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Our Lottery Win

A Story by Beryl Bowden

Though far from wealthy, Lloyd and I managed financially. The children’s needs were met, but not their wants. I was the youngest of five girls so rarely wore new clothes – they were mostly hand-me-downs. However, I enjoyed sewing for my girls and made most of their dresses so the dreaded hand-me- downs were avoided for them.

The difference in our upbringing and theirs was brought home to me one day when ‘primary school ‘Anne was insisting on yet another pair of shoes. I took both girls into their room and opening the lid of their shoe -box pointed to the shoes inside and announced ” You have good shoes; school shoes; sand shoes; sandals; thongs; boots for wet weather and slippers’. Pointing my finger and loudly emphasizing each word for the ultimate dramatic effect I said. “WHEN, I, WAS, YOUNG, I had ONE pair of shoes and ONE pair only! They were polished on Saturday to wear for Sunday school on Sunday.” I thought I had got my point across until I turned round, to see Lyndell with a mournful look on her face–playing an imaginary violin!! I realized that for them to have only one pair of shoes each was beyond their comprehension.

In the late fifties we became the proud owners of a big black second-hand 1937 Chevrolet car. I learnt to drive and very often drove the children to and from school and always, when it rained –even though they were provided with wet-weather gear. Perhaps I thought they were made of sugar and would dissolve when wet? Very different to our childhood, we walked everywhere, whatever the weather.


The old Chev looked just like this.

The old Chev featured in what was almost a tragedy. One hot Sunday afternoon we were going for a drive when five-year-old Anne wanted the car window opened. Normally they were not allowed to touch the window or door handles, but in this instance I gave my permission. Some time in the long life of the car, the door handles had been replaced with ones identical to those for the windows. Not knowing which handle was which, she pressed the wrong one. The door flew open and took her out with it. Lyndell, who was sitting in the back seat with her, screamed. I felt the draught on the back of my neck and realized what had happened.


Anne when she was 4 years old

The car screeched to a halt as Lloyd rammed on the brakes. I handed Tony to Lyndell before springing out. Horrified, we looked back at the still form lying on the side of the road. Running towards her I was crying, over and over ‘please God…please God.’ When we reached her and heard a faint whimper I breathed ‘Thank you God, thank you God.’ Lloyd picked her up and we raced back to the car. He handed her to me then started the car and headed for the doctor. ‘Hurry, hurry’ I urged him as I felt blood from her head seeping through my fingers. Doctor Kisonas lived only a mile away but it seemed an eternity before we got there. The doctor and his wife, a nurse, took her from us and told us to wait outside. He stitched a large wound in the back of her head and said he could see no other injuries but advised us to take her to hospital in Newcastle for observation and x rays.

Our prayers were answered! The diagnosis proved to be a mild concussion so thankfully; we were able to bring her home to Stroud next day. After a few days bed- rest Anne gradually recovered. I now know how it feels to lose a child. Until I heard that whimper, I was sure we had lost her.

The happy outcome was better than winning the lottery. Whenever I feel ‘down’ I think back to that day and say, ‘that was our lottery win!’


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4 Comments on “Our Lottery Win”

  1. Beryl Bowden March 1, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    Thanks for your comments..especially about Anne’s performance.. She is great isn’t she? Not a proud mum eh? Also about my stories. While ever people want to read them I will write them!

  2. Pauline Ibbetson March 1, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    Beryl, After seeing Anne’s wonderful performance in Music and Mirth last night, I’m glad she survived falling out of the car as well – a fun night out in Stroud – more of them please. Accolades to Rev Chris as well – poor Albert!!!

  3. Jillian Lister (Adderley) February 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    Wonderful story!

  4. Nicole Cooper- Stroud Road February 28, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Dear Beryl, you always manage to leave me with a smile or a tear – sometimes both! Thankyou for sharing your stories – always look forward to them.

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