The signal man told me that between the wars and in the 1950s the goods yard
was full of wagons loading and unloading, and that there was far too much work
and that the hours were long and hard. Yachtsman used to come down from (or was
it up to?) London to sail; in special Saturday trains.
In the 1930s the boat yard owners during the depression used to pay their
employees out of their own pockets if there was not enough work. (They were
after all men that they had known and trusted all their lives).
Some of the young men from Oldton used to crew on the 12m yachts and became
I used to live in Oldton until I was around seven or eight years old. I
still remember the day we left, being woken early one morning and after
some confusion I recall watching the streets and fields where I loved to
play scroll past the grimy passenger window of a bulging removal lorry.
I later discovered my mother had looked out the window some months
earlier and saw me sitting on the curb chatting with some friends. With
good intentions she then decided we could all benefit from a more
stimulating environment, one with more opportunities for our development.
The place we went to you couldn't sit on the kerb and I never really had
real friends or nice neighbours to chat with. I then started to learn
how cold the world was and I hoped it was all a dream.
Ah yes a dream, but as the years went on I realised this was more and
more unlikely, however there is a little part of me that still hopes I
may awake from this vivid nightmare in which I imagine I am a
disconnected middle aged man and back to my little wallpapered room in
Maybe Oldton never went away Tim, perhaps we've all still there, lots of
boys and girls asleep in our little beds, dreaming of changes, time and
events which take us further away. I do hope so as at least there is a
tiny chance we can return.....especially for one little lad, who I still
cry for now sometimes.
I really loved your play. It was very haunting and real. It was like being with you and the memories that came in were like the way one thinks with memories and thoughts weaving in at different levels, different times, different views, mixing the profound with the every day just like real life.
I thought about it afterwards and found myself conjuring up my own lost memories, somewhat fleeting. I can remember a large house set in a garden with trees in a country area with hills and think it was on the outskirts or on the way to Oldton.
I was about 6 years old and I remember that Christmas I had a tiny box of Cadbury's chocolates in my stocking, a really special treat as chocolates being almost forbidden in our house. I left them on my mantlepiece and specially saved the hazlenut swirl. Next time I looked it had gone. I always wondered what happened to it, but suspected our nanny.
I don't remember what my father was like back then, but do remember going out to meet him from the airfield quite a way away. My mother was excited and anxious at the same time and we drove out late at night in the dark to meet him. When we got there it was not him but another pilot who had come back and they had got the name mixed up. I remember the feeling of disappointment as we went back. That is my earliest memory of my father not a face or a happening but a feeling of anxious waiting and disappointment when he did not come.
That's a feeling that comes back in other ways but perhaps should be allowed to stay there where it belongs. The other thing I must have lost there was my grey felt elephant because when we moved from there I never saw it again.