World War II Jewish Evacuees

Mrs Boyce told us that she had two sons of about our ages and that her husband, a livestock farmer, kept pigs and hens in his field. On reaching her home in Kings Parade ( a part of Fordham Road), we entered by the side garden to find Masters Donald and Tony with a friend or two chasing each other with buckets of water. “Young scamps,” said Mrs Boyce tut-tutting. That was all. No explosion. In London we lived in a third-floor flat which had no garden but an adjacent walled flat roof on which we played. Throwing buckets of water about would, I suppose, have been marginally more acceptable that hurling sulphuric acid, but neither was warmly encouraged. Now this was freedom. There was one small initial problem that had to be addressed without delay. My parents, strictly observant Jews, had brought us up to have our heads covered at all times, in the house as well as in the street (though, paradoxically, not in the school classroom). I had to explain this embarrassing fact, with the request that we be allowed to keep our caps on inside the house in accordance with religious custom, to people who might never have seen a Jew before and who could easily misconstrue the request as bad manners. I needn’t have worried; no fuss was made and we were never made to feel self-conscious.

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