Ruth's memories of Oxhey Hall in summer 1940

Lucy Gastor Childrens Home

By Ruth Heuberger

Ruth - Summer 1940
Ruth Heuberger

The bright core of my memories: 

  • Kindness.  Good faces, stern faces. 
  • Much mischief:  rolling down the staircase of the farmhouse, a hat in the pigpen, toe-dirt picking in white iron beds.  
  • My best friend Hans, who shared my frequent “time outs”. 
  • Cardigans strewn with embroidered flowers. 
  • Making the rounds of the dining room, picking off meat left on plates.  Squawking chickens. 
  • The rustle of cellophane that meant rare sweet treats. 
  • A burn on my hand administered by small boys in the schoolyard with a magnifying glass and sunlight, me watching in dumb fascination and soiled blue knickers with a pocket. 
  • Scarlet fever in Matron’s bed (“please face the wall when I undress”, she asked, an offer I had to accept – curiosity temporarily squelched).  A man in a field being carried to a stretcher. 
  • Sunshine, trees and flowers in a radiant garden. 
  • A song and a poem (try me!) 
  • Underground air-raid shelters and magical stories read by Nurse Mander from black squiggles on a page.  I read before I can remember the beginning – perhaps learned at Infants’ School, where my first report card says “Ruth is fond of singing”?
This page was added on 04/07/2014.

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