May 26, 2002

Another Way to Make History Interesting

You in 1905 is a page connected with yet another put-a-modern-family-back-in-time-public-TV program. This time they're going back to Edwardian England, a familiar place to any Upstairs, Downstairs fan. The working assumption of the page is that in that era, your entire life was determined by your father's occupation. So I bravely typed in my father's occupation (unemployed) and learned about life for the 1905 English Bernie Dodge:

Education
You'll manage to get away without going to school and will start work when you're ten.

Career Prospects
You'll have temporary jobs, none for more than six months as you keep having to take time out to rest your bad back. You'll join a friendly society to help you out. You'll take home a few shillings for a week's hard work and will have to make sure it lasts a long time.

Leisure Time
You'll drink methylated spirits - it's the only alcohol you can afford at 4p a pint.

Living Conditions
You'll share various rooms in lodgings with other men. Some weeks you won't be able to afford to pay the rent and you'll be evicted.

Marital Relations
You won't marry but you'll make up for it by spending time with girls from the street.

World War One
You'll try to sign up to join the army when the war starts and will be rejected on medical grounds after physical examination.

Needless to say, I'm glad to have been born in a different time and place.

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