- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Shirley Johnson
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- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 04 March 2005
I remember having a ration book and doing what shopping we could. It was the norm and we didn’t think anything of it. It didn’t really affect us much here in Leominster as there was no television or newspapers to tell us what was going on, so we didn’t really worry. We always had enough to eat as we had rabbits and stew, things like that. I can always remember my first banana, that really sticks in my mind. I was at junior school and it was slightly under-ripe. I couldn’t wait to get to school and took my first bite as I was walking to school, and ate it in pieces as I was walking.
I was three when Dad left.
There was a party which the Americans gave for all the children in Leominster. They were very kind to us and gave us sweets and jellies. A party was a rare thing in those days.
I remember the night the war ended. We all grabbed each other and danced through the streets. Everyone got up and danced and sung.
There were Polish people based at Barons Cross. There was one called Richard and One called Jan, and a beautiful girl called Teresa. They used to invite us up to the camp as friends do. They spoke English quite well. I had a cousin from Birmingham who stayed for a long time. It was fun to have her — we didn’t really talk about why she was here, we just got on with enjoying having fun. We had no money, we were all poor and in the same boat. What we had we shared. My brother and I had one bike between us. At Christmas we had one stocking, a nut and orange and apple. We had that spirit of camaraderie. I spent more time playing in river than anything else. We had lovely summers and harsh winters.
We used to get the floods every year. One year someone came and gave us a carpet — it was a real novelty to have it! The toilets outside were horrible. But we didn’t think we were under privileged — we just played together, marbles and tops. I was too young to think much about the war. My dad came home quite damaged though, he drank a lot. I hadn’t known him and I more or less lived with my Grandma. I wish he had talked to me about it all.
My husband’s cousin came from Wales was here and was playing in the grange and going down the shoot, and he was shot by someone who used to practise down there. He was only fourteen. We didn’t talk about these things.
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