Their move meant leaving everything she knew behind, feeling bereft and alone and saying goodbye to her friends, a school she was doing well in. Heading unaware with a new way of life, house, school and so much more then hidden from view.
Their lovely mum moved around silently, with reddened eye’s, constantly taking her handkerchief from the sleeve of her winter jumper with all her previous exuberance and defiance squashed right away, just like one of their party balloons, but that was when happiness and normality was simply an accepted thing.
So it was that all their trusted things like her dolls and her brothers’ bako and mechano had been stuffed into cardboard boxes alongside pots and pans and all the other essential things they would need to prepare for their new lives. As the adults packed, bent, lifted groaned, and stretched, and talked of the long day’s journey ahead of them all, Esther and her brothers slipped between their legs and outstretched arms, carrying a doll with one leg, the other removed by her younger brother some months previously.
Later, she watched as her grandfather loaded, grimly and flat faced, all their things into his hastily scrubbed pig van. And them only stopping once for a sandwich sitting on the uppermost front door-step where they had stood only a few months earlier, as a united family whilst the photographer clicked on his box camera and then walked back down the close with the reporter, who had come to listen to the positive story that their parents had then to share.
It must surely have been something of surrender for her own mum to return to the very roots from where she had defiantly fled, only some nine years previously, when her parents had refused to support herdream of normality and eventually marriage. Perhaps in their heads they sadly thinking, ‚We told you so!‛
They were leaving behind their house, built in 1950 which was in a cul-de-sac of 16, other houses facing out onto a small wooded area that seemed to stretch and apron, these houses with wide open sweeping fields to the rear of them, where each November fireworks sparkled and shimmered into the dark velvety sky. In the same fields walked in daylight local families with their dogs, and she had skipped arm in arm with her father not so very long since. Now he had walked away forever and would never be coming back. To her, he had felt like a gentle giant and it was he who had tended to discipline them, yet once the telling off had been administered, they soon returned to their happy ways. She regarded him as handsome, clever, witty, kind, hardworking and always around.
There would be no more hugs or kisses from him at bedtime, and now their mum too sad to be aware and reach outside of her own pain and anguish at the loss of her confidant, lover, and friend, as well as her rock against what at times must have felt a very harsh and cruel world then.
Suddenly, also it seemed her nana had also been whisked away as well as their daddy, now dead. Esther was unable to remember her Grandpa at all, as he had died of lung cancer when she was only three. Her father had told her, as she had walked with him in the fields, how he had once been a miner as well as a lay-preacher and that he was a very gentle and quiet man. Esther still had gems to hold onto in her mind like the visits to her Coventry nana, and remembering her apple and blackberry crumble and how she busied herself in her scullery where as a cook she seemed most at home, all these memories she would need to store carefully away.
It was only hours later, just after the first post had gone, that Laura’s father switched on the ignition as they settled in the back of the pig van. Them sitting on a garden seat that slipped and rocked as the van moved away. Mrs. N, their kindly neighbor stood at her gate and then called out sadly.
"Take care and...Let me know when you reach Stanton,‛ and she thought once again of Laura, and how she had stood at the church and they had sung all things bright and beautiful, and how their small congregation struggled at the funeral service when they had got to the part, "God gave us eyes to see them!‛ She would miss the little family, and shook her head as she shut the door of number 6.
Sometimes you have to leave the people you love to move onto the next chapter, and now there seemed little choice, with the love that had held them together now forever gone. The hall door in their house quietly shut and all the noise of happy family life and golden memories gone forever, but there was still a tomorrow to live. There was a painful change to face and sad faces and quiet, low tones all around them then, away from the perfect dreams of yesterday.