Tea with mum and holidays on the moon

30th March 2007 at 01:00
How 11-year-olds in 1969 saw their future selves

YOU DRIVE a Ford Cortina. On Wednesdays your parents come round for tea.

And you holiday on the moon. This is the lifestyle of a 25-year-old as envisaged by 11-year-old pupils in 1969.

Academics at the Institute of Education in London have been following almost 15,000 children, all born in 1958.

They have now released a study of essays that the children wrote about their future at 11. Only one in eight aspired to a professional career, including one girl who hoped to be "a fully wolafied nurse". Roughly the same number wanted to be sports players.

Often, they referred to responsibilities towards their parents. One boy wrote: "I go to my mum and dad's house once a week and I do their grass with my hover mower. My dad has one... but theirs is 14 years old."

Almost half of the boys and girls said that they would be married at 25.

One boy described his ideal partner: "I have got a girlfriend in Manchester who likes George Best. She goes to watch the match every Saturday, even if it's away."

Others were more pragmatic. One girl wrote: "I may get married to somebody and have to cook his meals before he comes or he will start to moan."

Most also said they would like to have children, with the majority opting for two. Many had already chosen names, such as Garry, Janey and Richard James.

Pupils were equally specific about where they wanted to live. Several anticipated five-bedroom splendour, with separate lounge, dining room and kitchenette.

One girl saved the elaborate detail for her garden: "I have a big pond in the bottom of my garden with 12 fish in... I did have 13 fish, but one died of fungus. I am not very superstitious but 13 is an unlucky number."

Boys were keen to own a car, and almost a quarter knew exactly what make they would like. Only 5 per cent of girls named a type of car, usually opting for a Vauxhall, Cortina or Capri, in contrast to the boys' Jaguars.

Approximately one-fifth of the children wrote about the holidays they would take. Butlins and caravanning were mentioned, along with more long-haul trips: "We decided to go to the moon for our holiday, while we had not got any children."

One boy had already anticipated the disillusionment of adulthood: "Once I went to America for a fortnight. I would rather of (sic) stayed in England."

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