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A Shout From The Attic: Being A Massionary - 2

A young Ronnie Bray goes as a missionary to Southampton.

By the time I went to Southampton, much of the rebuilding needed after the flattening delivered to the city and surrounding areas by the Luftwaffe was either done or well under way. Some parts of the old city, formerly enclosed by the ancient walls was still old, still defunct, still poor, and very neglected.

My missionary companion was Elder Thomas Kelvin Waywell from Toronto Canada. He was a hard worker but not easy to get to know. He was dour, usually unsmiling, nose down, eyes averted go-getter with a serious bent that kept others at a distance.

We lodged at 92 McNaughton Road, Bitterne, with an Irish lady whose name I hope soon to remember. We paid rent for the room, bought our own food to eat in our room, mainly as sandwiches, or ate out, most often at Tony’s Café. Tony was a Greek Cypriot who owned and ran a small café at the Southampton end of Bitterne Road in an old property.

He was extremely kind to us, and let us have our meals at special discounts that he calculated in his head when we went to pay him. I could still speak most of the Greek I had learned as a soldier in Cyprus, his homeland, and he was pleased by my stumbling efforts.

We travelled mostly on our bicycles but if we had great distances to cover, such as when we went to Millbrook over the river Test, we took the bus. Southampton was well served with regular buses to all parts.

The Sunday I arrived in Southampton we officially opened the Southampton Branch as an entity, and it has been flourishing ever since. Elder Waywell served as Branch President, Branch Clerk, and Branch Financial Clerk, and I served as Sunday School President, Sunday School Teacher, Relief Society President, Relief Society Teacher, Primary president and Primary Teacher.

Elder Waywell said that his father, Thomas Waywell had been the first person to play the piano on Canadian Radio. His father was dead, but his mother, obviously a person of grit and sound character, still lived. Kelvin said that his mothers advice to him if he ever got discouraged was, “Shoot yourself!”

We tracted street after street, and although I cannot remember my feet becoming worn, weary, or painful, it seemed as if we covered most of the city’s sprawling residential areas in our search for people to teach.


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