The up hill Struggle of a Mother


As an extension to our discussions in the Pub on Saturday (the Eve of Mothers Day) we were deep in conversation examining the Undisputable importance of a Mother in every kid’s life.
Every Child that has grown up with a Mother Truly believes that their Mother is the Best in the World, and as you said “even the best Chef in the best restaurant in the world could not make a Sundays Dinner like Your Mam.” Even when we see a competition for
“This Years Best Mum” we enjoy the fact that some deserving Lady who a lot of people think the world of has won a special prize, we still know that our own Mum is actually the Best.
I said during our discussions I am researching information and anecdotes for a book on “the Up Hill Struggle of a Mother” and how this critical role in our lives and in our society’s structure has developed over the past 100 years so any positive, comments /advice / input/corrections from yourself or from any of your readers would be appreciated.

The main subject we were discussing was, some of the Tools that were available to Mums over the past 100 years to help them guide their fledgling brood over the rocky road of life, and two World wars.

Before the advancement of the media they used old stories, poems, rhymes, songs, local sayings, Folklore, and Religion. These methods of imparting advice and guidance that was a joy to listen to and take part in never felt like it was some sort of lesson that you must learn and take note of.
A series of poems published in 1900 by Frank Gelett Burgess about “GOOPS” illustrates how a Mother may have been able to direct the Kids from misbehaviour onto a better path of table manners.

The Goops they lick their Fingers
And Goops they lick their knives;
They spill their broth on the table cloth
Oh! They lead such disgusting lives!
The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew;
And that is why I,m glad that I
Am not a Goop ——– are You??

Rhymes like the Goops would help and entertain and other poems would illustrate the consequences of what would happen if you did not take heed of your parent’s advice and instructions.

The Gypsy girl was more of a “Skipping” Rhyme and I will say more about this shortly.

My Mother said, that I never should
Play with the Gypsies in the wood;
If I did, she would say;
You Naughty girl to disobey;
Your hair shan’t curl and your shoes shan’t shine;
You Gypsy girl, you shan’t be mine.
And my Father said that if I did;
He’d rap my head with a tea pot lid;
The wood was dark, the grass was green,
Along came Sally with a tambourine,
I went to sea – no ship to get across;
I paid ten shillings for a blind white horse;
I up on his back
And was off on a crack;
Sally tell my Mother I shan’t come back.

Other simple poems like “Jack and Jill” could be used again to direct behaviour.

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water,
Jack fell down and broke his crown;
And Jill came tumbling after.
Up Jack got and home did trot;
As fast as he could caper;
He went to bed and bound his head
With Vinegar and brown paper.

When a child asks “what does that mean” it could be followed up by :- This could be up to individual parents to use depending on if their child had been “wayward” in some way preceding the telling of the poem the rhyme could then be related to that occasion,
e.g. Jack hurt his head because he was not paying attention to what he was doing and Jill did not learn from Jacks mistake so she too was injured etc.

The actual original rhyme Jack and Jill was the description of the beheading of King Louis XVI (Jack) and Queen Marie Antoinette (Jill), it was later modified to become a children’s poem. (Scary Eh!)

When I was a child just about every girl I knew had a “Skipping Rope” (in the USA they call them “Jump Ropes”) and down the entire street where I grew up and in the school playground there was either one girl or up to ten girls at a time skipping and reciting rhymes that coordinated the skipping gyrations which were really life lessons learnt through play and exercise.

The skipping rhymes would tell of future life, of happiness like the local rhyme “ Bobby Shafto” as in the words of the rhyme “When he comes back he’ll Marry me”
Bobby Shafto’s gone to sea,
Silver Buckles on his knee,
He’ll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shafto.

Bobby Shafto’s bright and fair,
Combing down his yellow hair
He’s my love for love for evermair
Bonny Bobby Shafto.

Or telling how life is supposed to be, teaching that you must fall in love before you get married and then you can have babies as in the skipping rhyme:- Love, Marriage, Babies.

Mary and John sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G,
First comes Love, and then comes Marriage;
Then comes Mary with a Baby Carriage.

The names Mary and John would be interchanged to suit the “skipper” and her boyfriend.

I would sometimes stand mesmerised at how clever the girls could skip and change their feet and turn around and how fast they could jump in and out of the twirling ropes while reciting the rhymes at the same time. My appreciation for their skills magnified themselves after I was invited to “have a go” and promptly came a cropper.

Yes it was no shame even for boys to skip with single ropes, I should explain that the area where I lived, Boxing was unreasonably popular for the boys of all ages and “woe betide” the unwary “posh boy” who made the statement to a skipping Pugilist “he must be a sissy, cause only girls skip” as he then became a live punch bag that actually made noises when it was beaten to a pulp by the now, very light on his feet Pugilist.

But I digress, as one of my school reports once said, “If Peter could concentrate for more than ten minutes in each hour on the subject at hand then he may eventually learn something” unfortunately; I only learnt enough to work until I was 64 years old.

If you feel that you would like to comment on any of the above please do so, Ed needs the hits and I would like to enter into any reasonable dialogue in the name of positive research.



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