The Tree Of Life
“Waggy are you coming out?”
A short pause,
”Waggy I know you’re in there, I can hear you sawing some wood”.
I knew it was Pansy but I was at a hard bit of modeling and tried to ignore her.
Then she started shouting louder, I finished the hard bit and looked out the window, there she was, hands on her hips, she still had her gymslip on and she really looked like Pansy Potter, the new girl in the Beano, her arms were thicker than my legs—which wasn’t difficult.
Her three sisters had nice names, April, May and June, but her parents had run out of nice ‘month’ names and started on flowers and came up with Pansy.
“I know what you want me to do, Pansy, but after yesterday I think we should wait for a while before we try it again”.
“ I really want to do it now, if my sister can do it so can I”
“I don’t think so”, I said under my breath, after hearing what my brother Don told me about what her sister got up to behind the ‘rec’ pavilion.
“Come on Waggy, I promise it want take long”.
Girls seem to know that if they keep on about something they will always have their way.
“ All right, but I’m not going to waste the whole afternoon like I did yesterday, I’m in the middle of something that I want to finish today”.
The hard bit I was having trouble with, was the ribs of the model Tempest fighter I was making, it used to be easy when a sheet of Balsa wood was used for these parts, all you had to do was cut round the ribs already printed on the thin sheet. Now that Balsa wood was scarce—it was used to build the Mosquito fighter bomber and made it one of the faster aircraft in the war—we had to use strips of ‘Obeche’.
This was long lengths of wood about the thickness of a match stick, we had to soak a piece in hot water and then bend it to the shape we wanted, then use some drawing pins to keep it’s shape until it was dry, this took much longer to make a model than before.
“ALUNNNN” she shouted, now, I have found when someone really wants your attention, they always call you by your first name.
That is, everyone except my mum, there were so many of us, she could never get the name right, so she would just shout as loud as possible, anyone’s name, we would all look up to see who she looking at go from there.
I crossed the road to where the bomb had fallen a couple of years ago, it was now just a heap of bricks, but the front garden of one of the houses still had a bit of lawn and an Almond tree, mum said it was the tree of life because it was hardly damaged when the bomb fell, and it still had lovely blossom and almonds in the autumn, but they were not for eating, she said.
Pansy was waiting under the tree, so was Danny, his house was badly damaged as it was directly opposite the bomb, but had been rebuilt and they moved back in. Danny was a bit younger than I but just as tall and always had a girl hanging around.
This time it was Maureen from Cowley Avenue. The last thing I wanted was an audience, especially after yesterday.
“ I’m only going to try this a couple of times Pansy”
She didn’t answer; she just looked at me.
She was the only girl in the school who had steel studs on her sandals, and yesterday they had cut into my hands.
Posh boys, like my mates Alex and David always had brown shoes and had ‘Blakies’ on the soles, other boys had steel studs like Pansy had, I usually had plimsoles.
I wanted to get this done as quickly as possible, I grabbed her foot and with all my strength pushed as hard as I could, Danny helped me and finally we did it.
Pansy grabbed the lowest branch and pulled herself up into the tree.
“There” she shouted, “ I’ve done it, my sister owes me a sixpence, she bet me I couldn’t do it”