I Was An Evacuee

A Memory of Bodmin.

Towards the end of WW2, I was evacuated to Bodmin. On arrival, we were taken by coach to a large hall. I suppose there must have been more than a hundred of us. At first, we noisily filled the hall, each with a single suitcase. At the far end, a number of posh looking ladies sat at a long trestle table. Then the locals came in through a side door and surveyed us before picking out someone to take home with them. My two friends from London were snapped up almost immediately and I later found out that they were billeted with the owner of the local cinema. Gradually the hall emptied out, and as those remaining became fewer and fewer, I did my best to look unconcerned. Then empty. Now 86, I can still recall my feelings as it became clear that I would be the last one left. Just as I began to wonder what they would do with me, a very upright lady came through the door. She was approached by one of the ladies from the front table, and there followed a brief conversation that I could not hear. After what seemed an age, the posh lady beckoned me to come forth. I picked up my case and went over. The posh lady looked at the label tied around me 'Michael', she told the lady, Michael Cremonesi. The posh lady wrote down some details on her clip board, and that was it. 'I am your Aunty Gladys', my new guardian said to me as we made our way out of the hall, 'You will be meeting uncle Louis when we get home'. And so began my several months stay with Mr and Mrs Stevens at 19 Lower Boar Street.
These kind people looked after me well and I can still recall the taste of Aunty Gladys' great cooking. At an early stage, Aunty Gladys asked me 'At home, do you go to church or chapel?'. Completely gobsmacked I took a stab in the dark. 'Chapel' I replied. 'Oh', said Mrs Stevens, 'We attend church here, I am sure that will be alright'. And so began a Sunday ritual of Morning Service, followed by Sunday School in the afternoon, followed by Evening Service followed by an evening stroll through the town, during which we seemed to be greeted by everyone in the town including the vicar. On one occasion at the behest of my two London friends, I skipped church and ended up in a Salvation Army meeting. I think this was in Market Street. My absence from church did not go unnoticed. I had better stop rambling on, as I have so many memories of this bygone age. Suffice it to say, that my memories of Bodmin and its kind people are all good ones.

Added 24 August 2020


Comments & Feedback

ENJOYED your memories. It is good to know that I am not the other one that has wonderful memories that sometimes make me homesick. I live in San Diego , California now. Jean
I was evacuated from London to Suffolk in 1944 when the Germans sent over the V1s. I loved the break from the East End. I loved the visits of the locally based GIs at Leiston airbase. I was sick from eating my first banana which I was offered. No one had told me that I had to peel it first.

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