I forgot to talk about this lovely woman I met on the Tube.
The night before my Aunt had told me that during the war – she and my Uncle B were to be shipped off to Canada for safe keeping (and my Mum was to be left behind because she was still just a baby).
Just before they were to leave on the boat my Uncle B fell ill and they were not allowed to sail. Turns out to be a lucky turn of events because that boat was torpedoed. 🙁
On the tube the next day I noticed an elderly woman trying to find a seat. I was about to move when the gentleman beside me gave up his seat to her. She sat down beside me and I smiled and said “What a nice boy he is.” She laughed and asked if he was my husband. “No. I don’t know him but I’m always impressed when men of a certain age are polite.”
She went into a tirade about “The Blacks” and how they were always more polite to her then white men in suits because “Black Mothers” command respect … I thought the conversation was going to get racist but then she asked me where I was from. When I told her Canada her face lit up and she said that she was evacuated to Canada during the war and she lived in the Toronto area for 2 years. I told her that I had just been talking about this exact subject the night before and told her the story of my Aunt. She remembered when the boat was torpedoed because she was in the boat just ahead of them. Yikes!
She then went on to tell me the story of how she got to Canada. Her mother took her and her brother to the boat, sat them down with their luggage and told them that she would be back in 20 minutes. She said that an hour went by and her mother hadn’t come back yet and she had started to worry because the boat was getting ready to leave.
Just as the boat was about to shove off – her Mother came running back onto the boat and grabbed the kids and hid in the stairwell. Turns out her Mother was going to leave them on the boat but the thought of leaving her kids to the wilds of Canada was too much for her so at the last minute changed her mind and stowed-away on the boat.
The woman who was telling me the story started to well up and then I started to cry and we grabbed each others hands and held each other. Through my tears I said “Your mother must have loved you very much.” We both wiped away our tears and hugged.
Her stop came and she wished me luck on my trip. I smiled at her and then as she left the train she looked back at me and winked. I love the people I meet when I travel… 🙂
Wow, that’s quite a story! I wonder how many parents were forced to send their kids to Canada alone while they stayed behind 🙁
Great story. I always find when I travel on my own, amazing interactions happen. We must shine brighter when we exploring?! Happy trails!
That is awesome that you got to meet a survivor of WWII and what a great story too. I am glad that you are getting to reconnect with family and it sounds like going back to explore and be a “tourist” is a must do again.
Enjoy the rest of your trip!
Got goosebumps reading that story:)
What a neat experience.