Author(s): May Smith
Auntie F. came in announcing dramatically that Hitler is coming tomorrow, at which my father remarked that he would, now that he's just finished papering upstairs. At the outbreak of World War Two, May Smith was twenty-four. She lived in a small village near Derby with her parents, and taught at the local elementary school. The war brought many changes: evacuees arrived in the village; nights were broken by the wail of the siren as bombers flew overhead; the young men of May's circle donned khaki and disappeared to far-flung places to 'do their bit'. But a great deal remained the same: May still enjoyed tennis parties, holidays to Llandudno and going shopping for new outfits - coupons and funds permitting. And it was during these difficult times that May fell in love. These Wonderful Rumours! gives a unique and surprising insight into life on the Home Front. Through May Smith's observant, witty and sometimes acerbic diary, we gain a new understanding of how the people of Britain coped with the uncertainty, the heartbreak and the black comedy of life during wartime.
May Smith was a young school teacher in wartime Britain. These Wonderful Rumours comprises her diary entries from the end of 1938 through to 1944. This is an interesting read and gives a real idea of what wartime Britain was like for an ordinary young woman. Both frivolous (May is continually waiting for her pay cheque to buy that next coat/hat/dress that she desires) and serious (air raids and bombings), May's slightly sardonic tone keeps you turning the page. She has an ability to make the most mundane detail seem lively, and I particularly liked the comments about her reading (the latest literary gems), and her often hilarious preoccupations with the Faithless Freddie and Dear Dougie, would-be suitors. - Stella
'The People's War' comes to life in this wonderful diary of life on the Home Front during World War Two
May Smith was born in 1914 in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire. She trained to be a teacher at Goldsmiths College, London. For many years she kept a diary, with a record of her life and her reading. After her first post at an all age elementary school in Swadlincote, in 1937 she moved to Springfield, a new Swadlincote junior school, where she taught during the Second World War. After marriage and children and a break from full-time teaching, she returned to Springfield, where she remained until her retirement in 1975. She died in 2004.