Heidi Hi

August 29, 2020

 Spending a whole summer season at a holiday camp was magic for us as children but must have bene hard on our parents.

 

 

When I was growing up,   my Father ran a dance band and travelled all over - and my Mother was a fashion model and singer, and sang with the band.  Apparantly they met when my Mother had auditioned to be the singer with the band and had argued with my Father that his band was playing slow,  and although this should have got her nowhere,  - they married.

 

Growing up we heard a great many songs from decades before we were even born as one of the shows they did was ' Old Time Music Hall'  as well as many contemporary dance songs of the era.  This was the 1950's and music was to be the foundation of our early lives and has stayed with me always.

 

One summer season  in 1958 when I was  3 years of age,  the whole family moved to Jersey - travelling on the ferry from Weymouth,   and we were to live the whole summer season on  a Pontins Holiday Camp which back then, was packed - absolutely packed - with families holidaying.  This was before jet planes started taking people off to Spain and where seaside resorts around the UK were fully booked right through the season.

 

This was soon after the war when things were still tight financially and people did not have much  disposable income' as it became known later on, and everyone shared the same ideals. Having as much fun as we could while on holiday as times were tough and the country as rebuilding after the war,  and it was a very different world to the one we have today.

 

Father was to be the Musical Director at the camp with his band putting on and comparing all the various shows throughout the park, and my Mother sang with the band and organised the beautiful baby and grandma competitions, compared various events and between them,  were well known throughout the park for the fun and entertainment they facilitated.

 

My Mother became  known as she also had 3 children to look after - my twin brother and I and my 2 years older sister, and all the while, living in old army quarters that largely made up these holiday camps in those days.

 

Having twin boys made her somewhat of a celebrity and my brother and I would weekly take part in the 'Beautiful Baby' competition, and win, as being identical,   this was quite a novelty in those days.

 

In the evenings we would be packed of to bed early as they had to go to work - and with no baby sitter, no Red Coat or anyone watching over us - we survived with no mishaps..  We behaved.

 

Mother and Father would entertain in the ballroom with the band and all the Mums and Dads, Grannies and Grandpas would sing along and dance  as they played the waltz, the quickstep and all the popular songs of the time,  tunes that people danced together to,  as they did in those days. 

 

Other nights they would put on the complete 'Old Time Musc Hall'  show that I remember hearing them rehearse at home before we even left for Jersey and the team being about 10 people, the shows were always well received and my parents quite the stars.

 

Grannies would drool over us twins and say how cute, how sweet, how identical we were and how could anyone tell us apart.  We spent our days playing in the park enjoying the facilities which, compared to holiday parks of today, was pretty basic at best but to us, in the 1950's,  we were in another world altogether and saw everything as so modern, so upmarket and such fun.  The simple things amused whereas today, it is all high tech and 'online' and kids are bored by ordinary things that in those days, delighted.

 

The park seemed enormous to us as small children and I do remember the PING PONG PINGS over the loud speaker system  which announced the meal times - but no  ' Morning Campers' as in the programme.

 

 

When the season ended and it was time to leave for home, I remember we had lunch in the kitchens with the chefs milling around cooking, and the kitchen was full of flies... - the things you remember as a child,  and when we returned home, our rocking horses had shrunk, as we had grown in the 5 months we had been away.

 

Memories from childhood are often innaccurate and remembered differently to the real world, and I am sure it must have been an enormous amount of work for my parents running the entertainment with 3 small children and living in a restricted space all summer, but we as kids, loved every minute and remember it with great affection.

 

 

 

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