The Girl on the Promenade

My name is Martyn Lee, . I live in Straford upon Avon. In June 1953 my parents booked a family holiday in Devon. It was in a caravan at Looville Holiday Park in Goodrington, Torbay. It’s now a housing development but in the early 50s it was a busy little holiday park packed with static caravans.<br /> I was 6 years old and in my third year at my Infant School in Birmingham. I was in a mixed class of about 36 children. A big class, but these were the height of the Baby Boomer years. My parents plan was to take me out of school for two weeks in term time. In those days there was no law against this and your parents simply wrote a note to the school on your return. Understandably schools didn’t like this, but it was common practice. I was therefore sworn to secrecy. Under no circumstances was I to tell my teacher or any classmates of the planned holiday.<br /> In those pre motorway days the journey to South Devon from Birmingham in my Dad’s 1938 Morris 8, maximum speed 55 mph downhill, took about eight hours. On the Saturday morning we set off at first light, being mid June this was around 04.30. We eventually arrived around 13.00 hours and gained admission to our caravan around 14.00. Then came the arrival ritual, unpack, make up the bunks, go shopping for food. This was a Saturday and in those days shops just didn’t open on Sundays, so we needed enough supplies to see us through till after breakfast on Monday morning. Shopping completed it was back to the caravan and mom cooked us dinner.<br /> Most families including , mine had a post dinner holiday ritual. You headed to the beach for what my parents called their evening stroll. Goodrington has a long sandy beach abutted by a raised promenade. This means that if the tide is in, as it was that evening, holiday makers could still walk alongside the ocean. We started to walk east towards Paignton. The promenade was packed with other families enjoying their evening stroll on what was probably their first holiday evening as well. After about a half mile something extraordinary happened; there, walking towards us was a family of four, mom, dad, a boy and a girl. The amazing thing was that I knew the girl. Her name was Railia (a very unusual first name) Howard and she sat in the aisle next to me at my Infant school! It transpired that she too had been sworn to secrecy by her parents.<br /> So here we were 190 miles from home. On the same promenade, at the same time, on the same day and from the same class in the same school. To me that’s quite a coincidence! </p> <p>
Total votes: 34
Date submitted:Tue, 30 Jun 2020 14:54:45 +0000Coincidence ID:10481