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					F. M. Taylor Side 2 - Tape 1

WW2/38- 2

I remember asking me mother who the gentleman was and she says “oh its Mr.” whatever his name was, the dustman and I hadn‟t recognised him yet I always used to say „hello‟ to him when he backed horse and cart down the alley down the back of the house. Everything seemed to happen on a Tuesday, the coalman came on a Tuesday and the insurance man came on a Tuesday and the money was always left on the sideboard and the front door was never locked and there would be a, the insurance book and a pile of money and the coal money in a little pile and he‟d lift the flap in the pavement and drop the coal down the shoot into the cellar. It was market day on a Tuesday and they had a good market there, me mum used to buy bits and pieces and make pleated skirts on bodices for me when I was at school and knit jumpers. Um um And ah, I think it was quite good. There used to be a lot of food shops pre-war in the market but I think they all had to go when the war came and you got all your groceries from one particular shop and I can never remember going hungry No. No. You say there weren‟t many men about No. They were all elderly men, older men and youths, young bits of lads and they‟d go to the, I don‟t know what they call um, young cadets and things like that and the scouts. They‟d go from scouts to cadets and then they‟d join up when they were seventeen or eighteen and they used to have, oh they used to have socials, in the scout hut on a Friday, mum used to help with the refreshments and there were always soldiers there to dance with the girls of the town and I can remember my middle sister there and my elder sister must have come home and there were both my sisters there and mum was helping doing the refreshments, cups of tea and it was a fancy dress and they‟d dressed me up as Jack Warner‟s Little Gal and I had a tray with chocolates and sweeties which, they were not plastic, they were wooden ones in Cadbury‟s wrappers, from the local sweetie shop and my and there was one huge, well very very tall soldier and apparently he was perspiring quite a lot (laughter) and my sisters, he was dancing with all the girls and my sisters dared me to go up to this soldier and say sweets, chocolates, cigarettes and handkerchiefs for sweaty soldiers (laughter) and I did didn‟t I

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(laughter). They used to stand me on the piano and I used to sing at the social, that was the break in refreshment time and they‟d put me on the piano to sing. During the war they used to have a dance in the Town Hall for New Years Eve and there was a very large gentleman who used to work at the local gas works, little town gas works and he was always Old Father Time and I was the New Year in my frock, cause I had a frock (laughter) no-one else had a frock, I had a frock and I was little and I was blond and at 12, we used to go round the two on a flood, fancy lit milk wagon Um And then we‟d make the Town Hall and walk into the dance hall at midnight, Old Father Time and the New Year and I did that for many years during the war. (Laughter) I must have been a very precocious child you know I don‟t know how my mother put up with me (laughter) Yes So really your life didn‟t change that much Mine didn‟t no No It didn‟t make a lot of difference to me to children It didn‟t make a lot of difference to me. I felt very sorry for a little boy who lived just up the road in the next village and we used to go and see people up there and he‟d been evacuated to this elderly couple and he‟d been sent back home to Liverpool and he left home in Liverpool and walked all the way because he was happier in the country than he was in Liverpool and I felt very sorry for him Um I thought it must be, fancy not wanting to go home to your mum Um I suppose I was very lucky I had a loving mother and father and a happy home life, whereas if he hadn‟t and they looked after him well there. He stayed, he eventually stayed there until he married, with this elderly couple. He was like a son to them I think And what about V.E. Day. Do your remember that Oh that was great, I can remember that. The police put on a big party and we all had a long strip of like raffle tickets. There was funfair, Pat Collins Fun Fair on what they called the meadow, which was huge field at the back of the milk factory and we‟d all got this ticket and

