The 1940’s was a decade dominated by war and as a result it is thought on as a very tough and unsettling part of history, or so I thought. However, after attending a 1940s themed event last year, I myself felt quite at home in full 1940s style attire.
It made me question if I was born in the right decade as I enjoyed the food, music and dancing. I also think I looked the part in my flowered tea dress and minimal make-up. Admittedly my hair may not have been entirely accurate as the styles proved very difficult to re-produce.
Looking the part and enjoying the food is one thing but I am not naive in thinking that the 1940s was all flowered dresses and corned beef mash. The effects the war had on the world was evident even at the party. Talk of ration books, outside toilets, slinkys and leg make up was prime conversation and all a result of the limitations war produced. Although it did seem like the older generation who attended the event looked upon their past with the same enthusiasm and excitement as I do my childhood.
Watching them reminisce about their past and recall all things 1940s is what made me questioned whether I would have enjoyed living the 40s lifestyle. Would I have been able to survive the effects of war and still live a happy life? I do not know and will hopefully never have to but I did feel a sense of longing for the simplicity that seemed to surround the second world war era.
The things they did to have fun just seemed so easy and simple, swing dancing and listening to live bands instead of getting ‘smashed’ and proving you are cool by downing the nearest pint. There was no facebook or twitter to communicate, it was simple face to face interaction.
I really enjoyed the stories I heard that night but actually living it may have been a completely different experience. When it comes to re-living and re-telling your past, the fond memories do surface whereas the bad seem to stay buried deep. I hope the stories I was told did demonstrate a true reflection of what it was like to live in them days but I somehow think that unless you lived it, you will never know. I think a case of yearning for an idolized past I never had in a dreamt up nostalgic form is what happened to me that night.