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Archive for November, 2014

One day we heard that a cinema was going to open in the village, and that Saturday mornings would have a cheap entrance fee for children only. We begged Mum to let us go, but she said she could not afford it. The following week when our Lil came home, she gave us the money to go to the cinema. I imagined it would look as grand as the big cinemas I had seen from the outside in London.

Children's cinemaKath, George and I were all excited as we set out the following Saturday for the cinema. We had been told that it was near the railway station. When we got to the station there was no cinema to be seen, so we asked a lady where it was. She told us it was at the back of the station, down a slight hill. When we found it we were all disappointed to see that it was not a grand cinema, but more like an old cow shed with the word ‘Cinema’ painted on the front.

We paid the entrance fee and as we entered a lady told us that boys sat on the left, and girls on the right. She said that if anyone was caught on the wrong side, they would have to leave. The seating was long wooden benches, and they crowded as many as possible in each row. It was pitch dark when we went in, and George did not want to be separated from us, but the lady told him to go on the boys’ side.

The film started, and I was just beginning to enjoy it, when someone tapped me on the arm. It was my brother who had crept over to our side. I whispered to him to squeeze in by me, and to be quiet.imagescinemaCA4WR047

Suddenly the film started to break up, and the sound went funny. A dim light came on, and everybody started to bang their feet on the floor, and clap their hands A few of the boys began to shout and swear. Amidst all the noise, my brother scurried back to his seat. As this was a regular occurrence, I do not think that anyone ever saw a complete film, but it never spoilt our enjoyment.

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imagesswingsCACZ0YOQLil had to return to her place of employment, so Mum did not have long to recuperate from the birth. The first few days Mum was up and about she looked quite worn out. We did all we could do to help her, making sure she had enough water and firewood for the day. But she missed Dad, as he had been such a help to her after all the other births. As the days went by, we all missed Dad more and more, particularly George, who kept crying for Dad.

Mary, Kath and I started to go into the village more, something Dad had never allowed us to do. There was always a crowd of children in the small park, which was situated behind a row of houses in the village. There were some swings, a roundabout and a slide, which we took turns on. At the top of the park was a hill. The boys would take turns to sit on a piece of cardboard at the top, and the other boys would pull them down to the bottom.

There were lots of falls and tumbles, and if the ground was wet the boys would be covered in mud. I never saw any of the girls take part. At other times, we would walk to the woods and play hide and seek, or games of dare. My first dare was that I had to go into the grounds of Lady Blandy-Jenkins, and knock the conkers off a big tree which stood inside the gates. I did not even know what a conker was, until one of the girls told me they were horse-chestnuts.imagesconkersCALT5F4T

Everyone was allowed three days to accomplish their dare. I was frightened about entering the grounds of Lady Blandy-Jenkins, as I knew one of her men would be working there somewhere. I was also worried that Mum would find out. I knew I had to carry out the dare, otherwise they would all ignore me. Mary and Kath came with me and said they would keep a look out. I crept through the gates, holding a bag to put the conkers in, and a long branch to knock them off.

All went well at first, and I had collected quite a few. My arms were feeling tired as it was hard work reaching up to the tree, and I decided to make do with what I had. I was just picking up the ones that were on the ground when a man’s voice shouted: “Clear off! or I’ll get the police on to you.” I have never been so scared in my life. I could see a man at the top of the field, and I looked round to see where my sisters were, and they were nowhere to be seen. I started running, making sure I kept hold of my precious conkers. I ran so fast that on the way I lost a shoe and I was too scared to stop and pick it up in case someone was following me.

shoesIt was about half a mile to my home, and though I was running as fast as I could it seemed to go on and on. Mum did not notice how out of breath I was, or the fact that I had lost my shoe. My two sisters were there, and when I asked them why they had not warned me, they said that I had taken too long, so they had gone home.

I now had the problem of finding my shoe, as being the only pair I had, I needed it for school the next day. I dreaded going back, as I thought the man would be waiting for me. When I made the return journey, I was so relieved to find my shoe not far from home. I decided there and then, that it would be the last dare I would ever do.

 

 

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