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The Day Before Yesterday: 47 - Hidden Pregnancy

...The weight of my baby made my ankles swell, so I rested more and finished my tiny garments. I had mastered quite a few patterns and my knitting needles never seemed to stop in the evening.

People were not so open-minded as they are today. You had to hide your condition as much as possible, and some men didn't like to see their women in heavy pregnancy. It would be better if we could go into a chrysalis form and step out all trim when the time came. My mum used to say the woman should have the first baby and the man the second...

Gladys Schofield continues her life story. To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

Reg had shared our home all this time. Cliff took a fatherly concern for him, as he did not know his friends and he wasn't very forthcoming, when asked where he had been. You can't blame Cliff, as he felt responsible for his younger brother and hoped he was going around with the right type of friends, but no boy would want an older brother inquiring into his affairs. When asked a question, Reg would always stall by saying "Who me?" while he thought of a suitable answer. This "Who me?" became a laughing point years later as we recalled these events.

That mad man in Berlin was about to take Paris. We knew the danger England was now in. Our troops were in France trying to stem the advance, but they were soon overpowered and had to retreat as quickly as possible.

That was when the evacuation of Dunkirk began. We could not leave our soldiers stranded on foreign soil for the Germans to pick off at their will. A call came over the radio. Anyone with a sailable boat or ship was asked if they could help to ferry our men back home from France. The response was amazing as a flotilla of boats of every description set sail in the dim morning light. Time and time again they returned, until all the well and wounded men were evacuated.

How proud we were at that moment. This gave us a little time to 'lick our wounds' and get ready for the onslaught ahead. We knew we were next.

Russia was knocking at Germany's back door by this time so we had help in a way, at least.

America was keeping well out of the fighting so far, as they did in the First World War, not coming to help until 1917 and this time not until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour in December 1941. So we battened down our hatches and prepared to defend our country.

I stayed closer to home in the last few weeks. The fright with the cow was part of the reason, my aching legs another. The weight of my baby made my ankles swell, so I rested more and finished my tiny garments. I had mastered quite a few patterns and my knitting needles never seemed to stop in the evening.

People were not so open-minded as they are today. You had to hide your condition as much as possible, and some men didn't like to see their women in heavy pregnancy. It would be better if we could go into a chrysalis form and step out all trim when the time came. My mum used to say the woman should have the first baby and the man the second.

I applaud the woman of today in this respect. They are not embarrassed anymore and show the world their condition. Men have now accepted that it's not something to camouflage as much as possible but a wonderful event to be proud of, as they are the reason we look this way.

Cliff came home one tea time with a lovely bunch of chrysanthemums, yellow and bronze ones. A man at work grew them in his greenhouse. He thought they would cheer me up a bit in the circumstances and they certainly did.

The little dog had missed his walks too, so when Reg offered to take him for a walk to the shops with him, I was pleased and got his lead for safety. They had only been gone a few minutes when Reg was back, the little dog cradled in his arms. He had got as far as the shops and the dog slipped his lead and ran straight across the road, intent to get back home. The car in his path could not stop in time and he got a bump on his head.

He was bleeding a little but seemed alright otherwise, so we let him rest on his blanket. His sad brown eyes just gazed at me as I gently stroked him. He died in the night. His injury must have been more severe than we thought, so I lost both my little pets within a short time at that house.

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