HardshipsBy Haydn Davies, Llwynypia
In 1944 my father worked in one of the levels in Tonypandy and my two brothers and I worked in the local collieries (Gelli and Glamorgan). We all came home from work at about the same time from a day shift.
We would come home to our frugal meal prepared by mam. We would sit around the table and nod off to sleep whilst mam fetched the zinc bath from the back yard and poured the hot water that was boiling on the fire into the bath. There was no health and safety then.
My father would be the first to bath the top half of his body, whilst kneeling in front of it in front of the fire. Then I, the eldest of the boys, would do the same and then my brothers would follow. My father would then remove his trousers and step into the bath to wash the bottom half of his body. When he had finished, we boys would do the same.
You can only imagine how dirty that water was. When we had finished bathing dad would help mam to carry the bath 'out the back' to empty it.
Because my father worked in a level he worked in very wet conditions. My mother would have to dry his working clothes on the rod under the mantlepiece in front of the fire. The smell of the clothes drying was awful. Looking back now, I wonder how my good mam managed to do all this work every day. I don't think I realised at the time how hard she and my dad worked and I feel guilty that I should have done more to help them at that time.
Coal House brought back very sad memories of those hard times and I am not ashamed to say that I did shed many a tear as these memories came flooding back.