A Glossop Child's Wartime Memories

I have no memories of food before the war, so the war-time diet didn't matter to me. When I didn't eat much dinner (usually when there were sprouts) I was asked to 'think of the starving Russians' which made me cry but didn't help with the eating.

We had a communal 'pig bin' near our house and it was my job to take the kitchen scraps to it. I hated it. There were flies and wasps around always. I took the lid off the bin, then ran away,went back to throw the scraps in and ran away again, often not putting the lid back.
  I went to St. Luke's School. When there was an air raid warning we all went across the road to the cellar of the chapel (now the Howard Medical Practice) where the boiler was and the coke was stored. We sang 'All Things Bright and Beautiful'. I can still smell that coke every time I hear it.
  On the bus to school was a notice: 'Careless talk costs lives.' I didn't understand that, but thought it probably meant not speaking clearly enough, so I thought it best to say nothing. Some 200 of the other people on the bus I thought were speaking very carelessly.
  My mother helped at the 'Red Room' situated on Norfolk Square in the cellar of what is now the Partington Theatre. It was to provide tea and sandwiches to people in the services. It had a piano and a billiard table which I very much wanted to stand on. Occasionally a convoy would come through Glossop and then the place was full of men, laughing usually, and playing very loudly on the piano.
  On the night of the Manchester Blitz we went to our next door neighbour's. The grown-ups played cards and I was made to sit under the table. I thought about tying all their shoe laces together but I didn't. I looked at the carpet and I can still remember the pattern of it vividly.
  I loved the black-out. You could see the stars so clearly. I have never been able to see them like that from Glossop since. In our dictionary we had family photographs and a picture of Stalin whom my father referred to as 'Uncle Joe'. He had black hair like my father's and I presumed he was my ‘Uncle Joe'. I thought it unfriendly of him not to remember my birthday, but was told he lived in Russia, was very busy and didn't know anything about me (rather remiss of my parents, I thought)!
  A group of neighbours made an air raid shelter in our garden, underground but with a grassy mound over it--good for sliding down. We never went into it. There was always at least a foot of muddy water in it.
  Later a brick air raid shelter was built on spare ground next to our house, but it was always locked with a huge padlock. No one ever went into it. I now live where it stood and sometimes find bits of brick from it in the garden. We dug up all the back garden to grow vegetables ('Dig for Victory').
  I was very happy in the war, though I knew there were very many people who were not.
-A Glossop Pensioner


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