Sunday, 22 February 2009

Road-kill potatoes and other stories from the Midlands

I like hearing stories of the old days, as well as stories of the current days, when I get together with my family. Last weekend was good on both fronts. Most laughs (at my father's expense) went to his much drawn-out tale of the roadkill potatoes that he rescued, and that my mother was very grudgingly conceding to eat, but only as chips (fries). Most revealing was the fact that my mother had actually played squash with my father in their pre-marriage (according to him) or early-marriage (according to her) days. My mother, playing a sport (even if only twice)? This does not compute. Young love my husband concluded. I'm inclined to agree. The husband after all did undergo an afternoon of being taught how to swim properly in the early days of courtship which I now realise he must have hated. What the social services would have made of my mother's childhood game of borrowing neighbour's children to take for walks when she was bored of playing with the dolls, I can't imagine. Apparently the next-door neighbour in question wasn't too pleased to find her baby abandoned in the front garden, forgotten by my mother and her friend. But should she really have been lending her out? My sister-in-law took notes for future childcare options. The final image I'll leave you with is my mother and her friend, off school with chickenpox, walking the street calling 'Unclean! Unclean!' This being the 1940s Britain, I think the bells were probably imaginary.

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