Monday, December 25, 2006

The first time I hung my stocking up at Christmas, I was afraid to go down in the morning in case Santa Claus was coming down the chimney. I let Charlie go downstairs first.

At Christmas I would get an apple, an orange and a new penny in my stocking. One Christmas I remember getting the book 'Daniel in the lions' den'. I didn't like it. It wasn't a girl's book.

One Christmas I had gone to stay with my cousin Gertie in Wolverhampton. She had her stocking filled with little presents and I watched her open them. I got nothing, but it didn't worry me.

When I was older, I would make our Christmas tree that wouldn't cost anything. The grocer would give me a couple of hoops that were used to keep the orange boxes together. I would tie the hoops together, one inside the other. I'd get some pretty paper and cut it into narrow strips and twirl it round the hoops. I'd hang up the hoops for our Christmas tree. I'd hang apples and oranges and sugar pigs from the 'tree'.


None of us children had toys. We made our own things to play with. We all played in the streets. There was no traffic.

We played skipping or spinning a wooden top. We used to draw hopscotch squares on the floor with a brick and hop from one square to another. We played at jumping the rope and we played with a bat and ball.

We would play out in the street at night, around the street lamp. A man used to come round every night with a pole to light the gas in the lamp.


I used to go to visit my granny Ellis in Derry Street Wolverhampton. I'd go up the entry and in the back door. The front door was on the street and there was just a brick yard at the back. The front room (note - parlour) wasn't used much, but later when Gertie had her young man to tea (note - evening meal in Midlands dialect; dinner was the midday meal) she would take him in there. He was something of a snob.

Granny Ellis had a big family living there. In those days they didn't bother too much. If they had some bread and cheese they would be satisfied, though granny Ellis would always cook me a dinner.

When I was about 8 or 9, I'd walk with granny Ellis to the shops in Wolverhampton. She would be wearing a long black skirt the same as she always wore. There were nice little shops on Snow Hill. There was a wet fish shop where she might buy me some shrimps.

There was a chemist where she used to buy a box of special cream that she liked to put on her hair because it was a bit thin.

Also on Snow Hill, the Agricultural Hall was a picture house where later I went to see films like Danny Boy.

The trams went from Wolverhampton to Bilston. You could sit on top of an open tram. Later the trams were connected to overhead wires but very often the tram would come off the lines and we would have to wait for the conductor to connect it up again before it would go.



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