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The Day Before Yesterday: 86 - Out To Work

...David was fair and very shy with strangers. If we got visitors he would hide under the table, sheltered by the tablecloth. He also had a liking for sugar. The table had a cross piece underneath as a strengthener for the legs. I caught him many times sat under there with the sugar basin and a spoon, thinking no one could see him...

Gladys Schofield tells of her three sons, each one so different to the other two.

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

My three boys were so different. Alan at eight and a half was tall and fair like his dad. He now owned a bicycle he got new for his eighth birthday and was getting fond of sport already. It hadn't taken him long to find new friends. Rod had found a few boys his age in the same street. He peddled around on an old three-wheeler bike and couldn't he make that old bike fly! David was fair and very shy with strangers. If we got visitors he would hide under the table, sheltered by the tablecloth. He also had a liking for sugar. The table had a cross piece underneath as a strengthener for the legs. I caught him many times sat under there with the sugar basin and a spoon, thinking no one could see him.

Cliff's mum needed somewhere to stay for a while, as she was on her own now. Although we didn't really have room we decided to let her stay in the meantime. The boys shared the biggest bedroom. We let her have the small one. She liked to heip with the work and it was done in half the time. I began to wonder if I could get some part time work, to give us a chance to get on a bit, as the rent for this house was twenty four shillings a week. That was three times more than we paid before. It was a rule at the time that no one paid more than a third of their income on rent.

Cliff's mum encouraged me to look for a job, saying she would love to look after David and knowing the boys were now settled in their new school I asked Cliff if he thought it a good idea. The extra money would be useful and we began to look at the 'Wanted' notices in the paper.

The one that took my eye was for a kitchenhand in the canteen belonging to the Wholesale Market, as this job was seven thirty to three thirty in the afternoon. This would suit me fine, I could be home before the children came home from school. I got that job and though the washing up seemed endless, I enjoyed working there. We had to prepare sandwiches and serve meals, breakfast and dinner. When I served puddings, they would flock to my counter saying I gave them larger helpings. We were a happy crowd, with two chefs. I remember one was called Monty, I don't know if that was his proper name.

I could get meat and fish at the wholesale price and though meat was still rationed, the pieces that found their way to our table were not.

At this time, Cliff acquired a small motorbike and I got a lift on this each morning as he went to work. It was a cheap, quick way of travel. None of the neighbours would sleep in, in the mornings as he started that little bike up about seven fifteen. David would watch us go, peering out of the kitchen window in the arms of his grandma.

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