Well, It Was Fun
Author: Ann Stanmore
A simple pram that was remodeled by her father for her birthday brought a smile on a three year old’s face. With the love of her parents and an imagination young Ann spent many years with her doll’s pram. Able to create many stories and adventures and use her imagination early on this special present held and still holds a special place in her heart as she begins the memoir of her life Well It Was Fun by Ann Stanmore. Ann did not live in rich community. Her father was her favorite partner you might say in crime or just having fun. World War Two was a difficult time for many and families struggled just to make ends meet. Imagine having an outhouse in your backyard with no plumbing and having to empty it out when it was full. Imagine the smell. With her sense of humor she describes at the start of the memoir how she and her father would ride his bike and she would enjoy sitting on the handlebars knowing that it was against the law to do that. But, nothing would stop these two from their outings or having fun. But, Ann was curious, smart and adventurous and bedtime did not always appeal to her. Think about a four year old that is not tired and decides to look out into the night sky from her window ledge. Even though she was holding on with both hands her mother was not happy thinking she might fall out of the window. Of course she could not understand the fuss. What is unique about this memoir is the author creates poem that leads to the next adventure before the main event or the chapter. It is like creating some mystery or suspense before the actual event takes place making the reader want to find out what happens next to Ann. The one thing that she does make clear from the start is that although they did not have a lot of money or resources on thing they did have in abundance was LOVE. I think if all kids read this book maybe they would appreciate the little things like hugs, kisses and just plain fun with their parents more. Let’s find out what happens next.
Inquisitive, mischievous and definitely full of life and fun the author recounts her adventures to and from school and the dreaded dinners at Grandma’s house. But, first I would be remiss if I did not tell you about her visit to the bell foundry in Loughborough where she lived and how she snuck over to the other side of the road, went inside, admired the bells and got caught. But, she really didn’t care. At least she got to see what was on the other side of road. But, the really funny story were the dinners at her grandmother’s house, the lack of taste and the awful meals and her dislike, mine too for milk. I can truly identify even today with this part of her story and the fact that some stews were riddled with gristle and fat. UGH! What she does to rebel and show her distain is hysterical but only a five year old would get away with it. My grandmother made boiled chicken and had to broil it and make the skin really dark before I would even look at it. Just reading these two stories was hilarious and yet her mother and father handled it so much better than parents today with kindness, explanations and no force.
With their differences in style her parents told stories in front of the fireplace at bedtime. The unique quality of the stories was they were based on three things. What that means you have to read for yourself. Her mother’s stories good triumphing over evil but her father’s filled will mischief and mayhem and leaving room for the next adventure. Next we learn of their fun on April Fool’s and a touch story about a simple and precious paint box for Christmas. Money was scarce and the gifts were not plentiful but the appreciation ran high and the joy of receiving even more. But, when she tells the stories about going to Grandma Bramley on Sundays and the restrictions imposed it reminded me of my Grandma Bertha who also loved order, quiet and no noise when visiting. Strict rules and very little interaction and even trying to make her smile took work on my part and my sister’s. The lead in poem to the chapter with the stories explains why she loves words and wrote a book.
Every chapter is a different episode in her life and is told to the reader directly by Ann. Each chapter allows the reader to understand the time period, how she and her family dealt with many hardships and yet survived. But, the one thing that comes through is that Ann has a definitely touch of menace within her personality which totally endures her to the reader. It is her mischievous antics that are so funny and really make you laugh. Told from the heart and definitely from her real life experiences you realize that she could go on forever and hope she does. Just how does she get covered with treacle and what does a game of marbles have to do with losing a precious ration book? You don’t think I am going to reveal it all in this review do you? Some things you will have to experience along with the reader when you read the memoir yourself and get covered with treacle, ride the bike on the handlebars and get caught in the foundry listening to the bells.
Families during these difficult times received Ration Books, which allowed them to purchase food and other necessities. But, what happens when Ann decides to play a game of marbles and puts the book down. What would happen when her mother finds out it was gone? Ann loved to sing. Her mom was a great pianist and taught the piano. She was also a great singer. Ann wanted to follow in her footsteps. But, sometimes when you are standing in front of a huge audience, well you read it and find out what happens to Ann. The outcome not what she expected but the end result really great.
When she describes her first bike and her determination to learn to ride it you know that Ann would never give up on any given task. Watching her sister learn to cycle and the joy in her heart when her mother performed or played the organ in church, you can feel the love she had for her parents. From spending time with her grandparents and enjoying special treats to climbing up trees to get apples called scrumping and praying never to get caught, Ann’s childhood was filled with happy times including growing their own vegetable and the creative things they did with milk bottle tops.
Grandparents cannot be patented and they are not always the same. Grandma Bramley was shocked with some of the things her Grandma Radcliff did. Grandma Bramley was displeased a lot and you could tell by the way she drew her lips in a tight position. Grandma Radcliff took snuff and Ann would often go to the snuff store to get it for her.
Ann was adventurous and loved to test the waters. Wait until you learn wheat she did with a rubber tire and just who saw her swinging from it. Moving from place to place might have been difficult when her Dad had to find jobs. Each move was exciting and fun but the last one was to Leicester where things would really change. Now, she was a teen and starting a new school. Hoping she would have fun make new friends and lucky for her not too far from Grandma Radcliff. Joining the choir, playing hockey and then a real dilemma. What the dilemma was and how she solved it Ann asked me not to divulge or I would ruin your fun learning about it for yourself.
Just where they finally decide to live and what happens when Ann leaves school you won’t believe. Just how did she skirt around the red tape of getting a job? How did the school react when she told them and what happens next? Well: the whole story has not been told and there is much more for our author to share with us as this reviewer hopes she continues on with Well It Was Fun: her teen and later years. Filled with funny stories, antics and pranks that make you laugh until your sides hurt author Ann Stanmore definitely penned an uplifting, humorous and heartfelt memoir. From almost leaving her sister Shirley and running back to get her, to meeting a young man named Bruce each chapter is a story in itself. So, one thing I will tell you and this reviewer is honest and straightforward: How do you rate this book? Well: Let’s give the author: FIVE CUPS OF HOT COCOA (MINUS THE MILK) and FIVE CHOCOLATE BARS THAT YOU CAN EAT RIGHT AWAY because I am sure you will get more when you write the next one.