Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A to Z 1950s/60s Nostalgia: P

P Smell:
Parafin - Every winter we had a parafin heater at the bottom of the stairs. It gave off a little heat and a lot of smell. 

P Memories:
Inside a 1950s phone box
Phones - When Grandma first got a phone there was no dialling tone. You picked up the receiver and an operator said, "What number please?" and she would put you through. The phone was big, black and heavy with a flex that was always getting twisted up.

When Mum wanted to phone Grandma we had to queue at the phone box two streets away. Mum would put some old pennies into the box and dial the number. When Grandma answered Mum would press button A and she'd be connected. If no one answered a call you'd press button B and get your money back. Haven't things moved on from those days?!

Mr Potato Head - I had a Mr Potato Head set given to me for my birthday one year. There was no plastic body. The idea was to use fruit or vegetables. I loved his funny hat and the way I could change his face but I kept putting him away with his potato body and when I got him out to play again he was always shrivelled up and mouldy.

Alan Freeman presented Pick of the Pops every Sunday afternoon
on the radio. It was the highlight of my weekend.
P Programmes:
On TV:
Mr Pastry
Captain Pugwash
Pinky and Perky

On Radio:
Pick of the Pops

Gene Pitney who I saw live
at Leicester's De Montfort Hall
P Names:

Sidney Poitier
Vincent Price
Arnold Palmer, gold
Pelé, footballer, Brazil
Pat Phoenix
Gregory Peck
P J Proby
Procol Harem
Gene Pitney
Pink Floyd
Elvis Presley who provides the...

P Music:
Elvis Presley singing Blue Suede Shoes

If you're enjoying these memories then you'll also enjoy 
Anne Mackle's blog at Is Anyone There? 
Her A to Z Challenge is about memories of the 1960s and 70s.


  1. Ohhhh Ros - that smell of paraffin - all our clothes smelt of it too - yuk.
    Ohhhh and Ahhhhhh's for "Paper Dolls" - came in books to press out with clothes and accessories- I had boxes full of them - matchstick on the back of the head to keep them intact - simple games kept us happy for hours and fired our imaginations.
    Singers: "Lloyd Price" singing Stagger Lee, "Johnny Preston" - Running Bear, "Platters" - Smoke gets in your eye's, "Mike Preston" - Mr Blue.
    Paul and Paula, Donald Peers and of course the King himself Elvis Presley - lovely to hear Blue Suede shoes again Ros - what a memory "wow".
    The PYE label on 45 records.
    Poppa (or Poppit) beads - plastic single beads that fitted together to make a necklace and popped apart.
    Petticoats again - warrant another mention - because I loved them so much.
    Plastic - everything seemed to be made of coloured plastic in the early 60's even furniture!!!!
    TV: Panorama.

  2. I also had a Mr. Potato Head and bought one for my boys when they were little. I think that I enjoyed it more than they did. Gregory Peck was a wonderful actor, and Sidney Poitier still has a powerful presence. Julie

  3. I also had a Mr Potato Head - the plastic ones seem to miss the point!

    My mum worked on a telephone switchboard when she was young - a huge board with lots of wires to move around.

  4. Oh, yes, I can still smell paraffin in my mind.
    I had Mr Potato Heads by the dozen.

    Ros, I subbed a story a few weeks ago where a presnt for a great-aunt was a Bakelite phone.
    Rifka, as usual we thought of the same things - you beat me to it today. I'm sitting here singing: 'Hey, hey, Paul, I'm in lo-ove with you...'
    I loved the paper dolls, my friend and I played with them for hours. She's a worse hoarder than me; she still has some of hers from the
    Here's a few extra Ps:

    Lady Penelope
    Puffa Puffa Rice (cereal)
    Player’s Number 6 cigarettes
    Pepsodent toothpaste
    Magazines: Pippin, Princess, Playland, Petticoat, Private Eye

    Paul, Sindy doll’s boyfriend and Patch her little sister
    Songs/Singers: Puppet on a String, Brian Poole(& the Tremeloes), Peter, Paul and Mary
    Peppermint chocolate bar (Cadbury’s)
    Oh, and Playschool on TV.

  5. I just adore this post, I am doing the same theme but with just music of that era. Reconised many names and dear Alan Freeman I well remember.


  6. Enjoying this little walk down memory lane. Here's one for you-- Pen Pal. I had a British Pen Pal named Linda. Wish I knew where she was today! We started corresponding as a school project in 4th or 5th grade and wrote letters back and forth until our teen years.