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it allowed us tea and drinks and sugary buns and one ride on everything free and I didn‟t like to go riding on all these sort of things, so I swapped mine if anybody had got a sweet then „I‟ll swop you that for that and I‟ll swop you my sugar bun and you can have a ride that”, you know so I enjoyed that, you know I really enjoyed that I think we were given a balloon and silly little things that children today ud turn their nose up but we thought was great and we‟d won, you know and everybody was happy and smiling and you can‟t remember, there must have been some people sad, when you look back now but I can‟t remember seeing anybody sad at all. Um No. The lady next door used to come in and read her letters to mum from her husband and she used to be crying and I used to think to myself, „What‟s she crying for when she‟s just had a nice letter from her husband‟ you know but now I realise why yeh, but I can‟t remember anybody, well I did have a cousin that was blown up in 1939, the war had hardly started and he was blown up but I didn‟t I was too little to realise it. I remember him coming on a motor bike with his friend sitting on the back and taking me sisters out for rides round the town one at a time but I can‟t remember him and I remember my grannie telling me about but it still didn‟t Um It didn‟t sink in No. Was you given a lot of freedom, even though you were small, you weren‟t frightened about walking about on your own Oh no, no, you could go anywhere and you could go into anybodys house. You‟d knock the door first and wait for them to say „come in‟ and if your mum, I mean I was lucky there was always somebody at home but if the lady next door wasn‟t home and there was the little girl,she could get in but there‟d be nobody there she come and „can I come and stay till mum comes back‟ and you‟d just automatically, yes you know, just come, you know, sit and we‟ll do a jigsaw puzzle or you know we‟d, you wouldn‟t worry, you wouldn‟t worry about going out What about in the dark No. When you‟d come back from the cinema. No lights anywhere, no torches or anything and if it was moonlight, they used to say you‟d got to stay in the shadow, so it‟d be fun and games diving backwards and forwards here and there, hiding in corners I mean it wouldn‟t be safe to do it these days and you could go shopping and leave the baby in the pram outside the

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shop but you can‟t do it these days. The shops were big enough to take babies and prams in but as well yeh. Shops were nicer places than they are now Um, so when did you go, after you‟d left that school I went to Oswestry Grammar School, well it was called the High School. I passed the scholarship when I was ten but I couldn‟t go cause my parents couldn‟t afford it, it was fee paying and in 1945, I was eleven and free education came out, so I was lucky enough to, I had to re-site the scholarship exam and I passed again, and I was allowed to go to the Grammar School and I had had to have second-had blazer and second-hand all this, and they made sure you knew you were second-hand Um And I was given free school dinners and they made sure everybody knew you had free school dinners it was purgatory and you didn‟t like it and you didn‟t work and you didn‟t want to do anything and I had childhood arthritis and I had it in my foot and I had to go to the Orthopaedic Hospital at Oswestry and they stuck me in plaster cause I wouldn‟t rest as I was supposed to do and I couldn‟t go to school cause I had to go up in the train and there was no school work sent home for me I think I missed six months school and I kept getting told off because I didn‟t know algebra or I didn‟t know geometry. freebies and I was like dirt under their feet. Was it all girls again All girls again and you weren‟t allowed to speak to the boys from the boys Grammar School across the road and I can remember one girl, she was in my class and the whole school was in the hall and we were about half way up the hall and the headmistress called her name out and she had to go up and stand in front of everyone and she tore a strip off her and told her off for speaking to a boy in town, a Grammar School boy, she was found speaking to in town and they didn‟t give her chance to say anything until they‟d really torn her to shreds practically and she said „it was my brother to tell me my mother had been taken into hospital‟ and I thought how brave she is you know and she didn‟t cry or anything having to go up there and all that and I think it made the teachers think twice. So you still never sort of got together with any boys at all through your childhood. No, no, well I had nephews by then, I mean the 1940‟s I had nephews, little boys to play with like dolls, but then when I left the Grammar School I went to the Wrexham Technical College and I was pushed into a class of boys with one other girl and it was thrown in at the deep end. I enjoyed it, I thought that was great I got back to how I used to be before I was seven They didn‟t, I was one of the

