Audrey von Lindern's Story
Hallo Gerry and all, What a small world, I was born and lived,
until I came to America, at the bottom of Cassland Rd, Hackney
was evacuated sept. 1st. 1939 From Balance Rd. Catholic (convent) school.
There was a little row of shops on the 'hill' at the bottom of Cassland Rd.,
towards Wick Rd. before the blitz, my grandfather had a barber shop there.
The school was evacuated to Northhampton, as there was a convent there to take the girls,
I never saw them again. Gerry you must have lived very close to where the first
Buzz bomb fell, do you remember it? I do. I worked, for a short time, at "Little Toddlers "
shoe factory, in King Edwards Rd., as a telephonist (is that a word?)
Ended up working at the Hackney library in Mare St.
On Sept. 1st. Last year, as an E.R.A. member, I attended the 60th anniversary reunion at
Westminster Abby, it was time the 'children 'came home,so about six thousand
of us made the return journey.
It is said the evacuation affected 3.1/2 million children, it seemed there was that many
on my train that day, trying to get a drink of water from the lone St.Johns
Ambulance man's canteen, remember NO DRINKS? No 'lavs' on the train!
I came to southern Idaho to visit a Yank I had met in London, only meant to stay a week or so,
but married, had three children, widowed 1968, stayed, to raise the kids.
Still 'long for' London (as it was!). Very nice to have someone to
remember with, Thank you.
Audrey von Lindern (nee Fowler).
After I left school (at age 14) my mother decided I should learn
how to type, so I could get a good job.
On one of her Saturday morning trips to Roman Road market,
she bought me a used typewriter. It was a 1895 Blickensderfer,
I think it's the first portable model made, in a wooden case,
no QWERTY keyboard, a tiny inked pad, with a cylinder with
the letters on (I still have it !); hence, I never learned to type.
I loved going to the 'Lane,' do you remember Prince Monolulu?
He was always there, touting, then you'd see him
trying to get on the Underground with that enormous
bunch of flags he always carried.
I was nine when our school was evacuated to Northhampton. My mother
volunteered to accompany a group of children, thinking we would end up in the
same place, but she got lost on the station, and was sent to help with a group
of mothers with babies, and ended up in Tur Langton, Liecestershire, at the
Manor house! So as soon as possible she came for me, and found me a billet
with a local family. She soon found out she wouldn't be staying in the manor,
The "housing' was bl--dy awful, and she went back to Hackney. My sister, nine
years older, always remembers the 'chicken in the oven' left in my mother's
haste to catch up with me, she said it was quite ripe by the time she found
it..... All for now.....Audrey.
I attened the Evacuee's re-union in London Sept.1st '99. there wasn't a dry eye in the
Abby when a recording of 'Goodnight children everywhere'was played. About 6000
evacuees were there, some with a gas mask, one man had his small cardboard
suitcase, he said it had cost sixpence in Woolworths. There is a video,
through E.R.A.. it is all outside shots, nothing from inside the Abby,we all
lined up and followed directions, just as before...
My cousin Stanley , at age 5, was evacuated to British Columbia
Canada, and came back at age 11, and after a couple of years in post
war London, the family decided to move to Canada, back to where
Stanley had spent the past 6 years. The main reason I came to Idaho
USA , in 1948, to see if I wanted to move here, was the fact that my
Uncle Fred and family were what I thought , right next door.!!!!And
if I wanted to leave I could just get on a bus, and go to
Canada. I had been writing to a YANK for 3 years that I
had met once, in London at age 15, and when I told him we were
thinking of moving to Australia. and, he sent me a one way ticket to
fly to Idaho, to see if I liked it here...After we married, and I was
having my first baby, I realized I would be happier almost any where
else in the world, but the bus didn't go by the door, as it had in
London, and Uncle Fred had taken his family back to England anyway.
I never regretted marrying , but I cried every night for many many
years. I was so terribly homesick, and my husband felt his was his duty
to stay on the family farm, as his elder brother had been killed,
shot down over Holland, and his father wanted to retire....So we
were 'sharecroppers' for 20 years, until he was killed, and they sold
the farm. I had been away too long to go back, and my 3 children
wanted to stay here.... Audrey.
The house in Hackney where I was born and lived in until age 18, had
a front door that opened onto the street, with a passage running to
a flight of stairs on one side, a door to the front room on the
other, at the foot of the stairs another shorter passage ran past the
door to the kitchen, into the scullery, with an out side door to
the 'garden' and the loo. The front door had a letterbox/door
knocker, and we had a big key tied to a string, to be pulled out
through the letterbox, to unlock the door. My mother (who was Irish)
claimed that one night during an air raid (after a while you just
stayed in bed, remember?) she said she felt someone sit on the bed
beside her, so she moved over, away, close to the wall, when the
blast from a nearby bomb, blew out the window, and it landed where
she had been sleeping, then she said she heard a voice calling
her 'liebchin, (?) and saying she was safe' So we called him
Heinrich. Every night at 9, in the kitchen, you would hear the key
rattle on the front door, the dog would growl and raise his hackles,
footsteps sounded down the passage, up the stairs and into that same
bedroom. After that, you could go out to the loo. I always wonder
what happened to Heinrich when they pulled those old houses down????
I knew my dreams of doing all the things my elder sister had done,
were never coming true... I was almost 10 when war was declared , I
was certain that my life was not going as I had hoped, I wanted to
join a cycling club and go to the Isle of Wight....be on the teams
that ran in the park... go to school, and become more than a
machinist in an East End clothing factory. The park became an Ack-
Ack battery, later a prisoner-of war barracks. We were not allowed
near the beaches , which is a crime to any English child...and the
monthly sweet ration was used up the first time you went to the
pictures.....My childhood was stolen, ? Audrey
I was back in London whenever possible, only to be
sent away again when things heated up, six times or more, sometimes
alone, some with my mother, then back to Hackney. I never went to the
pictures as an evacuee, no picture palaces in provincial villages.
I don't know that the war made us stronger grown-ups; I do know
that it caused so many to leave England when it was over. I will be
a Londoner till the day I die, I cried every night for 20+years , I
was/am so homesick. I couldn't listen to "I'll take you home again
Kathleen" without sobbing.....I have a lot of guilt feelings about
leaving my family and homeland.....but I didn't know it was forever,
I only came to see 'if I liked it here' I am still trying. there's
no picture palace here either!!!!!Audrey