Welcome to my blog! I’m hosting the final day of this tour that I’ve been following and I’ve enjoyed it so much. I knew that I’d be hosting this author so that made me even more interested in what she had to share.
Here is Day 7 of the “WHILE THE BOMBS FELL” Blog tour
Children should be seen and not heard
Origin of this saying
Children should be seen and not heard is an old English proverb which has its origins in the religious culture of the 15th century, where children, particularly young women, were meant to stay silent unless spoken to or asked to speak.
This proverb first appeared in Mirk’s Festial, published by a clergyman in approximately 1450:
“Hyt ys old Englysch sawe: A mayde schuld be seen, but not herd.”
The word sawe is an old English word meaning proverb. In old English, a mayde was a young woman.
It is not known how this proverb evolved to include all children, but its purpose at highlighting the naivety of children and their ignorance of adult matters is clear.
The Victorian era
By the Victorian era, the role of men as the head of the house and the moral leader of the family was firmly entrenched in British culture. The role of women was to provide their husbands with a clean home, to put food on the table and to raise their children. Women’s rights were extremely limited in this era and, on marriage, they lost ownership of their wages, their physical property, excluding land property, and all other cash they generated once married. In addition, when a Victorian woman married, she became the physical property of her husband and he gained control over her body and everything it produced including sex, children and labour.
Victorian type upbringing pre-World War II
British people continued to raise their children with conservative Victorian attitudes during the period leading up to World War II. My mother grew up in a family where the concept of children should be seen and not heard was enforced by her father. Her mother’s role was one of traditional domesticity in the home, caring for her eight children.
The following extract gives the reader a taste of Elsie’s father, Alfred’s strict upbringing:
“Father ran away from home at eighteen years old and joined the army. He had been stationed in India. During his younger years, Father suffered from Grandfather Joe’s liberal hand with his belt. Grandfather Joe’s upbringing had been strict and authoritarian. He believed sparing the rod spoiled the child.”
Elsie’s father was a strict disciplinarian himself, as is illustrated by these scenes from While the Bombs Fell:
“Occasionally, Father joined the family for tea, and the children could not talk at the table. Children must be seen and not heard.
On these occasions, if Mother could get it, she cooked Father a kipper or a piece of haddock for his tea. She sometimes managed to procure this rare treat from the fishmonger during her shopping trips to the town.
The landmines in the sea and the constant attacks on the fishing trawlers from the air and by Jerry Uboats made fishing dangerous during the war. People ate herrings and other fish as a treat to supplement their bland and unfulfilling diets. Elsie would feel happy that Father had something more substantial than bread and jam to eat after a hard day of work on the farm.”
“Gillian received a doll too. Her doll was a fairy doll made from fabric with a lovely painted face. A few months later, this poor fairy doll came to a tragic end when Joey, in a fit of rage, tore the doll from Gillian’s arms and threw it in the fire.
The unfortunate doll immediately caught fire and burnt before Reggie knocked her out of the fireplace.
Joey tore out of the house and ran away down the road, knowing that when Father came home that night, he would remove his belt and Joey would get at a couple of whacks for his fit of uncontrolled temper.”
What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.
Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.
Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.
Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.
I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.
I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.
I have participated in a number of anthologies:
• Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle;
• Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley under Robbie Cheadle;
• Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle; and
• Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS for Robbie Cheadle:
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