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U3A Writing: Childhood Memories

Thelma Weston writes of flutterbys and paterkillers.

I was an only child living in a road where there were no other children to play with, so I had to make my own amusement. I remember playing with a whip and wooden top, also having three yellow tennis balls, which I could juggle in the air quite well, also play against the house wall. My biggest ever present was a two wheel fairy-cycle, which I could ride safely on the roads, as there were very few cars and most people cycled, because in the war years petrol was rationed and used mostly for essential work.

I had a half-mile walk to school, carrying my gas mask in a cardboard box, some mornings the road would be covered with leaflets also metal strips dropped by the German planes going over the Home Counties to bomb London.

We were very lucky in our area we had hardly any bombs dropped near us, despite living near The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and The Staff Colleges, both had large lakes in the grounds which were drained to stop enemy aircraft identifying their targets.

As the years go by, I marry and have three children, 1 boy and 2 girls, I hope a few of their funny sayings might bring a smile to your face, our son aged 2 years was playing in the garden, he came rushing indoors, Mummy, come quick there is a "paterkiller" (caterpillar) on the path, also another one a "flutterby" (butterfly), another time our daughter topped this when someone asked what she wanted to be when she grew up she replied a "Second-hand Typist"

We were out on a family trip one summer when they used to have Royal Navy open days in Portsmouth. Having been to see lots of ships, we had very little money in those days so it had to be a little cafe type place, of course we could find nothing, but came to a Salvation Army Hostel, I was appalled, but there was nothing else for it, so in we went and we were made most welcome and had a good meal, even after our daughter read a notice on the wall as "Hot Snakes " (Hot Snacks) also when we went to the Ladies, why have we got to "blot" (bolt) the door Mummy.

You will be pleased to know all our children have grown up to be normal people, they are all married, with children of their own. Our eldest daughter runs a pre school Playgroup and she has to teach very elementary lessons, writing their names etc. One day the lesson is to be naming young animals, if you can imagine 24 children aged from 2 to 4 in a circle first question what is a baby sheep called, as quick as a flash -Chop!!, now what is a baby cow called Scarve!! Well nearly right.

How history repeats itself we now have 6 grandchild, so I am sure to be telling a few more amusing stories with funny sayings.

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