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Margaret (Burrage) Thorne - Caldecott 1939-1949 - Back at Caldecott

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RL: That was back to Mersham?

MT Yes, Yes, I was at Mersham then. I slept over in the village. (Ed. Smeeth?) I think it was the Post Office lady. I didn't only sleep there, that's all... used to walk over, you know, in the dark and sometimes of course in the dark in the mornings too and I remember, well I remember best about that episode was this lady had the most enormous feather bed and I'd never had a feather bed before in my life!, but she was very kind and also the other people who lived opposite where I used to go to sleep were the Gladstone's and everybody who has been to the Community over those period of time would have known John Gladstone who taught woodwork and also if there was any bother with the boiler or anything like that, John was there.

And Doreen Gladstone, his wife, who has died quite lately, she was lovely lady and they had three or four children. They were both most hospitable, we'd go to supper and that sort of thing. They were very kind and John was ex-Navy and like most ex-Navy people could turn his hand to absolutely anything in the house and when I left to get married, in 1949, (Ed. married. Ivor H.K. Thorne at Maidstone) Doreen lent me her Mother's wedding veil which was just one of those lovely things because at that time things were very short and you never could have got one such as she lent me. Her Mother had died.

Diana had a clapped-out car with hardly any bottom to it, our feet used to got through the bottom and we used to go to Hythe after supper if we were free and swim, or just sit on the beach if it was a lovely night and eat ice cream, something like that if it was possible.

I of course was able to go back to Maidstone on the bus and and I sometimes go to London by an early train, very cheaply actually. I remember going with Miss Hill once and we went to a play in the afternoon, and we also then went to the cinema before we caught the train back; and the film we saw was 'One flew over the Cuckoo's nest' which I remember. The play we saw was about that, what was it called? it was about that young Army Subaltern or what they're called, who was accused of stealing money; I can't remember the name now, but that was the play we saw, and with sort of actors in, long since dead but well known people.

I remember Miss Leila's birthday which is in October. I remember the sort of parties, and when Miss Leila had the OBE we had a grand party and Elizabeth Lloyd did a sort of 'skit' on life at the Community and I was labelled the 'Queen Mother' and anyone who had any Pearl necklaces, good or bad or indifferent, lent them, so all these were strung around my neck. I happened to have a blue dress which I had for a wedding, as a guest at a wedding, so I was the Queen Mother and we had this thing about life at the Community which, of course, was quite naughty really, not rude or horrid, but quite naughty, and I remember someone saying 'Where's Miss Dave?' - this is all part of the skit – 'Where's Miss Dave?' and then a lot of voices all said 'Oh! she's having a day off' which was cause of great...it was a sort of rather naughty joke because Miss Dave hardly ever had a day off; and if she ever did have a day off, she'd be taking the dogs for a walk.

And, of course, the other thing about Mersham was the dogs. I can remember one being called Sally, I can't remember what the other was called...

Here the Interview suddenly ended so that Margaret could deal with some unexpected, and urgent, personal matters initiated by family phone calls.