GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM ORAL
-lines, stretching with thousands of kids, all with emotionless faces, not knowing where their destiny lies, not knowing when they will see… their parents again.
Yes I am talking about the evacuees of the 1939-1945 war. Being a billeting officer to the 8 to 12 year olds I got inside exposure as to what was happening to the kids and how they were reacting.
There were kids who were petrified of leaving home and kept it to themselves. Then there were the kids who acted like it was a big joke and fooled around. They turned their big brown name tags around so you couldn’t see their name and age. And finally, there were the kids, who were happy and relieved to leave home because they were abused and treated badly. If I was to remember there was this one kid, Ah, yes, his name was William Beech; he fell into the group of ecstatic to leave home, because he was treated badly by his mother and malnurished. You may be wondering why I remember him out of all the kids who were ill-treated, there’s one simple reason; his attitude. He had a calm simple smile on his face while all the others were anxious and irritated. He was very short and scrawny with bruises running down his legs. William wasn’t sure which train he must catch, which is understandable because the signposts weren’t very clear. He addressed me by sir, not HEY YOU.
This brings me to my next point, the advantages and disadvantages of the system. My theory is that it all depended on what type of lifestyle you were living in London. There were two children I came to meet, William, the child who was abused in London but treated nicely in the country, and Fletcher, the child who was abused in the country but treated well in London. The advantages to William were that he got a proper education, made some friends and wasn’t abused. The disadvantages to William was that once he grew fond of his keeper, once he had many friends, he had to go back home....
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