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Dinah van der Werf – Malmesbury, South Africa, 2002
Early Days

In the middle of ancient England,
A dot on this crowded earth,
An ordinary little town,
Is Rushden, the place of my birth.
In its heyday, those hard-working folk
Made the very best boots and shoes.
The smell of the leather, the hum of machines
Are memories I never shall lose.

Then came the days of ration books,
The dreaded ‘black-out’ every night,
Of broken homes and broken lives,
As men went off to fight.
Despite war and deprivation
We were never short of love or fun,
On this journey that we call life
The adventure had just begun.

Regardless of the hardships
There was much we children could do.
When out of school we’d play in the street
Or run on an errand or two.
On Sundays we went to listen to the band,
Round a band-stand near a massive oak tree
Set in the park of a lovely old house,
A respite from reality.

After the conflict was over
And Father returned to the fold,
My parents sold our little house
And we moved – I was 7 years old.
Since then I’ve travelled to other shores
And lived in other places,
Heard many different languages,
Seen many different faces.

Like those who came before us
And many who’ll come after,
My life’s a mixture of good and bad,
Of sadness and of laughter.
We know not where this journey will lead,
Nor when the end will be,
But with Light, Love and Beauty in my life
That’s more than enough for me.

Dinah's memories of Cromwell Road in WWII

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