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(laughter) yeh, yeh, the little devil in me came out again. I used to put wet dish clothes in their pockets and stitch their whit coat sleeves together (laughter) oh we were terrible. Mind you they got their own back, they‟d put our fur lined, our winter boots in the fridge and things like that (laughter) you know but it was good fun And what age were you when you left there. When I left the Technical College. Um Eighteen, seventeen, eighteen, then I had to go out to work. Um I was working in a bakery for a while. I‟d just passed all my exams with distinctions and I took over a bakery, managing a bakery and it had a cafe and everything you know, I was more or less running that but I couldn‟t stand it, the manageress, the owner I should say was oh I don‟t know she used to swear at me, come down and things weren‟t 100% and she‟d swear at me and one thing and another and I‟d just never been used to anyone swearing at me and I couldn‟t stick it, so I left and I got a job locally. I‟d had to travel up to Wrexham for that job, eleven miles on the train and I was, I‟d been ill with tonsillitis and they even sent a car to fetch me to go into work over a week-end because they wanted something special doing and I was in bed with tonsillitis and I had to go because I needed the money and I ended up in a shop, a grocery shop um just across the road from home and when I was born there were some very well to do ladies, they was proper ladies, they weren‟t just monied people, they were proper gentry and they used to have garden parties and things and mum used to go and lend a hand you see in the kitchens and apparently Miss Iris came to see me when I was born and I was a tiny weeny little baby and I fit in a two pound sugar bag and they didn‟t wash me when I was born, they wrapped me in cotton wool and put me in this two pound sugar bag. It was a blue one like they used to have and she always reckoned I was her miracle baby and she always looked thought about me, Miss Iris and when I was working in this grocery shop it was known round the town „Frances is only working there six months until she goes to College‟ It was all lined up for me to go down to London to College and I was down in the cellar and we were weighing out currants now I don‟t know if you know what old fashioned currants were like, as black as your hat and I had had a white apron on but it was black from weighing out these sticky currants, weighing them into bags down in the cellar, ready to go up into the shop and she came into the shop apparently and she said „I want to speak to the manager‟ and the manager came and she says „where‟s my little flower‟ so eventually he got

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out of her who it was and so he fetched me up from the cellar, I was black as pitch and she had brought me a present, a going away present for when I went to College. It was a writing wallet and I have still got that writing wallet yeh, but the teasing I got after that „little flower, little flower‟ Miss Iris during the war she used to have garden parties at Ellesmere House and it sort of run alongside the Mere, the garden alongside the Mere and it was very, it‟s an old folks home now or it was and she had Lady Magdaline Herbert, it‟s a name that sticks in my brain and I‟d got a frock so I was asked to present the bough of flowers to Lady Magdaline Herbert and mum and I went for afternoon tea several times to practice and Miss Iris would be telling me what to do and her sister would be pretending to be this Lady Magdaline Herbert and I practised and practised. I‟d walk three steps and I‟d curtsy, I‟d walk three steps and curtsy, given the bouquet, three steps backwards, curtsy, three steps backwards curtsy, three steps backwards, curtsy and then I could go back to my mother. Well fair enough I walked so far to where I gauged the line, curtsied, three steps forward curtsied, three steps forward gave her the bouquet and as I have her the bouquet a little tiny dog jumped out of her lap and I just turned tail and ran (laughter) but I did get a box of crystallised ginger for me trouble Ah. What was this frock like. Well I had been. My mother was at the top end of a family thirteen children born, nine lived and mother was second from the eldest and her younger, not her youngest sister, but her younger sister Frances, got married when I was three and I had this peach satin dress and it had slits at the top of the sleeves and scalloped all, scallops of like ribbon scallops all around the, in rings all around the skirt and underneath it had a white satin underskirt. It was like a white satin with this peach satin on the top of it and it had a gold satin belt with a bow and I had a gold satin plait around my head and that was the frock to start with but then as I slightly grew out of that the white petticoat came into its own and that was the one that was the bridesmaids dress that had all the bits and bobs added and the frills round the bottom cause you could soon find a little scrap of white satin and stick a frill round the bottom, that was the bridesmaids dress that saw me through till I was about nine or ten How many times Nine bridesmaids, that was including my sisters. I was my aunts bridesmaid, that was the very first one and then my eldest sisters when I was four, three and a half to four and they the road up, the middle of the road was all up when my eldest sister got married and they‟d got planks across it so people could get from one side of the town to the other and I wouldn‟t go

