Sunday, September 23, 2012


On September 4, 1939, my 14-year-old mother stood on the train platform at Liverpool Lime Street Station with her entire school, awaiting their evacuation to Beaumaris, Wales.

On September 4, 2012, RVPainter and I joined a group of "Old Blues"at the Liverpool Blue Coat School to commemorate and recreate, in our way, that evacuation.

The Old Blues begin to gather in the boardroom at the Liverpool Blue Coat School. That's our new, dear friend-for-life, Stan Livinston on the right.

Matthew and Olivia, two current students at the Blue Coat School dressed in the traditional school uniforms. My mother would have had to wear this. I said to the kids, "I bet you're glad you don't have to wear those uniforms to school now!" Olivia said, "They're very itchy!" and Matthew added, "And they're hot too!"

A new school flag was being dedicated that morning, so we joined in the flag raising ceremony outside.

A vintage bus picked us up outside the school - re-creating the first part of the evacuation, in which students were taken by tram to Lime Street Station.

Stan gathers us for departure. I forget why we are laughing and clapping!

Now we've transferred onto a luxury - and I mean LUXURY bus - to take us from Pier Head in Liverpool to Beaumaris. The original evacuation was by train, but because some of our travelers were elderly, it was best to avoid the hassle of having to change trains and possibly miss connections. Left to right: Keith, an Old Blue wo also taught at the school for many years; Richard, current President of the Old Blues, and Stan, current Treasurer.

Upon arrival in Beamaris, we went to the David Huges Community Center for a luncheon provided by the town council. We were joined in Beaumaris by more Old Blues who live in the area.

The Mayor welcomed us  - he is short so he stood on a chair. Check out all the bling he's wearing!
I met Jackie, from the town council office. She was the first person to make the connection for us between Beaumaris and the Blue Coat School.

They put out a nice spread for us! Look at the women sitting on the right side. The tall lady in the gray pantsuit is named Mildred, and she and her husband will factor into our story later.

After lunch, a short service and dedication of a plaque commemorating the evacuation and the friendship between the town and the school.

The travelers gather for a photo - in the background is Beaumaris Castle. To my left as you look is Margaret, an evacuee who shared many stories with us during the bus ride. She ran away from the school when she learned that her younger brother was ill. She was not expelled, but was put in solitary confinement for two weeks.

And now, just those Old Blues who were evacuees.

We went our separate ways for a few hours so that each person could remember Beaumaris in his or her own way. Here, we have met up again in the square outside the White Lion Pub. On the right is Ernie Foulder, a delightful and entertaining man. Sadly, we learned that he died 9 days later - suddenly, while walking on a beach near his home, he simply collapsed and died. He was 72.

That's Ray Livinston on the left, Stan Livingston (brothers) and Keith. Old Blues, all.

At around 6p.m., the bus arrived to take them all back to Liverpool. RVPainter and I were staying on through the end of the week, and we were terribly sad to be saying goodbye! At that moment, we wished we could hop on the bus with them and listen to more of their stories all the way back to Liverpool.
I can honestly say that I have rarely been treated with such kindness - such open and welcome arms, as by these Old Blues. What delightful people they are, and so much fun! Each one survived the strict regime of the school, and has managed to develop a healthy perspective for the experience. Their ability to recall and retell their stories with compassion for (most) of their teachers and for themselves, and their wonderful senses of humor, are a tribute to the human spirit. I was so sad to say goodbye to them. I will love these people forever and will always cherish the special time we spent together.

RVPainter and I stayed on in Beaumaris for three more days. I'll wrap up with pictures and the final pieces of the story next.


  1. It must have been a frightening time for those children as they caught their train and headed off into the unknown...worrying about parents left behind.

    1. It was. My mother was alone already, and I'm sure it was a case of "NOW WHAT!!??" But for her it turned into a wonderful experience. For kids whose Moms were in Liverpool, I think it was terribly hard to be sent off (again).

  2. What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I'm sure this was a great experience for you and good that you were there at this time to join in.

  4. What a unique experience for you and RVPainter.

  5. What a magical memory, for you and for the Old Blues. And yes, those uniforms look as if they would be vile to wear.
    Thank you so much for taking us on this journey. I appreciate it so much.

  6. Dear Melissa, I so hope that all you are experiencing will go into a memoir of your mother or of you and your mother. So many untold stories in the generations before us. And so much poignancy and yet laughter within the difficult days. Thank you for sharing these memories, which I know you will cherish always. Peace.

    1. Hi Dee! I'm hoping to do some memoir work with it, but also use it to fuel a story too. Fingers crossed! xo


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