The story page nine, 1940.
Most of my stories are perfectly true, but you probably realise I sometimes add a joke to lighten the mood of those grim days.
In this one I’ve added an old Jewish joke that I heard on the TV.
In the early days of the war, pets such as cats and dogs were abandoned, our rations being so meagre, it was hard to feed them.
It was common to see a poor dog roaming the streets looking for food and a friendly face.
One of these poor creatures, a little Jack Russell, adopted our home, he just sat on our doorstep until my Mum let him in.
He had a little tag on his collar with the name ‘DICK’ on it.
Although we were a big family, my Mum tried to keep up her standards, this meant absolutely no swearing, and to have something called ‘DICK’ roaming the house was just too much for her to bear.
In fact, any word that even sounded like a rude one would have a more proper alternative.
This gave rise to a lot of ‘nicer’ words, which, together with Mum’s malapropisms—she often mixed up her words—could be confusing, even to the rest of the family, leave alone some one from outside.
Following this rule, Dick’s name was changed to the similar sounding name ‘Eric’.
He was in a poor condition and continually scratching himself.
We looked to see if he had fleas or something, but all that could be seen was a bare patch on his belly.
Going to a vet was out of the question as it was a bus ride away, but luckily Doctor Ward was quite willing to give advice if needed.
We put Eric in a shopping basket with an old jersey over him, and joined the queue outside Doctor Ward’s surgery.
Once inside the waiting room you took a seat and as each person was seen you would move along till you reached the Doctors surgery—it was not unlike musical chairs, except there was no music.
Doctor Ward smiled as he saw my Mum, he had been our doctor for ages and had delivered most of our family, my mother was also the unofficial midwife in our area.
Now the Doctor was well aware of her aversion to rude words, and her malapropisms, I think he sometimes found it quite challenging to have a conversation with her.
“Hello doctor, could you look at my little Jack Russell, it has a nasty itch.”
So far all true, now the joke!!
I saw him look at her intently, trying to work out what on earth she was talking about, then the penny dropped,
Smiling, he said.
“Ah, your little Jack Russell, yes of course.”
He took a jar of ointment from his cabinet and said.
“Rub this on twice a day to the itchy area, and don’t ride a bike for a fortnight.”