I was told to go to church Sunday school with Valerie and her friend. On reflection, this was an interesting situation as neither parent showed any glimmer of a belief in spiritual matters.
Dad was openly vocal about religion being “a load of rubbish”, and his time in the war seemed to have some bearing on that perspective.
Every time I went to Sunday school, I was given a stamp to stick in a book. No doubt this was intended to generate enthusiasm but, for me, it seemed rather pointless. With no pressure to do otherwise, I stopped going to Sunday school after three or four weeks.
When I finished Infants School, I had to go to Junior School where Valerie was already attending. Needless to say, she took charge of me to ensure that I got to school, and came home, safely. To get to the school, we had to go through a park which was just around the corner, and then go across some fields. Coming back across those fields after school one afternoon, we (probably Valerie really!) had this idea to check out a large pond. There were newts in there and, although I do not recall how we did it, we caught some and took them home. Valerie must have planned this ahead of time because I seem to remember that we took them home in a glass jar!
Mum was not impressed with our catch! She would have said something like “You can’t bring those in here. Go and put them down the toilet or something.” We had to take our newts to the brick building which contained our toilet, and bid them farewell.
Sometime generally around our move to Stanground, Mum got herself a job at the Embassy Theatre as an assistant in the costume department. This was very convenient because Mum’s hours were during the day, whereas Dad would be expected at work during the evening so one of them was always home to look after us.
She was very good at dressmaking and so assisting in that area was a natural choice for her. The Embassy Theater had variety acts at different times throughout the year; also movies, and the inevitable Pantomime at Christmas time. Mum’s year therefore consisted of making, changing and fitting costumes as necessary, and being an Usherette when movies were being shown.
The Empire Theatre, in contrast, performed plays (both comedy and serious) all year round. There were some nice perks in that both the Embassy and Empire Theaters made complimentary tickets available to family members for all the shows. These would really be appreciated in a few years!