Bitter cold wind stinging our rain soaked faces, we walked, shivering and miserable. My sisters and I had walked a long way. We still had a distance to go and it was already getting dark. With every step we took, our sodden wellington boots would hit our already sore and chapped legs, making us wince with the pain. The rain dripping down inside our wellingtons soaked our socks. Us younger ones would cry with the pain and cold. Our hats and scarves soaked right through, didn’t keep us warm at all. Rain ran down our soaked hair and dripped into our eyes It was the most miserable experience for me and all I kept saying, between my tears, was “I want to be home” and the older sisters saying “It won’t be long”
It was a pleasant walk in the summer, when it was warm and light. We would chatter and play and maybe stop off to buy a penny ‘gob stopper’. It was a very long walk but we didn’t mind, we were used to it. Through the winter it was a different story. It was probably a thirty minute walk but for little children of five and seven, with little legs, it took longer. With sore and chapped legs it took what seemed like forever! This was our journey to and from school every day. They didn’t let you out any earlier in the winter in those days, so you walked home in the dark. No cars, no buses, or parents to meet you from school. Things were so different then – and safer.
Finally! We turned the corner into the road we lived in, and a new desperation swept over me to reach the front door. With my legs stinging with every step I took, I mustered up the will to walk faster, in order to get home faster.
Home at last! We scurried, footsteps echoing, through the large tiled hallway, dripping rain water as we went, and up the flight of stairs into the kitchen. The kitchen was where most of our family life went on. The warmth hit us as we entered, and we welcomed it.
A row of slippers were lined up like soldiers in front of a lovely coal fire. Over the other side of the kitchen, the gas cooker had all four rings on and above them, on the plate rack, was a pile of towels all scrumptiously warm. Mum quickly peeled off our wet clothes and then we were each wrapped in a warm towel and our “toasty” (as mum called them) slippers were placed on our cold feet. What a feeling that was – wrapped in a warm towel, with warm slippers on our feet, and the warmth of mum’s love. The misery of the walk home soon melted away, until the next cold, rainy day.
The memory of those cold, wet walks has stayed with me, and I still hate to be out in the winter at that time of day. It brings back that old familiar feeling.
All I want is to be home.
This is the first in a long list of posts of my memories of the 50’s and 60’s. It will include stories of good and bad events in my life. They were first written some years back. Before most of you read my posts and will be new to many of you. Those of you who have been around since the beginning may well like another read.
I hope you enjoy them.