In this Scrap Book picture my dad is third from left in the middle row.
His first real job after leaving school was as a Film Librarian working at Jessops in Leicester and then in June 1950 when he was eighteen years old he started his National Service in the Royal Air Force at the Air Ministry in London.
This sounds awfully exciting but I suspect that it probably wasn’t. From 1949, every healthy man between the ages of 18 and 26 was expected to serve in the armed forces for a minimum period of eighteen months. Men were exempt from National Service if they worked in three ‘essential services’, which were coal mining, farming and the merchant navy, so not film librarians then!
I’d like to tell you that he was a fighter pilot or a commando or something thrilling but the plain fact is that he worked at the Air Ministry in London in the office as a clerk/typist whose job was ‘the compilation and maintenance of officers’ and airmens’ records and documents’.
I can only imagine that this was exceedingly dull!
He must have enjoyed it however because he completed over two years and his discharge paper of 13th July 1952 says that his conduct was exceptional and his ability was very good, he was described as ‘smart’ on a scale of ‘very smart’, ‘smart’ or ‘untidy’ and he was summed up as ‘a very reliable and efficient clerk who has done good work and helped in the tuition of others’.
Even though it was probably dull and rather a chore I imagine that it would have been good fun to spend a couple of years in the service of the State in the company of good chums from around the country from places he had never heard of or visited. This is the reverse of the top photograph and I often wonder if he ever kept in touch with that group of friends?
And so 2012 and another blogging year comes to an end and thank you to everyone who visited, passed by or just dropped in by accident when looking for something else and increased my page hits by 87% from 100,671 views in 2011 to 188,500 in 2012.
Throughout the year I have been reviewing old posts and reblogging and in that time I have managed a post a day for the entire year. I have added new pictures, corrected mistakes and changed some text in response to feedback.
But I cannot do that again next year so I have identified a new project.
When my dad died I took possession of a box of papers and mementos which included a scrap book and several exercise books with yellowing dog-eared pages which included notes and stories of things that were important to him and what he liked to write about and keep a record of.
This box of old books is now one of my most treasured possessions and I return to it regularly for inspiration. It is a record of his life that he recorded and archived and I feel privileged to possess this box of history.
It occurred to me one time that if my dad had had access to the internet and to the opportunity to share these things with others through a wider medium then he would surely have been a blogger and because I hoped that in twenty or thirty year’s time my own children might like to know about me in the same way – but I don’t want to keep scrap books or written journals – then I decided that the appropriate modern equivalent to the scrap book would be through blog posts.
In keeping with my theme of ‘New Light Through Old Windows” I have decided that my project for 2013 will be to take a page at a time and find a memory story that leaps from the page. I am not going to post every day because that becomes a bit of a chore just now and again when I am satisfied that I have a story. Sometimes these will be revisited and recycled and sometimes they will be new.
I hope that readers will still continue to drop by?
For the New Year I have decided to refresh my blogging site and rebrand it as ‘New Light through Old Windows’.
I began the blog in 2009 and called it ‘Age of Innocence’ with the aim of writing an occasional post about every year of my childhood and teenager life (1954-1970) and reflecting on the major events of those years through the news and personal experience and recollections.
In 2011 I set myself the ambitious project of posting a blog every day by searching back in time and finding a pot-pourri of Madeleine memories and significant events on a day in history or in my life that gave me a special ‘Memory Nudge’ and something to write about – I called this ‘A Life in a Year’.
I completed the project but sometimes it was hard work because when you have only lived, in the words of Shirley Valentine ’a little life’ it is difficult to find 365 events to write about.
For 2012 I am not going to set myself anything like such a difficult task but I am going to take some time to reassess the previous posts, leave some where they are, cryogenically frozen in time, but those which I consider my favourites or the best or the most interesting I am going to edit, review, dismantle, reconstruct and hopefully improve and repost. There will be some new subject matter as well but I certainly won’t be attempting a blog a day because I don’t want the pressure to publish which I have found in my case can lead to some inferior work.