Living life to the full!
Life in the post-war period is characterised, in the memory of the elderly of Molières, by a great joy of living with hope and confidence in the future.
In the village, all the houses were inhabited. There were many children and everyone knew each other. The village still had two schools: the boys’ school was now the school for the big ones and the girls’ school served for the little ones. In those days, there was no kindergarten. Children started school at the age of 5 or 6 and finished at the age of 14 with a certificate, the “certificat d’études“. Not all of them went to school regularly: often children had to help on the farm.
In the post-war period, the village had several grocery shops, cafés, restaurants and even a petrol station!
Time to work ...
Economic life was still very much focused on agriculture and few machines were used. The land was ploughed by oxen. Harvesting and threshing was done manually. There was a lot of mutual help.
Globally, we find the same trades as those mentioned by the teacher, Mr Charrière, back in 1912. But modernity clearly began to set in. In Molières, for example, there was a large garage for agricultural machinery. They had the exclusive right to sell the tractors of the “Société Française de Vierzon” in a large part of the region. Customers sometimes came from far away. The tractors were transported by road, much to the delight of the young boys of the village (today we would say the “teenagers”), who were put to work driving these machines in columns on the Périgourdine roads. It was a prosperous business. Since then, many people seem to have forgotten the nuisance caused by the presence of the tractors on the square of Molières, engines running all day long to run them in. But that was a different era!
... and time to have fun
Social and cultural life was well developed. Every fortnight, balls were organised in several halls. The participants came by bus from the surrounding villages and even from further afield: Bergerac or Versannes. Of course, the girls did not go to the ball alone. They always were accompanied by their mothers or grandmothers who spent their time “cackling on the benches”.
Quite a few inhabitants of Molières called themselves communists, but on the big religious feasts such as Christmas, Easter or the Ascension, the whole village went to church, communist or not.
And of course, a good football team was not missing!
One could attend theatre performances, organised under the aegis of Mrs Ferrandon, the teacher. Parades with magnificent floats were organised, as well as trips.
St John’s Day at the end of June was always a big event. On the square, children could enjoy popular games, but also the bumper cars or the fairground mills. Around the 1970s these traditions started to decline.
He marked his era!
The post-war period was strongly marked by Mr Maurice Ferrandon, born in 1904 in Cadouin.
He became, together with his wife, the pair of teachers of Molières in the 1930s and continued this function until the end of the 1950s.
He was elected mayor of the village for 30 years, from 1947 to 1977. Needless to say, the municipal council, made up mostly of former pupils, had to toe the line!
But he was a very intelligent man who fought for the welfare of his village. It was during his term of office that Molières – as one of the first villages in the area – was connected to the drinking water network and that the main roads were tarred.
Maurice Ferrandon died in Molières in 1985.
Molières – Classe de Mr Ferrandon – 1938
The 20th century in Molières
Almost all of the images used on this page come from a collection of photos made available by villagers during the preparation of a photo exhibition about the village. It has been impossible to trace the origin of all these photos. If any of the photos used here belong to you and you do not want them to be used, or if you wish to be credited, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to respond to your request. In the meantime, we would like to thank René Delpech and the Junqua family.
The photo at the top of the page comes from our private collection of old postcards.