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Showing posts from December, 2013

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Time to slay your own dragons, ladies.

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My first kiss was an unwanted one. I was seven years old when a boy named David pushed me up against the wall outside our apartment building. Forcing his mouth on mine, his breath, hot and fusty, something sickly sweet like apple juice and milk gone sour in his gut that made me squirm. I don’t remember seeing him as I ran with my brother and the other neighborhood kids through the empty lot next door, scrabbling over the toppled trees, slick with moss, tripping over the bramble of twigs and woodsy decay, but he must have been there, his knees as scratched and muddied as ours, before he caught up with me in the driveway that ran alongside and behind the apartment building. 
As usual I’d tagged along in my older brother’s shadow. Tag, hide and seek, cowboys and indians, the games kids used to play. Outdoors, up and down the streets, no watchful mommies on red alert. Ignoring our mothers’ warnings—don’t go into the woods, don’t go into the woods—we went into the woods, woods that in fact …

A 'Clippie' on a Double Decker bus by day, diving from bombs by night

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Mum (Enid Maude Hayden) was born in 1925; a teenager in World War II. This picture was taken before she started coloring her hair. At sixteen she worked as a "clippie" on the double-decker buses in London. 
Running up and down the bus stairs, punching tickets. She used to tell her brothers, Robin and Peter (Don was away at the war)  "Who's got the best legs on the street and why have I?"

 Running up and down those stairs all day; no wonder! These were the times when London was being bombed, and she would take the train to London to meet some Yank she'd met and have to run home in the dark because of the lights out cerfew. They had a Morrison bed in the living room and she had to dash to it more than once - a steel cage contraption with a mattress inside. Often, as this picture shows, they used the top surface for a table.