“Rag ‘n’ bone! Any old iron! Any old rags!”
You can almost hear the totter’s voice echoing down the street from the 50’s.
Did you pester your mother for something to trade? Were you given a balloon in exchange for your father’s best suit? Were you grounded as a result?
Members of the Spring Chicken community are reminiscing on rag and bone men, who would arrive on foot or with a cart – sometimes pulled by a horse. Totters would ring a brass hand-bell and collect unwanted household items to sell to merchants.
The payment was not necessarily in money, however. Usually, it was a donkey stone, balloons, or a goldfish.
How long did your goldfish survive?
Our Spring Chicken Facebook followers have admitted:
“Unfortunately we must have killed so many goldfish! You got one in a plastic bag if you had ‘good rags’ and a balloon if not!”
“I ran outside with a few rags, hoping to get a day-old chicken (how I was going to raise it I don’t know). I always ended up with a teeny goldfish that was dead the next day!”
Although one member of the Spring Chicken community was not lucky enough to receive a goldfish at all:
“A totter came down my road, so I rushed upstairs to find some clothes as I wanted a goldfish. I grabbed my dad’s pair of trousers. It turned out that they were my dad’s best pair! I will never forget the sight of my mom chasing him down the street to retrieve them – goldfish bag swinging to and fro. I got a good hiding and no goldfish.”
Whether it was the totter, the milkman, or the man who came to sharpen knives – we miss them all!