Long Ago Days - my mother's memoirs (1918-2007)
Introducing the 3 Littl'Uns
3 children born at the end of a very large family; Jimmy, Georgina and Alec. There being a considerable gap between them and the older ones, they were known as the "3 littl'uns" in the early 1900s after World War 1. 1918 was my year; I am Georgina and I am trying to leave a few tales of what life was like all those years ago.
To begin with, very quiet; no traffic, and in the summer months daylight stayed with us naturally, so as children we enjoyed extended play hours and at bedtime were quite happy and ready for sleep.
We began school at the age of 4 years and left at 14 years to start work. I wanted to be dress-maker but ended up being in shoe factory with no choice, we needed the money so badly. I worked 48 hours a week for 10 shillings. Mother took 9 shillings, and gave me 1 shilling to live on. Sixpence I had to pay into a fund in case I got sick; it was called the Fellowship of the Oddfellows Society.
Sixpence left? However, we managed. I had a friend, Edith, at school. After leaving we still went out together. Her mother was good to me and helped Edith and me so much. We made our own dresses with help - she owned a sewing machine. We even made our own first dance dresses and they looked beautiful; we were so excited. We wore them to the Church Hall dance. We could buy material for sixpence a yard; called "Miss Muffett" print, so you can see we managed very well. Edith and I remained pals until she met a really nice fellow and 2 years later they were married. She still lived in the village so we didn't lose touch. By the way, our village was called Bozeat, in Northamptonshire.
Bozeat was a village where people helped each other. I remember a few weeks when our water supply dried up. We had a well in our garden under the ground so it kept icy cold, and pumped out by a tall one-handle affair; very good. The village people could bring their buckets and get as much as they needed, as well as enough to keep a few vegies alive. I think there were a few un-washed ears around too!
As the years passed I remember an airship being built in a place called Carlton, about 2 miles away. All the children walked across country to see it, through the mist and the wet grass. It was out of the hangar, and looked like a great silver fish. We were so excited and returned to school very wet and bedraggled but quite happy. A week later our parents woke us up in the night to watch it on its maiden flight to France, across the British Channel. It was wonderful to see. The sky was clear and it looked splendid. We could even see the people inside. In the morning the news came through that the Airship 101 had crashed over France. Everyone was lost; it was very sad.
There was another time we were woken up, to see the Northern Lights - a fantastic sight - one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
This page http://tardus.net/mm-longAgo.html published: 9 JUNE 2007