I had a very productive day yesterday. I met up with two friends who had lots of stories from their families' war time experiences in Liverpool and Cheshire.
I am constantly amazed at how people who lived through those terrible times stayed stoical and determined to live as 'normally' as possible. I heard about one old lady who would never use the air raid shelters and constantly argued with her family that if she was going to die she wanted to die in her own bed (luckily for her the bombers never managed to find her house) and the story of a young woman who fell in love with an American serviceman but broke off her engagement to him when her Mum sad that she didn't want her daughter moving to America after the war.
I think that it is important to remember that for a lot of ordinary families the deprivations of war, rationing, sub standard housing etc, were not that different to the conditions that the working classes were living in the 1930's . Life was hard but communities made the most of what they had.
Quiet rightly much has been recorded of the lives of the young servicemen who fought in the war but we shouldn't forget that life for young woman at home changed dramatically in the war years. Many relished in the fact because they were now working,they had more money and freedom than ever before. No longer would a young mother be solely reliant on her husband for the money to put food on the table and a young single girl found that the dance halls and even pubs were filled with young servicemen looking for a good time.
Life went on, people went to work, families rowed, kids played out in the street and young girls had their heads turned by a handsome lad with the 'gift of the gab' and all the while terrible atrocities were being committed in the name of war. Lives were being damaged in ways that those of us born long after the war can only imagine in our darkest nightmares.
Everyone who lived through those times whether as an evacuee, a munitions worker or as a young man sent to fight in a war far away from home, would have seen and experienced things that influenced the way they lived their lives long after the war was over.
Many thanks to Judith and Kathy for all their help yesterday and I'm looking froward to speaking to Judith's Mum tomorrow to find out more about her handsome young Yank!