'Memories of My Childhood' by Dorothy Croft

“MEMORIES OF MY CHILDHOOD” – By Dorothy Constance Croft (nee Stone)

Dorothy was born 2.9.1931 at Woodside Hospital East Fremantle


Whilst I imagine I had most of the childhood diseases, the one which I remember most was when I had Whooping Cough. In those days there was no vaccination and I took a bad dose of said malady. My sister Helen also caught it and we were quite ill.

As a help to my recuperation, our family doctor advised mum to take us away into a dryer atmosphere for a lengthy convalescence. It so happened that my father’s sister lived in Darlington, in the Hills and her husband was a Chemist, so they had a Chemist shop on the premises and Aunt Florrie (Greville) invited us (Mum, Helen and myself) to spend 3 months up there in the (rather hot) climate ( c1938).

Aunt Florrie’s home was a wooden-framed asbestos place, quite large and commodious and it was on a large block, with some apricot and peach trees in the back yard.

The Pharmacy part was at the front of the house and there was a counter, behind which were shelves of interesting-looking jars, bowls etc. I wasn’t allowed in the shop, except at weekends when it was shut to customers, but I liked going behind the counter and looking at all the stock.

Because I was school age (about 7 I think), I was enrolled at the local Darlington Primary School so as not to miss any schooling. My first day was particularly upsetting for me, being put into a small classroom full of strangers and because there were no spare seats or desks, I had to sit on a stool at the teachers table and do my work there! I had one end of it, but not much room, plus I was stuck up there in front of the whole class!. Not a pleasant introduction into my “temporary” school. Nobody was friendly either and I didn’t have anyone to talk to at first. I fervently wished to be back at my familiar school. However as time went on, I think things got better and the time actually went quite well.

Near Aunt Florrie’s was a brook, a small stream, which I visited often. I loved to paddle my feet in the cool, clear, sparkling water as it coursed over the smooth pebbles which abounded in the brook. I spent many, many pleasant hours in that brook and have always loved “dabbling” in such places ever since, though brooks seem to be getting scarcer and scarcer as more and more houses are built and properties close off access to these pleasant glades. I have always had the happiest memories of those golden days spent in the Darlington area and my Whooping Cough never returned either, so the therapy must have worked.

© Darlington History Group       Ver 2.1.3     Dec 2019