Memories of a six year old
That is mum and myself, my great-aunt and grandad, would not leave the island.
Dads business partner waded to our bungalow, put me onto his shoulders and carried me to Fairlop Avenue where our car was garaged, there were hundreds and thousands of worms, slugs and snails floating on top of the water, the salt water had killed them, he then drove us off the island to King John’s school in Shipwrights Drive, we stayed for a couple of hours whilst the police in London went to my grandparents to ask if it was possible for us to stay with them until it was safe to return, and of course it was, so we then caught a train from Benfleet to Fenchurch Street station, when we arrived at Fenchurch Street station, mum bought me a yo-yo and a netball, I drove my Nan mad throwing up against the back wall of the house, until one day it burst,(I always blamed Hitler for it bursting as it was some shrapnel sticking out of nan’s wall that burst it), we then went on the underground to Tooting Broadway where they lived.
I can remember not being very happy as I found out that I would have to go to school, I thought that it was going to be just like a holiday, but to school I went, and to my astonishment, I was treated like a celebrity, everyone wanted to know what had happened and what it was like.
The school I went to was situated just behind the then famous “Granada Tooting”, I stayed in London for six months before dad said it was safe for our return, mum went home every week-end to see how the family was and to also help with the cleaning up.
When I went back to school, “Leigh Beck” I could still see the affects that the flood water had on the school flooring, the water had lifted all the parquet floors, it was in quite a mess, it was a while before the floors were redone.
Even though I had not been back to the island for 6 months, you could still see that there had been a flood, water marks up on the sides of buildings also still quite a lot of rubbish was around, rugs, carpets and old furniture.
As a 6 year old you just don’t think how lucky you were, its not until years after that you realise just what an awful night for Canvey it was, it is still quite difficult to put the feelings you have inside into words that people can understand, unless they were in the same position, its much easier to talk to another that was there at the time.