A show and telling time of innocence

IF there’s one thing that’s changed dramatically in 70 years, it’s how much kids know about the birds and the bees.

When Paulyne Pogorelske was aged seven or eight at a co-ed public primary school in Kew East in the 1950s, a favourite game was “doctors and nurses”/

“With the girls wearing dresses and the boys in short pants, we gleefully recited: “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”, recalls Paulyne from East Melbourne.

“Safely secreted within the bushes, out of sight of patrolling teachers, the girls would suggestively raise their dresses while the boys unzipped their flies.

“Giggling at our bravado, we never proceeded any further.”

Childhood in the 1950s was a time of innocence, as illustrated by this delightful photo plucked from our newspaper archives of Dennis Whittman, Christine Aspel, Graham Murray and Ian Vincomb playing happily in a Richmond playground.

As a young child growing up in that era, Paulyne knew nothing about sex.

“The American TV shows I watched were then so puritanical and discussion about sex at home was taboo”, she says.

“Despite no sex education whatsoever at school, or any mention of sex at all, some kids had seemingly absorbed, as if by osmosis, that our game’s focus being sex was clearly forbidden”.