What would a day in the life of a father be like in the 1940s?
Up until 1944 my father was in the Air Force training pilots back East in Canada. My parents lived on Base which my mom detested (not much of a life for a wife.) I was born there and when my father's duties were over we moved to Vancouver, B.C. From my experiences growing up life was much simpler. Fathers were proud to be the bread-winners and didn't take kindly to their wives working because it would make them appear they weren't man enough to provide for their own family. Husbands/fathers ruled back then. My grandmother and my mother's diabetic brother lived with us in a large modest home in the City (that's when families really looked after family) and all the adults pitched in. Generally the fathers went to work (many working shift-work) and the wives stayed home to look after the children, elderly parents, cook and clean. Fathers "were heard" and if I was naughty then my mother would simply say, "Wait until your father gets home!" That did it! I would lay in bed waiting to hear my father's car come into the driveway and waiting for my mother to spill her guts about what a bad girl I was (nothing too serious) but it never came. My father would sneak into my room (I'd pretend to be asleep) and tell me he loved me and as he was leaving my bedroom would say, "You know I know you're not sleeping!" That was the end of that. When I started Elementary School I didn't start until I was 7 (generally it was 6 years old) but since my birthday was in January I had to wait the extra year, but my parents self taught me at home so I would be more prepared when I entered into Grade 1. The first year I started school I seemed to get every disease known to a child ... measles, chicken pox, mumps, my tonsils and adenoids out and I had to be failed the first year. My father was so worried about me when I had the mumps he went against the doctor's orders and broke the quarantine ruling (big sign on our front door to stay out ... mumps.) He stayed in my room and read me stories. The next thing I knew he was laying down beside me sicker than a dog and I can remember saying "Daddy, you're a big baby!" I had no idea adults got the mumps worse than kids. Homework was a must! Often if I didn't do my homework my father would be very angry with me and "no homework, no going out with your friends." If I didn't do well on my school work then I had to buckle down and there was no playing around or buying me things to get good grades. You just did! Fathers were extremely protective of especially their daughters in their teens and I was no exception. Even at 14 I couldn't go to the corner store unless I had jeans on and a T-shirt (no bathing suit top or shorts.) You were taught to be a lady and you'd better act like one. My father gave me a book on Etiquette (I thought he'd blown some brain cells) and demanded I read it and practice it and he'd test me on it! I am so glad he did do that to this day. I got caught with lipstick on at age 15 and my father scrubbed my face so hard I thought the skin had been peeled off. He said I looked like a circus clown! Dating was unacceptable until you were 16 and the father wanted to meet the boy you were going out with. There was no guy that would set outside revving up his car or honking the horn. If the guy didn't come in to meet dear old dad then you couldn't go out with him. There were curfews and you'd have to tell where you were going and be given a specific time to come home and if you were late (no matter what the reason) you were grounded for 2 weeks. Fathers and sons seemed to take more time together back then. Of course there were slack dads even in this generation, but, for the most part my father took my brother fishing often and on trips to Banff. The odd thing is I loved fishing and would have given anything to go, but of course it was a "guy thing." My father wasn't quite as hard on my brother as he was me, but my brother (cute and full of the devil) got some spankings. Fathers took the family camping. No grand trips to Europe or Hawaii for most of us. Everything my brother and I had we had to work for ourselves and that's what my father taught us. We had to not mow only our lawn, but other neighbors lawns if they were elderly and also shovel snow and there were no ifs, ands or buts about it. You did it! If too many things were just given to you then you wouldn't appreciate them as much. There were rules, rules and more rules, and there times my brother and I detested them, but most of them sure made sense as I grew up. In general the times were simpler and neighbors could be trusted. Kids were off the street by dark. On Halloween with the dark and fog there was no fear of being abducted and all of us kids had a blast. At the end of the evening the parents would take turns having all the kids over to let off fireworks. If course the fathers did the lighting of the fireworks. During the summer months was the most fun. My father would play games with my friends, my brother and myself with the garden hose as we raced around in circles seeing who would or wouldn't be squirted. We went to the beach often and to see the circus and playland. Dear old dad took us on Sunday drives after we helped cut the lawn and then off to a drive-in restaurant for burgers and shakes or stay home for Chinese food. We had to learn to swim! My father sent me to a program to learn swimming and I was terrified of it. One day at the beach he took me out into the water (age 8) and tossed me in and said, "Sink or swim!" I was madder than a wet hornet at my father, but, I did swim! Of course now I know he would never have let me drown. I didn't speak to him for over a week after that one. My father surprised one of my boyfriends by flipping gears in a shaved-off coupe faster than the speed of light and leaving a trail of black rubber a block long (my mother was beside herself and embarrassed the neighbors would see him.) Not only did dear old dad make me proud of him, but my boyfriend was most impressed. LOL My father died young (59) but I wouldn't trade one second of pleasing/displeasing him for anything in the world. He taught me much wisdom and racism had no place in our home and religion and honor were high in our home. He didn't have time to go to church because he worked hard and at nights, but he did make sure my brother and I had a religious up-bringings and also I thank him for that. Of course my mother had something to do with this as well. We were told when we were of age we could cease to go to church or pick our own religious beliefs, but I stuck to them while my brother wandered away from it. No matter my father's failures, illness' or disagreeing with my mother or my brother and I, he was my hero and still is to this day. I believe that many adults today that were brought up in the 40s have many fond memories of their fathers back then. Father's during that time was hitting a bar with their friends or belonging to a Legion for Servicemen. Fishing, some went hunting, but mostly, it was all hard work to provide a decent living for your family. One movie I never miss seeing is "The Christmas Story" done in the 1940s. That was my family to a tee and it brought back so many fond memories for me. I bought the DVD and when I'm blue, I'll put it on and it cheers me right up. Sometimes I wish the kids today had it as lucky as us kids had it in the 40s and 50s. That was the generations of innocence.