I was driving home from somewhere or other and this poem popped into my mind so I decided to illustrate it as best I could.
Good old hand knitted cardis. Once a year we had a week's holiday 'at the seaside' though I have no recollection of how we got there. Perhaps it was by coach? My Dad isn't in these photos but my Gran, who lived with us, is in most of them. This was on the front in Margate - with Dreamland still there to be visited and rides on the scenic railway and merrygorounds and ice cream. The book is called, 'Cherry the Boot Boy'... The pushchair did service for many years, too.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
Mum's favoured hair style for me - a 'horse's tail' which I was stuck with for years. No plaits for me though I managed those by the end of the war. This is Southend pier, which means we went north of the Thames, into foreign country... South Londoners went south - to Brighton, Margate, Ramsgate, Broadstairs. I wonder why we managed to infiltrate Southend??? Looks like typical English summer weather, too.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
Heavens! No horse's tail! This is a studio photo, probably Jerome's, as they seemed to have the most studios at this time - I'm still a couple of weeks away from being 5. Nowadays I'd look at the material and think it would be ideal for patchwork.
But now I'm Six, I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
Guess which is me. The other children are in summer dresses, and what do I have on? A jersey, naturally. I can't make out what I'm holding, it doesn't ring any bells at all. My friends lived close by and we all went to the same LCC school - which is in the background. The infants had a sleep in the afternoons which seemed very odd to me, I wasn't tired. The playground was on the opposite side of the road and Mum would bring me a cup of cocoa at playtime when the weather was cold...we lived in flats a few hundred yards away. Apart from the afternoon sleep all the memories I have of school are washing out paste jars used for painting, and the headmistress, Miss Vincent, slapping a 'naughty boy's' hand, her charm bracelet rattling and clattering. Mum kept sheets of sums, cut out paper d'oyleys and all my letters sent home when I was evacuated in 1939.I was evacuated to Brighton with the school and this is on the seafront in November 1939 when I'm 7. Another jersey and the usual pleated gymslip and, I would think, the sort of plaited cord which tied round your waist.
Having bored everyone with that here's a spoof on the poem above from a book by Christopher Mayhew called 'Now we are Sixty (and a bit)'.
I had too much sun.
I had dreadful flu.
I couldn't pee.
I felt really poor.
I took a dive.
But at sixty-six, to be perfectly frank,
I'm as fit and as strong as a Sherman tank.
That's all Folks.
(You have to be of 'a certain age' to recognise the sign-off line!)