Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1968 – Southsea Seafront – The Funfair – Mary Hopkins and Funny Girl by Sally Cronin

I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

1968 – Southsea Seafront – The Funfair – Mary Hopkins and Funny Girl

It is 1968 and I am fifteen going on twenty-five. Desperate to move on from being a child to a young woman and time seemed to move so slowly.

The previous year at age fourteen and three months (the earliest that you could work legally), I had begun my stint as a weekend and school holiday council employee in one of their cafes along Southsea seafront.

I worked in a small souvenir kiosk next to South Parade Pier and a short distance from the main cafe that I was employed by. I was under the watchful eye of Betty who I have to say was one of the best managers I have ever worked for. She trained me exceptionally well and by the time a year had passed had every confidence that she could leave me in charge of her little fiefdom for her lunch breaks and day off.

In this, my second year, I was moved into a front of house position responsible for the new whipped ice-cream machine. Talk about fox in the hen house! My job was to fill the central container with a specially prepared formula which was delivered in large plastic containers, switch the machine on first thing in the morning to cool the mixture. There were two sizes of cone and you had the option of sprinkles or a Cadbury’s Flake for what was called a ’99’….

I would spend my weekends and the whole of the summer months serving this delicious treat to the thousands of holiday makers who would pour down from the north of England as the factories shut for August. I have to admit that a fair amount of quality control was required for this job and since I was in charge… Well what can I say?

Working there provided me with extra money and my parents had a rule which I think was sound. If we worked we contributed 25% to the housekeeping, bought our own clothes and then the rest was ours to spend as we wished. I did save around half but this still left me with more than the average pocket money.

What little spare time I had was spent in less sensible pursuits. At Clarence Parade which was just five minutes walk from our house there was a moderately sized fun fair. There were a couple of rides in particular that caught the attention of girls of my age. One was the Wall of Death where leather clad young men on bikes risked life and limb to charge around the inside of a large saucepan scaring the living daylights of us peering over the edge. The other was the Waltzer.. Not so much the ride but the tall, dark-haired attendant who wore a cold ring in one ear and a definite smirk as he viewed his teenage entourage.

My best friend and I would tell our parents that we were going into Southsea to the shops and the slip into the fun fair instead. We might spend an hour in the penny arcade but would eventually and nonchalently saunter over to the Waltzer where we would lean against the wooden railings waiting for our opportunity.

The key thing was to wait until there was only about four of the cars occupied and for those to be filled with adults or families. Then the two of us would slip into one of the cars and wait to be whirled around at great speed. We knew that the dashing lothario would always head straight to the cars with teenage girls esconced and offer his special and extra attention. He would stand on the rolling platform, oiled quiff artfully arranged over one eye, a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth and proceed to spin the chair until you were giddy..

Those were the days…

Which brings me to the music that I listened to during those heart quickening months of the summer in 1968. There were a lot of songs to choose from that year including Mary Hopkins with the appropriate Those Were The Days, Tom Jones with Delilah, The Beatles with Hey Jude, Manfred Mann and The Mighty Quinn and of course The Rolling Stones with Jumping Jack Flash.

Here is Those Were The Days by Mary Hopkins which looking back 53 years seems appropriate… shared by Ahmad F Elyan 

Films too were a huge part of my life and I loved going to the cinema. I used to immerse myself in the stories and I was enraptured with Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand and of course the gorgeous Omar Sharif as Nick Arnstein.

Here is Barbra Streisand singing a song that was my theme song from that day forward. Don’t Rain on my Parade


Thanks for popping and by and hope that this brought back memories for those of you as old as I am!!

50 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1968 – Southsea Seafront – The Funfair – Mary Hopkins and Funny Girl by Sally Cronin

  1. Thanks for sharing your memories, Sally. I was ten years old in 1968. My memories of that time were (sadly) the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.

