Oh for the weekends when the shops were shut

The Easybeats had Friday on their mind, but in the 50s, 60s and 70s weekends really started in full swing

The Easybeats had Friday on their mind, but in the 50s, 60s and 70s weekends really started in full swing on Saturday afternoon when all the shopping and housework was done.

Shops and shopping centres shut at 11.30 am on Saturday and didn’t reopen until Monday morning. Bus and train schedules slid to nearly a standing stop.
Hotels had ‘sessions’ that older people either hit or missed. Most parents were home unless they worked seven day rosters, and kids and teens had the weekend to play.
Teenagers either had organised activities or hung out with their friends.
There were no real ‘fast food’ outlets in the suburbs, but the Fish and Chip shop was usually handy and open and if the owners were very clever they’d have a juke box in the corner to entice the kids to hang around a little longer and maybe buy a soft drink or ice cream.

Skating sessions might take up an afternoon or an evening, and the local pool might be worth a visit in summer.

Many of things that kept teenagers entertained have either died a slow death, or are maybe too slow for teens to fit into their busy schedules now.
The blur between childhood and teenage activities didn’t seem to have a defining line. Young teens did things until they got bored with them and found something new.
It was a passing of an era when a teen realised they’d only been going around and around in circles at the skating rink, or marching up and down in Marching Girls even if they did mix it up with Speed Skating, a daring Couples skate, or a marching competition against rival suburbs.

Some were allowed to be ‘free range’ kids, wandering the streets, picking up friends along the way and looking in on things from the outside.
Sporting clubhouses were alive with the laughter of children, mixing of families, teams and friends.
Sports on the local pitch or field, parents and other adults on the sidelines.
Girl Guide or Scout leaders piling kids into cars and heading out of the suburbs for activities.

As we got older, Saturday nights were the night to be out on the town, at a party, movies, or dance, with our gang of friends in tow.
Getting ready together might be as much fun as the outing itself, swapping clothes, doing each other’s makeup and planning our dreams for the night. Sleepovers were the talk of the week, even longer to spend with our ‘besties’.

We thought we were so grown up, but we really had no idea. The oldies might pick us up at the door, making sure we were safe until we were old enough to make our own way.

Sunday was definitely a family day, most shops were shut all day. The days were lazier, maybe church then visiting relatives, a day at the beach or the glee or groan ‘Sunday drive’.

Who can forget the crowds at a footy match, or queueing up for ice-cream and a viewing of the latest beautiful, and out of reach, prize home?
Dinner around a family dining table eating the Sunday roast and watching family movies on TV rounded off the weekend, getting us ready for the week ahead.
Family watching television 1958

Now with extended trading hours in so many businesses families can find it hard to even get together on the weekends, let alone spending them relaxing. We thought it was time with our friends that mattered, but maybe it was the whole deal, friends, family and leisure time that lasted longer than a few hours.

What were your favourite activities on your weekends? What do you miss about the preciousness of weekend family time?