Christine Reason: real life story 1939 to 1940
In my real life story, after the September 1939 wedding, we did not return to Woodford, supposedly because of the threat of the German Luftwaffe bombing London, and I was sent down to Rye in Sussex to live with my Aunt Rene and Uncle Arch by myself.
They were childless at this time, so were asked to take in a lodger, Arthur Loveland, who was a school teacher at Rye Grammar School.
I presume that my parents returned to London, as they were not with me.
I attended Rye Primary School for the Autumn and Winter Terms of 1939 and 1940.
Deep snow fell over that winter, whether it was before or after Christmas I cannot recall, but one day, instead of walking back the usual route, I walked along the bottom of the cliff.
‘Pleasaunce’ Udimore Road, where we lived, was up a hill, and all the gardens were steep and made into terraces. I suppose that I was later than usual and the garden path had been obliterated by the snow, so when I burst in, my face glowing with the exertion and saying “I’ve had an adventure”, my Aunt was not very happy! To be fair, I expect that she was concerned, when I had not shown up at the usual time.
I was well looked after there, and Aunt Rene was a good cook. We ate a lot of fish, which were caught locally.
Uncle Arch was a builder with youngsters and men too old to be called up, working for him.
Mr. Loveland’s hobby was making model railway carriages and engines, and painting them.
This was done on the dining room table and I liked watching him do this.
At this time, I contracted chicken pox, and had to stay in bed.
Uncle Arch, who was quite a tease, together with Mr. Loveland, used to call “unclean, unclean” up the stairs.
At Christmas 1939, my parents and the other Aunts came to stay.
I remember that we played ‘Charades’, and my Father did a brilliant impersonation of Mahatma Gandhi wearing a white sheet, tiny specs, and with bare legs, I think that at this time, Gandhi was either imprisoned by the British, or was causing unrest, as the Indians wanted Independence, and he was a source of amusement, I am ashamed to say, even in that Liberal voting family.
I was not allowed to stay up very late, and I can remember hearing the laughter from downstairs, and feeling very envious.