Chertsey Tales Part Thirty-six.

Another anecdote about children during the war. It’s 1940. Soon I will have to do a bit of editing and bring them together to make a story. Or perhaps I will simply call it ‘Did I ever tell you…………?’

Chertsey Tales Part Thirty-six.                                                                  438words.

   In our kitchen, since the bomb, we have just a little bit of looking glass propped up on the mantlepiece. You can only see some of your face unless you stand on the other side of the room, then you are too far away to see anything properly. 

It was once a lovely big mirror. A hand-me-down from my dad’s family.  It had a golden carved frame, which matched a painting of the ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’…a family story is, that one of our relatives was there on that day. I have found it’s just one of those stories that families have… It seems to be a thing in our family.

I’m now eight and a half, and off to do the shopping. While crossing the road at Bell Corner I see my reflection in the window of Miss Stott’s ladies’ outfitters. It’s not what I expect to see. This lanky, gangly, knock-kneed nipper with a wandering way of walking. It is one of those moments when you know something has to change. 

I start to straighten myself out. I pull my shoulders back and stop the wandering way I walk. I’m quite pleased how easy it is to do. It is just the knees I am having trouble with; they are still quite affectionate.

A few weeks later, as I pass Pimpernels Izzi’s ice cream shop, I notice Mrs Mant and her neighbour chatting at their gate. By the way their fags are jerking up and down I can see they are having a good old gossip. This is my chance to test my new walk. I pull myself together, swinging my arms like the Chertsey Home Guards do.

As I am near to them, their fags stop jerking, and hang motionless from their lips. Just their eyes swivel around as I march past. There was a burst of laughter. I look round and see they were only laughing at the three little boys marching in perfect step behind me… just like the Chertsey Home Guard.

I am still feeling pretty pleased with my new walk when I find Mrs Salmon and mum in our kitchen. Nothing is said, but they both look sad, as if they had been crying. I never thought I would see this. Mrs Salmon is such a strong woman, not one for any tears.

I know to put the kettle on without being told. Mum puts her finger to her lips. I know it is bad news, another family had lost someone to this horrid war.

I never worried again about my funny walk; I’m just pleased that I can.

Author: madeinchertsey

Born in 1932, this is a collection of stories of my childhood growing up in Chertsey, and some stories of my later life.

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