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The Day Before Yesterday: 69 - A Home Confinement

The war put unbearable strains on some married couples when husband and wife were parted for years, as Gladys Schofield reveals.

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

The radio was the main source of entertainment. You could see a film if you wanted to and ballroom dancing in the local halls did a good trade every Saturday. The Public Houses too, were doing a better trade with all the servicemen coming and returning from leave. People drank more than ever before. We could drink at eighteen but before the war it didn't seem so important. Maybe because there wasn't so much money about before then, the ladies went in with their men more now.

The war years were a big strain on families. The constant highs when the families could be complete for a short while and then the long wait and all the uncertainty and even heartbreak, was more than some could bare. I was still more lucky than some, as my husband was still in this country, some were parted up to five years and of course drifted apart, as they didn't know each other. They were just like strangers. It was not just the time apart, some drifted apart and formed new relationships. They went as boys and came back as hardened men, experiencing so much they could not return to the ways of before and never accepted the old way of living again. This happened a lot, some settled down after a while but others never did. There was more upset in the early days of peace, than ever there was in the war.

Well, all this time I had been getting closer to my confinement. My bed was already in the small recess by the fire This had been put in place by Cliff on a weekend visit. We were supposed to have everything ready by the seventh month, in a home confinement. The midwife was booked and the doctor had kept an eye on my progress.

Spring was once again showing its first signs here and there. In the trees in front of our house, the Horse Chestnuts were showing a little bit of new green and the Pussy Willow had its fluffy catkins covering the branches. The birdsong was starting earlier now the days were drawing out. How I love the spring, when everything wakens up again, after the chilly winter has finally relented a little. It seems to linger in the countryside and doesn't seem to warm the soil enough until May. Vegetables had been scarce and I had been longing for anything green. I would crunch the green leaves as I prepared anything and hoped I could grow a few of my own this year, if those beady eyed hens could be kept inside their own enclosures.

I was getting quite big now and my neighbour often did shopping for me if she had to go out, to save me climbing the path up the hill. I had decided on the home birth as I didn't want to be separated from Alan. Two weeks was a long time for a two year old. I had my friend and Mum was just down the lane, although I didn't like to put on her any more than I could help. She had enough worries with my brothers away and Ted was nearing the age when he could not be restrained any more. Like John before him, he wanted to be a hero, at least they were not cowards but it was very hard on mothers. Mine didn't seem to sleep very well anyway.

I began to wonder if the war would ever end. Hitler had a birthday on the twentieth of April. "Oh please don't let my baby come on that day", I pleaded. My due date was the twenty fifth. How we all hated that man, he had upset the whole world. We were getting terrible stories about the Concentration Camps, both in Germany and Japan and everyone knew someone who was already confined in those. It would have been better had they been killed, than suffer for years as some did.


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