Pride comes before a wall

The year is 1941, and Karen has just finished her Blitz wall. When she told her Dad about it, he thought at first that it was some kind of protective measure in the garden to keep the family safe from the onslaught of bombs raining down from the sky. “No Dad”, Karen corrected him with a giggle. “It’s a wall for us to display all the arts and crafts we’ve been doing while we’re stuck inside!” Oh how they both laughed when he realised his mistake!

Once it had been explained, it made perfect sense. In fact, Karen wasn’t the only one getting creative with a global catastrophe these days. Eric from down the road had made a delightful salt-dough craft with all the kids’ hand-prints. Well, except their oldest, Tommy, who lost both his hands in combat and got sent home with a chest full of medals, but hey let’s not put a downer on it. Eric’s wife Carol wasn’t best pleased when she realised the salt dough had used 6 weeks’ worth of flour rations, but she cheered up when she saw how lovely it looked framed on the mantelpiece.

The main thing was to have some kind of memento from this moment in time, otherwise this easily forgettable global crisis would go entirely unmarked and unremembered. All we needed was someone, somewhere to do colourful footprints of everyone in the house, (don’t forget the cat) with some kind of motivational quote like “When the world was at war… we started a paint shortage.”

Karen was well chuffed with her wall. Everything was up there, including a hilarious poster she had made herself that said “Keep Calm and Make a Time Capsule”. She laughed every time she saw it. Unfortunately the moustache on the soldier was a little wonky cause she had to stop suddenly when she realised the neighbours were already outside clapping for the soldiers, navy, air-force, factory workers, doctors, miners, farmers, scientists, teachers, railway and dock workers and utility services. To be honest, the majority of people were essential workers, which didn’t leave many people left to do the essential clapping – but hey, she wouldn’t want the neighbours to think she wasn’t doing her part. Maybe she should send them some photos of the wall so they knew how serious this was to her… she set a reminder on her sector clock that she’d managed to swipe off eBay. Such a bargain.

Before Karen had come up with the idea for the Blitz wall, the war had been a bit of a mood-killer, to be honest. It sounded bad, but she was hardly having any fun at all. Husband away fighting for freedom and hadn’t even bothered to answer any of her WhatsApp messages, kids off school loads of the time, seen everything worth seeing on Netflix, including that reality TV show about men and women getting engaged without even going steady first or making sure they wouldn’t tread on your toes at a formal dance. That one was quite the pulse quickener, she had to admit. It was a good job that women weren’t given anything important to do in the workplace yet, or she might have had a full-time job to contend with, too.

Then, she had had the idea for a simple ad-hoc photo-shoot. The kids surrounded by a few whimsical pieces of memorabilia, their gas masks, ration books, canned non-perishables, that sort of thing, something to pass the time. Oh they could hardly keep a straight face when balancing all those props on various parts of their bodies. Karen ended up yelling at them to keep their faces solemn cause they were ruining her, oops I mean their, fun. The photos were good, but it was a real shame she couldn’t get a professional photographer to come out and do it properly. Just another example of how this war was making life difficult for her. Anyway, mustn’t complain.

Then suddenly, as she was putting the photos up, the idea came to her in a flash. Once all of this was over, once people stopped dying in their thousands, and all the wounded and sick returned home, and people had enough to eat again, and that annoying fascism was dealt with… she would want something to remember this by. She would want loads of things to remember this by. Golly, she would want a whole WALL of things to look fondly on day after day, and remember this piece of history. She wouldn’t want the kids to forget how she told them that if they asked for a snack one more time she would make them eat nothing but dried eggs for a week. It would be awful to lose the memories of powering up the live WW2 website each day and watching the death toll rising. And it would be a real shame if her kids didn’t have a daily reminder of how they were missing out on vital milestones, social skills, and other normal kid-like activities that didn’t involve enforced crisis-themed scrapbooks where their mum made them sign their names to the poems she wrote.

Frankly, she felt like a bit of a genius for thinking of this incredible way to cement all these memories in their minds forever. Plus, she was still getting heart reacts on her Facebook post, and she had uploaded the pics more than two days ago. But, mainly the memories thing.

 

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