In the back garden

Yesterday we looked at a picture taken in the back garden of my Great Aunt Mercy which was in Crawley in Sussex. Today we are looking at the back garden from my childhood. It is forty years newer than yesterday’s picture.

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The houses we see were not ours. We see next door, with the shed where Perce and Min lived. The middle one of that terrace of three changed hands quite often, but the end one had two spinster ladies – Alice and Beatrice Rapley who were known by us as Auntie A and Auntie B.

The garden bears a resemblance to Great Aunt Mercy’s, with the galvanised dustbin and some junk. There are the remains of the family swing although we children were all teenaged, or nearly so, by then so it probably had ceased to be used.

And now to the people.

We start, on the left, with my brother. He was twenty months older than me. We were always different and through childhood we didn’t make good playmates. I learned to love him after he left home and he became a really good friend until his sad death at the age of 33. Then there is me, looking rather smart in shirt and tie. I seldom wear one of them these days. But I had spent the first twelve years of my life never having new clothes and at about this time I had got my first brand new set of apparel – including a tie. By heck, I was going to wear it.

My sister comes next she’d have been at that age where parents know nothing and are a total embarrassment. I recall thinking, though, that she looked good in that skirt.

Then comes my dad, the other link between yesterday’s and today’s photos. After a war disrupted younger life, he had not long had a job which allowed us some luxuries in life.

The lady pointing out something is Geppa who, despite the very French sounding surname of Gerard, was German. She was the wife of Herman who had been a prisoner of war in this country – one of those German prisoners who became friendly with our family. Herman must have taken this photo.

Finally, we have my mum, enjoying life in that short period when the financial struggle was more or less over, and before she was diagnosed with cancer.

My dad’s fruit bushes are in the foreground. Having been a commuter to London – and he still was in part, he had decided that he should grow crops that were low in time need and fruit bushes fitted the bill.

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