I have very vivid memories of my parents in the 1960s and, like so many others in that era, they were very fond of going out every Saturday night.
Preparations for these nights out started on Saturday afternoon. I remember my mother would sit on the brown and orange vinyl lounger with rollers in her hair. A cigarette would be hanging from her mouth and she’d be wearing thick rimmed glasses and her nightie. She would spend the entire day getting ready to go to whatever club they had decided to visit that night.
Watching my mother evolve from a caterpillar to a butterfly every weekend was certainly something. She used to whip up egg whites and paint her face with it, then the rollers would go in and then on went the make-up. She used to make her own dresses, which were always long and often made of satin. Mum always topped off her outfit with a white fur stole… I wish I still had it.
One accessory my mother was always very careful with was her Oroton handbag. She would carry a lace handkerchief, her lipstick and her compact in it. On Sunday mornings the handbag always went back in the box. I still have my mother’s handbag and it I keep it in the box she kept it in to maintain its amazing condition.
Dad never made a fuss though. He would spend the day in the garden, come inside and have a quick shower and be ready in 10 minutes. I only remember him ever wearing a sports coat and trousers or his blue suit.
My mother was a ballroom dancer and had many years experience. In the ’60 going dancing on a Saturday night was very different to what is done in the nightclubs today. It was real dancing, where the man would actually hold the woman. Nowadays the dancing is more gymnastic with nobody touching their partners. I often wonder what Mum would think of what is considered ‘dancing’ nowadays.
From the fox trot to a waltz, Mum had them all mastered. My poor dad had two left feet, but he was happy to see Mum enjoying herself. She danced with everybody else while he had a beer in his hand. They would go out on Saturdays in a large group, so everybody knew each other.
My mother would tell me about the entertainment. Jimmy Little was one of her favourite singers. The RSL clubs they frequented are probably very different now too. They are no longer smoke-filled, which is a good thing, because almost everybody smoked in the ’60s – in their homes, their cars, the pubs and clubs. There was an unpleasant odour of cigarette smoke on my parents’ Saturday night clothes every Sunday morning. It’s sad to think that they died from cigarette-related illnesses.