Only 3 electric lights, but the candles were a source of fun

By Joan Rees, Glynhafod, Cwmaman, Aberdare

We must have been quite poor - financially - during the war years. My mother was quite young with us three children, and my father was a soldier in India. Yet I never felt deprived in any way. I wasn't quite old enough to realise all that was happening in the war around the world.

We had a framed photograph of my father in his uniform on our living room wall. Occasionally, there was a 'greetings' telegram or a parcel from abroad. We children were secure because everywhere that mam went us three kids were sure to go. We did not realise that this was the reaction of a young mother left with three small children in an uncertain, war torn world.

We all got up together, all bathed in turn in the same tin bath in front of the coal fire using water from a bucket that boiled on our living room coal fire grate. We all went to bed by candlelight at the same time in the same bedroom. I can only remember three electric lights in the whole house. However, those candles were a source of fun! The figures and animals that could be reflected on our ceiling and walls by positioning our hands and fingers were the central characters of many of our bedtime stories.

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