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...

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7. Shopping for New Things

Shopping For New Things

Jimmie

                I slept a long time, Tommy slept even longer. The food was good last night, but as soon as I woke up in the morning, I shot downstairs for breakfast. I was worried that my stomach might decide to eat itself. Of course, I knew that wouldn’t happen. It was cold so I pulled my jacket over my pyjamas.

                Mrs Elsie and Mr Jim were up when I went downstairs. They were each sitting on a sofa, drinking a cup of tea. They both looked up when I walked in.

                “Jimmie, my boy! You had a long sleep. Where’s Tommy?” Mr Jim asked.

                “Still Sleeping.” I answered.

                “Are you wanting breakfast?”

                “Yes please!” I blushed.

                “Of course he’ll be wanting breakfast, that one. We need to fatten him up Jim, he’s so skinny.” I blushed even harder. I didn’t know whether it was a compliment.

                “Come on then, Little Jimmie.” Big Jim said, leading me into the kitchen. I waited in there, somewhat impatiently, while Mr Jim cooked me bacon and eggs for breakfast, better than I was used to. Later Tommy awoke and came down and we prepared ourselves for our journey to the shops.

*

                The three of us walked down the street. Mrs Elsie had stayed at home, as she still felt tired and a little ill. Mr Jim carried me part way on his shoulders and Tommy walked beside us. This height gave me a fantastic view and I peered into people’s gardens and through people’s windows as we strolled past, one funny sight being and old man lying flat-backed upon the grass. I knew it was rude to look, but the weather was wonderful and so I didn’t care.

                When we reached the shops, Mr Jim put me down and I walked. We stepped into the butchers while Mr Jim bough some more meat, which would be stored in the meat cupboard. Tommy found it interesting to look at the carcasses, but the notion made me sick.

                Next, we entered the bakers across the road, we got some bread and some cakes. This made me over excited. I loved cake. We almost entered the fish monger, but I told Mr Jim I hated fish and that it made me sick and he said that was okay, he wasn’t much of a fan of seafood anyway. Tommy hadn’t had much before but wrinkled his nose at the smell, so we moved on.

                We also bought lots of fruit and vegetables at the greengrocers, even though Mr Jim grew some vegetables in his garden. We also bought lots of other wanted and needed items from the grocer, before we moved on to buy the interesting things.

                We entered various other shops and Mr Jim bought me and Tommy another pair of shorts each, as well as another shirt. Even though we were supposed to bring clothes I didn’t have many at home and I beginning to grow too big for them. Mr Jim said it was good to have fresh clothes anyway, even though these were second hand. He also bought us both another couple of pairs of socks.

                Mr Jim also heard that I hadn’t brought a book despite the fact that I loved reading, so he took us to a bookshop and told me to choose a book and he would buy it. I looked round, making sure that I picked a good one. I liked the look of one which looked a little old, but it told me it had often been read. In glistening gold letters on the front it read, ‘Treasure Island’. I called Mr Jim over.

                “That’s a good ‘un.” He told me and gently took it from my hands. He also bought a book called ‘Swallows and Amazons’ for Tommy, him having chosen it because it looked new, the opposite of me. Mr Jim told me that he and Mrs Elise had some other books at the house that we could read if we finished ours and wanted to read something new. I said that was wonderful.

                After all of our shopping we were tired, so Mr Jim bought us a bar of chocolate to share. I fell in love immediately; I hadn’t had it much before. He also gave us some money to buy some sweets at the old sweet shop and Tommy and me exited the shop with heavy paper bags. I was going to savour my sweets; I didn’t get them often.

                As we walked home, I had a little bounce in my step and I chewed on some wine gums. Mr Jim told me not to eat too many as it would make me hyper and it would keep me up. I told him not to worry and that I wouldn’t.

                When I walked through the front door, yet more excitement was to greet me. Mrs Elsie was sitting in the lounge knitting with some dark green wool. I slid off my shoes and flopped onto the sofa beside her.

                “What are you knitting, Mrs Elsie?” I asked, slipping a pear drop into my mouth. The paper bag crackled in my hand.

                “I’m knitting you a jumper, Jimmie, and you too, Tommy.” she added when Tommy walked through the door. “Do you like green Jimmie?” she asked me, looking up from her work.

                “Oh yes, Mrs Elsie. It will be wonderful! Thank you, Mrs Elsie.” I said, excitedly.

                “Good. I’ll just finish Jimmie’s then I’ll start on yours Tommy.” Tommy thanked her and sat in another arm chair, looking across the lounge and onto the street.

                “Would yellow be okay for you Tommy?” she asked him. He looked away from the window and nodded at her.

                “That would be nice.” He said and pulled Swallows and Amazons from a bag. He lay back in the chair, opened it, and began to read. He didn’t talk for a while. However, Mrs Elsie began to ask me questions about our shopping trip. The conversation then led onto talking about my family and my past. I told her about how Sara was doing exams and that Father worked in a factory. I then told her about school. She asked me whether I liked it, I said I did and that I was smart, but that I got bullied an awful lot.

                “That sounds awful.” She exclaimed. I nodded, but told her that I often got into trouble instead of Joe, because I often retaliated with words, which was when I often got caught. I explained that Mother was called into school sometimes because of my behaviour. She thought that I was a trouble maker because of it. I always seemed to get myself into trouble. We talked some more.

                “What’s that in your hand Jimmie?” Mrs Elsie asked me, her eyes still on her work.

                “Sweets” I replied simply. I offered the bag to her. “Would you like one?” I asked her politely.

                “Oh no, Jimmie. I’m fine, besides, they’re for you.” I smiled and she continued knitting. I ran upstairs to my room to put my sweets away. Mr Jim was in there when I walked in.

                “Is that you Little Jim?” he called and turned. He saw me standing there and continued to sort through our drawers.

                “I was just putting your things away.” He told me.

                “Thank you.” I said and walked over, placing my bag of sweets upon my bedside table. Treasure Island was already there. I guessed Mr Jim had brought it up for me. When I turned to leave, something caught my eye and I looked up. Brown strips were plastered over the window. I peered closer and saw that it was tape, some that Mr Jim had bought that day.

                “Mr Jim. Why is there tape on the window?” I asked him. He turned

                “Oh, that? For protection.” He answered. I frowned

                “Protection from what?” I asked. I couldn’t understand how tape could protect me.

                “Bombs.” He said, and then stopped, as if he wished he hadn’t said it. I frowned even harder.

                “But bombs won’t be dropped here, will they?” I asked him. I thought that was the whole idea of moving to the countryside, to do with ‘Operation Pied Pieper’, or something of the sort.

                Mr Jim looked up at me and smiled. “Of course not Little Jim.” He said, and continued. I also saw a sheet of black material on the window, but I decided not to ask what that was for.

                Later that day Mrs Elsie knitted, Tommy read or listened to the radio and Mr Jim rushed around the house doing jobs. When night fell, I couldn’t find a window in the house which wasn’t taped up or draped over with fabric. Mrs Elsie told me that my Jumper would be finished the next day, during dinner. We had fish and chips for tea and had a mug of hot chocolate before I went to bed.

                I started Treasure Island before I went to bed and I had dreams of cliffs, pirates and treasure because of it. Today had been fun and I was sure that tomorrow would be too.

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