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into the reception cause I was dancing about on these planks in me post frock (laughter) Me mum said they let me, somebody gave me champagne, cause they had champagne to drink. I don‟t know whether it was real champagne or whether it was just fizzy wine and they got me drunk apparently and I was, they couldn‟t I was going made, you know, dancing on tables and all sorts at my sisters wedding but I can vaguely remember these planks across the road but that was the front. People would come up to me mother „would your Frances be a bridesmaid, our so and so‟s getting married next week, special licence, they were just coming home on leave, do you think Frances would be a bridesmaid, you‟ve got the frock haven‟t you‟ you know because everything was on coupons and if you could afford enough for a white frock you were very very lucky you couldn‟t afford anything else Um But some people just got married in ordinary clothes, but most people liked a white wedding Yeh Yes, and I had a white frock and I can remember I was being a bridesmaid for someone called Joyce, she ended up as Mrs. Allen, her name was Joyce and I was a bridesmaid in the afternoon and my eldest sister was staying with her little son, he‟d be about two and someone had left the stair door open and this little monkey was starting to climb up the stairs and I can remember me father saying to me „Just go and fetch that little lad down before he falls‟ I wouldn‟t be above eight but poor old dad couldn‟t get and perhaps mum and Norah had gone out and as I went up behind him, he let fly with his feet and he kicked me and split me lip. I were a bridesmaid like (laughter). It doesn‟t show very much. Oh that afternoon, I couldn‟t eat because me lip was all split but, that naughty boy So they used you as the bridesmaid I was always the bridesmaid. Yeh Yeh And then the soldiers went back. Then they got married, had a couple of days and went back Yes, yes. I don‟t know whether, I can‟t remember any deaths, I just can‟t remember any at all, they probably wouldn‟t have told me. No You know I would be too little for it to sink in. And were you aware that men had come back to the village after You‟d see more about. I remember me brother in law, one brother in law come back and he brought me a necklace from Germany. It was only a few little glass beads on a thread,

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nothing particular but he brought it me and it had come all the way from Germany but my other brother in law he used to come and he‟d tell me the most ugh tales. How he swum across the Suez Canal with a radio strapped to his back, he‟d never been only across to France but he used to tell me all these days, be dad ud say „Don‟t believe him, don‟t believe him‟ you know but I think he was just telling me to keep me quiet and keep me amused, yeh but my eldest brother in law, I can remember him telling me, he used to drive a lorry, troop carrying lorry and he used to have a black man. No we‟d never even seen a black man and he used to have a black man with him and he said he was ever such a nice chap and they stopped the lorry and Charlie jumped out one side and the other chap jumped out the other and blew up and that‟s the only recollection I‟ve got of a death, you know and I still couldn‟t imagine it because I couldn‟t imagine a black man Um I saw, I‟d seen a little black boy because there was a large house at the top of the street called The Gladwin and they‟d come from India, colonial people and they had two little black servants but you only saw one of them, but you might have seen two, but you never saw two at the same time, so you‟d think you saw one (laughter) So it all went back to normal then. We did, when were at school at the top school, we adopted a ship a Dutch ship and I was, we all had to write letters to these sailors and I wrote to the cook and he had a daughter the same age as me and I‟ve still got one of his letters at home but before, I don‟t know how that ended up because I left to go to the Grammar School then and I remember we had a great big flag on the stuck on the school wall with the name of the ship on and we all used to get these letters from these Dutch sailors Did, when you were at the Grammar School, did they sort of keep it from you, was it just sort of work and that was it All work and that was it. You didn‟t knit or anything there like that, just work No, you knew food was scarce because we did domestic science and she‟d give you one ounce of margarine and two ounces of a flour to make raspberry buns and the school dinners were terrible Um You know, really, I remember V.E. Day at school, or it could have been V.J. Day, cause I would have been at the Grammar School then and we had red, white and blue junket for

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pudding and it was made in a great big bowl, it was like a big mound like this and it was horrible, the blue it didn‟t look edible and nobody wanted to eat it and they stood, they used to stand over you while you ate your food there and it wasn‟t the best of food but they‟d stand over you especially those people who got free dinners you nearly had to eat the bones that were in the stew, you know and ah it was horrible, it was real purgatory, that Grammar School, I hated it. I made up for it once I left there though (laughter)

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