    Loved “Those Were The Days.” It had been a while since I heard that song. The sixties ‘were the days.” ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sally, your post brought back a flood of memories for me. I believe we must be around the same age. I was also 15 in 1968. Your mention of the “99” brought back a funny memory. In 1999, my sister and I visited the town of our ancestors, Campbeltown, Scotland. At that time, there was ferry service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. One day a Campbeltown friend accompanied us for the one-day roundtrip to Ballycastle. While there, we enjoyed 99s at an ice cream shop. Being an American and never having heard of a 99, in all sincerity I asked our friend, “Will these be called “00” next year? He’d never heard anything so ridiculous, but I thought I was asking a legitimate question. Good ice cream and good memories!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh, yes. I remember the waltzers (and the good-looking young men). We used to live near Southsea from 1977 to 1982. A bit later than when you were there, but my kids loved the funfair.
    Some years later, when we’d moved away, we returned with our kids for a visit. Of course, we had to go to the funfair.
    My daughter wanted to go on the waltzers, but not on her own. Her dad refused, so I said, “I’ll come with you. I used to love the waltzers. It was fine at first, then they started to really spin (without the help of a lothario). When we got off, I felt sick and could barely stand. My daughter? She went straight away to buy some candyfloss.🤢

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wonderful memories Viv.. my parents lived in Old Portsmouth in the house I was brought up in and then over the road in a top flat with a wonderful roof terrace that looked out over the solent. My two sisters still live in Southsea. I am back and forth usually twice a year to see them but of course not in the last two.. I am hoping to get back in February as my eldest sister has her 80th birthday. I am not sure I could take the centrifuge motion now either…hugsxx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your memory trips, Sally. The songs are wonderful and I enjoyed Funny Girl as well. I used to work in a soft-serve place too. It was open from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM. IN addition to setting the machine I had to clean it every night. Way past midnight before sleep and then up early to get there in time for set up. I don’t remember doing anything else that summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We are the same age Sally, and all these songs are imbedded in my teenage memory banks! My first job was at McKenzie’s Ice Cream Parlor, a job I decided quickly was not anywhere near any of my intended paths in life! We had to weigh the filled cones, and the manager checked to make sure you did not include big “tails” on the scoop of ice cream. I laughed at that because I thought the cone looked better with the little tails at the base of the scoop. Apparently it was grave offense!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Those were great days weren’t they, Sally. I started my first schoolboy job in autumn 1968, working Sundays in a local coffee bar. A lot of fun and all the gateau I could stuff in – it sounds like an alternative version of your job! I loved Mary Hopkin, her voice was so pure and sweet. All together now: ‘those were the days, my friend, the Beatles helped no end…’

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Such vivid and humorous recollections, Sally! I was 15 going on 16 and would have loved a job working with ice cream. Alas, my access to a fair was a once a year visit to the travelling one which was always so packed there was little chance of being singled out for special attention.
    Those Were the Days was one of my favourites at the time and it was great to hear it again. I do think we were lucky with our music then! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Those were the days Sal. Your ‘Waltzer’ story was hilarious. The seaside job was right out of Just an odd Job Girl. That was my favorite ride, the Waltzer, only we call it the Tilt ‘O Whirl ride here. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh, I got distracted this morning. an interesting read.
    I loved the ’99’s.
    I think I was slightly too young for the Wirlitzer but I definatley remember the young attendant on the ride. He sound familiar. Problably had to be a certain type.
    Loved the song.
    now i need to get on track and do what i was suppose to do!
    thanks for the distraction

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 24th- 30th October 2021 – Halloween Party, Out and About, 1981 Top Hits, Bloggers and Authors, Reviews, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  11. I enjoyed this trip down your memory lane, Sally. Your comments about going to the fair and the movie house in particular, caught my attention. I was thinking just yesterday how enormous the movie stars were when I was younger and during my mom’s younger years too. Movies were such a treat and it was a big family outing to go to see a film. We didn’t have fairs here, but when the circus came to town, it was an event. Now the circus is gone and movies come out with such frequency and are available so easily everywhere and at any time, they have lost their high profile. I always feel this is a shame for our kids because nothing is unique, or differentiated. There is just to much of everything.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree Robbie and to be honest we were rather disappointed with our last cinema outing to see No Time to Die.. we prefer to see on the big screen but it was fuzzy and was not high definition which means either the copies they are getting are poor or their digital equipment needs updating.. spending 20 euros each to see it when we have far better definition on our big screen at home means we will wait in future for films to become available to stream. As you say it used to be a treat and something to look forward to, and I love pop corn but not paying an extra tenner to eat.. you could go out for a good meal for the price…hugsx

      Liked by 1 person

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