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Transcribed from an e-mail received from Joan Linnitt (nee Payne), May 2008

Memories from the 1930s & 40s

I was born on 28th October 1932. Nurse Brookes was in attendance as she had been 18 months before, when my sister Elsie was born. My place of birth was 27,Station Road - the same year as Weetabix was founded and same road !

It was a big house and two of my Aunties lived there also with their families. My grandma brought me up. When war broke out, I remember the iron railings being taken down and taken away as well as the rest of the road.

My next memory is of being taken to the Church Infant School and handed over to Miss Hobbs. Miss Smith was also there; I think I must have been 4 years old. There was a huge stove in the main hall which kept us warm and a fire guard around it. We used to be put down to sleep in the afternoons on canvas-like camp beds. Later I went across the road  to the Big School. Teachers I remember are Mr Mitchell, Mr Dunn [headmaster]. and Miss Barham who came from London. She wore a long tweed skirt and jacket. She walked with either one stick or two, and she could get very cross at times, but not with me, I'm happy to tell. At some time, the school was struck by lightning  at the front of the roof ! I cant remember when,[but Id like to know]. Then there were the air-raid shelters. We used to sing songs: Ten Green Bottles, and others, while we waited for the all-clear, and during the war we were given Horlicks Tablets - we liked them.

I used to take a dinner to be cooked to Mr Capps' Bakehouse. By this time we were living at 41, Bakehouse Lane next to the Horse and Groom. The dinner I used to collect at dinner time. On Mondays it was left-over lamb with onions, potatoes, suet crust covered in gravy with lots of pepper on it, and my friends all used to pick at it. 

My friends were Anne Peterman [Bakehouse Lane] and Margeret Phipps [Kettering Road]. Together, we were "the three Ps" my name of course being Payne. During playtime, we used to get a twist [plait loaf] from the bakehouse - yum! hot bread and very crusty!

I remember Eric Wilkinson living next door to them. He was at the Horse & Groom pub. I think there was a Ruby; Connie I remember very well 'cos I sort of kept her daughter Shelagh company, whilst I attempted to smooth over the holes on the clay dartboard. It looked new when I finished it, and did I dream Eric nearly fell down the well in the pub yard whilst on his motor bike ?? I'd like to know that too.

When my friends used to play in the pub yard we used to ask the American servicemen "Got Any Gum, Chum?" When we played in the lane we played Leapfrog over the three posts in the middle of the lane and the two at the top end near my friend Anne's house, or we would play skipping, hopscotch, or ball games we loved. If a boy had built a Goshi [Transcriber's note: This was a local word, pronounced "go-shee", and referred to a home-made wooden go-cart, usually having old pram wheels] we would all have a ride. Lennie Brannigan was good making these. We then had to explain scraped knees and torn clothes .I always treasure these memories 'cos they were very happy times.

Another very happy time was this: my gran brought up Mick Cooper, always known as Uncle Mick. Dennis was his real name. During the Second World War, the Evening Telegraph used to print a "Missing : Presumed Dead" list in the paper. Uncle Mick was one named here.  This upset my grandparents greatly. Then one day maybe two years later, I answered a knock at the door. There stood a happy-looking soldier asking if Mrs Lowe still lived there. I must have grown - he didn't recognise me!! I went to my gran and said "I think Uncle Mick is at the door!" She ran down the long passage shouting "My boy! My boy!"  she just was so overwhelmed, and I remember this like it was yesterday. One of my most memorable ones this: I can remember Uncle Mick sparring in the bedroom and shadow boxing, his gloves, and exercise things - whatever they call them. Whilst he was away at war my grandad died and that made him very sad.

Then at 14 I left school and started work at Thornloes in Alexandra street. I can't remember many people there, but Mrs Munns taught me. There were also Miss Kath Janes, Gladys Conquest, and Ted Dicks was on the press. Much later I went to work at E K Coles Boot and Shoe [Kettering Road], where I learnt to be a gold shoe stamper. When I was 19, I got married to Keith Almond and we went on to have seven children. Sadly, later, we got divorced I went to work at Kettering General Hospital where I stayed for 17 years, until I took a post as Matron at The Willand, Station Road Burton Latimer, which used to be Barlows' house Broadview, and once again I met Kath Janes who I first worked with when I left school, but this time Kath was a resident here. 

Now Banger Racing !!!!! Yes, we did that, Keith and I and our three eldest sons: Richard, Ken and Andrew. We raced up the Wold and up Cranford Road then onto Brayfield and Long Eaton [Notts]. Our number was 69 we raced in the wet, in the dry dust, whatever. We really enjoyed it, as did our boys and the rest of the family.

And finally - Gravestones Info! The one marked "Jason Darling, mummy daddy love you x x x".  He was my grandson who died on 21st February 1982 he was Andrew's son and was three days old. Andrew went to live in Greece years later after a divorce and he got a Greek to make the stone for Jason's plot. The Greek couldnt speak or write English, so he had to copy what my son wrote, and that's the reason for the imperfect writing.   My son lived in Greece for 7 years then came back to UK. He now visits me when he can, as I now live in a little fishing village in the southern  Peloponnese called Tolo and the weather is very kind to my husband and I. I'd like to add that I have 26 Grandchildren and 22 Great-Grandchildren.

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