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The Day Before Yesterday: 102 - Pet Mice

...Like most children the novelty wore off after a while and the mice, feeling neglected, chewed through a corner of the cage and became friends with the field mice outside...

Gladys Schofield recall a family mouse hunt.

102 - Pet Mice

...Like most children the novelty wore off after a while and the mice, feeling neglected, chewed through a corner of the cage and became friends with the field mice outside...

Gladys Schofield recall a family mouse hunt.

Our younger boys wanted mice. They had seen their Uncle John's and wanted some of their own. Remembering what happened in my younger days, I was reluctant to give in to their request. Eventually they won me over by saying they could be kept in the garden shed, therefore not causing a problem in the house at all. They were soon the proud owners of two pretty little mice, the same sex, in a cage in the shed.

Like most children the novelty wore off after a while and the mice, feeling neglected, chewed through a corner of the cage and became friends with the field mice outside. They were soon breeding in a secluded spot as only mice can do and various coloured babies would dart over the shelves whenever the door was opened. This was going to be a problem, I realised which had better be solved before they found their way indoors.

Remembering Mum's patient way with cup and saucer, we did the same method, along with traps and eventually solved the problem. It took a long time to clear the hut and was very upsetting to see half wild little mice in various appealing colours but we had to be tough or we would have been overrun with them.

Grandma came again to stay a few weeks. She seemed to move around a lot at this stage in her life. The boys were now better able to manage themselves, only Susan remaining at home. We were saving steadily, this time for a deposit and enough money to purchase our own home. This was a very hard goal, as people in our position usuaiiy just rent. Cliff didn't like to waste money just renting when he could own a house, so while Grandma was with us, I looked for a part time job again.

My sister-in-law, Mary, was doing just that, working at the Standard Firework Company. She said they had vacancies so off I went once more to do my bit. I didn't realise just how dangerous a job it was, until I saw the many huts the people worked in, scattered each one away from the other over a large area, weli away from the other buildings.

I got the job making 'pin wheels'. A few of us girls worked together in one of the huts. It was a bit tedious, even the label had to be put on at just the right angle. I worked a month or two and looked forward to bonfire night as we could get our fireworks quite cheap with working there. I could have my lunch break with Mary, who told me she had just found out she was pregnant again and could only work into the New Year.

My mother-in-law went out with some friends on Saturday nights and this night she didn't turn up back home as she usually did. On the Sunday morning a taxi arrived at the door carrying Grandma. She had fallen down her friends steps and they had kept her there all night and then just sent her home in a taxi. Some funny friends she had, I thought. She could not walk so we had to take her to the Infirmary.

I remember that day, it was very wet. I said I would accompany his mother if Cliff could look after the children. He agreed and off I went. They had to operate as her hip was broken. She must have been like that all night. I sat there waiting all day, with just a cup of tea at lunch time and finally about five thirty, they said it was a success and I could go home. It was still raining as I got off the bus. I had just grabbed a coat and head scarf in the morning and the rain had soaked through. Cliff welcomed me with a hug and we knew this would be an end to my working life again.

It was one week before 'bonfire night'. I couldn't get my cheap fireworks so the boys were disappointed but they didn't go without.

Cliffs mother was one tough lady. She was better in three months and only walked with a slight limp. She was sixty five and came back to our house.

**

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

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