I am sending another of my true stories of my war, as it just seems to be the right time. I have felt quite emotional, watching the television cover on the BBC of the 70 years anniversary. I have to tell you I go into the kids head when I write the stories and use colloquial language when I write. so any mistakes are the kids fault.
Well as usual you aren't getting the pictures quite like I wanted them to be. Not unusual friends, but I try hard! So here goes.
A peck of muck hurt no one. We kids had heard, and had that said to us many a time. Still my Mother wasn’t happy when I came home that day.
This is a story about one day in mine and my group of friend’s life in the Second World War. I lived in the same a northern shipyard town as I do now.
Because we were building ships, submarines and guns, we were badly blitzed and 1941 was terrible. We spent most nights in our shelters and it was terrifying time for everyone.
A lot of children were evacuated after that. I spent over three years away from home as I was evacuated and was moved five times before I came home. Funnily enough after that really dreadful time in 1941; we were only spasmodically attacked. So I came home in 1944 when I was eight.
Many of us had fathers who were in the services so they weren’t home to keep an eye on us. Also a lot of mothers had to work because the money they received from the services wasn’t enough for them to live decently on. Also many of the women found a new freedom in work.
Kids had to make the best of the times then and we were always in groups which we called, the gang.
The gang I was in was most of the younger boys and girls out of mine, and the surrounding streets. They ranged from three to ten years old. There were always quite a crowd of us. It was a time of much bigger families.
This one sunny day, we decided to go up to our Abbey Amphitheatre and to spend the day, because we always had a really good time there. So we set off with our usual packed lunch, jam butties and a bottle of water. It was a good couple of miles from where we lived, and it took us an hour or more to get there.
We had to make sure it was a nice day because it was such long walk. ‘It was even longer walking back at teatime because some of us kids had short legs and the bigger lads usually messed about!’
It was a good job we didn’t take any of the babies that day. 'We used to take them two or three in a pram up the park. We couldn’t take them up the Abbey because it was too far to push the old pram as it had a buckled wheel. Also we liked climbing right to the top of the Amphitheatre.
If we had fallen down there, I think we would have had more than skinned knees. 'It was great up there when we had snow.' In summer, we would play up and down the hill all morning. Then we would come down to have our food on the river bank.
On this day when we got down to the bank of the river we had a sad time. We found a dead sheep lying there in the grass. We all crowded round poking it to make sure it was dead. I thought we should say a prayer, but one of the girls called Rose had a better idea.
She said, “Should we bury it?” We all thought that was a great idea. It was a lot heavier than we thought it would be and it really smelt terrible. SO we carried it with one hand and held our noses with the other. When we started to drag it to some bushes it stunk a lot worse, and lots of bluebottles flew off it. Then it dawned on us we hadn’t any thing to dig a hole with. We all sat round it to think.
One of the bigger boy’s called Barry said, “Let’s cover it with sticks and stuff.” So we spent a very happy hour finding lots to cover it up. Someone even found a piece of old sacking to put over it and we made it a cross out of twigs.
Rose crossed herself and said, “God Bless this sheep.” Then we decided it should have a name, because God wouldn’t know which one it was. Of course everyone argued because they wanted to name it.
Then Barry decided, “I’m gonna call it Doris after mi mam, and I’m the oldest.” ‘He was too big to argue with.’
So, Doris it was. When we had sung a hymn and said a prayer we finished the ceremony. Then feeling full of goodness but starving, we sat down to eat our bread and jam. We all shared our bottles of tap water with each other. Always wiping the top though because some of the kids always had snotty noses, even in the summer. By then all of us were feeling very happy because of our good deed that day.
When I arrived home for tea I couldn’t wait to tell my mam how kind we were. Instead of being impressed she played pop with me.
She said, “It’s a wonder you all don’t get diphtheria, it must have been full of maggots. Go and wash your hands right now.”
I couldn’t see it being any good washing them then, but I did as I was told to do.
Bye for now friends. I hope all my old friends who read this, find this story brings good memories back to them.
Take care and be happy.