  7. Pelham's puppets come to mind - now worth quite a bit in mint condition but that means unplayed with and we loved our puppet shows!

    The potato head brought back some memories.

    Perry Como - who started the screaming fans idea...

  8. "You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent."

    Yipes, lots more good memories here. I'd almost forgotten about the Pop-it beads, and I used to love mine. Same for paper dolls. My friends and I would stand up the paper doll folders and make "houses" of them for our dolls to live in, and would play in our imaginary paper doll world for hours. How about pot holders? How many of you had a little plastic loom to make those colorful (useless) pot holders? Popsicles? Remember eating them on a hot summer day, with the juice dripping off your elbow? (Or was I the only slob in the group?)

    Another fun post.

  9. I have never heard of Captain Pugwash

  10. Pressing Button 'B' in phone boxes in our village used to be a regular pastime in the hope that someone I forgotten to collect their money.

  11. I didn't know Mr. Potato Head was a real potato! When I have seen old phones in antique shops of all places, I am amazed at how heavy those darn things used to be!

  12. Yes. Things have definitely changed.


  13. Some great P memories. I have a Mr. Potato Head post planned out for sometime after the Challenge. I came up with it back in February after a discussion with my wife that she thought was very funny. She grew up in Ecuador and wasn't familiar with Mr. Potato Head. I recall getting my first one in about 1956 or so.

    Places I Remember
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  14. I remember the smell of paraffin and going to the shop with the little can to have it filled. There were still some of the press A an B button telephones around but I think it was mainly in more rural places here. I loved Mr Pastry.Thanks for the link.

  15. Phones in Alabama didn't work exactly the way you describe, but I remember my grandmother was on a "party line." When you picked up the phone at her house, you never knew which neighbor might be talking on it.

  16. .......coming home from the dentist this morning I thought of Pippa-Dee parties and those lovely nighties. I had loads - the quality was excellent and could easily last a lifetime.

    Gosh KarenG - thanks for reminding me - I had an American Pen-Pal started as a school project......

    Pat - are you still singing? *smiles*...

  17. Hi Rifka, I loved my paper dolls too. Wish I still had them.

    Hi Julie and Annalisa, Mr Potato Head has certainly struck a chord.

    Hi Pat, yet again you’ve listed out things that I don’t know how I forgot. I saw Brian Poole and the Tremeloes live in Leicester.

    Hi Yvonne, Alan Freeman and Pick of the Pops was magic in those days, wasn’t it.

    Hi Karen, maybe you could find your penpal over the internet.

    Hi Susan, I didn’t know that it was Perry Como who started the screaming. I thought it was Johnny Ray. Maybe it was both of them.

    Hi Susan, I loved sucking at Popsicles and had all sorts of imaginary games for my paper dolls who lived in paper bags that in my mind were their homes.

    Hi baygirl, he was a real TV programme, honest!

    Hi Bob, I can just see you doing that as a kid!!

    Hi Darlene, don’t tell me my old memories are now antique shop items! Oh dear!!

    Hi Shelly, they certainly have.

    Hi Arlee, I’m intrigued that you’re planning an entire blog post about Mr Potato Head. Can’t wait to read it.

    Hi Anne, I can’t remember how we got the paraffin. I was just there!

    Hi Sara, we had party lines here too but Grandma had a dressmaking business so was allowed a private line.

    Hi again, Rifka, I was trying to think of that name. Pippa-Dee parties. Yes!

  18. I didn't know that about Mr. Potato Head - that is so cool! :)

  19. Gave up on 'Hey, hey, Paul', Rifka, because I thought of another on and now I've got 'Paper Roses' driving me crazy!
    Oh, yes, Pippa-Dee and Pen pals. Mine was Swedish, Margareta Larsson. Thanks, Karen for the memory of her. She sent me some wonderful perfume called Monsieur Robert!
    Looking forward to Q, Ros. It's a tough one.

  20. I love Mr. Potato Head. They had the plastic body when I was little, but I usually just used a potato. More creative :-)

    I remember playing in the kitchen, and then my mother would use the potato for dinner. That's likely where my love of mashed potatoes came from.

  21. Such nostalgic p words...

    Look forward to the rest of your challenge run…can’t believe we’ve had 16 days already!
    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  22. I loved pinky and perky and captain pugwash. Also had Mr Potato head. Well done with another great post!