Mr Jones' memories

"There we are," said Mr Jones, as he lowered himself into the big armchair in the corner, with the suitcase at his feet. "This will help me to tell you all about it."

Lewis took the top off his pen ready to write on the reporter's notepad he had bought at the newsagents on the estate. He had agreed to be the scribe if Nicola would do most of the asking.

"Now, where should I start?" asked Mr Jones opening the case lid and peering inside. "Ah yes, I think you'll find this interesting."

He was holding a bundle of letters and cards, held together with string. "This brings back memories" said Mr Jones, handing an old picture postcard to his two visitors. Nicola inspected it carefully and then passed it to Lewis. The picture on the front was of an old thatched cottage surrounded by fruit trees but there was no writing on the back of the card.

"That was where I spent most of the war years. You see, I was evacuated and went to stay with Mr and Mrs Taylor. They owned the cottage. They gave me the card when I left in 1945."

"Where did your parents live?" asked Nicola.

"In the city, 39, West Street," continued Mr Jones. "My dad worked on the railways. When they started evacuating the children and my school was closed, my mum kept me at home and I had to go to another school. She said she would never send me away. But then when the bombs started falling, off I went to Ribblesdale and Mr and Mrs Taylor. I remember standing on the railway station platform with my gas mask and little suitcase. They were kind to me and although I really missed my mum and dad, they made me feel at home. Not everyone had such happy times."

Mr Jones paused for a moment to find another item in his pile. He passed a beige-coloured card to Nicola. It was worn at the edges.

"That's my identity card. Everyone had to carry one of those during the war. You'll see my number on the top right corner. YNJA 58910246."

Lewis started to write it down but couldn't remember all the numbers. Mr Jones kept talking. He seemed to be enjoying talking about his memories.

"Oh look here's Neville." Lewis looked up to see an old straw teddy bear appear from inside the suitcase. "They don't make them like that anymore." When Lewis finally held the teddy he noticed that it only had one eye and an ear was missing. He wanted to ask Mr Jones about it but he was looking for more things in his case. "I'd forgotten about these," he said producing a pair of old clogs. "You see, all the children in the village wore clogs and I asked my mum to send me some. So she did and here they are."

Mr Jones showed them the box of buttons he had played with for hours, his ration book and the letters he received from his mum and dad. He would have carried on talking but Lewis explained that he had to go home for tea.

"Do come again," said Mr Jones as Lewis and Nicola walked down the path. "Next time I'll show you my photograph album."

The next day, at school, Nicola and Lewis both agreed to go back to see Mr Jones. It was great hearing someone else's life story and they were sure Mr Jones appreciated their visit too.