Present generation must learn to live without the frippery

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From: David Butcher, Bence Lane, Darton, Barnsley.

I BELIEVE that if Stephanie Smith had been within reach when my wife pointed out her Life & Style article (Yorkshire Post, December 18) to me over breakfast, I would have cheerfully strangled her.

The views she expressed said a lot about the current generation and their thinking. I don’t know what her family background is, but mine is strictly council house and not Chatsworth House.

I was one of five children, born to hard-working parents who tried to pay their way in life and in order to do so, did without everything but necessities and often had to do without those as well. By the time I was six years old – I am now 68 – I had to start to contribute to the family budget. I did this by carrying out chores, which included assisting with gardening, working on the family allotment, feeding hens and cleaning them out, car maintenance and running errands.

By the time I was 10, my older brother and I were helping stall holders on Barnsley market to clean up and pack away and then brought home any wooden boxes we could get hold of on a trolley in order to sell them door to door as firewood. We grew salad crops in the garden and sold them round the estate. My elder brother went on to have a window cleaning round, whilst still at school and I became a newspaper delivery boy.

I delivered newspapers until the week before I got married at the age of 22. During our teenage years, my brother and I contributed towards the family budget, but still managed to save a little from what we earned by the dint of hard work.

Our parents did what they could to try and ensure that we enjoyed birthdays and Christmases, but there were no Xboxes and such. Until I was about 15 most of my clothes, including shoes, were inherited from my older brother. I often went to school in shoes with holes in them, protected from stones only by a layer of cardboard. The stuff given away by people to charity shops now a days would have seemed like gifts from heaven when I was a child. .

If you do ever venture into a charity shop, you will find that there are huge stocks of ladies clothing, shoes, handbags etc, but very little men’s stuff. That is because men are more frugal and wear stuff out. Most of the women’s accoutrements that you find in charity shops have hardly any wear on them and that is down to the throwaway society so prevalent today.

I believe that if the present generation lived as frugally has we did they could have lives as rewarding as our own. For example, I have only had three mobile phones in my life and two of those were hand-me downs from our daughter.

Stephanie Smith needs to stand back and examine her lifestyle. Unless she and her generation are prepared to change, then it is certainly going to find life very tough come retirement.

From: Denise Egan, Shell Lane, Calverley.

IN response to Stephanie Smith’s article, I agree that children born in the 60s and 70s will be worse off than us. This doesn’t mean that it has been such an easy ride for us pensioners. We have been fortunate, yes, but it didn’t all just land on a plate.

We’ve worked hard to reap our benefits. Many of us didn’t inherit property or money from our parents, nor did we expect to.

Many of today’s pensioners are property rich, cash poor. What would Stephanie Smith have them do? Only a minority are able to go on cruises and surf the aisles of M&S.

She and her friends must have led a very pampered life if these are the only type of pensioners she has come into contact with, evidenced by her statement that their parents have retired on pensions at least as large as their offspring’s salary. I suspect this would be a rarity indeed in most baby boomers’ experience.