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The Day Before Yesterday: 99 - A Coronation Holiday

...Everyone had these box like battered looking brown suitcases. They must have been made of compressed cardboard. They got shabby in no time. The fact you could have a holiday at all, was the most important thing...

Gladys Schofield recalls a family holiday during Coronation year.

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

During the Spring of 1953, my dear dad had a bad heart attack. They called it Thrombosis. He wasn't supposed to live, with an attack like this but he rallied and steadily got better. I took Susan with me when I visited him with Mum, when he was convalescing. Only Mum could visit when he was very bad. Our little daughter brought a smile to his pale face as he watched her, dancing around like a little fairy in one of the creations I had made for her.

Dad came home at last but never got into the swing of things again. He always looked blue in the face but lived seven more years. He called it his 'borrowed time'.

in June that year, Queen Elizabeth was crowned. We ail got a day's holiday again. She looked so young for such a big responsibility. Two of our boys got cut glass tankards with a picture of the young Queen and Prince Philip on the front. We got cups and saucers. One for each member of the family. They cost us five shillings for each cup and saucer. Quite a lot of money in 1953. The Royal Family already had two children, Charles and Anne. The same day as the coronation, Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Everest.

In August, we set off on our holiday. It was chilly for August and the guest house was not so comfortable as we had hoped. With the changeable weather, there was no heating at all. Still you don't expect a two and a half year old child filling her bucket with hail stones on the first day of arrival. This freak shower covered the sands with this large hail, some as big as golf balls. It went quickly and got quite hot as the week progressed.

The children loved it, they had plenty to entertain them, with the fair and side shows and lots of golden sands and we had plenty of room on the sands for each family. You could hire the deck chairs daily, for a small fee each day. We would spend all day there and go back to the guest house at tea time where a meal would have been prepared for us. The landlady and her husband lived in a separate part of the house and didn't intrude while we were in, except to inquire about meals or something in general. They did all the washing up also, so after the first day or two of changeable weather, it got quite comfortable.

You only seemed to worry about getting enough sunburn in those days to show off to your friends. Twenty degrees would be classed as a heat wave. We had a good walk from where we were staying to the beach and had a job finding our way home on the first day. All the streets looked alike. David was only six but he said he knew the way and sure enough he had taken more notice than any of us had.

Everyone had these box like battered looking brown suitcases. They must have been made of compressed cardboard. They got shabby in no time. The fact you could have a holiday at all, was the most important thing, not what you had to wear or the state of your belongings. People were still content with the simple things they could afford and the beaches were clean.

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