Child of the Thirties

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Chipmunkapublishing ltd, Jun 14, 2011 - 274 pages
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""This book is a must for everyone who lived through the pre-war and war years. I found it so fascinating and accurate in every detial, and had great difficulty in putting it down even to eat: Those of us who grew up with loving parents and siblings will realise how lucky we were not to experience the lonely little girl Sheila must have been at times, and how important friends were to her. I was one of those friends and feature in the school photo in the book, and even though we lost touch in our busy middle years I feel so proud that Sheila has written this poignant story of her early life. Whether you know her or not I defy anyone not to be touched by it. Mrs. Joan Buckland ""Sheila's book is a moving account and a powerful piece of social history. It should act as a reminder of mental health care in the past, and the impact that mental ill-health can have on friends and family"" - Paul Farmer, Chief Executive MIND DescriptionAbout the AuthorSheila Brook was born in 1931, and spent long periods living in other people's homes occurred during the first eight years of her life, owing to her mother's recurrent episodes of mental illness. Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War her mother was again admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital and Sheila did not see her again for over twenty years. Her father employed a housekeeper and Sheila was able to return once again to her own home in Kenton, Middlesex, now part of Greater London. On leaving School at fourteen in 1945 Sheila had a little further education, which included what was then called 'commercial' training (shorthand, typing and bookkeeping). She then became Secretary to an Almoner at a private, pre-NHS Clinic in London before becoming Secretary to a Harley Street Consultant.She left work when she married in 1952. She and her husband spent the first eleven years of their marriage living with her father in Sheila's childhood home, looking after her father, husband, and, in the course of time, two children. In 1963 she moved to Hertfordshire with her family, and when her sons grew older she studied and passed the required examinations that enabled her to go to Teacher Training College. In 1971 she began teaching in a local Primary School, and soon enjoyed the responsibility for Girls' games, coaching the Netball Teams for the inter-school matches and annual Netball Rally, activities that she had been unable to enjoy herself during her education, due to the restrictions of the war years. Severe, long-standing, facial neuralgia forced her to take early retirement after some years of teaching, and the satisfaction she had in her chosen career made this hard to bear. She felt that she had made a positive contribution to her pupils' futures, which had been curtailed because of the constant neuralgic pain. Sheila has always enjoyed an active life, and played tennis until she turned seventy. She attends a weekly Keep Fit class and also a Medau movement session. She spent many years singing in a Senior Ladies Choir, and enjoyed Folk Dancing until very recently. She is an avid reader when time permits, loves her garden, but now has a lesser love for the work it requires. Her marriage continued for almost fifty-five years, until her husband died from cancer in the Spring of 2007. Eight months later Sheila herself was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had surgery in January 2008. Her other hobby of doing jigsaw puzzles has not been indulged for some time. Life is too busy, and she is in constant pain. Sheila Gaylor wrote her book in her maiden name of Brook as a tribute to her late parents. As she wrote her story she appreciated how much anxiety and sorrow her father had suffered, and how her mother's mental illness had deprived her of her home, her family and her freedom.
 

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Contents

CHAPTER1 EARLYYEARS
6
CHAPTER3 FAMILYBACKGROUND
26
CHAPTER4 HAPPYDAYS
39
CHAPTER5 CHILDHOOD TOYS AND PASTIMES
52
CHAPTER7 FIRST MONTHS OF THE WAR
67
CHAPTER8 HOMEAGAIN
80
CHAPTER10 HARDTIMES
99
CHAPTER11 WINTER IN WARTIME
112
CHAPTER13 JUNIORSCHOOLDAYS
125
CHAPTER15 NEW BEGINNINGS
154
CHAPTER17 AN UNEXPECTED HOLIDAY
174
CHAPTER19 TERMINATIONS
195
CHAPTER20 MOVINGON
208
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