No idea if this will get in, but for what it's worth -
The "childhood" that your correspondents mourn is a relatively recent invention. My late grandfather was born in 1908 in a workhouse, his mother died when he was 6, he was left as a deposit on a debt at 12 working for nothing and sleeping under a kitchen table, became a barrowboy at 15 and was fed by gypsies, and was given just one present in his whole childhood.
He would have given his eye teeth for a bellyful of burgers and the leisure to waste time on computer games.
He could read and write, though.
(The Revd) Richard Haggis
PS - I know this sounds like something out of Dickens, but it is verifiably true. He was an amazing man.
26 Bampton Close