Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Next week I am going down to Surrey to stay with my sister for a few days. Recent phone calls to her have got us both remembering the days when we were small. One thing I remembered would spark her off to something I had forgotten, and so we went on.
I think it is valuable remembering things that happened, and doing it with other members of the family. Often what we always recalled as odd or even had never understood, become perfectly clear when brought into the light of collective memories.
My sister had always thought her little red bicycle was bought specially for her, but I myself had had a little red bicycle, and in the summer that World War II ended it was obvious that "my" bicycle was handed down to her. I got a grown up bike, ready to cycle to my new Grammar (High) School, but it was almost certainly second-hand at that time of austerity.
So today I have posted a collage of photographs taken by my father, all before 1945. The big picture is of me at a "tea party", and the others, from the bottom left-hand corner upwards are:- Me and my sister at the seaside in 1939; me as the littlest bridesmaid at my Uncle and Aunt's wedding; Christmas morning; Our house that was subsequently bombed. You can see the sandbags protecting the front door; feeding chicken (and I hated cleaning them); and me sledging in the winter. We didn't always get that much snow!
It seems like another age now, which I suppose it is. The UK and Europe were never the same after 1945 and the years afterwards, when shortages and rations were the order of the day, moral standards were changing (or slipping according to your outlook!) and thousands of refugees moved across Europe as they sought their homeland.
Sometimes we look at the changed world we live in and wonder how our children will cope. The answer is, of course, that it will all look perfectly normal to them, and they will just get on with living their lives, albeit in a way we perhaps can't imagine, or even understand. I know my own mother would never be able to comprehend the problems that faced me as I brought up my own family, any more than I can fully take in the stresses that my daughter is under. (I do try, Sue, honestly!)
All we can do is the best we can, and pray for God's help, protection and strength for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.