Joan Zilva

Text Box: An  account of a 14 year old’s WW2 overseas evacuation based on her letters home




























Chapter Three—The Hays—Aug 3rd to Oct 11th 1940

Text Box: Marion had come from England.  She was my salvation during this period.  She was very kind to me (at the end the only one who was) and, although no intellectual giant, she could talk about England and was, I think, homesick too.
Text Box: Chinese chequers every evening.  It was just very slightly more stimulating than the rest of the day.
Text Box: I really did wish I could live there.  I liked the sister (Mrs Bawden) better than Mrs H.
Text Box: What about 
vest = waistcoat, shirt = vest, slip = petticoat (as it was still known in Britain), Eskimo pie (probably now considered non-PC and abandoned)  = choc bar.  Many of the “Canadian” words I mention are now used in Britain, and the “English” ones sound old-fashioned. 
Text Box: These points of etiquette were very important!

Refrigerators were very uncommon in Britain then.  We got our first after the war. We thought that one car a family was luxury: when I was seven we acquired  an Austin 10, which I inherited after the war.
Text Box: Something I did right - or had done in the past!  Unfortunately I also overheard her saying how disappointed she had been because I didn’t seem interested in clothes shopping - “just looked at the floor”.  I’m sorry for her, but she got the wrong girl. I was desperately miserable for many reasons - one being the vision of a future like this.  I was not mature enough to hide my feelings fully, so retreated into myself; in any case, in view of the fact that I was stuck there, if I had it would only have made her think I was something that I wasn’t and we’d have had more and more such outings. 
Text Box: The real beginning.  Imagine my anxiety.  Croydon was specifically mentioned. Letters took about three weeks and we couldn’t phone.  Anything could have happened before I got the next letter.

I was beginning to be realistic about the time scale.
Text Box: Not quite true that I was “having a very good time”. 
Text Box: He, of course, was wrong.  Casualties in Croydon were high.  He may, as will be seen later, have had ulterior motives for being nice to me.  At least he tried to cheer me up. 
Text Box: Written August 1st, received August 23rd.  Three weeks of waiting to hear - and then something might have happened during that time.  Some took longer (see later).
Text Box: Times were very intermittent and letters did not necessarily arrive in correct sequence.
Text Box: The beans are, of course, those I planted on the garage roof .  Paddy was the boy next door, who was later killed in the Air Force.  Stella D(avies) was the friend with whom I was taught, at the beginning of the war, by our mothers. 

Text Box: “1st class” was a Guide badge.  Apparently no-one passed that time!

Magnus and Isidore were my paternal cousins, seen in the photo at the end of chapter 1
Text Box: Irony at a young age! 
Text Box: Tony is also seen in the photo at the end of chapter 1.  He is Magnus’ son who went to New York.  He is nearer my age than were his father and uncle.
Adrian and Bryan, my maternal cousins - much younger than me.
Miss Adams was the headmistress whose first task after appointment was to write the letters to our parents about school arrangements after the outbreak of war.  Havergal was, indeed a “swanky” private school.  I don’t know about its academic record.

Amazing!  History was my second worst subject and French one of my best.
Text Box: We indeed “had a grand time” but I longed to be taught how to have a go at sailing myself. I was forced to be a very passive passenger.
Text Box: It didn’t “come off”. I was learning not to believe everything.
Text Box: By Lake Simcoe with Mrs. Hay (2nd on right next to me), her sister (standing) and children. I don’t look at my happiest.
Text Box: I didn’t.  I went (briefly) to North Toronto Collegiate.  I expect I wasn’t a lady enough for the other one.

Only a temporary reprieve from my acne!