Why oh why did I ever start this loft spring cleaning. I have just emerged from four hours of sorting through old photographs. It’s raining and cold and we have no heating and I would much rather be under my duvet watching one of the very many movies that have been recommended to me. Instead I am crouched on the floor with cramp in my knees on a very emotional journey through memory lane. And that little space in the middle of the pics is where I have been sitting.


There are pics of my wedding, my parents wedding, my grandparents wedding and my great grandparents wedding. There are pics of my children from age 0, me as a child, my parents as children, their siblings as children, my grandparents as children, their siblings, and so it goes on. And there are pics of people whom I have no idea who they are.

I have found cards the children made for us, cards I made for my parents and cards my parents made for their parents. More letters from Billee in Cairo and  in Rome where she worked hiding Jewish families from the Nazis. I am so proud of her.

billee nazi

I also found some of my old school reports which are embarrassing.

Note to self: do not let the children see them

There is a lot of “Could do better, needs to concentrate, to stop talking  and more effort needed.” Of course, if only anybody had bothered to give me a hearing test, they would have found out that I couldn’t hear so yes, I was easily distracted but also bored and deaf!!! But the remarks from my cookery teacher are just classic.

As we were strictly kosher at home mum made me carry all my pots and pans to school for cookery lessons. Getting on the bus was always a trial as in addition to my school bag I would have another  one full to the brim with cooking utensils. And none of them were in good shape. For example, when making a Victoria Sponge, I required 2 x 8″ round tins, which everybody else in the class happily got out of the school cupboard. I would delve into my bag and bring out 2 rather bent and awkward looking tins which had certainly seen better days and the result was a Victoria Sponge that resembled the leaning tower of Pisa.
And while the rest of the class were calmly rolling out their pastry directly on the flat tables. I had to first lay down a layer of grease proof paper and attempt to roll the pastry out which would insist on sticking to both the paper and the rolling pin.  Need I go on. It doesn’t take much imagination to see what a disaster this was.

And the remarks on my report: ” Tries very hard under difficult circumstances.” Methinks an understatement. I never quite worked out why mum didn’t say just use their stuff and you can give the end product away. I think because she hated waste.

The Maths teacher’s remarks weren’t exactly complimentary.  “Roma is capable of perfectly satisfactory work. When she fails to produce it, it is usually because she has become flustered and careless.” Not surprisingly that I was flustered Mr Finchley (that was his name) you were a little too trigger happy with the ruler. If we got a sum wrong, we would have to stand on our chair, then on the table and if we got it wrong a third time it was a whack with the ruler. We were just 9 years old!

Clearly, I was not a model pupil. I never enjoyed any of my school days right from nursery up until when I left aged 15. So, who are these people who say school years were the best days of their lives?

So what to do with all this memorabilia. Who is going to want it when I am gone and do I want to keep it?  It is quite exhausting just thinking about what to do.

And I leave you with another little treasure. An advert from my father’s tailoring business Ellaneff. Note the prices! £2.12s 6d for a tailored coat.


“Let’s be careful out there”