Teenage Years - Hugh Shares His Memories of Lore


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Memories of Lore

As I reach back over those lost and forgotten years many incidents and events have disappeared into oblivion, but one is as clear as the day it happened.

Christmas 1940.  It was at a party organised by the local Doctor’s wife (Dear old Mary B) for the young.  Lore was there because she was staying at school over the holidays, and the school was only up the drive.  I was there to make up the numbers.

I remember vividly my first sight of her, that lovely oval face with the wide smile and those almost black eyes framed in her shining dark hair.  I was dumb-struck!

We were paired to start off the dancing.  I was horrified, I couldn’t dance!  This was not a subject taught in English public schools.  Somehow we galloped round the floor, after that my patchy memory fades until we were sitting down eating meat paste sandwiches and drinking pale weak tea.  We must have established a rapport, I don’t remember what we talked about, but we arranged another meeting.

Here I should explain that I was often at the Doctor’s house.  He was an overworked country G.P. and was forced to take on a locum to share the visits and the locum didn’t drive, so we offered our car with me as the driver three days per week.  I was therefore able to see Lore frequently until the axe fell and we were forbidden to meet.  However my aunt went to see the Headmistress and pointed out it would be far better to let us meet openly or we’d only do it in secret!  How right she was.

Then began our halcyon days when I would fetch her in the car on Sunday afternoons and take her home to tea under the birch trees (if the weather was fine) otherwise round the fire.  All very proper!

Afterwards we would walk up the hill to the moors behind the house and sit with our backs against a rock and watch the cloud shadows weave their shapes of fantasy on the hills, breathing in the wind that brought with it the aromatic scent of bog-myrtle.

It was here, I like to think, that the bond between us was formed, here we began our first love, it certainly was for me.  We were seventeen, the world and life were at our feet, we were innocent young loves, we knew nothing that the youth of today knows.  We talked of books and prose and poetry, of nature, the hills, the marshes and the river.  I expect I bored her with Keats and Shelley and even some of my own stumbling verse.  We wrote to each other eagerly and incessantly.

What happened?  Lore left school and I went into the Air Force.  I was very much in love with her, but only once in our whole time did we kiss.  Saying goodbye on a railway station!

When I knew I was going to Canada I wanted us to get engaged, I probably felt the need for something tangible to hold onto. I was going to fly and fight and perhaps die.  She was more mature than me and was right to turn me down.  I loved her but I had no prospects.

The war and life changed us both.

Hugh Tetlow 2008.