Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yankee Candy . . .

. . . And The English Kid

English kids had it hard in World War II - as did their families of course.
The kids liked candy and in time they found out the Yanks who had come to England had it.

At the supply depot where I was stationed in a little village called Thatcham in Berkshire County over there, there was occasion probably two or three times a week when mothers would walk their daughter and son toddlers along Station Road to the front gate of the depot.

There, soldiers on break would dole out SWEET stuff like lollipops, hard candies, cookies and oher types of SWEET goodies which their parents back in the United States had sent the soldiers for THEIR enjoyment.

One of those tots was a girl about five years old who showed up in a red pedal car. I vaguely remember the car but not the girl. I know Heather now.

Found her, but not looking for her, a few years ago while trying to make a nostalgic contact with a Thatcham family that had treated me quite royally the three years I was there.

I contacted the editor of a weekly newspaper in Newbury and asked if he would insert a short notice that I was seeking contact with the Holland family.

The Holland family had given me so to speak a second home, where I could relax after a day's work, read a good book, or write letters to my parents and to the girl I intended to marry one day, which I did.

Mother and Dad Holland, their daughters Ruth and Isabelle and a British Army son whose name unfortunately I have long ago forgotten, lived at 45 Northfield Road,and they gave me a key to their home and once a week managed to fry me a couple eggs at an evening meal.

After the war years my then new wife and I regularly corresponded with the family, and many times sent "care" packages with items still unobtainable in England, silk stockings, candy, over the counter medicine, clothing and shoes.

Nothing happened from that newspaper notice for weeks. Then from New Zealand came a brief e-mail saying the writer had read my "ad" and was going to try to help find the family.

Sometime later she did find the family and still later sent along a picture evidently furnished by the newspaper, showing the girls in the family but not the parents. I assumed the parents were deceased, they having been of an advancing age when I knew them.

Subsequently, if I remember correctly now, Heather advised me that one girl in the family with whom she had contact, had made it evident she wanted nothing to do with me.

It was understandable that the woman would refuse contact for any number of reasons, most likely because she and her sister were happily married and didn't need any Yank popping up to possibly cause questioning on the part of husbands! ! !

But from that experience, an ongoing e-mail relationship between Heather and her husband Colin and brother Douglas, still in England
has developed, full of descriptions of lovely New Zealand and its attractions and often containing paintings produced by Doug, news of Thatcham and changes in the nearby countryside at Thatcham.

How did I happen to associate Heather and the child in the red pedal car? It was this way. I had mentioned in one e-mail that I was stationed at The Hut Camp on Station Road and worked at the G-45 Engineer Depot up the road a bit.

She wrote back she often went there with her mother in her little red pedal car. I replied I remembered the red car. Our "reunion" developed from there but of course you'll recall I'd never met the child.

While the Internet has its badside stories involving people around the world, particularly young girls enticed by predators, Internet has made many people happy by reuniting them with lost family members and with school classmates and acquaintences of years ago.

Nostalgia has a habit of setting in when people like me enter into what often is called "The Golden Years" and for one, I certainly enjoy it.

- 30 -

1 comment:

  1. What a sweet memory. I wonder if Heather has a picture of herself in that little red pedal car?