Wearing Pyjamas to Church

Change is always creeping up. Recent change has rushed ahead ….

In the 1980s, now ‘history’ to schoolchildren, we used to go to church every Sunday. Dressed up. Always a skirt not trousers, never jeans. A day for make-up and a navy blazer – navy blazers de rigueur for smart mummies. Sloane Rangers, Preppy clothes. …Children in their tidy best – our daughter made to wear a pretty dress. Dads in suits.

me at Granny's 80th
Me late 1980s style …

There was a neighbourhood babysitting circle (pay by the hour with little plastic tokens). We met monthly for coffee and a chat, taking our small kids along to play together.  We never thought of CRB checks or the danger of our kids being left with a neighbouring parent (‘potential abuser’), in charge… We just didn’t. None us did. CRB hadn’t entered our lives.

The whole family were on the same doctor’s list at the local GP practice, and he (always he) was counted a family friend. There was no email to speak of.  I kept in touch with my best friend from uni by handwritten letters, which passed between my home and hers about twice a month. Fat letters with scribbled family news, reviews of books we were reading, photos… Often using a recycled envelope.

I studied sociology in the 1990s …

… taking a special interest in the NHS. The lecturer said it was in a mess (already) – though he supported the idea of foundation hospitals, begun in 2002 under Tony Blair’s government.  He was enthusiastic about the emerging practice of evidence-based medicine. Change happens … I worked a bit in the NHS: our problem was moving elderly people on into an environment they’d be safe to go home to … (that’s still one of the NHS’s problemsplus ça change?)

The kids grew, and saw a lot more point in practical caring and saving the planet than lining up each week to sing hymns in church (even wearing jeans). The shops changed as the area grew more obviously wealthy. Costa Coffee replaced the newsagents, a French patisserie opened where the butcher and greengrocers used to be. People carriers and ‘Chelsea tractors’ carried children to school, to avoid the dangers of other traffic, strangers, and the weather. Though the streets regularly featured homeless people now, huddled in sleeping bags, sitting or sleeping in doorways. And Big Issue sellers.

Huge societal change was creeping on… Some was good, like inclusiveness. Some was scary, like making sure everyone working with kids is CRB checked, as we learned the truth about Jimmy Saville (as a kid, I’d found him creepy – did anyone else? Yes. The morning the News began the story, my Yoga class all agreed: creepy guy…) And, people began to come to church in jeans and old trainers. Instead of dressing up to meet with awesome God, the idea was to dress down, because it was the weekend, time to ditch the city suit and heels, and reach for old and comfy clothes. God, who accepted us, would of course understand.

Times had changed…

Some change is for the better. CRB rating is wise, especially in a society where neighbours are strangers to one another. Email is fast and efficient. And without social media I wouldn’t be in touch with other writers all over the country—even the world. ALLi (the Alliance of Independent Authors) is a world-wide organisation. As a writer, I have a webpage, and I blog. Internet shopping is preferable to battling around the supermarket and sitting in traffic. And organic vegetables can arrive, weekly, by van, in a box.

No, we are not people who want to turn the clock back. Social and societal change happens, it’s normal… But catastrophic change is unsettling… Nostalgia for how it was is fine… but it won’t be like that again… (leaving the EU won’t bring back how it was!)

Hams closeup copy
Family photo, 1907 – so much change on the way … World turned upside down, 1914-18 …

Change is part of life. It was for the Victorians, and it is for us… but recent change has been sudden, worrying, and revealing. 2016 was like the world turned upside down. Is there a choice, or do we have to accept we are living in a “post-truth era” and whatever consequences that brings? Must the lessons of history be abandoned? Has the present generation in power decided to ignore the past, draw a line, and run headlong into the unknown? Prompted possibly by a combination of fear and ambition? As refugees flee war-torn areas, and apprehensive populations resort to nationalistic solutions?

And while schools are complaining that parents are wearing pyjamas when they drop off their children in the morning?

We still go to church. Most people usually arrive late. Possibly this problem could be fixed if the new dress code for Sunday best was to be pyjamas.

Shall we vote?

5 thoughts on “Wearing Pyjamas to Church

  1. dunelight February 19, 2017 / 3:29 am

    Nationalistic solutions…my god…did you see or read of our recent 70 some minute Press Conference two days ago?

    Like

  2. pjlazos February 23, 2017 / 11:49 am

    Love this post, Mari. I, remember the day our parish priest told the congregation to let the kids come to church however they want, ripped jeans are fine, as long as they come. Now I can hardly drag my kids. The difference between this change and others, I think, is that just about everything is on the line. Species extinction, inevitable climate change, etc. When people stop shooting each other the planet itself will be the cause of the next refugee crisis as some parts of the earth are reclaimed by water, others become desert. In the U.S. we have Trump and there you have Brexit and everywhere there’s populism as a reaction to fear of change and no one – not even the 1%- will have it easy. What can one do but maintain a positive attitude and keep on writing?!😘 Have a terrific day! I hope you meet your muse today.☀️

    Like

    • MariHoward February 23, 2017 / 1:27 pm

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments … Yes, it is an awful time in history – and how much history have we left? Meanwhile there is a madness like throwing care to the winds, in reaction to all the stuff we ‘can’t fix’ … or somehow don’t want to … We have a grandchild, 6 months … no idea what his life will be like but for certain, uncertain…

      Liked by 1 person

      • pjlazos February 23, 2017 / 3:12 pm

        Taking occasional news fasts helps!😘

        Liked by 1 person

  3. MariHoward February 23, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    Ahyes – then we’d not see the nuclear bomb on its way! (Or similar) … 😉

    Like

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