My Nan was born in 1942, right in the middle of the Second World War. Her mother was convinced she was going to be a boy and was rather surprised, and from what I can gather also rather disappointed, when it turned out she was in fact, female. Her father was in the army, and was often away from home, so I don’t think she saw him that often.
She grew up in a seaside town in North Yorkshire, in fact I went several times to her childhood home, as my great-grandmother still lived there until she passed away when I was 5. From what I can remember it was a fairly typical terrace house, with a bathroom that you had to go through the kitchen to get too. I’m not sure if that was how it was when my Nan was young, or whether the toilet was fully outside, but it’s how I remember it.
I don’t actually know much about my Nan’s childhood, but I do get the impression that it was a very strict upbringing that she had. I do know that as she was growing up rationing was still in effect, especially for luxury items such as sweets, and I know that bananas were a novelty when she first saw them.
I also know that she was a very bright, curious child, who was fascinated by science things especially the human body. One of my favourite stories from her childhood is one from the time she lost a tooth. Instead of leaving it for the tooth fairy she decided to break it open with a hammer to see what was inside of it. It’s really no surprise that she went on to become a doctor.
I know that she worked hard at school and passed the 11 plus to go to the local grammar school. I know that she had a brother, who was six and a half years younger than her, and as such she spent a lot of time in her childhood looking after him.
I think she had a very tough childhood, with hardly any luxuries. I also get the impression that her parents were very strict and traditional. I’m fairly certain that they weren’t too pleased that my mother was born only six months after my Nan had married my Grandad.