Thursday, 23 February 2017

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 3 Lassie and 58 Rochester Close

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

This photo shows the garden of 58 Rochester Close. My brother David and next door neighbours daughter Olive Stark, who was the same age as David.

The dog was our pet Lassie and her pups. How she came to join our family is related below.

Dad was still working in Greenwich and cycled to work every day. One day on his way home he was followed by a stray dog. It turned out to be a wire-haired terrier bitch.

Dad brought her into the house and fed her. It was a mystery as to where she came from. He took her to the police station in Eltham and reported her as a stray. She was not claimed by anyone and so she became an addition to our family.

We named her Lassie. She went with us everywhere. We loved her she had a lovely nature, but she also had the roaming instinct and a couple of time we lost her, but because she had a name tag on her collar we got her back.  She had three lots of puppies at various times from different dogs. Dad had to find homes for all of the pups which he did.

Dad about this time enrolled me in the Cub Scouts. The scout hall was adjacent to the church of St James’s in Kidbrooke Park Road. St James’s church had a very tall spire but was bombed during the war and was just a shell of a building.

Next door was a prefabricated building which was used for the services. Mum had Geoffrey christened there and once we reached a suitable age David and I were sent off to the Sunday school.

What I remember of my time in the cubs was good. I enjoyed the games and I was taught a lot of necessary things to get a badge to sew onto my green jersey.

I managed to become a sixer which meant I had two silver stars on my cap. I felt confident and important and good about myself. That was until I went up into the scouts proper and I could not handle the bullying and complexity of what I had to learn there so I left and that was the end of my scouting days.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

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