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Me as a Baby and Hop-Picking


Old Mrs. Casey at Hop-Picking

Through life ideas change, dreams change, friends change, but you never change, from being born to dying, you will always stay the same. You will always be you, and that's a good thing, right?


In the days after you were born there was no Upper and Lower Class for you, there might have been for the Upper Class, but you never even knew there was an Upper Class, so it didn't matter at all to you, you were who you were and that was that.


Life hasn't turned out the way you envisioned it, sitting at the window in the flats, late at night when the pubs were turning out, one each end of the road, there was laughter and merriment, everyone seemed happy, you were dreaming of being able to do what they were doing, being happy, your brothers and sister sleeping soundly in the one bed.


At this moment in time you are 68 years old, next year you will be 70, that means this year in August you will be 69, for those of you who, like Cathy, are dyslexic with numbers, there is a real word for that, which I will look up and tell you later, but that one word that I can't/won't remember has a very large impact on your life, from the moment you started school at 5 years old, which was 1956.


But I need to go back further than that to start your story......


Let’s go back to when you were a babe in arms, dad's arms to be precise...you were in Kent, Hop Picking, which was big for Cockneys in the 1950's, everyone in Mum’s and Dad's families went to Kent every year, to make some extra money when the kids were on their summer holiday, mums didn't work in those days, no one had any money spare, well not if you were a Docker and had four kids to feed and clothe, lots of people went Hop Picking from all walks of life, you had Home friends and Hop Picking friends, they never ever knew each other, but that was ok.


It was a giant task getting everyone ready for Hop Picking, we don't remember there being a lot of clothes or food that we had to take with us, we didn’t have much of anything anyway, no supermarkets then, maybe just a corner shop that sold everything we needed.


As usual mum and dad were there with you and your older brothers and sister, you lived for those six weeks in a tin hut, this hut has one bed, maybe even bunk beds but you weren’t ’posh’ enough to have bunk beds, you had a table and chair, just the one, no toilet - you did that outside in a hole in a smaller hut, no kitchen - you did that outside on an open fire, no sink - washing up was done on a table outside the hut, remember you used to spend hours washing up. I even think that the kids were shared out amongst other pickers who only had one child, you know you stayed with dad's sister a lot, which meant you had your own bed until they all came home from the pub, but that was much later.


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