Me, Evacuee

It is September 1st 1939 and World War Two has begun.
Jimmie is only ten years old and yet he is thrown into an unexpected situation which forces him to grow up much faster than he should. There is a call for children living in the cities to evacuate to the countryside and soon Jimmie finds himself all alone on a train to Devon and to an unknown world that is very unlike his own. However, when all seems on the upturn everything gets worse, as his father is sent to the battlefield, leaving his elder sister, his mother and her expected baby to abandon their home in Coventry and move to Cornwall. Jimmie finds it hard to keep track of his family's safety and under these hard circumstances he grabs onto the only links he has with home, while making friends with the unlikeliest of people.
Evacuation isn't as Jimmie expected. Will he make it through? Will his friends and family?
Everything goes into disarray when the bombs begin to fall...


2. A New Friend and Mayonnaise

A New Friend and Mayonnaise


                I couldn’t find any empty carriages but I found a carriage at the back of the train which only had a young boy in it. I slid the carriage door open and the boy looked up. I was stood there overloaded with packages and no doubt, I looked lost. He looked at me with tired eyes.

                “Um, hello. I, I was wondering if I could, maybe, join you,” I asked the boy nervously, blushing slightly. I was avoiding eye contact because I felt guilty, since Mother had told me that I couldn’t talk to strangers. He nodded. He instinctively shifted his belongings closer to him as I slid the door shut. I quietly sat onto the chair opposite. I placed my things on the seat beside me and settled myself on the seat by the window.

                “Hello. My name is Tommy,” he said, reaching a hand towards me, I just stared at it. I was worried that he might get me into trouble. I looked away and he uncomfortably withdrew his hand. There was an awkward length of silence while I just stared at the window and Tommy stared at me.

                The train jerked and bumped beneath me as I sat and stared at my feet. I tugged my grey socks further up my legs and turned over the ends. Trees flew past the window as the train chugged on. I could see my home of Coventry receding towards the horizon. I sighed.

                Since Mother had gone, I felt suddenly lonely and I didn’t know what to do. It was exciting to be going away, but until now, I hadn’t appreciated how long for. I missed her already and I missed Peter. I clicked my boots together and leaned my head against the cold window, watching the countryside roll by.

                 Then he said, “You can talk to me. I promise I won’t do anything to you.” I said nothing. “Please talk. I’ve got no friends where I’m going and I’m sure I’ll need one. Please be my friend.”

                I thought about it. This boy couldn’t do anything to me anyway, plus Mother wouldn’t know if I spoke to strangers. What Tommy said was true to me too. We could both use a friend at this time. I looked away from the window and looked at Tommy, he smiled.

                “Jimmie,” I muttered and shook Tommy’s outstretched hand.

                “Nice to meet you Jimmie,” he said politely and turned to lounge out flat upon the seat. The shy looking boy from a few minutes ago seemed a lot more at ease. “You okay?” he asked me, turning his head in my direction. I just shrugged and drew my knees up to my chest.

                “Just lonely?” he asked and I shrugged again. “Scared? Wish you could be with your parents again?” he asked, though not mockingly. I nodded in confirmation and he smiled. “Me too.” he added.

                “Could be great fun though.” He sighed, as if imagining all the fun he could have, much like I foolishly did before I boarded the train. Either I was overreacting to being evacuated or he was too naïve to realise what we were getting ourselves into. I just prayed that he was right to be excited.

                “You don’t talk much, do you?” he said. Another rhetorical question so I let it unanswered. In my opinion, I didn’t talk too little, he talked too much, but I didn’t state this fact aloud as I had promised Mother that I would behave. When he realised I wasn’t going to talk he rolled over so that his back was to me and didn’t say another word.

                After a long time of sitting in silence followed by some heavy breathing from Tommy, I assumed that he had fallen asleep. I turned so my back was to the window and shut my eyes. I prayed to God that everything was going to be okay, that I would make new friends and that Mother wouldn’t fret too much in my absence. Then tried to sleep as I had a long journey ahead and I wasn’t too fond of travelling.


                When I awoke, Tommy was awake and staring at me with a book held in his hands. I envied him, as I hadn’t brought anything other than necessities with me. To wake up finding him gazing at me was rather disturbing and, for a moment, I forgot where I was.

                “I saw you stirring,” was all Tommy said as if answering my unvoiced question. Then he returned to his book and I was glad; I still didn’t feel like talking.

                Rain was hammering against the window pane, the sky a depressing shade of grey; it was as if the earth itself was crying for me, sharing in my sadness. I just sat there and wished the call for ‘World War Two’ was just a hoax; I wished I could be at home with my family. I didn’t really understand my change of heart. I guess that before it hadn’t really sunk in, but I was here now, doing it now. I sighed.

                I pulled my most prized possession, my bowler hat, a present from my tenth birthday, over my eyes, blocking out the world. However, in the darkness, all I could do was think and it didn’t help my situation.

                I heard the rustling of a paper bag and raised my hat above my eyes. Tommy was pulling a sandwich out of what appeared to be his lunch. I was starving but my mother hadn’t packed any lunch for me as she couldn’t afford much and there wasn’t anywhere for me to put it. I wished desperately for a bite but I knew it was rude to ask, so I just pulled my hat over my eyes again and tried to forget my hunger. Then I sat in silence.

                I felt something on my knee. I waited before looking. One half of Tommy’s sandwich was balanced on my knee. I looked at him unsure if I could eat it and he smiled at me before returning to his book. I took it gratefully and savoured every bite of it. It was much better than anything I had ever tasted, at least that was what it seemed like. It had a little bit of chicken inside and the lettuce was crunchy and fresh. There was also a white cream inside which I hadn’t come across before. The bread was lovely and crunchy on the outside.

                Tommy’s family was clearly richer than mine was, although I should have already guessed from the clothes he wore. Although I didn’t expect he was all that well-off. Times were hard for everybody; it was just that my family were especially poor.

                I finished the sandwich and licked my lips. “Thank you,” I said quietly, but audible enough.

                “You’re welcome,” Tommy replied.

                There was a little silence as I waited to ask my question. “What was that white cream inside it?” I asked, awkwardly.

                Tommy laughed but not unkindly, more in a way of surprise. “What? You mean mayonnaise?” I couldn’t answer the question because I didn’t know what mayonnaise was. I guessed that we were talking about the same thing. I liked mayonnaise. I was happy that I had already found one good thing about this trip, though actually I had also made a new friend.

                “Okay,” I said, unexpectedly.

                “Okay, what?”

                “Okay, I’ll be your friend.” I was referring to his question from earlier on. He understood.

                “Good. I’m sure we’ll be good friends,” I agreed.

                For the rest of the journey we each told one another stories, funny ones, happy ones, sad ones and we came to know each other rather well. At some points, as we told each other humorous memories, we could be found laughing at the top of our voices and I’m sure our laughs could have been heard from the other end of the train. Often we were in such fits of laughter that we produced no sound whatsoever.

                The fun we had on the train was good for us since it helped us to forget what was to come and it was a good start to the trip. Tommy was definitely growing on me and I was glad that I had someone else that was going through the same problems as I was. We needed each other and we would even more in time to come.

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