Rita's History

Early years

By Rita Clark

I can remember my early years during the Second World War. I was 7 years old when the war broke out and we moved from Carshalton in Surrey as we were being bombed and I remember one night the gas works was bombed and we stood outside the house and it was like broad daylight. There were also oil bombs and incendures hoping in the gutters of the houses setting light to everything. We had a large hospital near us called St.Heliers and the Germans bombed it and after that my mother was frightened and we moved away. My father got a transfer with his job and we moved into London to Catford, I hated it. It was so built up.

This was 1942 and then we had the doodle bugs. I slept in an Anderson shelter in the garden for 6 weeks with my mum and two brothers. The army toured the streets firing at the doodle bugs and my brothers would go out into the garden collecting shrapnel. I don't remember that we washed much, it was fairly primitive. When the war finished everyone had bonfires in the street and even burnt their furniture.

My school years were very poor. Most of the children were evacuated but I stayed behind with my mum and dad and 2 brothers. I left school at 14, very ignorant. I had a year in a hairdressers and then my dad got me a job in his office on the condition that I went to evening classes for shorthand, typing and English, which I did for 3 years. I hated it as my friends were all able to go out dancing, not me.  But it paid off as by the time I was 18, I was a junior shorthand typist, earning good money. I had some very nice jobs. Everything was going well and then I met my husband to be and everything changed. I married him when I was 21 and had my first baby at 22 and then the second at 24 but it all ended in disaster and it took me two years to divorce him. I never looked back, getting more and more important with my job and building a home for my two girls.

This page was added by Rita Clark on 03/08/2009.

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