Nurture vs Nature

The route through childhood is shaped by many forces, and it differs for each of us. Our biological inheritance, the temperament with which we are born, the care we receive, our family relationships, the place where we grow up, the schools we attend, the culture in which we participate, and the historical period in which we live—all these affect the paths we take through childhood and condition the remainder of our lives.
Robert H. Wozniak  U.S. professor on human development.

So much has been written about this subject and now I want to add my two pennies worth – or tuppence worth as we said when I was growing up.

My two sisters and I lived with our parents in a modest house in the East End of London, with little money to spare but with an abundance of love and caring.  There were no luxuries available as we had recently fought a long hard war with Germany.  Absolutely everything was rationed.

We gawked at the Movietone newsreels of the things available in America but we had what many didn’t have, a safe and secure, loving home.

So where’s this going.  We were all brought up together but very soon I left home to marry my dashing young Scotsman, followed by my elder sister who went to America ‘for a couple of years’ but in fact some 50 plus years later she still lives there, and then the baby of the family married and moved out.

We made our separate lives.  We moved away from each other but still kept in contact.  In those days that meant snail mail and the very occasional, highly priced, telephone conversation.  Oh what a joy when eventually we all had internet connections and could communicate via email as often as we pleased.

But many things from our childhood and upbringing have stayed with us.  See my post on Sisters.  I particularly remarked on this when on a visit to Los Angeles to visit with my elder sister I noticed she was using Imperial Leather Soap.    This was the soap from our childhood and the soap that I still used living so far away in New Zealand.  Then on to London and guess what?  My younger sister was using Imperial Leather Soap.  Added to this was the fact that at that time we were all using ‘Je Reviens” perfume by Worth.  A coincidence or was it tied into the way in which we brought up?

So with our parents example we have each raised our children and they in turn are raising theirs.  My mother died at about the time the internet was becoming available to all.  So I had to rely on telephone calls (reduced rates by then) and snail mail to contact my parents.  I took the opportunity of writing to them thanking them for the childhood they had given us and acknowledging just what they had done for us.  I wished I had been clever enough to keep a copy of that letter.  I know that both parents appreciated the thoughts that went into writing that.  And for me, there was the pleasure of having told them how I felt before they died.  What good telling the assembled mourners at the funeral?

And the point of this blog?  Just sharing random thoughts with you.

“Happiness is looking back on a great childhood with supportive parents and two fantastic sisters.”
Judith Baxter, Blogger 1938 –

And for no good,discernible reason I would like to share this quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:

“Old age is fifteen years older than I am.”


2 responses to “Nurture vs Nature

  1. What part of the east end were you from? My grandmother lived in Dalston and I used to vist her til she died when I was in my mid-teens.

    We currently have Imperial Leather in the bathroom… and I used to use Je Revien! (My mother loathed it, it was too sweet for her).

    I was born a few years after the war, but rationing was still in place while I was a small child.


    • Hi Val. We lived in Hackney but could walk to Dalston from our house. Before that we lived in Upper Clapton. Where were you living. I was born before the war (in 1938) and grew up thinking everybody lived under the threat of bombs. Strange how young children’s minds work – I really hadn’t considered that there were children growing up in Germany at the same time until a few years ago I had a discussion with a German friend. He told me about school children having to go to Morello type towers to watch for incoming aircraft.


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