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4 The Gap And 7 Parkside - a Memory of Marcham.

My memory of Marcham started in 1946-7. My grandmother, Lydia Lawrence, used to live at no 4 The Gap. She was born in Long Wittemham, then she married my grandfather in 1906 (Victor Davis, he was killed in the First World War). They went to live in Sutton Courtenay, by then they had two children, Victor Davis (my father) and Eileen Davis (my aunt), in 1920 she meet and married a Marcham man called John Lawrence, who used to live at Pack Horse Lane, Marcham, so they all moved to no 4 The Gap in 1921. There were four bungalows up The Gap, nos 2, 4, 6, and 8, that as far as I can remember were built and owed by the Anson family (now the Anson Trust). They were in the early years built of wood and I can remember my dad saying that in the first winter all the snow piled up inside the roof and the range gave out no heat for cooking. There used to be a water pump in the garden, years later my mother (Kathleen) caught her veil on it on her wedding day, 11th May 1940, but repairs were made. My sister and myself were born in Farnborough in Hampshire (my father wanted us born in Marcham, but what with the war and Dad being away a lot, it did not happen. My sister and me were christened at Marcham church. I went to Marcham School when I was 4, I went early because my gran was unwell and they started me early to help her. I can't remember a lot about my first days at school, but I can remember the hot summer, and the other memory I have is of all the laughter in the evenings (when I should have been asleep) and I can clearly remember one afternoon there was a bad thunderstorm, and I was in Nan's bedroom looking out of the window, and in came Nan and said to me, "Don't mind me, boy", and then she promptly got in the big wardrobe and closed the door, in those days a lot of peaople used to cover all the mirrows and anything bright and leave a window open front and back to let any thunderbolts through. I think it was a short time later that my nan was taken ill again and the doctor said it would be to her advantage if my mum, dad and the two children moved out for a while, but Dad had nowhere to take us, then someone said that people were squatting on Steventon army camp(disused) so there we went. In July 1949 my dear gran died (she is buried at Marcham). The council took over Steventon army camp and they started building houses in all the nearby villages, and then moving out the familes at the army camp back to the village they came from, which meant us going back to Marcham. So we arrived back at Marcham into a brand new house, no 7 Parkside. I can remember looking around 7 Parkside even before it was finished, my dad was measuring all the windows for curtains, nobody knew which house they were going to get, and Mum said "This one will do" and that's the one we got. I had a cat named Timmy and when we moved I put him in a hessian sack (he could breath). Happy days were ahead. I started back to school, hair cut day I used to like because it meant a morning off school and a bag of sweets, bus into Abingdon, go to Sparrows in Bath Street, back to school with sweets for my sister and me, and school dinners, which I did not mind, if you helped to clear up, Miss Fisher always gave you seconds of pudding (guess who helped clear up). If you played up in class you were sent to sit with the imfants (which I hated). When you got to school in the mornings you took turns to take the milk in on a trolley, we used to have gardening and nature walks which we all loved, once we went to one of Mr Harding's fields (a local farmer down North Street), the field where the pill box is) with Miss Ffisher andall joined hands in a circle and then someone touched the electric fence and we all got a shock (just like a thump on the shoulder). Everyone was told about deadly nightshade and what berries you could eat and what not to.
Myself, and I think others, used to save our comics and send them up to the local Dr Barnardo's home. At dinner times we used to go to the school house and ask Mrs Beart (headmistress) if we could go down Mill Lane, which we did, and she used to blow her whistle for us to come back. I had many afternoon in my underwear while my clothes were drying over the stove because I had been in Whitewater (a stream). I used to be coke monitor, it was best when they had a delivery, up to the top and slide all the way down, told off when I got back in class as I would be very dirty. We used to like going down the pub after church on Sundays, orange drink and a packet if crisps. One day a week I used to go to Higgins shop for baccy for Mr Harding (farmer), he used to say I could keep the change, 1p ,that meant some sweets. I have been back to Marcham many times, it's still got my childhood magic.

A memory shared by Graham Davis on Feb 15th, 2011. Send Graham Davis a message

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