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Wrockwardine Wood and Trench Parish Council

Rona Harris - My Story Part 3

May 2011


We have now begun another year so let us hope this will be a good year for everyone.

The last time I wrote, my family and I had moved to Holyhead Road in Oakengates, and as I told you it was not a likeable house at all, so I tended to spend more time out of it that in it. So on summer evenings I would go for walks, almost all around Oakengates, of course over the Cockshutt and into St. Georges, it was then quite a pretty walk.

But still, every Sunday night we had to go to chapel with our parents, this was “Hilltop Methodist” chapel on Ketley Bank.

On some occasions my Dad would play the organ there, and my sister Sheila and myself were members of the choir, although there were a couple of people who were also members and they sounded more like a pair of “throttled earwigs” than singers. After chapel I was actually allowed to go for a walk with, I suppose my ‘boyfriend’ of the time his name was George, and we used to wander everywhere, but I still had to be in for 10 o’clock and I was twenty years of age then. My parents were always very strict, and at this time I still had to ‘tip-up’ my entire wages to my Mother every week, and was given more or less a pittance for spending money. When I questioned this, I was told that I could not “please myself” in what I did with my life in any way until I was twenty one years of age. Oh Yes! there was also this definite rule and I quote “While you are living under this roof, you will abide by the rules and regulations of this house” I know it sounds almost Victorian even for those times (1950). I am just trying to paint a picture of how strict and narrow my parents' outlook was on life then.

Now enough of all that. My sister and I always walked down into Oakengates every Saturday afternoon, to see the shops and treat ourselves to a coffee and kunzle cake in Sidoli’s café and maybe later joined the queue for the film at the Grosvenor Cinema in Oakengates. I must admit though that I did occasionally ‘lie’ a little when I went out on some evenings, I would catch one of Brown’s buses in Oakengates to Donnington and by way of a change have a coffee in the Cartwheel Café there, and that was really great.

Browns buses were always very reliable though sometimes not very comfortable, and I always got a bus back to Oakengates, then really having to rush up to Holyhead Road home, and God help me if I was five minutes late arriving, I used to wonder how many girls of my age were being treated in this way, but there again, I felt that “my time” would come eventually. I have an older sister who was living in Australia and I badly wanted to go out there to live with her, but the house rules applied yet again.

Anyway, the days and months went by and as I had dancing lessons before moving back to Oakengates, I was unwillingly allowed to go dancing, but before this I had to explain about the last buses from Wellington every Thursday and Saturday nights plus the ‘laid-on’ transport from Sankey’s ballroom on the Saturday nights when I went there, but they would not give me a key to the door, instead they would be waiting up for me to arrive home, and I was then met with endless questions and do’s and don’ts

I suppose it did all get a little better as time went on, but really not until I actually was 21 years of age However, I must close this part of my life for now, and reveal more next time.