In this extract Betty Watson makes the point that she and many people of her generation were not academically prepared for life. She remembers that she was taken out of school at 14 years of age and put into a sewing factory. She says that there was little education around and this meant that she lived day by day, she didn't make plans for her retirement nor did she have expectations about what her later life would be like when she was younger.

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In terms how...when you were younger, in terms of planning for being older, or did you make any plans, did you have any expectations?

No, there was no real, I have to be honest and say I was living as the days and the years came, and there was no money there for pensions or anything, there wasn’t even any education around…I mean we weren’t academically prepared for life, you know, there was nothing, there was no teaching in your school, and I know I only did primary level, but there was no teaching and no teaching in your home cause, your parents didn’t know and understand it either, so there was to sit down with you and say well this is what you should be doing and that….and everyone was in the same situation you know? In them days. Now there was the very few that were lucky enough to get into…that did their junior cert and did well and got into somewhere like a corporation or the civil service, you know, it wasn’t as hard to get into places in them days but I mean, when I left school at 3 weeks to 14 I was put straight into a sewing factory, and all the girls of my age, that happened to them all, you know? There was no, like my husband got to go to a tech, like a tech was like going to college in them days, but he didn’t want tech, he used to be hanging around the green and he wouldn’t go, so hence he ended up with a low paid job with no…well I mean he had to have skills, to do paving, but I mean, he had to be out in all weathers all his life too, but that wasn’t…but we didn’t even think of that, we didn’t think of it in that way, you know?

Just day by day

Yeah, well when you’ve 6 children, when you’re putting them through school and all you know, it’s not easy.


8:28.5 - 10:19.6


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Dublin City Life, Living, Education

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"Betty Watson observes that she and many people of her generation were not academically prepared for life.." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #88 (accessed February 23 2018, 4:48 am)