Mum and Dad moved across the river to Blackheath, assuming it would be safer for Mum who worked at Mortons in the docks, while Dad was away in the navy. The irony was that their flat in Wricklemarsh Road, South East London, was pulverized. Mum was hiding under the dinner table with my Grandad who had cycled through the tunnel (despite the bombing) passing under the river in order to be with her. Ten minutes after he arrived the doors blew in, the ceiling fell and shrapnel left its lifelong mark in Mum’s favourite vase. All so unpredictable and terrifying. Mum and Grandad dug their way out, though Grandad was blown off his bike on the return journey.
This was at the start of the conflict and just like now, people didn’t know how long it would last. At least then, after a raid, they could enjoy a cuppa with their neighbour and commiserate. Nan’s house amazingly, survived. Phones were for posh people so it was accepted you took a risk to stand at the fence and chat, though when the throbbing sound of the planes overhead could be heard, everyone did the proverbial bunk. Anderson shelters, cellars, the Tube - a bit like us narrowing safety down to our four walls called “home”.
Grandad had a lively vocabulary and used it. He had dark deep set hollowed eyes through TB, black hair that turned white over night and was as tall as a lamp post I used to think. He’d fought in the first conflict and was haunted by the memories of trench warfare. But his tough experiences got him and the family through the Blitz. That’s what I’d like to think Covid 19 is doing for us; giving us a new, tougher, yet compassionate perspective on life. So give a ripe old cuss if you feel like it. Or heap praises and song on our wonderful, enduing world. Hang on in there, and look forward to the day when it won’t just be elbow hugs, but full arm cuddles and belly chuckles … can’t wait!
Thinking of you all and sending much love, Carol XX