- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Lillian Brodessa
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- Contributed on:
- 21 March 2004
I was about six years old when I was evcauated. I was very fortunate because my Mum came with me. A few months before we went, our house in Curate Road was bombed. There had been a bombing raid on the railway just down the road from us. We could hear the mayhem that ensued and even though I was only young it made a big impression on me. At this time I was an only child. Dad worked in a reserved occupation, down at the docks. Later, he was to go down the mines. Mum and I were sent to Rhuddlan in North Wales, about three miles from Rhyl. We were billeted in a small cottage in Parliament Street. The owner was a Mrs Grey. Her husband was in the Welsh Guards serving overseas. They had a son, Jimmy, about three years older than me. The cottage was very basic. No bathroom, no proper toilet. In fact, the privvy was very primitive. This was a wooden bench with a hole, underneath which was housed a bucket. This was emptied about three times a week and the contents taken to the nearest cess-pool.
We lived in close proximity to the ancient castle. It was a wonderful place to me. I roamed at will round it's battlements, across the drawbridge, strode across the now defunct moat. My imagination knew no bounds. I did experience some nasty incidents for a time. Jimmy, the son, subjected me to some severe bullying. he threatened me with dire consequences if I blabbed to Mum. I was too scared to say anything. However, my Dad paid us a visit one weekend, caught him in one of his escapades and threatened him with a hammering if it did not stop. He stopped! After that we were alright, never bosom pals, but friendly.
One incident I recall which, young as I was, really brought home to me the grim reality of war. One lovely summer day, mum and I walked to Rhyl. It was quite a walk. Still, we walked at a steady pace and eventually reached the seaside town. I'd never been there before and young and innocent as I was I grew excited at the prospect of running barefoot through the sand and paddling in the sea. The reality was, row upon row of barbed wire which encircled the beach. A member of the home guard told us that the beach was mined. Even in such a lovely place, War triumphed! We returned to Rhuddlan footsore and weary. Mum tucked me into bed telling me it wouldn't last forever. I was lucky to have cousins staying at a farmhouse about a mile away. We went to pay them a visit quite often. Granny Blythen was they lady they were boarded with. She was a real character, a typical farmer's wife. She allowed her poultry to wander all over the kitchen, on the table, on the chairs. I never really fancied eating there somehow.
The school I attended was a tiny place alongside the chapel. We were regarded by suspicion at first by the Welsh children, but eventually we were accepted into the community.
One of the things I really enjoyed was helping the local butchers wife to run up the Welsh flag on special days. She was quite a large woman, was Mrs Owen and had difficulty climbing the battlements. How I ever managed to help her down, me being such a scrawny young girl, I'll never know. I've certainly changed a great deal now.
Mum and I stayed in this idyllic place for over two years, eventually returning to Liverpool in 1943.
I will never forget those days in Rhuddlan. The castle, the woods, the people were all part of my education, so to speak. My fertile imagination, young as I was, was allowed full rein and I'm sure initiated the start of my love of writing, especially poems, stories etc...
When we returned home, Mum gave me a real surprise a few months later. A new baby sister.
Thereby hangs another tale.
Lil Bordessa 2004
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