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Away From Home

by kindlykittyb

Contributed by 
kindlykittyb
People in story: 
Mrs Catherine Hedley,Miss Jean Hedley
Location of story: 
Sunderland
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A3583352
Contributed on: 
27 January 2005

This is Jean on her motorbike in Norfolk wearing her Land Army clothes. Note the blackout on the headlight. Because of this she fell off in the dark and bore the scar forever.

This is a transcript of a letter written by my Grandmother to my mother who was in the Land Army in Norfolk. I found the letter in the back of a photo frame after my mother died.
10 , Cliff Park,
Roker,
Sunderland.

April 30th ‘42

Dearest,
Thank you so much for your letter. I have been so worried about your raids over Norwich. Two nights in succession and what a wicked shame it is to destroy all those beautiful places — I do hope darling, that they didn’t come anywhere near you — the sirens went here about 3-15 the night they went to York. So we all went down to the shelter, but heard nothing — it lasted for half an hour, & of course I couldn’t get to sleep again till after 6-30.
Last night Fish, Pam and Eileen (Wayman?) called — Fish looked very smart in her uniform. Pam was very sweet, the image of her mother. I had no chocolate, so I offered her an orange, & she said Yes please , & seemed delighted —
Auntie Elsie came to see me on Wednesday afternoon, & was delighted with Catherine, & Gladys Sutcliffe came to tea this afternoon. So as Ada was out, I have been doing all the hard work. Aunty Wyn has been staying with Betty for a fortnight, she rang up last night & is coming directly after dinner tomorrow — Auntie Cathie and Bunny ! are both coming for the weekend - & they were going to Mrs. Woods, Stocksfield, but ~~~~~ has got mumps — so Bunny will sleep in Thelma’s room and Auntie Cathy in yours as it has the most comfortable bed in the house — Mrs. Gregson? Has invited Bunny for the whole day on Sunday, & she goes off to school at Harrogate on Monday morning early.
He rang up from the Solicitor to see if your allowance had to be continued, so I said certainly, if it is possible. So I expect you will have got it by now. I really haven’t had time to send any of those things off to you, but I will try to manage next week — we put them in a suitcase to give Auntie Cathy the top drawer. Ada & I did both beds today, & will air them with hot water bottles tomorrow — It’s still bitterly cold here, altho’ it has been slightly warmer — today I sat in the garden with a big coat on for about half an hour — if only the wind would go down. The ground is absolutely dried up in need of rain — I am getting my tomato plants from Groves on Saturday — Uncle Preston is taking me along after tea on Sat: Reably? Has had the pots in the greenhouse for over a week to get them warm — the greenhouse is the warmest place in the house. I went up to the Solicitor & the bank manager on Tuesday in the Economic bus & came home in it. I fortunately didn’t meet anyone, as I don’t really feel up to the town yet.
We have spring cleaned 5 rooms & the bathroom & lav, & next week the dining room will be done, so we are getting on. Tomorrow will be 1st May & Jack is being married on May 6th. I think darling you really should send them a greetings wire, even if you send it the day before. I know Jack will be pleased. They are being married at a Registry Office & her people are giving a lunch in town, & Grannie is getting a new rig-out for the occasion. I don’t know whether she is taking Okie! With her or not — the address for the Greetings wire will be:-

Mr. & Mrs. John Beattie
33 Cranfield Gardens
London N. W. 6
Do try to send it dear-
Catherine is very sweet & adorable, but what a little will of her own she has! But I admire that, only she is very strong to battle with. I’m sure she will be walking all over the place in about a week. She waltzed up the stairs by herself after breakfast this morning. It was all I could do to keep up with her. She is very friendly & really likes strangers now — tactful child —

Much Love darling, take care of yourself
& write soon.

Mammy

Thelma sends her love.

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