I’ve been talking to Grandma Sylvia about her memories of her childhood and the things she recalls about GG Jones.
She has wonderful tales of sitting on GG’s lap as he read her favourite books. In those days there wasn’t much money to buy toys and books, so she remembers most of them. It sounds totally different to today when we all have so many possessions and children have hundreds of toys and books. She treasured things and her favourite book was Little Women – although she must have been older when she read that.
Grandma told me about catching her first trout with GG. They loved to go off fishing together and her mother would make them bread and cheese and hunk of bread pudding. All those carbs – but I suppose people were far more active in those days.
They lived near a stream and she grew up loving water. Once or twice a year they got on a train and headed off to the beach at Worthing or Brighton. It must have been a big outing because in those days some people never left the town where they were born. I don’t think they had holidays like we do today – certainly not to Spain or Greece!
It seems to have been a happy childhood, but Grandma also has memories of the war. She was 9 when it broke out and she remembers doodlebugs flying over and sheltering with the dog under the kitchen table. They had a cage that was supposed to protect them if part of the house fell down and also an anderson shelter in the back garden that GG built himself.
GG Jones didn’t get called up at the start of the war because they concentrated on single men first. But the day came when he had to go off and Grandma remembers it well. She must have been 11 or 12, old enough to understand how serious it was and that her father might never return.
But I suppose life goes on and she won a scholarship to the High School, which made GG so proud. He bought her a lovely book as a congratulations present – she did tell me the title but I’ve forgotten.
Grandma didn’t see her dad for another 2 years, when he came home on leave. He was obviously traumatised, as were many of the solders, but she was so pleased to see him and I don’t think you notice much at that age. He was only home for a short time but they went on a couple of picnics and got to know one another again.
Grandma was so pleased when the war ended and GG came home for good. She must have been about 15 or 16.
Then I heard tales of her first boyfriend and what GG thought of him – but that’s for another time ….