lelant, simply that

There are no records left; I asked them.

The probation officer arranged it, he was helping my brother. My trip may have been unofficially organised.

I was taken to meet the lady, I remember her name, her home clearly. Mum kitted me out in hand knitteds, summer and lace up shoes. I was shocked by the latter; I aways had straps.

I may have been 6 years old; there is no record.

We went on the bus , cook and I, to the small cottage hotel, Lelant by the sea. A bus ride from St. Ives, a short walk down the hill to the beach to play.

My host went shopping, introducing me to her friends, and worrying over my hair. The hairdresser suggested that cutting was not the answer and I was provided with a dark green ribbon, shiny, wide and expensive. I imagined the cost.

The food was unlike any I had known, just tomato soup, scones with cream that left my tastebuds traumatised. I liked the boiled eggs; I was used to them. Cook looked after me kindly and understood, told me to say. The gardener suggested that as I must pass through the kitchen garden to school, I may eat as much fruit as I liked. I did.

I liked the little school, made friends. The laceups were a great succes as I could walk on my toes, like a ballet dancer. The soles were thick. Friends were made and one girl lent me her woollen bathing costume to bathe in the estuary. It sagged when wet; my self esteem lowered.

Adding here that at that age who knew of self esteem? We just felt bad.

I was given the sweetest little bedroom in the roof, all dolls and dormers. They took away my comforter, and it seems then I walked in my sleep. Moved downstairs to the piano room where no stairs could harm me, I felt unsettled.

Yet the days moved nicely. There were little troubles, nothing to diminish the beauty of it all.

The day came when I was sent home, I guess it was agreed; there are no records. I had wanted to stay, and I still feel guily for that.

My family met me from the bus, laughed at my accent and threw the ribbon away.

Weeks later I found it dirty in the lane, and kept it, hid it.

Years later I went back. In the museum, met a man who recognised me. We were then in our fifties, and he said I looked the same.

I am not the same. There are no records.

I never was a ballet dancer.

sbm.