Writing: Historical memoirs

I would travel back to the summer of 1977 when the movie musical ‘Grease’ was being filmed. I’d Run over Olivia newton John so I could be Sandy, then myself and John Travolta would fall in love off screen. Then I would go to 2007 and get myself a role in the movie Hairspray alongside my husband. I would also go back the 40’s and meet my great grandparents when they were courting.

‘I’m constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man’ – Primo Levi, if this is a man.

1. The the poetic description leads us gently into the extract and the colours set the scene and also the atmosphere around the camp. The pathetic fallacy is used very well so as a reader we know what we are getting into. The direct speech as an opener, whilst intriguing would be too abrupt. As a reader, we would feel disorientated by this if we did not know the setting and circumstance.

2. The ‘could is italicised to show the other side of the opinion that instead of suffering and darkness there could be joy in the world if we thought differently.

3. The colours ‘grey, muddy, and blood red’ all have connotations with misery and suffering whilst ‘sky blue and sunset’ offers a ray of hope.

4. The lack of clarity leads us to think that his wife has passed on and that he feels her spirit and that’s what gets him through.

5. Latin is a language of intelligence and the phrase could be a metaphor for, providing hope.

6. That he feels them is no hope.

7. The bid is a symbolism of what’s to come, his freedom. Frankl just needs to hold on for a little bit longer.

God has no hand in the suffering of his followers. He is still with us and to defend and speaks to those who are at the hand of our suffering it’s whether they choose to value his advice. He is the one who blessed us with life and shall receive us into his arms when our time is at an end. He will save us in the end, but we are not at the end, we must stay strong and keep to faith. Even if it has left us, we can never leave it.


World war 2

Nan win

It was 1939 when the war was declared I was 16. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mother in Portsmouth and Chamberlain’s voice rang out in the room. My father, Henry was pacing up and down the room. My mother, Olive gripped hands as those terrifying words sent shivers down my spine.

My father was the first to speak and what he said I still remember to this day; ‘What’s for tea love?’ I asked him to repeat it, my mother lived.

‘Henry Coward! Our country is now at war and all you can bloody think about is your stomach?’ My father’s eyes narrowed. Nobody spoke out against him.

‘Well, I’m not going to fight bloody Hitler on an empty stomach?!’ His eyes crinkled slowly and his frown was slowly spreading across his face.

My mother caught on and started to laugh and sob at the same time. It was humour that got us through those dark days.

If I could sum up the war in smells it would be cabbage, bomb powder and blood. When my dad went off to war I was heartbroken, I didn’t want him to get hurt. The train station was so busy, soldiers in khaki, smog, the chatter of relatives being welcomed home, crying and slow kisses.

It was all too much for me at the time. I just remember his hug; the scratch of his stubble, the smell of his shaving and hair cream. With his strong arms around me, that was the last time I felt truly save. Ever.

I remember my mother clinging to him sobbing, her resolve breaking. The last images of him are of him growing into a small dot, wandering off into the distance.

We got a telegram to say he was killed in 1941 in France. I have never hated anyone in my life but when I read this my blood began to boil and I felt like I could take the Riech on all by myself.

The boy that had the task of handing over the telegram was handsome, deep brown eyes, jet black hair and a kind face.

Little did I know that in 10 years we would meet again. It was at a church dance that my mother was playing the piano. The hall was decorated with tea lights and union jacks. ‘Magic Moments’ was playing on an old gramophone in the background and this young man who was

with his cousin tapped on my shoulder and said. ‘I could never forget those eyes.’ His name I learned was William and he described our first meeting. It was like something out of a romance book. That night we rehashed the blitz and I could almost feel myself back there, we drank to England and anything else we could think of.

He walked me back home under the moonlight, his jacket on my shoulders. It was then I had my first kiss.

Wars, heartache and austerity melted away and I felt safe again.

Later on, I would be Mrs Winifred Jeffery for 30 years, having two children and move up and down the country.

They were my best years.

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