My homework by Micky Edwards (aged 7)
23, Latimer Rd., Southampton, England, April 1943.
My Dads Boss
Mr Sneads fat and shorter than my Dad. Hes got a red, round face and a mousetash like Adolf Hitlers, and a pot belly with a watch chane hanging over it from one pocket on his waistcoat to another. Dad says the chanes made of real gold. Mr Snead always wears the same dark blue suit with light brown shoes, which Mum says look low-class and dont go together.
Dad works for Mr Snead at Westminster Bank. Hes the chief clark and Mr Sneads the manger. The bank looks after peoples money so it doesnt get stolen by burglers and people like that. When the custermers want some money to spend, they write out a check saying how much they want and then the tellers give it to them.
Mr Snead and Dad keep all the money in a great big safe in the cellar that has an iron door on it that ways about a ton. Nobody can go into the safe if they dont know a secret number and a special key thats made in two bits. Dad has one bit and Mr Sneads got the other one, and when they want to get more money they have to put their bits together to make one key that opens the lock.
Dad doesnt like Mr Snead very much, and gets angry when he plays golf on work days, leaving Dad to look after the bank and tell all the people what to do. Sometimes he plays too days in a week. He tells Dad he only does it to build the business, so he can make friends with people who could be custermers. Dad says hes a lazy bugbear, and that when the bank inspectors come every year Mr Snead pretends he does all the work, and never tells them how hard Dad and everyone else does.
Mr and Mrs Snead havent got any children, but every Christmas they have a party in there big flat over the bank. The kids of all the grownups who work at the bank come, and lots of others from custermers families. There are little sardine and tomato sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and lemonaid and brandy snaps and playbox biskets and scones with goosberry jam on them. They used to have ice cream but now the wars on you can't get it any more. Mum says we wont see any ice cream again till peacetime comes.
Sometimes Mr Snead has a conjerer at the party who can turn sheets of white paper into five pound notes with a little machine. Once my brother David, whose eleven, asked him for one of the notes, but the conjerer said he couldn't have it. David said why not, wouldn’t it be easy to just make himself another one? But the man looked really cross and went as red as his Turkish hat with a tassel on. Then he put the fiver in his pocket, made a mouse disappear and took a pigeon out of Mrs Sneads purse.
The best thing about Mr Sneads Christmas parties comes just before we go home. We all go downstairs into the dark spooky bank. Mr Snead gets out a cart they use to take the money in a lift from the safe to the counters where the tellers hand it out to the custermers. You can get four or five kids on the trolley, and we take turns. When wear all on it Mr Snead pushes us round behind the counters really really fast. He shouts out all aboard, and then zoom, zoom, zoom as we go along, and turn the corners so fast you think your going to fall off. Because we can't see over the top of the counter, it's like rushing through a dark scary tunnel in a fairground.
But last Christmas the party was different. We were playing musical chairs just before we started tea when the air raid warning siren went off at the bottom of Canal Street. Mr Snead got up on a chair and told us not to worry and everything would be all right, and said to follow Dad down into the cellar where weed be safer. He said not to run, but to walk down the stares where weed be told what to do.
We went down lots of stares and it was a bit dark down there. Dad and another man were lighting candles to make it look more Christmassy, and someone else carried down the gramophone and started playing records. Mr Snead got us all singing songs like Run Rabit Run and the White Clifs of Dover and Therell Always Be An England, and when weed sung for a while we heard guns firing. A few girls cried a bit but David and me started going back up the stares, hoping we could see the searchlights and the shells going off, but Mrs Snead ran after us shouting and made us go back in the cellar.
There must have been a lot of germans flying over on their way up the river to London, because the guns went on and on. By then, the grownups had brought all the food down and we played blind mans buff and charades and games like that. But then all of a sudden there was a great big bang not far away. Everything shook and little bits of whitewash and stuff fell off the ceiling.
Dad and Mr Snead must have thought a bomb might land on top of us, because they put their bits of the safe key together and unlocked the safe. They pulled and pulled to get the heavy door open, and then Mr Snead said come in boys and girls and dont touch anything.
So we all went inside and it looked like a sort of Alladins cave. There were shiny metal shelves with thousands and thousands of pounds of bank notes in bundles with paper bands around them. There were also little sacks of pennies and shillings and things, and lots of drawers with keyholes in them.
We all sat on the floor talking and the conjerer came in and told us jokes. They kept the door open and it was fun in the safe, and sort of exiting. But we hadnt been there long before we heard the all clear siren. Everybody walked out and went upstares again and Dad and Mr Snead locked the safe up. Dad told us later that Mr Snead wouldve lost his job if anyone knew hed broken the rules and let us go in that safe full of money. Dad said it was reprahensable.
Before we went home Father Christmas came and gave us presents. He was a fat little man with a red face and Peter said it was Mr Snead, but I knew it was really Santa. I got a kit to make a Spitfire and Peter got one for a Junker 87 Stuka dive bomber, the one with the funny turned-up wings.
On the way home we walked along Market Street and there was smoke going up in the air on the corner of Park Road. A bomb had dropped on Mr Gladwyns grocery shop at the corner of Park Road and Market Street. The shop was still burning and a fireman told Dad that Mr Gladwyn was all right but his wife was dead. She was sitting listening to the wireless in their sitting room above the shop when the bomb came through the roof. There was an ambulance outside with its lights flashing and another fireman said theyd put Mrs Gladwyn in it.
Mum said we didnt need a big supper after eating at the party all afternoon, so when we got home she made us a fried Spam sandwich and a mug of cocco.
When I said my prayers at bedtime I said one for Mrs Gladwyn but David said that was silly, because she was dead. I really liked Mrs. Gladwyn. She was kind and nice and I cried a bit before I went to sleep, but quietly so David wouldn’t hear me.
Michael Edwards: Good story, but very poor spelling!
See me.Mr. Smales