Saturday, 16 May 2015

Saturday Reading



I find myself entranced at the moment by peoples experiences growing up during the war.  For the exhibition, whenever it is ready, the lass interviewed several locals and I am reading through the transcripts in an attempt to aid deciding what should be broadcast to the public.  Headphones will be provided for the public to listen to the peoples experiences and these are intriguing.
Obviously they were children at the time of varying ages and the greater world was outside their ken but the war touched them in various ways.  There was the loss of dad to the war perhaps, taking part as a young man in the Home Guard ('Dad's Army') or simply living under the flightpath of an airfield checking the numbers of the returning bombers and wondering about the ones that were missing.  John of course was always adventurous, that is why he and other kids ran to an unexploded land mine, one dropped by parachute, and shared some of the parachute between them.  Dad was not so keen and John was informed of his mistake.  Parachute  bombs could cause huge damage for a large area around.  
Memories fade with time, as some of you will be well aware, what was I saying...anyway memories fade in time but the gist of the experience does not.  Emotions remain, especially when noise from explosions is great also, fear aiding memory then right enough, and the emotion often remains long after exact memory has departed.  Double checking does show how much of memory is correct even when exact details were not clear at the time.  Specific events can never be forgotten, such as a plane low over the houses shooting and killing passersby, or the long wait at the station for dad to return on leave and he does not come, that remains fresh in some.  
The impression given by some is that war for kids was boring in that trips away were not allowed, sweets and food was in short supply and dad was often away from home, mum too sometimes, otherwise it was a lot of fun!  The kids had adventures, parties from Americans at the airfields, chewing gum aplenty, and fun with things dropped from service personnel, often things they should not have touched!  Children can have fun with a cardboard box if need be and war, if they are fed well enough, will not stop that.  

The sun shines tonight, the kids are enjoying Saturday pleasures at home, well fed and wrapped up in some television rubbish no doubt.  However in far flung parts of the globe other children suffer war and we no little, and care less, about them.  They hunger and thirst while bombs drop, although if fed they will find fun somewhere.  It is too easy to forget the troubles elsewhere when our sun shines. 

Seven transcripts read, each takes almost half an hour and the time flies by but not when I have football to watch!  I am so glad the season will be over soon, I need a rest!  Seven to read and half way through.  Quite how these folks have made it into their eighties and nineties I know not.  On the other hand I suspect some of these will make it into the hundreds yet!


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7 comments:

Lee said...

It's understandable how easily it would be to become engrossed while reading about the experiences. These stories should not be lost and you're doing a worthwhile job, Mr. Ad-Man. It's part history...and those stories should never be lost.

Jenny Woolf said...

These kind of memoirs are so interesting. Have you read Michael Frayn's SPIES? It is fiction so maybe not really what you want. I have just read it though and it's really good. Frayn obviously remembers what it was like being a boy at the end of the war and somehow shows what a different world it all was. The plot is about a boy whose friend pretends his mum is a spy. Very clever plot too and it 's not childish, it was a runner up for the booker prize or something. Anyway if you ever want to read any fiction about that subject you might like to give it a go....

carolincairns said...

Children certainly will make good use of a box or two. My little fella used to love playing in boxes, and cupboards, and loved sticking things together with sticky tape. A long way from parachutes and landmines.

Keep some excerpts to share with us after the exhibition is launched ~ I don't think any of us will get to your museum.

the fly in the web said...

Oral history a la George Ewart Evans...you lucky dog having the chance to go through the transcripts.
Who will be doing the readings?

Adullamite said...

Lee, Indeed it is.

Jenny, I am not keen on fiction, I prefer the memories, it is more realistic and less emotional.

Carol, Kids use their imagination more with boxes. I hope to find out more about these folks soon.

Fly, A stand will be erected with headphones and excerpts from the recordings made available to the museum visitors. Let the people speak.

the fly in the web said...

Will the museum do a podcast?

Adullamite said...

Fly, Ha! I think the lass would have a breakdown if I suggested this. Hmmm I might ask tomorrow...