|Home||3 September 1939||The Kingcough Well||The Smiddy|
I was alone. Completely forgotten. I was on the outside of the group, and all I could see was the backs of trousered legs. I did not even have Mickey, the dog, for company. Nobody spared me a thought. As far as the grownups were concerned at that moment, I did not exist. Something unusual was happening. I didn't know what it was, but it touched me. I sensed the tension and fear. I felt frozen.
This was a Sunday, a sunny day that was good for the harvest. We had been to church and were now in the kitchen of my grandfather's house. Grandpa, my cousin, my uncle, my aunt, and my teenage brother were clustered around my mother. She was staring at a buff-colored envelope clutched in one hand. The silence was absolute. It was broken by Grandpa saying: "Well, go on, Meg. Open it and let's hear what Bob has to say."
I heard the rustle of flimsy paper as my mother opened the envelope and withdrew the telegram.
"Stay where you are. War is declared. Bob." she read aloud. And the tension dissolved amid a chatter of voices.
War. A new word. I gathered it into my limited vocabulary. I did not know what it meant.
That was 3 September 1939. Britain had just declared war on Germany.