How it was
So I sat with my son and had a chat with my Mother whom is 79 years old. Born in Bocking in January 1933 but due on May the 21st 1933 one of twins. No special baby care back then no clean hospital ward or midwife, Nope she was born at home in the bedroom. Her mother had no pain relief her labour want monitored because babies came when they were ready back then.
On the 19 January 1933 my mother and her twin brother made their rapid entrance into the world weighing under 2lb.Just imagine my Grandmas shock if her life that day was forwarded to the 1980,s. She would have been in a clinical hospital room, being pumped full of drugs to stop the birth, steroids so the babies lungs formed. Imagine the panic when 2 very small prem babies arrived, they would have been zoomed off to special care placed on ventilators pumped full of antibiotics and steroids all these things have a high % of causing brain damage. Yet back in 1933 the doctor came and said wrap them both up put them in a basket by the fire keep the fire in the room burning 24hrs a day and they are not to leave the room until their due date .
OMG I might hear people scream but both my mum and her twin went on to lead full and happy lives and both are still around today .
My mum and her brother were from a reasonably large family The eldest was Eric, Janette, Eunice, my mum Pearl, her twin Phillip and then the baby Dorothy, They lived in a small house. and all the children shared 1 bed, apart from Eric who was the eldest he had his own bed but in the same room.
They used to rotate who slept next to Phil as he wet the bed, They had a radio but no TV, all the kids had to help from an early age even if it was sweeping the floor or washing the potatoes.
When my mum was around 2 yrs old her father never returned home from work he was a head stable man at Tabours farm. 3 days later his body was found in a ditch he was alive but had a serious head injury in fact my grandad never did remember his life before the accident, this meant he could not work. There was no benefits back then so my aunty and uncle had to go to work.
To help my Grandma the children were sent to school at the age of 3 and actually walked with their older siblings across 2 miles of field to get to school everyday, on Sundays they all went to Sunday school twice in a day.
My mum was just 6 when war broke out Eric was conscripted and they took in two evacuees . still my mum went to school everyday. I would have thought war would have been a scary time for kids but listening to my mum and uncle it was a time of excitement and fun with adventure.
One tale they love to tell is when a small German plane started to shoot at them as they were coming home from school my mum, phil and Dotty, dived into a ditch, just as a spitfire came over and started to fire at the German plane. This was a thrill to see and the kids started to jump about and cheer, The plane was shot down not far from the kids and rather than run home they ran to see what they could find as you got paid for collecting body parts , YUCK and of course the lads like to get a souvenir and my uncle still has a collection of German items .
There air-raid shelter was the kitchen table and even if there were air-raids at night the children still went to school the next day.
One night a doodle-bug landed on the house so the MOD told them to leave, They stayed with a great aunt but had left the ration book behind , so my mum and her brother had to crawl back at night with no torch to retrieve the book
My mum can remember the GI,s coming over and getting chocolate from them and they gave her older sister real stockings,
She remembers hiding the chicken eggs to share with her brother as all chicken eggs had to be given over. she became apt and quickly silently killing a chicken and faking a fox attack on the chicken run.
My son said but nan weren’t you scared, she replied no we weren’t, because life didn’t stop, we still went to school and work and to church, we still had chores and meals and bedtime.
My mum remembers the end of the war and the celebrations that followed, she remembers her eldest brother returning home and waking the house at night with his screams, and then his distant silence in the day.
she remembers him ranting and raving and shouting at the sky about boys with feet sown on to testicles , it was later on she learn t her brother was the first batch to go into and discover the concentration camps . This effected my uncle Eric until his death last year. He never got any support there was no such thing as post traumatic stress syndrome. Until his death at the age of 94 he suffered nightmares about what he had witnessed .
My mum went to grammar school she was the only one that got in and then her parents decided she should go to Australia with her sister for £10, just before she was due to sail her parents changed their minds as my mum was due to take her matriculations (the exams back then) and dint allow her to go.
She passed them all and was offered a scholarship at Queens university, she was so excited about this and decided she would study the Russian language so she could become an interpreter . Alas her parents told her she was not going as it wasn’t fair as none of the others had ever had the chance of university and she was 18 now and needed to go to work, so she got a job as a cashier in the local post office.
I have asked her why she never went at a later date she said she just never had the chance again.
My mum married at 21 after meeting my dad at a ballroom dance, she mainly married to get away from home in 1957 my eldest brother came along…..