« White Christmas | Main | Me And My Dislocated Arm »

The Day Before Yesterday: 77 - Years Of Change

...No more was I the timid little girl. I was a much stronger person, having sole charge of a family and keeping our home debt free. My children were my world and I had a certain pride in what I had achieved and no matter what I had to face in the future, it could not be harder than the past...

Gladys Schofield tells of the changes wrought by the war years in her and members of her family.

Just as they had come into the world one after the other, my brothers joined the forces. Alan was now eighteen and was following Ted, by joining the Army.

Some large battles were being fought on the Continent. How the family had managed to get through all this almost unscathed so far was a miracle.

Our aircraft were bombing Germany just as mercilessly as they had bombed England. They were retreating on ail fronts. Some terrible atrocities were coming to light as the Germans were driven from the lands they had occupied. I cannot dwell on all that evil. It's too painful for me to recall but all United Forces were determined to stop this mad man so that this could never happen again.

Part of Germany was now occupied by some of the forces and Ted was one of them. Coming out of a cafe one morning after having refreshments, he saw a young solider heading towards him. Something familiar made him stare more closely. It was his own brother, Alan. They had not seen each other for two years. What were the chances of that happening?

Cliff was getting home for Christmas, it had been quite a while since he had managed this. The children were excited and I was busy making mince pies and other goodies. The tree was decorated and everything was just about ready for the big event. The strain of the long years apart, were telling on our marriage and he seemed so distant these days. I hoped this Christmas could be as it used to be.

My Aunt's word would often echo through my mind. Did we really take this step too soon. It wasn't the case with me but maybe it's different for a man. He had faced responsibility from such an early age, I had been the anchor in his life, so after all this time, could he be blamed for catching up a bit on his lost youth? Would he be willing to lay it all aside as the war was drawing to an end. Maybe I expected too much of this man who had changed so drastically. His life had been so different. He had seen much more than me.

These years must have changed me also. No more was I the timid little girl. I was a much stronger person, having sole charge of a family and keeping our home debt free. My children were my world and I had a certain pride in what I had achieved and no matter what I had to face in the future, it could not be harder than the past.

Daddy arrived just before Christmas, hugging a large box under one arm. He had to spirit this away quickly as the children were all over him. The parcel was a Hornby train set Cliff had got second hand from one of his friends as a present for Alan. Rod was only two and a half and a little stuffed boy doll dressed in a blue uniform was more in his line. He loved it and would always fetch it out of the cupboard if he needed a comforter.

I cannot remember how many of us shared the last Christmas day dinner at my mums. Too lost in my own thoughts for it to register. My strong silent man went back to his unit, his innermost thoughts locked tightly, deep inside.

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.