President David Barclay welcomed fellow club member and former president Duncan Milne as the speaker at a recent meeting of Ellon Probus Club.
Duncan’s talk was a resume of his life from childhood in an Aberdeen tenement to the rather more comfortable surroundings of his retirement years.
Members wallowed in nostalgia as childhood exploits were revisited, with the inevitable question as to whether society fifty years ago had more to offer the individual than does today’s nanny state with its pink generated controls and regulations.
In the 1940s most people, by today’s standards, lived at several degrees below what is now classed as abject poverty but those brought up at the time did not know it and now look back on their early years with happy memories.
Children had freedom to play, which they did out in the open from dawn to dusk. Paedophilia was an unknown word (although there was a general awareness of the presence of some “funny people” going about).
Discipline at home and at school was maintained with a smack or the threat of the teacher’s belt - seldom used but effective.
On leaving school Duncan joined the RAF where he studied languages, primarily Russian, This was an essential tool in monitoring USSR communications during the Cold War era. He has retained his love and grasp of languages and continues to take night classes in Italian and French.
On leaving the RAF, Duncan took up an administrative role with the Macmillan cancer charity, a role which he was proud to occupy for 10 years.
In giving a vote of thanks Bob Munro expressed a sadness in the apparent disconnect in understanding of lifestyles between many grandchildren and grandparents and urged that all should take time and sit down and note down their own childhood experiences for posterity.
The next meeting is on August 14 when Forbes Hamilton will talk on ‘The Post Office’.