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First jobs – and a wish for the future

In Lowestoft, Special Delivery is based on a collection of letters sent to Trevor Westgate, a journalist on the local newspaper.

Readers wrote in with their stories about the town and each week Trevor published one or two in his ‘Westgate on Friday’ column. After he retired, the letters were given to the Suffolk Record Office and now we have selected some of them to use in Special Delivery.

This week, poet Dean Parkin introduced a letter in which a gentleman recounted some of his early work experiences, from walking a mile and a half to wash pots and clean boots to working in a printer’s shop, as a delivery lad for a draper’s store and helping his dad pack fish in ice for market – and all from the age of eleven.

This prompted many stories about ‘first jobs’, from boiling swill for the pigs (and using paraffin to get the damp logs burning) to collecting and grading eggs after school and countless domestic chores to keep the household going.

Along with these stories were several others that involved either falling into rivers, setting fire to things best left alone or generally engaging in less-than-advisable activities. All these stories, and more, were written down by the adults in colourful booklets and then taken over to Pakefield Primary to share with the children.

The children were enthralled by the tales – and then produced their own, which we will share back with the adults at a later stage.

Finally, Dean asked the children to write something about themselves when they were five, seven, nine and 20 years old; who wouldn’t want a parrot when they’re 20?