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The Day Before Yesterday: 59 - A Girl Of Ample Proportions

...It was the end of November, I wondered if my man was missing us, as much as we missed him. He was training to be a Flight Mechanic and as soon as he qualified, he would be stationed on one of the large aerodromes scattered around the country...

Gladys Schofield, like many another wife, had to learn to manage on her own during the war years.

To read earlier chapters of Gladys’s autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

I was not looking forward to Christmas, as I hadn't seen Cliff since that warm, sunny day, when the ducklings hatched. They were now fully grown and bent on turning the spare ground into a quagmire with all the rain we had been getting lately.

The three ducks would lay anywhere except in the place provided for them. I would discover them in the most unlikely spots, tucked out of sight under the bushes. One had acquired quite a lot of eggs this way, before I discovered her hiding place so I was beginning to realise this wasn't a good investment. The drakes were eating their heads off. How I hated all this mud, if only I had a pair of strong hands, I could rectify this problem.

It was the end of November, I wondered if my man was missing us, as much as we missed him. He was training to be a Flight Mechanic and as soon as he qualified, he would be stationed on one of the large aerodromes scattered around the country and that would not be until January. He should then get seven day's leave, so I thought about this as I held my small son on my knee. He had just been bathed and was dressed in his pyjamas. Although he could eat almost anything now, I still topped him up at night with breast milk, as he still hated cows milk.

I brushed his blond hair, it was getting quite long and was curling at the ends, when I heard a slight noise. Alan's eyes were already turned to the door and there was Cliff. How long he had been there watching us, I didn't know. I soon learned this was only a fleeting visit, he must be back before midnight the next day. He had slipped home on a twenty four hour pass, hitchhiking and travelling any way he could.

This stolen moment of time was only one of many in the weeks ahead and they meant everything to us. Most of the men took their chances to get home for a few hours and covered for each other, if one was late for roil call.

They got quite cunning and would try anyway to travel as their pay was not enough for unofficial travel. He sometimes bought a platform ticket to get onto the station, then leapt onto the train he needed. They were so crowded with servicemen it was easy to dodge the ticket collector and some drivers would go out of their way, to drop him almost to the door and other times he had a long walk ahead of him, just depending on his luck.

One night, my brother Charles turned up at our house, he had a forty eight hour pass and had a girlfriend with him. The uniform seemed to draw some of the girls and Charles was making the most of it.

It was quite late and I had already gone to bed. I peeped through the upstairs window, wondering who my late caller was. I hadn't seen my brother for a month or two, so welcomed them in and we sat chatting a while as they ate some supper. We had so much to catch up on, it was almost twelve before we realised and Charles said, "I don't fancy that walk up the Golf Links to Mum's tonight Glad, would it be alright if we slept down here for the night?" Connie, his girlfriend seemed quite happy with the arrangement, in fact she had seemed to have a problem detaching herself from him all night. I knew it was no good suggesting she share my bed so I found spare blankets and pillows and bid them goodnight. The fire was always banked up at this time of year and would slowly burn most of the night, to keep it cosy.

I couldn't sleep for a while, it wasn't often I got visitors, my mind was still wide awake when I was sure I heard another tap on the door. I listened, yes'there it was again. Again I peeped out and a familiar voice said, "Open the door, the Air Force is here". It was one am by now, I was beginning to think this was a hotel.
Cliff had had a problem with transport, slipping away as he often did, it had taken him longer to get home this time. My other guests were a big surprise to Cliff, who thought he had his family all to himself. Charles sensed something of the sort and said "Look kid, we won't intrude now Cliff’s home. We will head off to Mum's now" and off they went into the night.

They were still at Mum's the following afternoon when I called in, after Cliff had set off on his return journey again. I was curious to get a better look at my brother's girlfriend. I need not have tried, her voice found me as I came inside, she was giving a loud rendering of one of the latest songs in strong harsh tones. She sang "I don't want to set the world on fire, I just want to start a flame in your heart". Thank goodness that flame burned out.

She was of ample proportion, we wondered how she managed to stay on the inside of her red dress. Her blonded hair was tied back with the same colour, as were her full lips, she looked all fired up herself and I wondered where my brother had found this one. i need not have worried, she was only his companion for the weekend, we never set eyes on her again but her memory lingered on, each time we heard that tune after that.

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