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Yvonne and the Pictures

By Jason Clifton

1955: Yvonne (‘Evie’) is a twelve-year-old living in Hove. She has a brother who is two years older, Jim. They are cared for by their mother, Jean, 36. Yvonne’s father, David (40), is suffering a gradual mental breakdown, attributable to the stress of serving in the armed forces in the Second World War (radar—a highly responsible job which fellow countrymen’s lives depended on) and bad luck afterwards in his business. David owns a radio and TV business in Hove that is going bust due to David’s over-trusting nature – he allows himself to be taken advantage of by ‘celebrity’ customers who take goods for free with false promises of ‘publicity’ – and  lack of strong business skills. He is increasingly irrational and violent, though it is not with malice but rather something beyond his control.
Jean is working as a waitress at several hotels on Brighton seafront, taking morning and evening shifts to help with the family bills. Things are tough but Jean saves her tips and always makes sure there are things for her children to look forward to. One of these key treats is the weekly trip to the movies (or ‘Pictures’ as they were often called), followed by a meal of fish-and-chip on the walk home along Brighton and Hove seafront.

The children Yvonne and Jim have to keep themselves entertained when not at school. Yvonne has no choice but to follow her brother Jim around just as Jim has no choice about having to have her tag along when he want to play with the other boys. Yvonne therefore becomes a bit of a tomboy when with Jim – climbing walls, playing tag and stick-ball and such games – and doing things with Jim such as collecting empty bottles up around town to deliver up for deposit money that could be used to buy sweets.

This story would take place over one day in the life of this family, following from the afternoon of Yvonne and Jim together up to their meeting up with their mother Jean and their trip to the pictures, and their walk home. I see the story as being from Yvonne’s perspective but there may also be a need for a scene or scenes from Jean’s viewpoint also. I would mainly be trying to capture the feel of childhood at that time, the psychology of a twelve-year-old girl with both hopes and fears, and the life and particular social attitudes of Hove and Brighton at that time. This story idea is based on fragments of my mother’s childhood she shared with me. I do not feel it is a story I can write in full until I have done some more research, though, to give it a basis in credible detail.

This page was amended on 09/04/2014


This looks good to me and my 11 year old son. I would like to read the story when it's finished.

From Ottilie Hainsworth
25.02.2012 10:20:04
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