The building to the left is ‘Bank Top Station’. I knew this place well as a child.
The train from ‘Bank Top Station’ took us to the local seaside, which was also where my brother lived.
At Christmas my mother would take me to the train station for another reason. She took me there because between the two main platforms, there would be a huge Christmas tree. Under the tree were lots of slightly used, unwrapped Christmas gifts. The gifts were donated by kind travelers, and given to the poor. Every year we took the bus, which was almost an hour’s ride from our village, and walked up the hill to the Station to leave our gifts. My mother sometimes shed a tear and said a prayer as we laid our gifts under the tree. We were poor too, but said there was always someone worse off that we were.
It was a cold drizzly day in December of 1964. My mother and I had climbed the long exhausting hill to leave our Christmas donation. My mother looked tired, she had worked hard all day helping prepare for a huge Christmas Party at the manor house in which she worked, and really didn’t have time for this trip. She made time though, because there were people worse off than us.
As we approached the huge tree I felt something touch my hand and looked down. Beside me was a little girl. She had long blonde hair tied back with a pink ribbon. I had seen her before, in Blackpool. The little girl was smiling at me. She looked like an angel.
I smiled at the little girl beside me and was glad she was there. I knew my mother couldn’t see her, no one could see her but me. She often visited me, but usually before something happened. I knew nothing bad was going to happen today, she was there to take care of me.
As we lay our gifts under the tree, my mother stumbled, she fell hard onto her knee. I went to help her. “I’m OK honey” she said. “Just being clumsy”
My mother looked exhausted and I was worried. We had to get the bus home soon because she had to go back to work. I didn’t think she was going to make it.
My little angel girl was sitting on the ground looking up at my mother, her big blue eyes full of concern. She kissed my mother’s forehead and then disappeared under the tree.
My mother got to her feet and helped me place the books under the tree. She had no gloves and stuffed her hands into her coat pocket to keep them warm. I saw a puzzled expression on her face as she pulled her hand out of her pocket. She was holding a ten pound note. That was a lot of money. The expression on her face was comical. “Where did that come from?” she said.
I knew where it came from and looked under the tree to see my little blonde friend rummaging through the toys and books, she turned and smiled at me. My mother couldn’t see her.
“Lets go and get a bite to eat” my mother said. I knew she hadn’t eaten all day. We went into the little cafe in ‘Bank Top Station’ and shared some fish and chips. They were delicious. We were about to leave when a man shouted over to my mother. It was Michael, Mrs Hodges son. Mrs. Hodges was the lady my mother worked for. “Are you going back home now? Would you like a ride?”
It was a miracle. We rode home in a fancy Rover with Michael, and his sister Judy. Judy had caught the train from her ‘Boarding School’ in Scarborough.
We arrived home much earlier than we would have and as Michael’s car crunched its way over the gravel outside his house, Mrs Hodges came out, all smiles to see her daughter Judy, home for the Christmas. My mother and I got out of the car and were about to go home when Mrs. Hodges beckoned us.
“Everything is ready for the party now, no more work to do. Go home and put on your party clothes and join us. Lets celebrate Christmas”
I looked up a my mother, hoping she would say yes. I wanted to go to a party in the big house. There would be lots of lovely Christmas treats, and ladies in fancy dresses. My mum looked down at my face and smiled.
“We would love to come, thank you very much”
She looked at me and said “I think your Guardian Angel visited again today didn’t she”
I looked into her eyes and smiled. I wasn’t sure if my mother was playing with me, or if she really saw her. It was a good day and it was going to be a good Christmas. My Guardian Angel took care of me.