Letters from Lustleigh 1940-1942
Letters Home from Joy at Mapstone 1939 onwards
These are my letters home from Lustleigh where we were all evacuated to at the start of the war ~ David would have been eight, I would have been six-plus ~ later Stephen and Nancy joined us in Devon, they were in a babies' home run by Frances Johnstone and a friend. By 1942 our parents seem to have decided they would rather have us back home and if we got killed in the Bristol Blitz then we'd all go together. As it is so long ago and Because of the epilepsy I remember nothing of my childhood, I refer to the letter writer in the 3rd person ~ Joy Proctor, but of course in fact it was me !
I'm not sure of the sequence here ~ none of these letters are dated ~ I've guessed the order in which they were written by the hand writing and vocabulary ~ but I may have got it wrong.
1. Dear daddy, I hope you are all right. I hope mummy is all right. nancy is all right. and stephen doesnt think that you have gone. please will you tell me wherer nancy is staying. with love From Joy to my beloved Pa Daddy prigaley face hogg Pa *
There's a match stick girl at the bottom of this page with a fountain of tears gushing from her eyes ! I think that by this time David and Joy were at Mapstone, Stephen in the infants department there, and Nancy with Frances Johnstone in the residential nursery she had opened in her large house for baby and toddler evacuees.
2. mapston Lustle devon Dear Mummy and Daddy, I hope you have a happy christmas. And a happy knew year. Is my runnig rithing or xxx. I got David and stephen a train and I am going to get swets to put in the train window and Joan a toy rattl snak and a worms Stephen and I might go out to tea with rose soon but poor david is to big to go nancey and her cumpanyuns have moved. did my other letter arrive I am longing to here from you with lots of love Joy
The word JOY is made of kisses ! I guess the presents she gave her brothers were chocolate
3. mopston Lustling devon
Dear Daddy and Mummy, I hope you are all right. Please [for Christmas] may I have a dolls dresser Like the gray one in the chichen. We have done the play onec and we are going to do it again. The Little ones are doing winkin blinken and nod. I wish you were here. I cant think of much to say. I am sorry I have had my toth out with Lots and Lots of Love from your Little dather Joy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
4. mapston Lustgli deven
dear Mummy and Daddy, I hope you are all right. this morning I went to see Nancey. The parcel got here or right. and thank you for it, the coat fitted me very well. The Funy littl Letter is From Sephen. we are all making christmis presents. it is raining today and it has not been verey nice For a long time. are the flowers in our garden out I wish I was at home to get caterpillars of the cababges with Lots of Love from xxx Joy xxx
5. mopston Lustleigh devon
Dear mummy and daddy, I hope you are all right I am sorry I dident right last weak please will you let daddy read this letter Ruth is going home on wedensday. I am glade you are better. it is a lovley day today please will you give miss shorland my love, my tooth is in the envelope with all my love from Joy david stephen and nancey xxxxxxxxxxxx with lots more love From Joy xxx mummy xxxxxxxxxx
6. mapston Lustligh deven
dear daddy and mummy I hope you are all right are there eny rades in Bristil. thank you for coming down. stephen was not unhappy when you went put he rembered you. are the boys your tething good beguse if they arent hang them on the seling with xxxxxx Lots of Love Joy xxxxxxxx
7. Mapstone Lustleigh S Devon march 15th
Dear daddy, I hope my letter arived all right. did DaviD have a nice birthday. it is pouring with rain. please will you send me some writing paper. evry-body here at easter are going away For a holiday. helga has gone away. for good. Is nancy happy. I long to see her again. do try to come and meet us with lots of love and kisses from Joy xxxx
8. mapston Lustligh deven
Dear Mummy and Daddy I hope you are all right. I do hope you can come. and Bring Daddy with you. has Betty had a nice holiday. it is not a very nice day today. stephen is very proud of being three. I am getting rather excitid it was awfully nice on Fridy and I thout of a little rime becose it is Freng on Fridy
Frensh on Fridy all will gide thee, Frensh on thursday all the world will twirl thee, sums on monday we all thick it funy, sums on mondaywe all thinck it funy
I hope my letter has arived wiht day are you coming nancey is all right and growing with Lots of Love From Joy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
In fact Joy's poem was set out neatly in 4 lines but leaving it like that takes up too much room on the blog. Betty Chilcot was Mother's live-in maid !
