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BARNSLEYANDFAMILY

JOINING THE GIRLS' BRIGADE

 

MY UNIFORM AND THE GIRLS’ BRIGADE.

 

I was nine years old when I asked my mum and dad if I could join the Girls’ Brigade, which gathered every Friday night at Lundwood Methodist Chapel, in Harold Avenue.  My dad’s comment was, “you might as well, lass, you have been in everything else except the “Sally” Army.  (No disrespect intended to The Salvation Army).

The Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade were Methodist Organisations, and indeed did a lot of good work.  My mum’s reaction, was somewhat different, she was all for me joining, but she worried about the uniform, the cost in money, but more importantly, the number of clothing coupons needed.  Anyway she gave me permission to join and off I went to my first session, with Olive Bolton, who lived across the road in Lang Avenue.  I really enjoyed being there, the only blot on the evening was, on our way home, we decided to call for a bag of chips.

Olive got hers and I asked for mine, much to my horror when I came to pay for them I was a half penny short, I was so embarrassed and I asked the lady serving behind the counter if she would take some chips out of the bag.  No such luck, I had a telling off, and “my” bag of chips was emptied back into the chip container, I was mortified, I think Olive shared hers with me, but I can’t really remember.  Maybe she gave me some of her scraps.  I got home full of enthusiasm for my new commitment, telling my mum that I had to attend a set number of weeks, before I could be full accepted.  She was quite relieved at this, I could see, money and clothing coupons in her eyes, she was even more relieved when I told her that there was a waiting list for the uniform, so it would be quite a long time, before I would be the proud wearer of my own.  Hopefully, as far as I was concerned I would have it in readiness for the Whitsuntide Parade or March as it was sometimes called. Whitsuntide was a celebrated Church Festival, a high point of this, was being rigged out in new and another high point was taking part in the parade.

It would attract many spectators, each Church/Chapel would bring out their banners, which were really huge flags.  There would be several bands and children, together with some grown ups, would proudly march round the streets, following the banner of their particular place of Worship.  I could not bear to think that I would be marching, all be it in my new clothes, without wearing my uniform.

A few weeks before Whit Sunday, I was measured for my coveted uniform, and I was so excited, on reflection, the lady who measured me did not appear very skilled in the art of using a tape measure.  I could not wait for the following week, when hopefully I would have it, sure enough, there it was, I tried it on and I can remember thinking that it seemed rather heavy.  That was the least of my worries ( I should mention that after the measuring, my mum had paid, both money and clothing coupons).  I took it home on the Friday night, in readiness to wear two days later for the Whitsunday Celebrations.  I can remember, prancing around the house, feeling so important. I did not notice, the looks of dismay and horror that my parents were exchanging.  Apparently when I bent over to pick something up, the skirt went with me, and gave anyone who would care to look, full view of my navy blue knickers.  It was like a crinoline dress of the Victorian era, which would have done the same, if the young ladies wearing them hadn’t shown any decorum.  Once again I missed the appalled looks of my mum and dad, this, was even worse, and no daughter of there’s was going to risk showing her knickers to all and sundry, and look ridiculous at the same time.

After I had gone to bed, it was decided by mum and dad that there was only one thing to be done, the uniform had to be altered, time was running short.  Bless them, they sat up in bed, and spent hours unpicking the hem of this wretched garment, whilst I was sound asleep, with my little brother.  When I got up the next morning, dad was not there, I was told that he had had to go to Barnsley, and would be back later, when I asked if I could try my uniform again, my mum fobbed me off with some excuse or other.  What I did not realise was that dad had got up at the crack of dawn, taken my bike, the dreaded garment, together with one of my frocks and peddled as if the “Devil” himself was after him, until he reached my Auntie Mary’s (one of the expert sewers in our family).

 

Without batting an eyelid she started immediately with her scissors and sewing machine, and made a “silk purse from a sow’s ear”.  Naturally, dad had to use the same method of transport to get back home, and in my mind’s eye, I can see him now, as he walked in through the door, a great big beam on his face and a brown paper parcel in his hands.

Hallelujah, it fitted, no longer did it show my nether garments, when I bent down, the hem had been let down, and the side seams taken in.

I looked as smart as any of the other girls as I marched proudly behind the band.

I would add, after the first hour of the parade, I was thoroughly fed up, for one thing, the material was too heavy and hot, and for another I had two huge blisters on my heels.  I continued to go to be a member of the Girls’ Brigade for quite a long time afterwards, at least until I had outgrown the uniform.

You are my Sunshine

Written by former Louisiana State Governor Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell; Copyright 1940 and 1977 by Peer International Corporation. This song is one of two official songs for the State of Louisiana.

You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away

The other nite, dear,
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear,
I was mistaken
And I hung my head and cried.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

I'll always love you
And make you happy
If you will only say the same
But if you leave me
To love another
You'll regret it all some day;

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

You told me once, dear
You really loved me
And no one else could come between
But now you've left me
And love another
You have shattered all my dreams;

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.



You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.


You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

The above song is one which my dad used to sing to me, when I was a little girl, I have been trying to find an appropriate place for it on my website.  I think here is as good as anywhere.