MEMORIES: THE WAY WE WERE
Jack was in the US Army in Germany in 1955.
"There's been a stir about us monitoring other countries. That's nothing new. In 1955, we were monitoring everyone and everyone else was monitoring us. And they’ve been doing it for over 50 years.
"We had our reunion recently. Our caps say ‘In God We Trust’ and on the other side it says, ‘But We Monitor Everyone Else’.
Liz, from Sunniside, Gateshead, was a bit of a sharp shooter growing up in Sunniside, Gateshead, in the 1950s. But she used berries instead of bullets.
"I had a pea shooter made from a hollow tube plant," she said. "A group of us used to go to vicarage and ‘shoot’ the vicar’s wife as she sat on a deckchair on the lawn smoking.
"We used berries and would pop up over the wall and blow at her. She was a real busy body. We like to wear shorts and she would tell us off for showing our legs. She said we were naughty girls."
Beverly found out about her father’s World War Two exploits shortly before his death.
"I came to visit my father in hospital in Florida in April," she said. "He was 93 and not doing well. He told me he had lots of stories to tell and did I want to hear them. He told me he was in something called the Red Ball Express. I’d
never heard of it.
"He was in the 3rd Army in convoys taking gas to the front lines loaded in trucks. The Germans tried to kill him
several times on the way because they wanted the gas.
"It was very dangerous and he was very glad when it ended. After that he drove ambulances, going up and down the lines picking up the wounded. He was based in England for a time and he had my mother’s name Lucy on the bumper of the ambulance."
THE DOGS OF WAR
Geoffrey was in the British Army based in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1960. His camp was in the middle of a desert and one of his duties was to guard the perimeter.
"We were given pickaxe handles as a weapon," he said. "It was hardly a weapon but it was protection against packs of wild dogs that circled the camp. Most nights we never had to use them but it was unnerving to hear the dogs
COMIC BOOK KID
Reginald grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He was born in 1939 and lived with his grandfather.
"I learned the read by reading comics to my grandfather," he recalls. "When he first asked me to read them, I couldn’t read, so I would look at the pictures and make up stories. I would say this guy said this and the other guy said this.
He would laugh so I must have been pretty good.
"I learned arithmetic by doing my grandfather’s betting slips.
"In those days, I would sit in the dark in my bedroom listening to the Lone Ranger on the radio. The Lone Radio Show started in Detroit. I’ve listened to some of those old radio shows since and they are pretty corny but when I was a kid, I thought they were great."
Pat lived through one of the most unpleasant hurricanes to hit the US – Hurricane Camille in 1969.
She said: "I was attending Tulane University New Orleans Graduate School, living in a house near the airport when the hurricane hit. The trouble with New Orleans is that it sits below sea level and when a hurricane hits, it empties
the Mississippi River into the city and empties Lake Pontratrain into New Orleans.
"The winds were 200 miles per hour. It was one of the most intense storms to hit the USA. Katrina was the biggest storm but not nearly as intense.
"We were told to put wood at the windows and fill the bath tub with water for drinking. It was pretty scary. It didn’t hit us but hit 50 miles away
"The next day, we decided to go and help people. They had found more bodies than people reported missing because bodies from flooded graves were floating about all over. They found a relatively large ship three quarters of a mile inland in a farmer’s field. The place was also infested with snakes and alligators."
WINDOW ON THE WORLD
Les grew up in Middlebro, Manitoba, Canada, in the 1940s. "It was a little country town," he said. "My dad worked for Marvin Windows, based in Minnesota, just over the border. He worked in the woods, scaling the wood, checking out the quality of the wood.
"I went to the local school. It was a two-room school, like something from Little House on the Prairie. One room was for grades one through four and the other was grades five to nine.
"I used to love to skate on the canal that ran beside the highway. It was frozen in winter and we would skate for miles. It was a lot of fun. I wore skates that were four times too big for me because four of us had to share the same pair of skates."
Thanks for reading and don't forget to keep reaching for the stars