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The Day Before Yesterday: 104 - A New House

Gladys Schofield and her family move into a newly-built house.

Alan was fourteen and Rod, twelve, when we moved to the newly built house. The furniture so carefully chosen so many years earlier, was still wearing well. We had increased the bedroom furniture a lot and added a carpet here and there. We bought a new one for this house as it had a bay window in the sitting room. We had also acquired a piano from somewhere, hoping one of the children had inherited my father's talent but none of the children seemed interested.

The large bedroom had to sleep all the boys as the single one would only fit a single bed and Susan, now four and a half, needed this. She was as lively as ever. As the buildings progressed all around, a small hooter would sound when they had a break for a cup of tea. One man shouted "Tea up boys". She picked this up immediately, running around the building site saying "Tea up boys". Lots of families of young children took the houses which were occupied in no time. Susan found a friend that she still has today. Most were like ourselves, just trying to take another step up the ladder.

Dad decided to take the grass off the back garden he had marked out as a vegetable patch. Armed with spades and forks, Alan and Rod were asked to give a hand. This was tedious work as it must be done to Dad's instructions. Each square of sod was removed and shaken to remove every grain of soil. He used the grassy sods to build walls around a compost heap we had started. I noticed the younger lad toiling there long after the others had stopped. He meant to do all his digging at once, so he could have more free time with his friends. He had already accumulated about five in and around the houses and the new school he was now attending.

The school was quite convenient for him. It was the new one spreading before us in the fields below Salendine Nook. The first day he started at this school, his teacher looked at him and said "Rodney, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at High School?" He was one of Rod's old teachers from his other school. Rod would be in the first few each exam and would come top in woodwork, as his Uncle John and Granddad before him. It's interesting to see these special gifts weaving in and out of the families, as the children and grandchildren inherit them.

The houses were never very roomy in England but they were sturdy and made to keep out the cold Winters. You usually didn't get very big gardens so we intended to use every bit of ours. The top part close to the house was planned for flowers and a lawn. I grew lovely carnations from some cuttings my mother gave me. Growing the flowers was left to me and I spent many relaxing hours working at this.

David went to a junior school at Oakes County. He never seemed to settle here as he had at the one we left. His Head Mistress was rather stern and he didn't like her. He had found it hard leaving his old friends, so his reports were never as good as I hoped they would have been. He was quieter than the two others, the four year difference in his and Rodney's age was too great for them to be play mates.

We had moved on the second day of July. It had been a warm dry summer, so dry we had water rationing and 'stand pipes' were used so that you could only use a certain amount of water each day. We were quite used to rationing of one kind and another but the last of the other rationed goods had disappeared now. I think clothes were the last to be released in 1954.

Susan's hair was bleached quite fair during that hot summer. It had started to go brown as mine had been. As usual one of our new neighbours ran a Club and I found this useful to buy crockery. I also got a pretty mirror this way and hung it over the fire in the sitting room. It was decorated with a iady in a crinoline dress and all the rage at the time. I was never keen on calling my 'sitting room' a 'lounge'. I always thought that name had been introduced at the same time as the Americans, during the war. i hadn't heard of it before that time.

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

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