COVID-19 reminds me of the Second World War in many ways; isolation, masks, no school, limited shopping and travel.
I was seven years old when war was declared in 1939 in Europe. We lived in the city of Croydon on the south border of London. Crystal Palace was quite close to where we lived. The German Air Force used the two very tall water towers there as a landmark to Central London so we were the last defence and heavily bombed.
We also had masks – gas masks – which we carried with us at all times. At school, we also had to have a first-aid kit, and biscuits, because when the air raid sounded we went into the air raid shelter and could be there for hours. This happened every day.
The children were evacuated to the country for safety. There were hundreds of us. When we arrived strangers took us into their homes, some for months and even years. We usually did not see our parents again for a very long time.
In my case, my father was in North Africa with the Royal Marines. My mother worked in the bomb factory in Croydon. Now everyone has a phone to keep in touch. We wrote letters. The first time I was evacuated, in 1941 after our home was badly damaged in the bombing, I lived with three different families and finally went home. The second time I was evacuated to Lancashire and my mother wrote the following poem in my autograph book.
Since we cannot be together
for the months to come
Love those who care for you
and may there be joy and
pleasures that live and last for you
I will always sense you smiling
at the things we understand
and long for the day when we will be together again
Someday soon I hope COVID-9 will go away and life will hopefully return to normal. It is not the end of the world, and maybe we can all learn something. Patience and friendship and kindness.