|The Liverpool Blue Coat School,|
looking much less intimidating than
in days of old!
As part of Operation Pied Piper, more than three million schoolchildren were removed from major English cities and sent to the country - ripped from their families and placed in foster homes. Some stayed only for a few months, but others were parted from their families for the duration of the war - five or six years! My mother was already separated from her family - her mother was in the U.S. working as a governess, her father had run off (making my mother a "fatherless child"), and there she was, a 14-year-old American-born girl alone in an English boarding school.
While my mother's childhood had been one of disruption and abandonment to this point, the evacuation actually gave her an interlude of freedom and happiness. She was placed in a nice home on the waterfront in Beaumaris, with a kind older woman who had a maid. From what Mom wrote later in an essay about her experience, it is clear that this was one of the happiest times of her life so far.
Finding Mom's school means that we may now find people (alive!) who were also there at that time. They can tell us what it was like to be a student at the school. Perhaps someone will even remember Mom. We might find someone who was evacuated with her. I'd like to find out what house she lived in and with whom, in Beaumaris.
It's a wonderful moment, filling in this huge missing piece of our puzzle. It opens up a whole new world - Are there photographs of the school and students in 1939? Is Mom in any photographs? What was the school like then? Was it Dickensian, with a stern headmaster and a Nurse Rachet-type matron? Did my mother have to wear those odd half-Amish/half Junior Nun outfits that I've seen in pictures? Can I see my mother's report card?
What else will we find out?