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Archive for April, 2015

A bad snowstormThe weather had turned very wintry, and the snow had began to settle, making the journey to the hospital difficult for Anne and Bill. Bill only had a short leave, so when he returned to his base, our Mum went with Anne to see Keith at the hospital. Each time they came home it seemed there was more bad news. Keith was having more and more fits, and could not keep any food down.

One day Mum and Anne were very late home. We kept looking out the window to see if they were coming, and at last we saw them walking up the field. We knew at once that something terrible had happened. Mum had her arm around Anne who could hardly walk, and they were both crying. We dashed out to meet them, but Mum told us to go back and put the kettle on, so they could have a hot drink.kettleuntitled

Anne went straight upstairs, and we heard her crying and sobbing. Mum took her up a hot drink, and stayed with her for a while. It was later in the evening that Mum told us that poor little Keith had died that afternoon. We were all quiet and tearful when we went to bed, and I kept thinking about Keith, and what a short and sad life he had lived.

Keith was buried in my Father’s grave. We had the day off school, and so we were home when the car arrived with Keith’s tiny coffin in the back. It was only when the driver of the car whispered to our Mum: “Did anyone wish to see the baby for the last time? If so I will bring the coffin indoors,” that I realised Keith was inside the coffin. Mum said to leave the coffin in the car, as they had seen the baby at the hospital. At the time, it was the thought of our lovely Keith lying in the dark box which upset me more than the fact that he was dead.

There were only a few people attending the funeral. Lil could not stop crying, and Anne and Bill were both crying as they left with Mum. The rest of our family were to stay at home, and as Mum left she said they would not be long.

imagesYUQ89E8YIt must have been a very sad time for our Mum, not only was she burying a grandson, but seeing my Father’s open grave would have reminded her of his death.

When Mum and the rest of the family and friends arrived back from the church Lil started making the tea, tears running down her face. Bill sat with his arm around Anne trying to comfort her. Poor Mum looked worn out as she helped Lil make a few sandwiches for everybody.

Soon after, the people who had attended the funeral left, and Mum told us to go to bed. Sometime later I heard the rest of the family retiring, and the long, miserable day was over at last.

I do not remember seeing much of Bill after Keith died. Anne returned to the air force, and when she spent her leave with us she was always alone. Eventually, Anne and Bill separated.

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Uncle Fred was home from work by the time we arrived back. Gran told him what an exhausting afternoon it had been for her. All uncle Fred said was that I should have something to eat and then go to bed, as I looked ill. He told Gran to keep me home from school until my arm was less painful. Turning to me, he said that while I was away from school, I could read the books he kept in a glass cabinet in the parlour, as long as I took great care with them.

imagesCAOU6XLWbookThe next morning I came downstairs, quite excited at the thought of looking at uncle Fred’s books, especially the row of encyclopaedias on the bottom shelf. I went into the parlour and tried to open the book cabinet, but it was locked. I asked Gran where the key was, but she made out she had no idea where it was kept. I knew she was lying, but when uncle Fred asked me what books I had been reading, I said I had been in the garden all day, and not looked at any books. I was frightened of Gran being cross if I mentioned not finding the keys.

That evening, uncle Fred was reading in the parlour, and I noticed the keys in the book cabinet. I asked my uncle if I could keep the keys until the morning, and then I would not have to trouble Gran for them. He said that he liked to keep the cabinet locked, but he would show me where he kept the keys. Gran was not very pleased with this arrangement, saying that I would not look after the books. Luckily for me, uncle Fred ignored her and I spent many happy hours reading.imagesCAJEJZFMapples

In Gran’s garden was a large apple tree full of fruit, and underneath the tree there were a few apples laying on the ground, which I would help myself to. Then one day Gran came out and told me she was going shopping and as she was leaving she said: “I hope you’re not stealing those apples, as I know exactly how many there are.” I never ate another apple after that, as I really believed that Gran knew how many there were on the tree and ground.

220px-Female_pairGran kept a few chickens in the garden, which was a source of fresh eggs, a luxury during the war. My job was to boil the chickens’ food on Gran’s cooker in the kitchen. I do not know what went into the pot, but to this day I can remember the horrible smell that filled the kitchen as it began to boil, but Gran never seemed to notice it.

At last, one day Gran said I was going home. Although I was sorry to say goodbye to uncle Fred, and knew that I would miss reading his books, I could not wait to get to get back to Wales, away from Gran.

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