Thursday, 4 September 2008


Ruby started going out with an American sailor called Mike. We thought he was wonderful. He used to bring part of his rations each month to our house. One delicacy that particularly springs to mind was chocolate fudge. Because they were rationed, we had very few sweets, and certainly not chocolate. This naval ration fudge came in tins. I don’t mean tins that you could open and close, but tins that had to be opened at each end with a can opener, just like tins of corned beef. The fudge was then pushed out of the tin, and emerged in a solid roll. Mike would cut it into cubes and share it amongst us. The smell and taste of it was something not to be forgotten.
Having a real, live, American sailor around the house was to us young girls almost like living with a film star in our midst. At the tender age of twelve or thirteen, any one who had a genuine American accent was only one step removed from Clark Gable. The only time we ever heard an American accent was when it came from the silver screen. This one was actually in our house!
To add to his magical charm, Mike had told us that his sister was married to the singer/ film star Dick Haymes. He was a teenage idol (a bit like Cliff Richards was in his younger days). Mike promised us that he would get his sister to send us Dick Haymes’ autograph, but it never arrived. In retrospect, I think it was just a sailor spinning a line to impress us all. He probably didn’t even have a sister.
My last six months at school were great fun; at thirteen-and-a-half I was beginning to grow up, and the boys were starting to notice me. The main reason for this was, to my great embarrassment, because the first bra that I ever owned was a size thirty-four! Most of my friends had no boobs at all. The rest of me was quite slim and here was I, bustin’ out all over!
One of my out-of-school friends was Judy. She lived in the house opposite ours and I admired her very much. She was pretty and had a trim figure; her hair was long (which mine never was) and blonde, and curly. We used to ‘swoon’ over the same spotty, little boys, and go all wobbly when we listened to Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto on the radio. She was a great drama-queen and knew just how to play for effect. Once she ‘twisted’ her ankle while we were out with the boys. They and I had to support her on all sides, whilst she hobbled home in ‘agony’ all the time whimpering and almost collapsing in a faint from the pain! Strangely enough, she was quite recovered by the next day, and I realised that it was all done for to gain the attention of the two lads we were with.
We had a sort of eternal triangle syndrome. I had a crush on Colin, Colin had a crush on Judy, and Judy had a crush on Judy too! Such is youth. Colin’s dad died, and the family immigrated to Australia, and Judy’s family just moved away one day. I often wonder what became of her. She probably became an actress!

To be continued…


Babs (Beetle) said...

There's always one drama queen in every group of friends :O)

I could eat some of that fudge now!

granny grimble said...

And in lots of families Ha! Ha!

weechuff said...

Hahaha! There was you with an 'abundance of bosoms'at thirteen, and me at that age stuffing socks down the front of my dresses to make it look as though I had some!! I was a late developer,and they arrived eventually, but we always said that you took the lions share!!

GoldAnne said...


Lynne Chapman said...

I can smell fudge, just reading that!

It's surprising how well I remember all the details from when you did the book. Just show how interesting it all is!

Lynne x

Jay said...

You left out an important detail! Was the fudge the thick chewy sort that sticks to the roof of your mouth, or was it the fragile, crystalline type - my personal favourite?

I remember how exotic American accents were, even in my youth. Mike must have seemed like a creature from another planet!

My Mum remembers the stockings they could get for their girlfriends, and the chewing gum, and the cigarettes. And how they always seemed to have more money than anyone else. I wonder how much of that was due to the fact that no-one really understood currency exchange rates?

You could maybe find your friend Judy on Friends Reunited!

granny grimble said...


It was the thicky creamy kind of fudge. Heaven! Apart from Stockings, Mike got some parachute silk which was turned into underwear, and blankets that with the aid of the Singer treadle machine became heavy warm housecoats. They were grey with a wide blue stripe!
The GIs and Sailors did seem to be very well off. I think they got better pay than our troops, and the exchange rate made it even more!

Croom said...

Oh I still quite like the American accent when live so to speak, especially on men. I hardly notice it in the films now!

Fudge, especially chocolate fudge must have been such a treat; did you save some for Mum?

Babs: yes of course I remember Leeta being our second Mum, in fact Leeta had to take me with her after she was married because I cried so much, poor Arthur. That was when I was given the nick name of Croom, no one quite remembers how or why though :O)

Tina x

granny grimble said...

Of course Mum had her share of fudge. It was for all the family!

Yes we did take you back to stay with us several times. We also took Babs and Gill and Sandie. Gill threw a wobbly and was naughty so we took her home and she never stayed again! Apparently you cried for days while I was on honeymoon because you missed me! We even took you and Sandie on holiday with us. I don't know why we didn't take Babs. Perhaps she was too young. It was on holiday that the name Croom came about. We can't remember how either. Arthur was so good about it all. He knew how much I missed you all as well.

Jay said...

Oh, yes! Parachute silk! I remember Mum talking about that too. She couldn't get over how MUCH there was in one parachute!