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Being 8
Posted November 25th, 2012 - 4:44 pm by from Welwyn Garden City, England (Permalink)
Joy to the world. I wrote a "being 8" story and does anyone want to read it?

Does anyone want to write their own being 8 story?

When I post messages it says it goes to members only. I don't know if others get that?

Have you read this? Please just say yes if read

And yes to read the story and

Yes to write one. If I collect enough I can publish a book.



Posted November 25th, 2012 - 4:53 pm from Vienna, Austria
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Posted November 25th, 2012 - 4:56 pm from Victoria, Canada
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Posted November 25th, 2012 - 5:19 pm from Bad Fallingbostel, Germany
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Posted November 25th, 2012 - 6:12 pm by from Welwyn Garden City, England (Permalink)

Being 8

1953 was a very exciting time, my sister Deirdre was 18 and my eldest brother Mike was 20 and both working and gave the little ones money. My second brother Peter was 15 and after Grammar school, joined the navy.
The little three were Roger who was 10 and Kevin who was 5. Deirdre and I slept in the same small bed until she was 21 and got married. It was very good to have my sister to snuggle up to in the long cold winter nights. There was ice on the insides of the windows in amazing patterns.

We always had each other to play with, to fight with, to share and to defend and help each other. This has lasted our whole lifetimes.

Being 8 I had lots of religion in my life and did my first confession because it was thought that we has reached "the age of reason". and guilt was embedded in us. We all went to Roman Catholic schools. This did not necessarily make us good children! We went to Mass on Sundays and Sunday school and even to a second mass to get rid of us. This one we avoided and instead we climbed on the wall to shout to the Salvation Army who were playing their band and singing their hymns,
"Salvation Army have all gone barmy". Self righteous little Catholics as we were.

Walking to school with each other sometimes meant going through pea soup thick fog and we couldn't see our outstretched arms and fingers in front of us. School was never cancelled. We don't have such fogs nowadays. I wore a liberty bodice vest to keep warm. I was never bullied at school because if I had been I could always get my brothers on to the bully. The teachers were bullies and caned us. I can't think now how bad I might have been to deserve violence or what it taught me. My brothers were caned more often.

The biggest world excitement of that year was the Coronation. We were all desperate to see it on somebody's television and we all crowded into Alan Spenser's house to watch it all on a small flickering black and white screen and were mesmerised. It was the biggest filmed event in history then and was sent all over our then Empire and watched by millions. We just loved it all.

We had fields behind our house and we always had a bonfire for Guy Faulkes night. We collected lots of stuff to burn and made a Guy to go on top. Before we burned it we took it to the town to beg for "penny for the guy" from people walking by. We had fireworks and sparklers and it was great fun. We put bangers in people's letter boxes which gave them a fright which we thought was very funny at the time. We played "Knock down ginger" too and knocked on doors and ran away. We were street children. We could always find someone to play with in the street.
We rode ponies, Sheep, pigs and anything we found. We were fearless. We rode on the back of the new exciting Combine Harvester when it arrived on our farm, and played in the hay ricks. We jumped on the steam roller on our way home from school.

We can all play cards and other games. We used to play Canasta and other card games and bet with buttons or match sticks.

We made stilts and learned to balance on them. We made trollies with boxes and wheels which we found. We found stuff for the rag and bone man to get a goldfish. We collected jam jars and took them to the jam factory in a deep pram and got a penny each for them. Our mum put the sweet rations in the local shop so we could go and choose things when we had any money. Oh the difficulty of decision making, flying saucers with sherbet and wafers, aniseed balls, liquorice, gobstoppers, sherbet lemons, and lots more. Sometimes we used to buy delicious Italian ice cream from another shop along the parade.

We had second or third hand roller skates and shared them so that sometimes we just had one on. There was hardly any traffic in our road. No one we knew owned a car or phone or television. We had no watches. We came home when we were hungry. We played marbles and our dad worked on the railways so no only did we have a railway house to love in, and train tickets, we had big shiny silver ball bearings too which we could swap for a 100 marbles. We were marble rich! And there was a waiting list for them. Hopscotch was a good game if we could find a piece of chalk and a tin. We usually could. We played fag cards too, as our mum smoked and we collected the cards from inside the packets.

Dogs were a very special part of our family and we then had Judy, a lovely red mongrel. The year before she had her puppies on my bed and we all crowded in to watch and count them. One was stillborn. 6 were wriggly and beautiful. This year she was with us and some of us crossed the road the and some didn't so we called her to us and trustingly she ran across the road under the wheels of a huge lorry. We screamed...the poor shocked driver felt terrible "you killed our dog" we told him, crying and I think that he cried too. He loaded us all up on the back of the lorry with our beloved but now dead Judy, and took us home and we buried her in the field at the bottom of our garden. We made a wooden cross for the grave and were only comforted by being told that we would see her again in Heaven.

We all loved Saturday morning pictures and I chose to go when I was 4 and had to pretend that I was 6. We saw serials, pathe news, cowboys and Indians films where the cowboys were the heroes and the Indians the baddies.War films.
We used to get the 140 bus to the then very small London airport to see the film stars fly in and we saw Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and others and we used to ask them to sign our autograph books. They looked so glamorous.

Being railway children with free train tickets or privilege tickets we went to lots of places. We used to go to London to Gamages , a big London department store, to see Father Christmas and get a present from him. We used to love a tube of gluey stuff from which we created balloons. Then we used to go to Trafalgar Square to see the huge Christmas tree that Norway gives us every year for helping them in the war. And carols were sung.