9. Dic th21
Dear Mummy and Daddy I hope you have a Lovly christmas. I am not opening my parcals till christmas. I have bouht Nancy a little blue mug I hope you like your presents. did you get my Last weaks Letter. Nancy has a pair of brown shoes and she goes out evry day and walks quite a Lot. on boxing day I and stephen are going to tea with her. Joclin Jerimy and Judith and dafny have all gone away. when are you coming down. Lindys daddy and mummy have come down. I wish you had come down for the play. I was a King. christifer and stephen are playing mothers christifer is mummy and it was very funy becus he said mummy youv got your trousers on with Lots of Love Joy xxxxxxxxxx
That's enough for today ~ more than enough you are probably thinking ~ but a peep through the eyes of an evacuee, often feeling homesick. I have found it terribly difficult copying Joy's spelling and punctuation
Friday morning : Lets try and type up the remaining letters . . . there is a page of puzzles , patterns and cartoons ~ My Letter, Pussle Corner, pets story, patterns and jokes and then a poem in running writing :
The Singer A little bird sat in a tree / /I opened the door to give him a cake / andt he kept singing twee-te-twe / and what with his singing he kept me awake.
Now the little bird is dead / a bad boy hit him on the head / I will hear his song no more / for he's dead upon the floor.
I buried my little bird today / I do not really want to play / his little heart will no more thump / because he had such a bad bump. (this is touchingly illustrated.)
And finally a letter in running writing from 1944 ~ the five of us were all home in Bristol and Stella a family friend was looking after us while Daddy and Mummy went to visit his family in Scunthorpe and then on to Helen and Philip Lamb in York.
Dear Mummy and Daddy, the others have settled down very nicely You will be very glad to hear that I was top in exam composition I got nineteen out of twenty no one got twenty or nineteen exept me Please try to bring a few books of Aunt Ruth's as I am running out of books. Thank you very much for your parcel I much enjoy my hankey. I am afraid to say I am in bed today. I had a funny turn yesterday on the way home from school and I was with miss Williams and so she took me home the doctor said it was very slight and Father Sharp came in but it was because we think I had a varuka on my foot and I went to the clinic and had a hot poltice on it and then I walked back wich must have been to much for me. Rita can now swim like a fish about as far as I can. Stephen won a prise of a great big sort of map covered with Wild Flowers he was very happy Mary and nacy have every meal at the nursery and are very good and happy there. on wedensday Mary took my big doll and dropped it its head broke in half its eyes fell back. I could not stop her taking it for they go at half past six and Stella makes the rest of us stay in bed until they are cleared out. I hope you have liked this letter that comes from Joy Love XXX Joy XXX Daddy XXX Mummy XXX
There is a note here in Mother's hand, saying that this minor episode which occurred when Stella was looking after us all is the last, the only trace of epilepsy I ever had after the vicar had laid hands on me that Maundy Thursday 1945. Which tells us this letter was written later that summer when David was at Bristol Grammar School, I was at Knowle Park Junior and Stephen in Knowle Park Infants, and while our parents were away (their first ever break together) Nancy and Mary spent their days in the local Nursery ~ meanwhile Stella noblly coped with everything ~ she was a single woman with no experience of children but seems to have survived !
I don't have any photos from the War years but this was taken in the garden at 35 St Martin's Road, Knowle, Bristol shortly afterwards. Granny Proctor had come to live with us (a burden Mother was to carry for years) and Helen had not yet arrived.