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Into The Darkness (Extract)
By Doris Elsy

I am now in the twilight of my life, or so I believe. By this I don't mean that I am dying, I hope not, but because I am losing my sight, I feel I want to put my collections on record for my memory may go.

I was born in May 1921, the eldest daughter of Bob and Elsie Lamb. My first recollection of my childhood was walking with my mother on South Shields pier when was about six years old. We had my two-year-old brother David with us, in a Pushchair. The pushchair was totally different from what buggies are today, it had chrome mudguards and a little metal platform for the child's feet. The child always used to face the mother. They seem to have gone out of fashion now.

Our mother often used to take us for a walk after school and this particular evening it was raining. On the way back the rain got heavy and we had to take shelter a kiosk at the end of the pier (known as the pier head). We sheltered there a little while and when the rain eased off we ran home which wasn't far from the park. We lived at 66 Dale Street which was behind the Marine public house on Ocean Road.

When we got home my mother stripped us off because we were soaking wet, and she also removed her own clothes. I noticed then, that although my mother was a very tall imposing woman, she was very thin, but of course I didn't pay much attention that. Shortly after this my mother took to her bed and was there for several weeks. I member her being in bed when I used to come in from school. Dr De Redder came to visit her one day. He said to us children 'I can't do much for your mother. She won't leave you children so I can't take her to hospital. We'll have to treat her at home as 11 as we can. You take care of your mamma.' Of course we didn't know then what as wrong with her but it never dawned on us that it could be anything serious.

Shortly after that she became worse and was in bed for a long time. She used to like pink and cream wafer biscuits and my dad used to take me to the shop in I Woodbine Street to buy them for her. It seemed to me that I used to get a great big g full for a quarter pound. They must have weighed very light.

The next thing I remember is coming up the street one afternoon from school on march day and my brothers, David, aged three and Rob aged five came running up to e calling,' Doris our mam has died.' I don't think they really realised what they were saying. The way they said it to me that day was just like 'God Bless You.' I went doors and I remember dad saying, 'I'm sorry but your mam died today.'



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