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I was 7 and it was first Christmas without Dad

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: January 13, 2014

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THE one Christmas I recall was 1940. The Nicklin family was a big family who had just moved from Stafford Street, Dudley, to Wrens Nest Road on the Priory estate.

Our next move, a little later, was to Myrtle Road, Dudley.

After a short time Dad, who had been in the building trade all his life and in all weathers, was taken ill. After a short illness, he passed away in September 1940. I was seven years old and my younger sister, Jean, four years old.

One can imagine the upset Dad's death bought to the family. As a lad of seven I never thought about Christmas until all my classmates were talking about what presents they were having. I thought Father Christmas would still call at our house, not realising money was scarce, and I still believed in Father Christmas.

My uncles and aunts came to our house to comfort Mom over the period and baked mince pies. To me they were cakes, and were put in a clothes basket and upstairs they went, under the bed.

I do remember that there were a couple of parcels with Christmas wrapping but paid no heed to them.

Christmas Eve came and Mom made a bed on the floor in her bedroom as uncle and aunt were staying the night. So with the Christmas tree decorated with baubles and chocolate things my sister and I were put to bed to await Christmas morn.

Like all kids, we were awake long before the adults and opening my eyes I saw the clothes basket with the mince pies in. Didn't my sister and I have our fill, and that was before our breakfast.

Both of us crept downstairs to find many Christmas presents and the tree. One in particular was a present for me, which said 'To Frank with love from Auntie Floss.' I stripped off the paper to behold a metallic red car with lights and doors that opened.

My sister had a doll and crib and each of us had our stocking filled with an apple, orange and loads of nuts and a new penny. I just couldn't believe what Father Christmas had left us. My sister and I bounded upstairs to tell Mom: "He's been, he's been."

When my brother came in he had bought me a 'pop' gun and we had some fun shooting the chocolate things off the Christmas tree. Needless to say one or two baubles got smashed as well.

Mom had a cry, missing Dad but he seemed to be amongst us at that time.

Sadly Christmases don't seem the same today, as Christmas decorations appear in shops and stores before Halloween and Bonfire Night.

But I will always remember Christmas 1940, especially when I see metallic red cars and I am now 80 years old.

Frank Nicklin,

22 Denleigh Road,

Kingswinford.

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