To Be Frank, April 7, 2015: They were all yellow

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I’ve had a lovely e-mail from reader Jenny Claydon, of Downham. With the high level of technological sophistication in our everyday life now, it’s easy to forget that ... things weren’t always like that.

It’s a different world, as we’re increasingly wont to say. But let Jen take up the story. She was moved to write to me after reading in the Lynn News about the Sooty Show at the Corn Exchange.

“Sooty! How I loved Harry Corbett and Sooty when I was about seven,” writes Jen. “This was in the mid-1950s, we had only then got our very first television set, and boy did I want my own little Sooty. Mum and Dad weren’t very well off at the time, and couldn’t afford to waste money on expensive toys – I usually had a new set of hand-knitted dolls’ clothes, or something Dad had made for a Christmas present. So I never expected this dream could ever come true.

“But the next Christmas, to my utter surprise and disbelief, they bought me my very own Sooty puppet, complete with wand! I was ecstatic, and couldn’t wait to get him out of the packaging.”

But she said: “My smiles turned to tears ... HE WAS YELLOW!

“You see, the TV was of course black and white – there was no colour in those days – so to me, Sooty appeared to be white!

“In my eyes, they had bought the wrong one! And little brat that I must have been, I wouldn’t have anything to do with it all over the holiday. Poor Mum and Dad – how hurt they must have been! All Sootys were yellow – but how was I to know?

“Different world,” she added. My thoughts entirely, Jen!

Jen wonders if any other readers have had a similar experience of bitter disappointment from an otherwise well-meaning gift. If so, I’d love to hear from you – you can e-mail me at oldlowestoftboy@gmail.com ... oh crikey! Did you see what I did there? Technology strikes again! How inappropriate! OK, well, feel free to write to me c/o the Lynn News if you prefer – although I’m afraid the stamp will cost you a bit more than the 2d it would have done in the mid-50s.

That’s two old pennies, by the way. Which is all of 1p in today’s money. I don’t really think you can post a letter for that any more. It’s a different world, you know ...

Anyway, Jen – take it from me, you’re not alone. When I told The Other Half of your Sooty shock, she told me of a similar experience.

As a girl, she was used to watching Coronation Street on her parents’ black-and-white telly, until one day they got a colour set ... Heavens above! Pat Phoenix is a redhead! It somehow made her character of Elsie Tanner even more brassy.

But that’s not all. An older relative of hers simply refused to watch telly in colour! She said the colours were so distracting to her, she couldn’t follow the programmes!

All together now ... it’s a different world!