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The Day Before Yesterday: 57 – Down To The Last Penny

...The pay for wives and children was very poor. I got twenty nine shillings and six pence a week, eleven of these shillings went on rent, four for furniture, there was light, heat, food and clothing for us both out of the rest. Sometimes I was down to the last penny for the gas...

Gladys Schofield recalls the hardships of the war years. To read earlier chapters of Gladys’s autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

There was plenty to keep me busy here and after all wasn't my oldest brother getting married in the morning, though not attending the wedding, we were going to the reception afterwards which was again at my mothers house, as Harold's girl had lost her own mother and her father was very frail, so Mum had come to the rescue.

I went over as expected to wish them happiness, the house was crowded and I didn't see the happy pair at first and was explaining why I was alone to my parents, while my son was busy doing a grand tour of the room. I hadn't wanted to make the effort to come at all today. I felt the bottom had dropped out of my world, but Harold was a caring brother and had waited so long for this marriage. It was only right I should make an appearance for a little while anyway.

Harold had seen us and came striding over saying "Where is Cliff?" and I sadly explained again, he went into the Air Force yesterday, so it was a bitter sweet wedding day and I didn't stay long, not wanting to spoil their happiness.

My younger brother John, had found himself a girlfriend. Lena was older than him but seemed to adore him. They would come quite often to see me in the evenings, it was nice to have their company. I think Alan was the main attraction, as Lena loved children. John just seemed to be waiting until he was old enough to join the Navy. He thought he was going to win the war single handed and I knew what this would mean to Mum. These boys came close together and if the war didn't finish soon, they would be leaving her the same way. She didn't complain much but the look she wore told me how she felt and I realised how lucky I had been to have had Cliff with me until now.

The pay for wives and children was very poor. I got twenty nine shillings and six pence a week, eleven of these shillings went on rent, four for furniture, there was light, heat, food and clothing for us both out of the rest. Sometimes I was down to the last penny for the gas. I had told Reg his brother had been called up and was very surprised at the letter I got in return. He wrote to say how he had appreciated the way we had taken him into our family, the last two years and he had decided to make me an allowance of seven shillings a week from his pay, as he knew I would be struggling now his brother was away, so he had been happy living with us after all. This made a difference and we managed a little better.

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