Mavis Remembers

My mum says Poppy and I are to stay together, but who listened?

By Camilla Bergman

I came from a family of three older brothers so I would often play with them and their friends. When I was quite small I was climbing a large chestnut tree and I called to one of the boys there and asked him to get my brother Arthur to help get me down. When Arthur arrived he was very annoyed and asked: “why did you climb up there if you knew you would be frightened?” and I replied: “I’m not frightened I just know I cannot get down!”

Then the war broke out. I lived fairly close to Biggin Hill at the time and we were getting German aircraft flying over us which were dropping bombs nearby so I was evacuated to King's Lynn. Although it was obviously very traumatic I don’t actually remember going to King's Lynn and I have never ever remembered the journey home again. I was fortunate that we had people who cared for me greatly; they were very, very good to me so I had a very happy time. I was there for approximately three years. However I know that there were so many who weren’t so fortunate.

I do remember standing in a big hall and my mother saying to me: “you are to stop with Poppy” who was two years older than me and lived nearby. I remember saying to the people who I was staying with: “my mummy says Poppy and I are to stay together”, but who listened? No one and we were separated.  I didn’t see Poppy again until after we had been evacuated, she obviously had gone to one end of the town and I had gone to the other.

When I came home I was obviously still very distressed, I would sit at the tea table and the tears used to stream down my face; it wasn’t until quite recently when I spoke with my youngest brother about it he said “My God you were such a pain, you would just sit there and cry.” But then I found out why my parents hadn’t kept in touch with the family who I’d been evacuated to, it turned out they wanted to adopt me!  However as I was the only daughter in the family and my mother had lost another daughter just before I’d been born, my mother didn’t want to part with me.

Another memory was after the war many people needed places to live so they built prefabs on some of the farmland in front of where we lived, all the boys would play on the packing cases that the buildings came in, I didn’t because I had become a little more cautious by then. When I look back I can see that I was fortunate and my childhood was very happy.

This page was added by Camilla Bergman on 30/08/2011.

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