Enid's story

Three new sisters

I was born in 1934 and lived with my aunt and uncle in a valley in Wales. I knew my uncle had an important job because we were the only people in the street who had a telephone. My uncle Tom was a Relieving Officer for our area; this means that when people got into trouble with money, or they would go barmy, they would come to our house to ask him to help them.

So one day my aunt told me that there would be three sisters coming to stay with us from Hanwell, just outside London. because England was at war with Germany. She called them evacuees - I never heard the word before

It was my Uncle's job to meet these children and teachers at the station and one by one show them the houses they were to stay in. I remember looking down the street at these strangers walking towards us clutching their gas masks, suitcases and food bags, looking very tired. They had left their mothers at Paddington Station in London to travel down to our village...I felt very excited about having girls my age living with me. Can you imagine what they felt like?

 

They walked into the living room and stood looking at a big coal fire burning in the grate. I remember wondering why they stared at the fire but after getting to know each other, they told me they had never seen such a fire before and Diane, the youngest said when she felt the warmth, it made her feel very happy after such a long journey

 

Diane the youngest was a year older than me, Audrey, two years older and Jil about ten, known as the Aylott family In the beginning I found their accent hard to understand and they said we talked funny! This difference in accent -although we were all English - became a problem at school because one day I was in a class of thirty - the next sixty! Can you understand what it felt like to my school-friends to try learning with accents in a very crowded classroom

 

We lived on the flat part of the valley and had small mountains both sides. Evacuees had never seen such scenery before so after school we would race over the railway lines, through a broken fence and up the mountain. The best part was running as fast as we could downhill, often falling on the grass until we reached the road.

 

The girl's mother worked full-time so they had been brought up to carry out tasks for themselves and around the house; polishing shoes, making their own beds, laying out the supper-table. I found this very strange as our mothers never worked so we never had to do any jobs at all

 

The girls stayed with us for about a year and went back to London.but returned a couple of years later when the bombing became bad. Diane and Audrey came back with their friend Gretchen who lived across the road from them in London. I did'nt like her because she was jealous of our friendship. I also didn't like her mother who was not very nice to my aunt, but I did like Mrs Aylott.

 

When the girls went home, I missed them a lot. We had shared a lot of fun together even though awful things were happening during the war.

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