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The Day Before Yesterday: 65 - The Gift Of A Cat

Gladys Schofield meets two new friends, one with two legs and the other with four.

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

These small boxes were stacked in the laundry and as I entered I saw our son standing there, face to face with a small girl. They were silently eyeing each other. She was a pretty little thing, closer to three than two, I would say. I must have broken the spell for I said "Who is your little friend Alan?"

At this she shyly smiled and off she went, as fast as her little legs would take her.

The following day I heard a quiet knock at the door. Wondering who my timid visitors could be, I answered it. There stood the same little girl I had encountered yesterday eyeing my son. This time she seemed to have more confidence as she said, "My Mam says, will you come and have tea?" All this she managed while hopping on one leg. I thanked her and said "Tell Mum I will be over in just a minute." Nodding her blond head, off she scampered again to the house next door.

That's how I met the dearest friend I ever had. Her name was Ethel and the man making the 'Shim Sham' was Clem, her husband. Being over forty, he was too old for the forces and had to join the A.R.P. If ever we got an air raid, they were on duty and very funny it could be sometimes, as they practised their duties. Very much like the antics of 'Dad's Army'.

They were very valuable in the air raids, in the towns and cities that were bombed night after night but in our town, it was mainly practise.

Ethel and Clem had two children, Alan an eight year old and Christine, nearly three. They also had two cats, the younger one seemed to attach herself to us from the start and in a while Ethel said "You may as well keep our Kittany as she spends more time in your house than ours.''

It was a strange name for a cat, who was at this time as big as its mother but she had never been given any other name so Kittany she stayed. She was a great mouser and we were pleased to have her. With the countryside outside the door, the mice would prefer inside to outside in the winter. She was very brave also. No dog could make her run, no matter how much they barked. She would stand her ground. As soon as they came near to her, she would sit up like a little boxer and give them a right claw, then a left on the nose and off they would go, whimpering.

My friends had come to this little bit of countryside from Barnsley, so they too had travelled quite a distance to come to the country.

We were a familiar sight through the months ahead, as we walked to the Co-op, two mums and two small children climbing the steep path to the top of the hill and across the fields to the village. It was much quicker, than winding around the hillside up the cobbled road. We were as nimble as mountain goats but I knew I would not be for very long.

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