From each country he visited, he brought her home a special doll. I used to wish I was that little girl, & wish I had all those dolls.
I often wrote the year in the book, so I know some of them were around 1954, 55. Of course the Enid Blyton books were endlessly exciting. Famous Five, & Secret Seven. I see an Aunt gave me Bright Island in 1955.