Friday, February 11, 2011

Now when I was young....

My husband and I were swapping stories in the car...harking back to our primary school days.

I lived on a farm and we had our own dairy cow, so if there was one thing I had plenty of when growing up, it was fresh unpasturised milk and cream and fresh home-made butter. Yet when I got to school, we were given one third of a bottle of milk to drink under some government scheme or another. I loved my milk cold and with the full cream skimmed off the top. At school it was pasturised, disgustingly warm (having been transported in crates on the open back of a truck), and topped with a glob of cream in the neck of the bottle. I loathed it, but refusing to drink it was not an option.

Post World War Two, after the defeat of the Japanese in Malaya, the returning British* were understandably concerned about the nutrition of the half-starved population, especially its children. So twice a week each child had to bring from home a cigarette tin, which would then be filled with powdered Klim Milk to take home.**

Anyway, boys will be boys, and those kids at the Bukit Beringin school in Malacca (hardly more than an open platform of cement with an terracotta tiled roof at the time) were no angels. On the way home from school, husband used to put a whole lot of powdered milk in his mouth to blow at his pals when they weren't expecting it.

If he needed school supplies - a new pencil, for example - he'd take an egg from the henhouse on the way to school slip it into his pocket, and swop it for what he wanted at the shop along the way. Of course, if there was a bit if roughhousing on the way to school with his friends, you can imagine what happened to the egg. And he had to sit all day with that mess congealing in his shorts...

Ok, so husband has the best "when I was a kid" stories...

*I've never quite understood why they thought they had the right to return after failing to protect the country from invasion.
**I wonder what I would have thought of that at the time had I known...I don't think I'd ever seen powdered milk, or knew it existed.

4 comments:

Jo said...

Noramly must have stunk by the end of the day as well.

We used to have school milk too and at some point we used to get free orange juice, that was at home. Matt says he didn't get that. I had more to do with powdered milk years later when I was dieting, not during the war years.

Sean said...

My mother and father have stories of drinking warm milk at school. The rules were enforced with militant nuns carrying canes :)

karenmiller said...

That school milk scarred how many generations? Mine, for one!

So gross, beyond the telling.

glenda larke said...

Hey, I never knew my trauma was shared! What ungrateful little wretches we were...lol!