Childhood memories with Madeleine Clarke

MEMORIES Madeleine Clarke
MEMORIES Madeleine Clarke
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David Curwen, centre, hugs his mother with whom he wa sreunited. Completing the group is his brother Keith

THIS WEEK IN 1975: Reunited after 30 years – but only thanks to a kind stranger

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Madeleine Clarke, 63, lives in Gosport and runs her own business as a weight consultant. Here she recall some of her fondest childhood memories.

· What is your earliest childhood memory?

My mother worked and I was minded by an elderly lady who ran a shop. I loved ‘working’ in the shop and finding the pennies for the change. I enjoyed the variety of customers. They bought Wills’ woodbines and Walnut Whips and bottles of Corona with a stopper. I was about three at the time.

· What do you remember about your birthdays?

For my sixth birthday my paternal grandparents had been visiting Belgium and returned with a beautiful wind-up Cinderella doll for me. I remember her waltzing round and round on the landing lino.

· How was school?

I loved my school days. We made and embroidered gingham skirts ourselves and wore them when we took part in the district country dancing.

· What did you get up to with your friends?

I liked to play ‘two balls’ up the school wall as we sung rhymes such as ’One, two, buckle my shoe’. The girl’s and boy’s playgrounds were separate in those days.

· What did you watch on television?

I rarely watched TV as my brothers were always watching Westerns and sport, which I didn’t enjoy. However, I loved Lassie. Once our Collie dog went off and we thought she was lost for what seemed like ages. Then she returned and led us proudly to her new litter of pups where she’d been all the while. As a teenager I liked Ready Steady Go and Top of the Pops.

· What sweets did you eat?

I liked aniseed twists, sweet tobacco and liquorice twirls. My mother would give me 1d for the bus fare home and told me that if I walked, I could spend the money on sweets in the shop instead. I’d race the bus round the corner most days.

· Any clothes that stand out in your memory?

At the age of 17 I was a size 16 in Carnaby Street, London, wearing a white and mauve mini dress. As I tottered along two OAP ladies commented: ’She ain’t exactly a Twiggy is she?’

· What was the naughtiest thing you did?

I attended a girl’s high school and one day we had a new novice teacher. She went out of the classroom and I removed the door knob so she couldn’t get back in. When she finally managed to I was up on the windowsill, hiding behind the curtains, to roars of laughter from my chums.