Happy Days

A Memory of Abercwmboi

We used to live in 3 Cromer Street, with my Dad's Uncle Bert. If memory serves, Bert used to work at the Phurnacite Plant, but my overriding memory is of him selling 'Corona' pop from the house. He must have had a franchise of some sort, as there were always crates of the stuff under the stairs and a 'Corona' lorry used to bring the new stock.
Next door down (no 2) was a Mrs Roberts and up the street I remember Mrs Sweet and, a lovely old chap, Mr Jones (can't remember who lived where, but, one was no 5 and the other no 8). Mr Jones was an old collier and used to make me boats out of his 'blocks' (the timber that colliers brought home for firewood). We'd walk down Cromer Street, across the main road and then down between the Co-op and the (then) abattoir to sail these 'block' boats on the pond in the photograph - leaving a wake through the coal dust on the surface.
They were hard times in the early fifties and my mum used to take my old pram down to the tip by the pond to pick coal from amongst the slag, it was common practice and there would often be a group of women there scavenging for what little coal there was on the tip.
Bert used to be a keen gardener and we were never short of fresh fruit and veg from his garden. Mr Jones kept chickens, I remember, and someone else further up the street kept pigs.
I started my school days in the Infants School across the road and can remember the covered area of playgroung, which I think was at the Junior School side.
Dad was a member of the Abercwmboi Operatic Society and sang in the chorus of a production of 'The Desert Song' (?) that they put on in the Abercwmboi Hall (Miners Welfare and Institute).
We moved to Cwmbach in 1952 but I've always had happy memories of Abercwmboi - despite the poverty and shortages, they were Happy Days - and, YES, people did leave their front doors open, it was a warm and close community. How things change ...

A memory shared by Allan Jones , on Mar 13th, 2009.

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