On V.E. Night, everyone went round laughing and shouting and celebrating.
We had a party in the middle of the road. When it was dark, there was a bonfire just up from our house, near Mrs. Baker’s shop. For a few weeks before, I had happily nursed a length of well-weathered rope. I would entangle it round bits of privet or dead weeds and drag them after me, playing trains. The older lads were stacking the rubbish for the bonfire and I was standing at the bottom of our entry watching them. I was clutching my rope, of course.
Johnny Muir came hurrying down the entry with more rubbish.
“That’ll do for the fire!”
I remember the tone of his voice as he snatched up my rope and threw it on the pile. My tears burst and I ran wailing up the entry to Mom. She came into the street and ticked Johnny off, but all too late. The fire had been lit and the rope was fuel for the burning of Hitler’s effigy.
Later that night, Mom, Auntie Rene and my cousin, Dot Rowlands, took me into town. There were lots of people all making lots of noise. There were lights everywhere! We went through Queen’s Square – where somebody had got astride the horse of Prince Albert’s statue – and past St. Peter’s Church, all in a row and arm-in-arm. I didn’t understand all the lights and the laughter and was very, very tired. My Dad was on nights.
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