down memory lane

barbara ender

I was born in a house opposite this row of shops more than 60 years ago. I lived there till the day Ieft for college, in 1966. Last year my sister and I revisited and remembered past times.
The Coop - my mother wrote her shopping list in a little black notebook, took it over to the shop where she would insist on being served by Kath, the manageress. Kath noted down all the prices in the margin of the book and back home, mum added them all up to check that Kath had got the total right.
A girl called Margaret Mitchell lived above the Coop; I was very impressed by the fact that you had to go upstairs to get to their living room; she was the only person I knew who lived in a flat, and I was a bit envious.
Reays, the Newsagent: they sold lemonade, razor blades, lemonade, crisps, dandelion and burdock, sweets in glass jars, all sorts of things. Once my Aunty Rita, who lived with us for a while in the little front bedroom between her father (my granddad) remarrying and getting married herself, got stuck in a queue and when it was finally her time to be served, asked for a Lead of Hettuce. She was a hoot.
I was standing by the mailbox playing with my friend Zelda when she told me she knew where babies came from. She was a year older than me and very worldly. I thought I did too - I imagined they popped out of your navel. No, she said, they come out of your bottom! This information took a long time to digest.
Moss's had the grocery shop at the end and the adjoining post office; Mr Moss just had to pass through a door behind the counter when the bell rang. Funny that the PO and newsagent have swapped places.
The shops look very run-down now, but our old house seemed spick and span. The estate was built just after WWII.

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