By Patricia Byrne (Bobcaygeon, ON)

Growing up in the Blitz:

Growing up in London during the Blitz I accepted what was going on as what life was all about.... until one never to be forgotten day.

I had set off with my satchel and gas mask strapped over my shoulders, looking forward with some trepidation, to the first lesson of the day which was to be English with my very most favourite teacher, Miss Potter.

I was anxious because previous day she had disciplined me for whispering during a test and had given me a detention. The next thing that had happened was that I publicly lost my temper and, with hot angry tears spilling down my cheeks, I called her "perfectly beastly." Big time swearing for an eight-year-old convent girl!

After a heart to heart with my mother that evening ( in the air raid shelter)  I was ready to apologise but it was too late; Miss Potter's flat had been the target of a direct hit. As my bus passed the roped off area around a mountain of rubble that had been her apartment building, with horror I saw her bathtub and toilet hanging precariously from a ledge in what was left of her bathroom. I remember thinking how embarrassed she would have been to have them exposed like
that.

Of Miss Potter herself nothing was ever found. Nothing at all.

From that day on war became real and no one could tell me when it was going to end.

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