Friday, December 11, 2009

Childhood Revisited

The lane I lived on.

How many times did I trip down this lane on the way to school, past Mrs. Ratcliffe's House. A lot of my friend's who lived on the counsel estate, had to walk right past my house, so I would wait for them to come by and we would all walk to school together.

We walked past the train station, where I was to later catch the train to High School, every morning. This is the Liverpool Street Station, London line. I can still picture it, gentlemen with their city suits, umbrellas and bowlers; us girls in our school uniforms.

We walked down the left hand side of this street to the corner. We would either cross the road here, where the lolly pop man stood or go around the corner, up Chapel Hill and cross the road right in front of the school gate. The deciding factor was do we get our three pence worth of sweets at Miss Daisy's, or do we walk up the hill to Mumford's. Usually it was Mumford's, because somehow Miss Daisy's always scared me just a little. It was very time warped Victorian and Miss Daisy matched that.

Very often on coming home from school, mum might be out of something, tea, sugar, cheese, butter. So she would send me down to the little village shop which you can see in the center, I did not have to cross a road to go there. Here they would measure out from the old wooden drawers, a quarter of tea and put it into a dark blue paper bag. Or cut off a slice of cheese from the round, that sat on a marble slab and wrap it in grease proof paper, or measure out sugar into a brown paper bag. How things have changed, now I think it's a Chinese take out.

Mumford's shop, is left of centre up the hill, with the cone shaped roof, Miss Daisy's is the shop on the right corner, with all the paned windows. Right of Miss Daisy's was the off license. It was the only shop open in town on a Sunday. So very often, especially in summer after our Sunday traditional roast dinner, which we always had. Mum would send us down to the off license, to buy a block of ice cream. Usually vanilla, but if we had a little more money, it would be Neapolitan (strawberry, chocolate and vanilla) what a treat that was to us as children.

This shop below, was where I went if I had half a crown, 2/6 d. It is on Chapel Hill. When I was a child it was a bookshop and stationery store. How I loved to skip down here, with my half a crown, to buy a ladybird book. That's how much they were in the sixties. I had quite a collection, it was my joy.

Or you could buy a box of rubber type, which you set into a wooden bar, you had a pad of ink, and you could print things up. I would do a monthly Newsletter, so archaic now.

Below is my old school, St Mary's Primary School. I think at one time it had been a Victorian High School, but by the time I was six they had built a new one, so this became the Primary School.

Every September the swallows for just over a week would congregate on those wires below to the right. There were hundreds gathering together and then one day they would all take off and fly south for the winter. What a tradition that became, with the yearly gathering of the swallows, we children would keenly anticipate watching them, and enjoying their clammer.

After school in the summer, or on a weekend, we would ask mum if we could go to the Rec. You know it wasn't until I was an adult that I figured out that rec was an abbreviation for recreational grounds; I just thought that was the name for that green.

We would walk up Loppy's Hill, don't you love that name, across the green over to the swings on the distant right. Where we would swing for an hour or so, getting higher and higher and then jumping off in mid flight, great fun for a child.

Some houses around the Rec.

This shop below is a memory of my early twenties. For a while I lived in the States, then came back and worked for a short while before I went to college, just in a small office, doing bookkeeping. In any case, every morning at 11:00 am we would break for coffee, there was a little kitchen attached to the office. One of us would walk across the street, buy fresh rolls, butter and cheese and we would bring this back and make them up in the kitchen, no fast food places even in the seventies. How good they tasted. funny how you remember little things like that.

I hope you enjoyed sharing my childhood revisited.


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