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The Day Before Yesterday: 74 - A Close Trim

Gladys Schofield recalls austere wartime days when the chance to buy apples was a special treat.

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

One of my sad days was when Alan needed his hair cutting. Daddy was home at the time and said he would take both boys with him. Cliff always thought 'boys must be boys' with hair cut as short as possible.

Alan suited the neat trim the Barber had given him when they did get home, then my eyes fell on my curly headed toddler. His hair had been cut also, as close as possible with not a curl in sight. When I asked him why, he said "He looked more like a girl than a boy".

Ted got his way as soon as he was eighteen and joined the Army in the summer of 1943 and took to the life like a duck to water. Only one of my brothers remained at home now and he would not be long as only fifteen months separated them in age.
Ted was still a good looking young man in uniform and we knew he would turn a few girls heads. I prayed they could all come home safely and that the war would soon be over. Mum had endured more than her share of sadness this last few years.

My two younger sisters were growing up quickly. Alma already working, was sixteen and Brenda, still a Tom Boy' was twelve. They often walked up the lane in the evening to keep me company.

I went down to see Mum one morning as I often did, to inquire if there was any news from the boys. We were always eager to hear the latest, although their letters were always censored.

She had no news from the front today but her neighbours had good news, saying, "Apples were to be had", at a shop across the fields where the Hawthorne trees grew, where my brother and I roamed as children. Was it so long ago? It is hard to believe that my brother, now in the Navy, was helping to bring these foodstuffs safely to us.

These lovely apples had come from somewhere on the Continent to give us a little variety to our diet. We were allowed two pounds per family, until they were finished.
I said I would walk the distance for Mum, as we didn't get them often and she offered to care for the boys until I got back. It was going to be a lovely day, the sun already high in the summer sky. I could smell the blossom everywhere and the scent of new mown hay, as I made my way along the single path that meanders through the fields and finishes with a stile before reaching civilisation, a farm, a group of houses and one or two shops.

They were lovely apples and the shop keeper tipped them from the scales into my basket. They certainly smelled good and I retraced my steps the way I had come.

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