Family Life

During the sermon I would dream of what I would do when I was older and the places I would visit, London, Africa and America.

My mother worked hard to keep us well fed and clothed. She had four sisters.  There was always one of them staying with us until they married.  There was not much money but plenty of care and attention and outings, which cost very little.

While my mother was making our Sunday dinner an aunt used to come and take us out for a walk.  Usually this was through Cullercoats and along to Tynemouth, stopping first at Bickerdyke’s sweet shop.  There was Darlings fish shop; yes, the daughter was called Grace.  Next came Bickerdyke’s butcher’s shop then the sweet shop.  There were boxes of all kinds of sweets, some wrapped but mostly unwrapped, laid out on a sloped stand.  We were given one penny to spend.  My sister and I usually bought different things so that we could share.  There were four different kinds of sweets at a halfpenny a packet.

We’d then pass the fishermen’s cottages where the crabs and packets of winkles would be out on boxes or stools for sale.  There was always a cheery word as we passed.  Sometimes the artist J F Slater would be on the grass beside the pulled up cobles painting pictures regardless of the weather.  We went to Sunday school in the afternoon at St. Margaret’s church.  In the evening my mother’s friends and sister would come to play cards, Newmarket, for the silver Tommy shells we used to collect from Browns Bay.  In summer we would walk to Holywell Dene and back for picnics.  Then Hunter’s bus started running from Blyth.  Sometimes we had a treat and got the bus from Old Hartley to the Bandstand in Whitley Bay.

We moved to Eskdale Terrace then to Norma Crescent.  We lived in the end house which had a wonderful view and a garden.  When we lived in Norma Crescent we didn’t need to go anywhere.  Mother could sit in our garden looking towards Tynemouth while we played in our favourite caves or out on the rocks.

Those were the days when doors could be left unlocked.  I remember going in from school to find a note from Mother saying, ‘Tea on the rock’.  The rock was very flat, and we could step from the bottom of the cliff on to it.  It was big enough for a cloth and for us to sit around and have sandwiches and scones.

A friend of my Aunt had a summer bungalow in the field where the golf course and Beacon House now stands.  My sister and I had to go to Dixon’s farm, where the Brierdene car park is now, for milk.  Very happy days.  Sometimes I would go to church in the evening because I liked to sing.  During the sermon I would dream of what I would do when I was older and the places  I would visit, London, Africa and America.  These dreams did come true.

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