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Thursday, 21 June 2012

25. From Rosemary Langrish neé Oakley

We moved from Portslade when I was about 4 years old 1932. We lived in one of the houses almost opposite Hoe Court Track. My first memory of Lancing was starting school at what is now called Freshbrook*. I was 5 years old mum took me on the back of a bicycle with a cushion on the carrier, one morning a little boy ran from Addison Square* straight into the road and was hit by a motor bike, he flew up into the air but I don’t think he was killed, also about the same age I was sitting in the garden on an old cycle frame leaning against the fence watching the red glow in the sky over Shoreham where White’s* Timber yard was on fire. The bike fell over and I broke my arm which took a long time to heal and would not straighten out. The hospital gave me a lovely big doll to carry back and forth to help straighten my arm but it is still bent to this day.
Opposite the Withy Bed [clump of Willow trees] we used to see snakes curled up in the sun on the bank, some were very big.
We went with friends up on the hills to play in the Chalk Pit* and one day we found a big Wallpaper book which we managed to carry home for drawing on. Also one time we could hear a person singing ‘Morning has broken’ and was lovely as it echoed in the Pit.
I’m not sure if it was Queen Mary’s Jubilee or the Coronation of King George and Elizabeth but I was in the big parade and dressed as a Victorian maid. It was a lovely crepe paper dress in green with a frill around the bottom. White cap, apron and lace trimmed pantaloons split through the middle nearly like two separate legs.
 The parade started at Penhill Road so Mum took us on the bus. As I got off I caught my plimsoll in my dress and tore the bottom. The parade started off ok. But walking round by the Farmers pub and cottages it pelted down with rain and a little boy dressed as a red post box got soaked he was as red as his box. We finished up at Lancing Manor Park. A short while after that we each received a special Coronation mug from a really big wooden box in the hall at school.
We sometimes had Tramps* [homeless person] call and ask for hot water or something to eat. If dad was home mum usually gave them tea and thick cheese sandwich, we think they passed the word round. Also gypsies called selling pegs or sprigs of heather for luck. Onion men on bicycles came around as well. An Indian man selling things but we were told ‘never to open the door’.
Another time while playing on the hills some boys came over and asked if we would like a sweet, of course we said ‘yes’, when they opened the tin it had a snake curled up in it. Whether live or dead I don’t know. All I do know is I don’t like snakes.
We moved house a few times and eventually left Lancing for Shoreham when I was about ten. I missed my old school (Mill Hill) so I played truant and took my 2 sisters and brother walking over the Old Shoreham toll bridge to the Manor Park for the school sports day.
You can guess I had a good telling off when we got back home.
PS Just remembered I think it must have been an Air Display as a couple of planes dropped what we thought was ribbons so we ran across the fields to find it was toilet paper.

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