The couple who ran the children’s home were quiet, kind and patient and always had time to talk, explain and help me with anything. Whether or not they asked me about my home situation I cannot remember, but they must have been curious.
I wasn’t expected to do anything in the way of work or chores and was allowed the freedom to play in the gardens and even to wander into the sand dunes, so long as I didn’t go far. They had a little terrier type dog called Sandy who loved my attention and would follow along at my heels as I ran through the grasses of the sand dunes.
Although I was there a few months, I find it hard to recall much happening there. Unlike life at home, things were peaceful and calm; I would read books, watch tv, and do drawing and colouring.
The couple, Tommy and Edna,would busy themselves getting prepared for the influx of children in the summer. Tommy would do bits of maintenance or decorating and gardening. Edna would clean and cook and liked to knit.
On one occasion there was a charity evening to raise money for the home and the large meeting hall was filled with people dressed in their finest. Edna had been cooking for days prior to this, little appetisers and nibbles to accompany the bottles of wine and spirits, aimed at relaxing the guests so that donations of money would ooze from their wallets.
My time in the children’s holiday home came to an end after a few months. Two social workers came to visit and within a few days I was packed up and taken back to my home town. Not to my home but to be placed with foster parents.
I was taken to a house only about ten minutes’ walk from my home and introduced to a couple, a husband and wife, Steve and Sharon. I would guess that they were aged about thirtyish but seemed very young in comparison to Tommy and Edna.
They lived in small neat and warm semi-detached house and had no children. I was too young to really think about it at the time but maybe they fostered because they were unable to have children of their own. I was only to remain there for two weeks but I remember the time fondly.
Again things were calm and quiet and Steve and Sharon took the time to talk to me, interested in anything I had to say. I was given pocket money for the first time in my life. I remember being in the post office with Steve where he encouraged me to spend my money. Looking at a box of Maltesers , I realised I had enough money to buy them. Never in my life previously had I been able to be so indulgent and I looked to Steve for approval. He laughed saying, “It’s your money, you get what you like”. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
It was Steve who taught me how to do crosswords and praised me heavily for the way I had picked it up so quickly. Sharon would wash and iron my clothes and put them in a little pile on my bed, the only thing required of me was to put them away in the drawers.