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The Day Before Yesterday: 83 - Big Blue Eyes

...Rod had found his way to a small chair and the infants teacher had already fallen under the spell of his big blue eyes and asked me how long it would be until he could start school. "Oh, not until next year" I said, "he is only just turned four.''...

But young Rod, a real charmer, has to learn the first lesson when he starts school - obedience.

Gladys Schofield continues her life story. To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

The teacher at school who now taught Alan, had been there for many years. She was Cliff's teacher when he was a little boy, so when Alan announced to everyone he had a new baby brother the teacher said to him, "As soon as Mummy is well enough, ask her to bring the baby to school. We would love to see him.''

I dare not attempt the cobbled winding road to the hill top until David was one month. It was a lovely summer day as we made our way up there. Rod was a tough little boy and quite used to making this journey on his two small legs. On seeing us enter the school yard, Alan's teacher ushered us into the classroom where the teachers took turns to fuss over the new arrival.

Rod had found his way to a small chair and the infants teacher had already fallen under the spell of his big blue eyes and asked me how long it would be until he could start school. "Oh, not until next year" I said, "he is only just turned four,''

At this, Alan's teacher interrupted saying "Why don't you send him up with Alan each morning? He will be fine, you will have your hands full with the new baby.''

After talking this over with Cliff, that is what we did. This pleased Rod as he had already exhausted all the interesting things he could find to do around home. He was still small for his age and I worried about that but being so outgoing he got on well with everybody, so it didn't seem to be a problem.

Alan was a bright pupil and was coming on in leaps and bounds but Rod was reaching six years and though I knew he was intelligent also, I wondered why he was not making the progress Alan was. My sister Dorothy called, as she often did these days. She loved the little boys. I had a feeling she would have liked to have a little brother for Jeanette but there hadn't been a sign of one yet.

She was telling me about a young student teacher who lived next door to her. She helped out at the school our children attended. She was in charge of the younger ones and spoke of this young boy whom she just adored as he was so cute. She said it sounded as though he could twist her around her little finger. He just had to look at her with those big blue eyes.

At this point I stopped my sister, saying "No wonder he isn't learning as he should.'' I knew she was talking about Rod and it was time I paid another visit to the school.

Rod changed classes after my visit and his first lesson was obedience.

The house was very cramped now we had three children to care for. Bathing them took up a lot of time, although it was cosy, as we brought out the large tin bath that hung from a hook on the kitchen wall when not in use. It had to be filled manually with buckets of hot and cold water until the right temperature was reached. A kettle sitting on a gas ring topped it up as it often cooled quickly. How lovely it would be to be able to just pop them into a modem bath as I was used to.

The bad Winter of 1947 had made us realise you had to pay a price, one way or the other, no matter where you lived, so we put our names down for a council house. With the new estates springing up again at least it would be better for the children. The housing lists were large but we were assured each one would be judged on it's own merit, so leaving it at that we did the best we could in the meantime.

I didn't have to take the baby to be checked at a baby clinic, living in this remote spot. She called to see us and after the first few weeks of weekly visits, she would call every three months to see how baby progressed and if We had any worries of any kind. She would always stay awhile and chat and share a cup of tea. I enjoyed her visits. After one year, if all was well, they were not examined again until the first year at school.

As Autumn approached once again Cliff would take the boys into the woods, gathering firewood and any dead branches. These were sawn up and stacked in the cellar to eke out the coal ration through the Winter. They loved doing this and looked so proud when I praised their efforts.

Cliff used to tell us of the time he had two pigeons to care for when he was young and thinking this was an ideal place to keep a few more, constructed a hut for these new feathered friends. I didn't get interested in this new venture, as anything that didn't earn its keep wasn't of interest to me. I can't remember where he got them
from but there was about half a dozen. He soon got them settled and would let them fly each evening when we had had our meal.

He also hatched some more ducklings, putting a pen for them on some spare ground in front of our house. This was rough ground, not owned by anybody but a tough little toddler two doors away was forever climbing into the duck enclosure and the poor things had to flee from his amorous grasp, leaving handfuls of feathers behind. As they grew large enough, they went the way of the first ones and swelled our meat ration.

Mum had also had enough of living in the country after the Winter snow and like us, was on the Council list. Dad was turned sixty and his health was not good. He was a proud man, preferring to continue working as long as possible but we couid see the hills were not good for him. All the family was settled in their own homes now, except the two youngest girls. It didn't look as though Alma would remain at home much longer. She had a boyfriend and her time was spent more outside the home than in it and Brenda, the baby of the family, had long since abandoned the billy goat she used to ride and was now working.

She was still fond of all animals, even cows. She didn't share my timid approach to them. One evening as she walked through a field of them, one turned nasty and pinned her to the wall of the field by its horns. Thank goodness she was a slim girl as it held her one horn each side of her waist. The farmer seeing her predicament rushed over and removed the beast and blamed the sultry weather at the time for its mood but she was a very lucky girl and not so adventuresome in the future. Brenda had a tiny waist, just twenty two inches and stayed that slim until she married and had her first child. That was the end of her trim figure, it never came back.


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