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Wartime Memories of a Northallerton Schoolgirl

by threecountiesaction

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

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People in story: 
Ethel Green
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Contributed on: 
29 December 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War Site by Three Counties Action, on behalf of Ethel Green, and has been added to the site with her permission. The author fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

At the end of our street were some Auction Rooms looking out onto ‘The Applegarth’ a small park. The owners of the Rooms allowed us to use the premises and the kitchen for the biggest party many of us had ever seen! How the women produced so much food was a mystery. How we all mingled young and old alike from young babies to Grans and Grandads. A couple of straight-laced spinsters really let their hair down. After tea we had races and games in the park. We talked about it all for weeks. One abiding memory is of my mother and neighbours setting fire to those awful blackout curtains.
I had vivid memories of the weeks following VE Day, more for the general feeling of euphoria, the hopes and aspirations for the future than ‘events’. I was in my last year at the local Grammar School, exams more or less over, so plenty of time to share thoughts with the teaching staff, this mainly sitting on the side of the tennis courts between games. With the General Election coming and decisions to be made career-wise, there was much to discuss. Overall was this feeling of new beginning, tremendous optimism, tempered with regrets at so much destruction and loss of friends and families. It was certainly an exciting time to be leaving school — stepping out into a new world, a free world.

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