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Lesson Transcript

What People Recall from Their Childhood in France
In this lesson, we’re going to learn about childhood in France. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 9 - What People Recall from Their Childhood in France
In this lesson we’ll be talking about childhood nostalgia, particularly about what French people, currently in their 20s or 30s, grew up doing.
In the past, children usually went to school at eight o'clock in the morning. They would then attend classes for about four hours, followed by a break. After the afternoon classes, for lunch, it was common to go home for a couple of hours. And from two to five o'clock, they would then go back to school or école and participate in some afternoon activities. At that time, children would go to the bakery to buy sweets with a few francs they’d found at home. Some of the most popular favorites were jelly sweets, especially the very sour ones, which were so sour they’d almost make you cry.
After school, once home, kids would have "the four o'clock," or the after-school snack. People tend to have memories of huge pieces of bread and butter with chocolate pieces cut out of pain de 2, literally meaning two pounds of bread. Grandmothers used to keep chocolate in an old, round, metal street box that they put in the fridge door. This way, as soon as they’d turn their backs, kids knew where to find it, and it was usually divided into pieces in advance, so it was harder to notice the missing chunks. Another famous treat, or friandise, at that time were the chocos BN. Nowadays you can still find these chocolate or strawberry pulp-filled biscuits.
Wednesday was always known as children's day in France, and many mothers would take the day off on Wednesdays in order to take care of the children. If the mothers did work, kids used to stay home alone with their siblings, in French frères et soeurs. Usually, they would take advantage of the freedom to watch TV. It was the great period for one children’s TV program in particular called Club Dorothée. This program was responsible for first popularizing cartoons, or dessins animés in France. At that time, kids enjoyed watching TV shows such as Grendizer, Dragon Ball, and the Knights of the Zodiac. Parents, on the other hand, weren’t fond of them at all, and thought those cartoons were too violent.
At school the most popular games during break time were marbles, in French called billes, hopscotch or marelle, and tag or jeu du loup. At home, kids would play with many simple non-electronic toys, board games, or card games. At that time, few people had high-tech electronic devices, so when kids were bored, they just went outside to play. Kids liked to read a good book, to have a sleepover at a friend’s place or to have their friends over, play sports, or do some other activity.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What do you remember from your childhood?
Until next time!