My name is Judy Petran, and I was born Judith Smith on 28th October 1957 in Farnborough Hampshire. I was the youngest of three children, with two older brothers Richard and Andy. I now live in Weymouth with my husband Joe and three almost grown up children.
I have a few snapshot-type memories of my early years, but I do wonder how many of them have been influenced by photos and stories the family has told. The family moved to Walton-on-Thames in late 1963, so I know that any memories I have of the old house are before then, but I can't really date any of them, apart from those in the bad winter of 1963.
I mainly remember the endless summer days of childhood - playing in the garden, finding a kitten stuck in a tree, riding my tricycle down the street trying to keep up with my brothers' bikes. I remember Mum doing the washing using a mangle to squeeze the water out of the clothes. I always wondered what would happen if I put my hand in it, whether my fingers would come out as flat as the sheets. There were also numerous door-to-door sellers - the brush lady, the onion man, the knife grinder, who would come to the back door. How often they called I don't know - the fact I remember them probably means it was rare, even then.
The old house had a smallish back garden, but it also had a strip of land that ran behind the backs of the other houses in the street. With typical Smith imagination we called this 'the big plot'. The grass was never mown, and it was allowed to grow wild. It was an ideal place to play as kids, not least because there was an old Anderson bomb shelter in it. There was the time my brothers experimented with a magnifying glass, and managed to set the very long dry grass on fire.