I want to be home

Rain

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.

 

  • Ron

    Babs, this is so beautifully expressed!

    What a wonderful writer you are.

    I could actually see and feel this whole memory…..

    “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.”

    How lovely.

    Thanks so much for sharing, my friend. REALLY enjoyed this!
    X

    • Thanks Ron. I have a lot of these stories to post. I hope you enjoy them all 🙂

  • What a lovely post Babs.  We all have some form of school memories.  This is a good one and one that I remember as well.  Not so far to go, but difficult all the same.

    Have a terrific day.  🙂

    • I think it’s sad that in this day and age, kids have to be accompanied by adult constantly. The dangers were not there when we were young. I wonder why this has changed?

  • Absolutely beautiful, Babs. My toes got warm just reading it!!

    • Glad you enjoyed it. I can still remember that feeling, so well 🙂

  • What a magical story!  I could really understand the feeling of freezing and being so miserable.  The UK winters are not for the sissy!  The description of your homecoming just warmed my heart.  Really a lovely piece, Babs!

    • The worst feeling ever is being really cold and soaking wet! These were the days before plastic raincoats and warm fibre fillings on coats. We were pretty tough kids though – We had to be 🙂

  • That was a wonderful story.  It shows that any day, no matter how bad it seems, has some light within.  Like Ron, I could really see the scene, both the miserable rain and the warm slippers and towels.

    • I almost missed this comment!

      That’s very true. I don’t have many bad memories from my childhood. Not that I can remember anyway, but that feeling has stayed with me always.

  • This story reminds me of the fogs we used to get in the countryside in the late 60’s.. they terrified me as they were so dense and walking home from school was quite scary!

    • Yes, The London fogs in the early sixties were even worse. We had to wrap a scarf around our noses as a filter from the awful fumes. They used to sell ‘smog masks’ I was working then and a thirty minute bus journey from the West End to home, in a pea-souper (which is what we called them because it was a dirty yellow in colour) took me 5 hours once! I got home from work at bed time.

  • Oh Babs! BRAVO. This was such a beautiful post. THANK GOD you did NOT stop blogging or I never would have been able to read this.

    I was able to picture and really FEEL every word. WOW.

    • Thank you Meleah (Maria). I decided that this would be a good way of getting a lot of my old posts back up 🙂

  • Rebecca @ FreakyFrugalite.com

    Very good post. I am feeling a bit gloomy today (have been sick) so the post matched my mood!

    I grew up in the 70s and 80s and always rode a bus to and from school. It was pretty rough. I probably would have preferred enduring the weather than my crude and sometime violent classmates, though! But times have changed so much…

    I thoroughly enjoy reading your memories from bygone days. I hope you do keep up the blog.

    • This was when I was about five years old, so it would have been the very early 50’s. Teachers were far more violent than the kids in our secondary schools (11+ years).

  • What a beautiful post!  It was so vivid!  I was right there on the road with you, miserable and cold, even thought I’m sitting in an office chair with a cat in my lap and a cup of tea in my hand.

    • Thank you and I’m glad your all cozy with your cat and a cuppa. That was a miserable walk to be on 🙂

  • I don’t think I’ve ever been greeted like that, what a lovely memory!

    • We may have lived through many hardships, but we always had plenty of love to make up for it, thankfully 🙂

  • Anonymous

     I am shivering. Thankfully, I had a hot tub dip just now. I still have to be very careful with layers of gloves, socks, and boots, to keep my extremities from the pain of cold. Even though painful like this, I love to read your memories.

    • I’m sorry. Did I miss your comment? I didn’t mean to be rude and ignore you.
      We are not as hardened to the cold now. Houses are well insulated with plenty of heating. To say nothing of the warm, rain proof clothes now. Thankfully 🙂

      • ruth19

        Thanks, and no worries! I hope you and Mo are well!

        Ruth

  • Jay of The Depp Effect

    Oh gosh … that brought back my own memories of the walk to school and back! 

    Before we moved out of London it was a five minute walk, just around the corner.  I still have snapshot memories of it, especially when it was pouring with rain with huge puddles or when there was a pea-souper, but it wasn’t arduous.  Later though, in the country, I had over a mile to walk to school.  As you say, a lovely walk in the summer with lots to divert us, like a stream to play in, or a meadow full of wildflowers. In that first, bitter winter, however, it was a different story.  It was January 1963 when we moved – remember that one?  Snow and ice that hung around till April.

    During that first week my Mum walked to meet me after school, and I can remember the lovely surprise of her arriving one day with a new pair of short, furlined wellies for me, the like of which I’d never seen before!  They helped a lot!

    I’d forgotten the chapped legs and the sting of wellies, till you mentioned it.

    • Oh boy! Do I remember that winter! I actually learned to walk and run on that ice with no fear of slipping over. Just as well, because even in London we had several inches of solid ice on all the pavements. Fur lined wellies were a luxury that hadn’t been invented when I was 5 years old.

  • Awesome… what a great story Babs. I felt as if I were there. Can’t wait for more!

    • Glad you enjoyed it. I’ve got lots more to post, when my feed gets sorted out.