Sunday, May 13, 2007
Eyes Of A Child ~ Part 3
I was still smiling and looking at my new found treasure, the bible that I had received from Mrs Thompson whilst collecting salvage for the war effort. I took a few minutes to just flip through the bible and look at all the maps of the days when Jesus was so prominent in his jouney's preaching, that alone was so exciting. Tucking it away inside my jacket I continued around the rest of the houses in the street. Pretty soon I had filled two sacks with books etc for the war effort, which I promptly took home ready for pick up.
It was inevitable that after all the trauma of the events that had taken place, pretty soon it would be time when the kids would have to be put back into some sort of school environment. It had been some little time since I was in a school because of the evacuation. In those day’s in England, proper school started when you were 4 years old for there was no kindergarten or pre-school in place. This break was a nice holiday if one could call it that. You had of course to overlook all the heartbreak, upsets, and the reasons behind this whole business. Looking back now at my time of life, it seems a little easier, but then a lump comes in my throat, the true reality of those times are still so very real.
At the top of the street was a beautiful Grey stone church, named St. Paul’s. Right next door to the church was the vicarage where the vicar resided and next to that was the church Sunday school.
This then I was told, is where we would be schooled, at least until we could all be integrated into the regular school system.
Where I used to go to school in Manchester before the war evacuation, they served school dinners at noontime on tables covered with blue and white or pink and white gingham tablecloths. There was a dish they served that I grew to like very much. From what I can remember about it, it was canned corn beef cooked up in a large pot along with lots and lots of onions and I think some water with grated carrots, maybe a bit of grated turnip too. I don’t know if it was seasoned at all. I didn’t know anything about cooking at that time but it really tasted delicious. Mind you, any food tastes good when you’re a little kid! It was a big school too and in walking distance from where I lived.
This church then would be quite a change after that place, for this makeshift school had no school equipment at all.
It was while at that temporary school set up that I got my first experience of wartime rationing. I had to take lunch to school. Most times this consisted of margarine on 3 slices of cold toast wrapped up in wax paper, there was no stretch & seal in those days. After a while I actually I got to really like that for lunch. I can still remember just how good that toast tasted, for it seemed to have quite a different taste with it being cold.
The next shock I think you could call it, was there were no seats, no desks or anything of that nature that you would expect to find in a classroom.
What we did have was a large room that would hold quite a few kids. That was another thing too, this class would be made up of kids of all different ages from 4 right up to 9years old. The floor became our desk, our place to sit, even our place to have a nap when whoever was teaching us deemed it was time to nap! Somehow it would seem, we got through those tricky days and believe me there were many.
I think it was while we attended that school set up, that the vicar seizing the opportunity, got lots of new recruits for Sunday school and even had us go to church services. I can’t say it was such a bad thing, for eventually I became a member of the church choir.
This meant dressing up in all those funny outfits that choir people wear. I enjoyed that immensely, besides thinking that we all looked so Angelic and Innocent. Not So!
To be cont’d in part 4