More memories Sheila Houlton - 25/7/2013

Memories about family life on the estate . . . . 50 Baldwyns Road

My brother was 16½ when I was born and already signing up to be a soldier. He was away in France by the time I was 18 months old and then sent back to UK after being wounded at Arnhem. I remember going to a hospital in Folkestone, climbing a sandy path up the cliffs. He married at the age of 21 and I have memories of him him telling 'stories' (actually jokes, which were Army- type and not for little ears). Each time Dennis started, my Dad sent me out of the room on some pretext, so I never heard all Den's stories! Then there was another chap in the house - a friend Den picked up at the convalescent hospital in Folkestone. This was Jim, a New Zealander who was ex-Jap p.o.w. Den told him not to go into the hostel where he was allocated a place, prior to being repatriated, but to come to our house and my Mum would put him up! Jim duly arrived - unexpected by Mum - and there he stayed until he went back to NZ. He used to send us food parcels, gratefully received! I remember Den and Jim going out to dances, etc., and coming back 'the worse for wear' and one day Jim sat on my swing in the garden and busted it. I next remember Den coming down Heathend Road with his little daughter on his shoulders but I don't remember his wedding - apart from eating beetroot! I remember his wife making fireworks at our dining-table and admiring her black curls. She was a beauty. So there you have it: my brother was too far removed from my life to be very much 'in it' but my sisters were around me from the start. Just the difference between boys and girls, I suppose. One more thing I remember about Dennis was that one terrible winter, he took our book-case, removed the glass doors and used it to toboggan down The Dell! He got it 'in the neck' from Dad who had to repair the book-case. He was a joker and used to frighten my sisters and me by telling us The Devil was sitting on the copper (which was in the scullery/kitchen which we passed through en-route to the loo, inside the 'glass-house/conservatory''). No-one went out there alone! Den and Iris raised three kids and when he died, they had produced four grandchildren who produced 8 great-grandchildren and two step-grandsons. As there were five sisters and only one brother - and he had married and left the home quite young - he wasn't much of a brother to me until I was about 50. He was friends with the Challis brothers and the older remaining Maypole residents may remember him but he was more involved with his wife's family than ours. Strange, but that's how it was. What do they say, "A daughter's a daughter the whole of her life but a son is a son, - 'til he gets him a wife." The new owner of 50 Baldwyns Road has offered to show us around the old house, to see what changes have been made!!!! We really are so excited about this. I was born in the house, in the back bedroom. My older two sisters, Joan and Vera, were leaning out of the landing window when Barbara and Audrey came back from Church (Sunday morning) to tell them that they had a new little sister. Since they obviously have an internal bathroom these days, I'm sure there will be many other alterations and we look forward to seeing how the house is now configured.

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