Joan Zilva

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



Chapter Nine—Fruit Picking for Victory  1942 in School Holidays, Fenwick Ontario.  Niagara District



Text Box: They obviously thought I wasn’t capable of writing the “War Guest” article without help!
Text Box: Angela Tillyard’s father was a well-known professor of History in Cambridge. Angela is on my right in the photo.
Text Box: Note “luggage”, not ”baggage” in deference to their feelings!
Text Box: She was more than flabbergasted - she was in tears.  I had to take command, keep her morale up and send the telegram.  I then dragged us both around Hamilton with our luggage and found somewhere (Woolworth’s) to eat cheaply (hot dogs). I really think that if she had been on her own she would still be there!  The whole thing was the most gigantic cockup, but not without the satisfaction to me of getting us out of it safely.
Text Box: My father was the most atrocious driver and usually left it to my mother.  After the war he left it to her and me - thank goodness!
Text Box: The rate of exchange at that time was $5 to the £ and I have difficulty remembering otherwise even now!  Nasty shock.
Text Box: This must have arisen out of my article in the Robur.  Everyone in Europe would know what  “Hi” means now 
Text Box: Poor Paddy (the boy next door).  He wasn’t academic but he was a friend.  As I said, he was later killed in the RAF.
Text Box: We didn’t eat corn on the cob in Britain then.  We only knew of maize as animal feed.  I used to get teased because they said that we wasted corn in this way.  I understand (from a French farmer) that sweet corn is a different form of maize from that grown in Europe.
Text Box: Note my change of “canning” to “tinning” in deference to their wishes.  I did try to please!  I’ve never been very successful at that.
Text Box: I’m not sure what he said about the tides.
Text Box: I really meant to join the Land Army, but they didn’t take it seriously.
Text Box: Talk about exploitation!
Text Box: Only the young would find it “fun”.  We were in a converted barn 
Text Box: This is the only picture I can find that might be referred to in my last letter. I don’t remember Grace Richmond, but it does remind me of cherry picking.
Text Box: Titsey is between Croydon and Warlingham.  The farm served very good home-cooked meals, even during the war.  They only gave up recently and I had a meal there after the interment of my mother’s ashes many decades later.
Text Box: I’m sure that Bryan would not have minded if I said that any dance he ever did was more likely to be “bally” than “ballet”.
Text Box: The reason for not being able to swim is not specified, but it was certainly due to my then unmentionable period.  It was thought harmful to swim when one had it.
Text Box: The ”somebody” was the farmer, Mr Clemens who owned the property. I suspect he got a good sum for the letting and he also used us as cheap labour.
Text Box: Less than a month by air was considered good!
Text Box: The Reeves and Paddy had moved out and a rather noisy family had moved in.
Text Box: Airmail letter and “farmerette” uniform badge. Off duty we wore a navy blue jacket with epaulettes and this insignia, skirt and forage cap!
Text Box: We often used to hitch-hike there in the evenings. I never told my parents that we were hitch-hiking. Niagara was then tourist free and we could go where we liked on the Canadian side.
Text Box: Victor Springett was a neighbour, quite a bit older than me. He may have been rejected by the forces because he had TB and this have been to celebrate his qualification in medicine.
Text Box: I remember this very well. I was stuck in the lecture, sitting on the floor near the front. Someone came in with a newspaper. I had to have nine subjects to qualify for senior matric. So I kept holding up nine fingers. They nodded, but I didn't’believe it until I saw it for myself.
Text Box: The dog also also took to these kittens and would carry them around gently in his mouth.
Text Box: I can’t think what gave them this idea. See my photos later in this chapter .