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Memories of Iris

My first recollection of WW2 is standing at the door with my mam watching the searchlights

My first recollection of WW2 is standing at the door with my mam watching the searchlights combing the skies for enemy planes. When the all-clear was sounded mam put me and my sister in the pram to go to nana’s house up to Dock Road to see if she was alright. There were no lights and it was quite scary.

One other time is when a lady took me home to her house  I was very small for my age; she had me for four days; mam was worried to death. It was the lady in the flat heard me crying – the police were out looking for me. The lady told the police. The poor lady had lost her baby in a bombing raid that’s why she took me. Mam forgave her because of her loss.

I loved Good Friday but in one way I did not. New shoes, my goodness! Blisters or what. I had second-hand clothes  I hated this because the clothes were from a girl that lived in the same street  I would beg mam not to have to wear them but when you have kids beggars can’t be choosers.

As I said before I was very small for my age and when I played in the street people thought I was lost and took me to the Police Station. I spent many hours there.  I think mam must have got sick of going for me. It got to the stage where she finished her washing then came to collect me and she then pinned a notice on my back saying this child is not lost.

One day I lost the back door key. My sister and I had been to the matinee at the Albion Picture Hall. I’ll never forget that day, my dad was so mad he took an axe to the door. It’s funny how certain things stick in your mind.

One terrible time my friend and I stood at the library corner on a Saturday night with a penny and asking people to change it to two halfpennies. More often than not they would say keep the penny. We did alright till we went home counting the money and feeling great. When I went into the house Mr Policeman was standing waiting with my mam – she was the boss. My God, I never forgot that in a hurry and the money was taken from me. Mr Policeman took it all.  I don’t know what hurt most the belting I got or losing the money.

Sweets, food and clothing were on ration; sometimes mam would swap clothing coupons for food coupons. One day the corner shop sent word to mam that she had sweets in. She sent me to get some (big mistake) – lovely sweets!  Walking up the back lane I sampled one (another big mistake). The sweets were not the ones mam liked so I had to take them back. I was in trouble, I was scared to tell mam I had ate one. It took me about half an hour to walk back to the shop trying to think of an excuse why the weight was short.  I told the lady that mam had tried one and she didn’t like them. Of course, I got caught out again and another crack from mam.

When I was about twelve I asked mam if I could go to the Spanish City with my friend. She said I could but had to take my younger brother with me. My face dropped a mile. But of course, mam always won. Anyway, I dragged him like a piece of rag. We wanted to go on the Ghost Train.  I told him to stay where he was and went on the Ghost Train with my friend. When we got off the Ghost Train I forgot about him. It was half an hour later when I realized and spent two or three hours looking for him. I decided to go home without him and you can guess – another crack from my mam. I went straight back to Whitley Bay Police Station with an aunt and there he was.  I took him home and got another crack.  I should have went there in the first place and avoided it. I still love mam.

By the time I was thirteen I used to go to Scots Park. All the boys and girls gathered there, but I had my brother; oh how I wished to be an only child.

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