Trains took us to Ireland to see our cousins. At first we stayed in Rathmines , an old part of Dublin, with our grandma and later they all moved out to Ballyfermot, which was then the biggest housing Estate in Europe. Lots more children to play with and we played their kind of hockey, hurley, on the green and in Phoenix park too. We slept head to toes with our cousins. Back at school we all had Irish accents. We were the ones wearing shamrock on St Patricks day. We shared it because we were used to sharing.

That year we went to Heacham in Norfolk and our parents rented a bungalow called Bankside.
Our English cousins from Leicester joined us. Ann and Alan. There had been terrible floods in the East of England and many houses were flooded. They might have been holiday homes and anyway they were uninhabitable and we used to play hide and seek in them. We went cockling and became good at finding them calling "cockle" when we did. Our mother cooked them. There is something wonderful about free food and harvesting the crop of the sea.

Our mother was English and her only sister lived in a railway house in Leicester and we went there too. There was a tin bath hanging on the wall and a toilet in a hut in the garden. We had Leicester pork pies. At the bottom of their garden there was a huge turntable where the big steam engines turned around. It was a magnificent site.

When I was 8 Kevin was 5 and I could read and he couldn't. One day we were in our town centre and saw a teddy bear in Sketchley's window. It was a dry cleaning shop. It was a raffle prize. Kevin said "I would like that teddy" and I said "it says that this teddy is for anyone whose birthday is on July 11th." "that is my birthday" he said excitedly. "Are you sure.? " he asked suspiciously. " I can read and you can't and I think that your birthday is on 10th". "No really really it is on 11th. What do I have to do?". "You have to go in and explain to the lady that your birthday is July 11th and can you have the teddy". (I am laughing still about this as I write nearly 60 years later!) I watched through the window as this fervent sincere little brother tried to explain to the lady, who was totally confused. She explained gently to the disappointed little boy that it was a raffle prize and he looked through the window and saw me laughing my head off and came out to pummel me in great anger and dismay.

We did so many things then because we were safe outside unsupervised. We had no watches so came home when we were hungry. Nobody knew where we were. We were always with other children. We made kites and flew them. We made rafts and floated them except when we hadn't made them well, they fell apart and we fell in our river.

We went to the Fair, to the circus, to the pantomime. We went on the 90B bus to Kew Gardens when it cost a penny to go in.
Our mum took us on bicycle picnics.

Our mum baked us cakes. We shared the stirring and wished so hard when it was the Christmas Pudding. She boiled them in the boiler for hours.
We were always looking for a shilling for the gas.

We had a piano and I had piano lessons with Mrs Shakeshaft and I used to go shopping for her to get whiting for her cat. On Saturdays I helped Mrs Gilbert in her dry cleaning shop and sorted the buttons and zips. I went shopping for her to get a fresh eel and I had tea with them but chose a boiled egg instead of jellied eel.

We all learned to chop firewood from an early age and we had cut up sleepers delivered by a horse and cart. The coal and bread and cakes were also delivered by other horses and carts. We could light the fire, because it was the only way we could keep warm. I has horrible chilblains then with cracked fingers and heels. We cleared the old ashes too. Sometimes we cut up newspaper into squares for toilet paper. I think I was about 11 before I had my own bath water and I was first in it. Water was heated from a back boiler behind the fireplace. Or from the boiler in which my mum did all of the washing.

If we were sick we had a fire lit in our rooms. I had to go to another room because my room was too small for a fireplace.
School dinners and running away on my scooter are other stories.

We had many happy times because we were resourceful and fearless.

Posted November 25th, 2012 - 8:04 pm from Seattle, United States
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Posted November 25th, 2012 - 8:46 pm by from Welwyn Garden City, England (Permalink)
Yes Marilyn,
You are right. There is lots more. I don't want to be boring...

Siphoning petrol from tanks, taking a panel out of a door so that we could play on an emty closed down theatre, dressing up and performing..etc and I will work harder on it.

Those were the days for adventures. "Blue Remembered Hills"by Dennis Potter

Be well and enjoy,

And come to my dances!


Posted November 26th, 2012 - 8:57 am from Sydney, Australia
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Posted November 26th, 2012 - 6:52 pm from Portland, United States
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Posted November 26th, 2012 - 8:01 pm from Thornbury, England
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Posted November 27th, 2012 - 12:31 am by from Welwyn Garden City, England (Permalink)
Glad that you enjoyed it. As you say Jim, a story of our time then.

I saw the play "Blue Remembered Hills". Those times as we had will never come again. We had so little, yet so much. And the film "How Green was my Valley".

A time just after the war when most of us with the same socio economic situation. The fearlessness was the best thing. The resourcefulness we showed. That I had to be good to be with my brothers.

We had a standard lamp where the light bulb is vertical. They double dared me to put both fingers on the raw electric prong things! Of course when I put one finger on one and then the other, nothing happened. It was when I put a finger on each at the same time that an electric current went through me!

And I was young and furious!

But survived that and many more challenges,



Posted November 27th, 2012 - 12:57 am by from Curitiba, Brazil (Permalink)
Val, I enjoy your stories! Images are so vivid!

Living so far away we had some coincident experiences. Being 8 is one of them.


Posted November 27th, 2012 - 1:25 am by from New York, United States (Permalink)
Wonderful story,wonderful life!