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Banburyshire Family History

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go back to the last page you were on Memories of Guy Fawkes Nights

Derek Hindle

The memories that people have been sharing have certainly brought back my own, firstly of Guy Fawkes Night 1938 when I was six years old in Bramley, Leeds.. We, that is me and my sister some few years older than myself, had been really looking forward to it, being promised fireworks and parkin, treacle toffee and all that Bonfire Night was meant to be. However, that day my Grandmother was taken ill and the Bonfire was cancelled and all the family were gathered in her bedroom to say Goodbye to her. I can remember the scene which was forever implicitly planted in my memory, as everyone stood around her brass bedstead and watched her breathe her last. As a small child, I didn't realise exactly what was going on, so was gazing around the bedroom in awe and can picture the scene in every detail, dressing table and washstand with ewer and basin and grandad's cut-throat razor and strap laid upon it, the fireplace without any fire and a large chest of drawers which eventually ended up in our house after Grandad died.

Unfortunately, the following year WWII had commenced so there was no Guy Fawkes Night and for the following six years. The next Bonfire I remember was in 1945 at the end of WWII - VE Day for Victory in Europe when we collected chumps (branches of trees given to us by the local milkman) which we stored with an assortment of other boxes, old chairs and other combustible junk in the lavatory yards down the street and set a watch overnight, so they wouldn't be stolen by other groups of kids who were doing the same thing in every part of the city suburbs of Leeds. Everyone was highly excited at the time that the war was over and the BBC put on Dance Music on the radio and the music played into the early hours of the morning as people danced and made merry for hours, around the Bonfires that were kept blazing in almost every street. I was twelve years old at the time and joined in the fun and we had the parkin and treacle toffee! etc. from somebody's rations undoubtedly.

Everything must have been pooled by the adults to make this a night to remember for the kids who had missed out for so long on Guy Fawkes, or Bonfire night.

The same thing happened also on VJ night - Victory in Japan. There was so much community spirit during the war years and everyone pulled together in those days, but somehow eventually people changed over the years and became more selfish and self centred and Blow you Jack, I'm alright seemed to become the 'norm'. Anyway, I won't say more or I shall be called a grumpy old man, which I can assure you I am not really. Use the delete button, if you are not interested, but somehow it is good to fill in the gaps of what it was like in the 'olden days' as my grandchildren ask from time to time, and hear other people's experiences, for believe it or not none of us will be hear forever, so make a note of that.

All the very best to you all.

Written by Derek Hindle, Tasmania, Australia