By it’s cold, methinks. I know it’s winter but I just hope it’s not blowing a gale and raining for the duration! Anyway it’s good weather for tucking up and writing Christmas cards. Have you finished yours yet? I still send cards to people that I know from donkey’s years ago at a group called Young Wives.
Writing cards is not a job that I relish, but I do like to give them to my friends. I’m just a bit on the late side as usual, as I always seem to put it off every year. Then I start thinking of times gone by and the Christmases that we shared with friends.
I belonged to the ‘Young Wives’ when I was a lot younger, in fact when I was a young wife myself! That said, you didn’t have to be young as people of all ages used to go and we got up to all sorts of things. It was held by our local vicars wife and the Church, which I didn’t go to, sinner that I am. I did used to belong to a chapel back in the far mists of time, simply because I had a lot of friends who went there. That was in the days when we used to group together in our local park or anywhere that took our fancy, without one idea of vandalism in our heads.
We were just good friends chatting away, and as we went to our local youth club together held at the chapel we used to go to the services there. Good clean fun we had, how different it is for some kids today.
Anyway, I’m digressing as usual, so back to my Young Wives club.
Young Wives spreading Christmas Cheer
At Christmas, we used to gather together and go carol singing to people who belonged to the parish and didn’t have an awful lot themselves. It was brilliant, we were all singing our heads off with all the favourite carols. Then when that person came to the door, they were given a hamper full of food and goodies to help with Christmas. The response we got was amazing. Some were nearly in tears while others would ask if we were collecting money which when we told them why we were there they were so amazed and thankful.
It was usually just before Christmas that we went, often on snowy, bitter cold nights with our little lanterns to spread Christmas love. After all that’s what it’s about surely. Giving, not always receiving.
After we’d done our rounds of the old peoples homes we would all troop back to the ‘gas showrooms’ where we had our meet up. That was the name of the showroom before it closed down where you used to buy cookers, fires and such like. It became a community building and the Church used to hire it to hold our meetings. When we got back we’d be treated to hot pie and peas and a drink and my was it good, especially after a cold night going round the streets.
Fundraising and having fun
As a group we used to get up to all sorts of things to raise money, such as jumble sales, which is another story altogether. We would turn up at the gas showrooms and set to sorting out all the clothes that had been donated, and there were piles and piles of them. There we were all saying ‘what shall I charge for this that and the other’. All the while we’d have a good old giggle at some of the things some people sent, such as half used makeup!
When the jumble sale opened, it was a stampede as people rushed to get bargains especially as we didn’t charge much. That way we sold even more. When the stampede was over and we were all tired out, the rest had to be put into heaps to send to rag mills for recycling.
We had trips out, like boat trips on the canal near to us with a nice meal while we were at it. We did tombolas at the Church fair which Jane loved to go to when she was young. At that time, our vicarage was a beautiful old manor house in its own grounds where we had many a fete, which was always on a red hot day. Typical ‘Cider with Rosie’ days with fortune tellers, horse rides, and many stalls selling crafts and goodness knows what.
They are such lovely memories to look back on, especially after a developer pulled the vicarage down and built houses on the land. I made lots of friends there, some of which remained friends until they died. Sadly there were quite a few young ones who did die over the years, sadly. I will never forget them all that’s for sure. At least I have my many memories but Christmas time was always my favourite time, celebrating with good friends, much as I do today. And long may it continue.
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