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The Day Before Yesterday: 63 - Another House Move

As the war drew families closer together Gladys Schofield moved to another house to be closer to her parents.

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

I was still pretty nervous of this house. It may have been just the creaking of the old timber but sometimes I hardly slept and kept the cot up close to the bed so my little boy was just an arm away. Cliff's few days leave had changed our life again. I was pregnant. This would be a mixed blessing as we hadn't planned a baby at this upsetting time in our lives.

A boy in the cottages across the road was in the Merchant Navy and had been for a few years, even before war was declared. He used to bring gifts for his mother from the different ports he called at. This time he didn't come home. "Lost at sea" they said.

My husband was due for seven days leave in August. On visiting my parents one Sunday, I learned that one of the homes in the row where we lived as newly weds, was going to be let. This house in the middle of the row was different to the rest. It was privately owned and detached at one side with its own garden and room for chooks and a few vegetables and flowers. A laundry at the side had its own toilet inside (luxury) and a small stream of water from a spring somewhere trickled through a pipe in the garden wall. A stone trough had been built on the outside of the wall to catch this water, it seemed to then disappear again, to probably pop up somewhere else, to be caught at last in the large reservoir at the bottom of the hills.

The tenants of the other houses had changed and changed again since we last lived there. Some had travelled a long way for a bit of peace and quiet from the constant bombing night after night. One old couple had come from Birmingham. The quaint old gentleman was over eighty and didn't mind at all the primitive way of living. His peace of mind was more important to him. Another couple and middle aged daughter had come from London, so I knew the sick person who used to steal my plants had long since moved away.

I was set on having this house. With my family just down the lane, I would have plenty of company as the war was drawing families closer, to comfort and help each other in their hour of need.

Cliff agreed, though rather reluctantly at first but admitted the home would be more comfortable than where we were and Alan was getting to need a bedroom to himself. He was quite a little boy now and would be two in September. I remember us walking along the row of cottages. We had just walked up the lane from the Golf Links. A man in the house next to ours was doing something in his garden with a hammer and some wood. As he bent about his task, our young son drew level with him and said "What doing?" The man, in his forties, looked at our son and smiling said, "I'm making a shim sham for ducks to peeok (perch) on.'' "Oh," said Alan and seemed satisfied with this answer, for he then trotted off to our own front door.

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