Saturday, 23 May 2015

Earliest Memories of an Old Fly Fisher

Me age five!

The reason for writing this at the age of 69 is to put down as much as I can still remember that might be of interest for my children and grandchildren (and others) before I lose the ability to recall.  When my mother got Alzheimer's I realised that there were lots of things I should have asked her before she entered the land of the bewildered!  I will try to keep it in rough chronological order although memories recalled spark other memories in all sorts of order.
When I was born on 10th March 1946 in hospital in Hammersmith my parents were living in Cambalt Rd, Putney, where they had lived during the 2nd World War. There they were bombed and houses right next to the one they rented a flat in were destroyed. I don’t have any recollection of that because I wasn’t born yet.  However, I do remember a dressing table they had that had fragments of glass buried in its back where a window had blown in.

Shortly after the War my father made £600 from gambling at the Epsom races and was able to buy 59 Braemar Avenue, Wimbledon Park, a house that was brand new as the previous house had been hit by a German bomb.  The total cost of the house was £2000. My Dad (Ted Carter) told me that the house had been bombed because it was near the railway bridge in Wimbledon Park. He said that if you looked at the new houses in the roads nearby you could see the path the stick of bombs had made in the direction of the bridge. The Germans missed the bridge!
My first clear memory is of being upset because I was being told I have to sleep in the little bedroom because my mummy was going to be in my bedroom to have a baby! I can remember being out in the garden because something was going on in the house and then being told I could come in and see my mother with my new baby brother. I was relieved to see my mother, the jury was still out on the new brother.

Something that had a strong influence on me was being invited next door by Uncle Geoff (Geoff Kiralfy) to see his model railway. I remember it as being at eye level (my eye level) such that I felt I could walk under it, with lots of tracks at different levels and trains disappearing into and emerging from tunnels. It left a profound impression on me that I wanted to create something like that (and I have done that twice, once for my children and once for my grandchildren).
Sadly Uncle Geoff and his wife broke up and Uncle Geoff moved away and the house was sold.

My first day at Wimbledon Park Primary School at the age of 5 had me crying because I wanted my Mum, but I soon settled in and enjoyed primary school. One morning I was late for school and Mum decided to take me down on the crossbar of her bike.  The school crossing lady had not turned up and there was a motorcycle policeman manning the crossing. He told my mother off for carrying me on the bike which upset us both. I was always a bit afraid of motor cycle policemen after that.

Things I remember about Primary school are: getting into trouble for putting plasticine on a radiator to get it soft and sticky and then pressing it on a girls head, it had to be cut out; slipping over on an ice slide we had made in the playground and knocking the wind out of myself, I could not catch my breath and thought I would die; having my eyebrow knocked off by standing too near a young batsman swinging a cricket bat; getting told off by the deputy head for chasing girls with my friends; taking the milk round the classrooms as a milk monitor.  Then with what milk was left over trying to see how many one third of a pints we could drink, and one boy passing out and banging his head on the wall!

Positive things I remember about my Dad were when I was ill and he bought me a present home, I think it was a model. As far as I can remember that was the only time he did something like that, but I am probably doing him an injustice. However, usually it was my mother who provided presents and treats.  On Christmas Eve Chris and I both hung up pillow cases at the ends of our beds ready for Santa. We then tried to stay awake to see him come but we always failed. However, we would wake up as early as 4.00 am to start opening our presents. Mum always made sure our pillow cases were full with a variety of things all wrapped up so we had the pleasure of unwrapping them.  By the time we had opened them all, our bedrooms looked like a battlefield.  

To be continued!

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