As Flo got older she attended the local school in nearby Brecknock Road. During the early stages of her illness my mother and I spent a wonderful evening searching out her home area on Google Streetview. Her old house was still recognisable, though the roses are there no more, and the school was also little changed since her time there - on the outside. However when I searched for the school's website she couldn't believe the colourful, modern classrooms decorated with so many of the children's paintings.
Agar Grove today
Flo loved school and she told me that her favourite subject was Arithmetic, though that was not what she was best at. She was born a natural storyteller, blessed with a rich imagination, and one of her "compositions", an autobiography of a horse, remained displayed at the school for many years after she had left. She also had a new little brother, Leslie, to read stories to.
If we can imagine Flo running down the road to school with her satchel, then we must conjure up a picture of her twin brother, Eric, stopping frequently to investigate all kinds of matters which were of interest to him alone. From what I've heard Eric had some kind of mild attention deficit problem, which in those days would have had him labelled "a naughty boy". Eric just couldn't sit still and would sometimes interrupt the lesson and volunteer to tidy up the cupboards or run some errand.
Coming home from school one afternoon Eric asked Flo to go into the sweet shop with him. "What for?" asked Flo, "we haven't got any money."
"Come on" said her brother, "it'll be OK"
"Can I have three pennyworth of sweets, please" asked the little boy. But when he got them he threw some tiddly-wink discs on the counter and ran out of the door. His sister of course had no idea what had happened till it was too late. "Do you know that boy?" asked the shopkeeper.
"No, sir, he just asked me to come into the shop with him. I've never seen him before." (I told you she was a natural storyteller!)
"Let her go," said the shopkeeper's wife, "you can see she's terrified".
Flo ran all the way home to find Eric and his Granny sitting sucking sweets. "Granny," cried Flo breathlessly, "do you know what Eric just done?"
"Yes, I do" said the old woman "and I've told him off too. Silly little devil. He should have asked for six pennyworth!"
When Flo was just nine years old there was talk among the adults of war and bombs and soldiers and a man called Hitler. One day while the children were playing in the garden Eric looked up into the sky "What's that up there, Sis?" Flo looked up to see what she thought must surely be a huge bomb in the sky. They ran inside to tell their mother. "It's alright, it's alright" she said "They're just things called barrage balloons". She looked over to her husband, "It's going to happen then, John".