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Violet loved to tell stories about when she was younger and before she died in 1983, she wrote down some of her reminiscences, as transcribed here (by Roy Pledger):-
“  My name then was Violet Mary Simpson and this is the story of my life when I was younger.   I came to live at Gristhorpe near Filey.  I was a fortnight old. (she was more than likely at least 2 years old).    Now as I grew up I can remember a lot of my life. 
Gristhorpe in the early 20th century. The Simpson cottage  is centre of picture left of motor car
I went to school when I was 3 years old, weekdays and Sunday alike.  When I was 8 years old I had to walk six miles to Cayton, three miles there and three miles back, rain or snow or shine.  My brother  (Sep?)  took me as he was 12 years old and when we were at Gristhorpe school, we had Miss Butley to teach us, and when she was busy we could talk but not too loud.  So when I went to Cayton school, our teacher was Mr Hutchinson and he had, what I was told, in his throat, an adams apple.  So I had no work to do the first day, I went and kept looking at the teacher’s throat.  I couldn’t understand why it kept working up and down in his throat.  So I said to my brother, “What is that thing that keeps bobbing up and down in his throat ?”   I asked right out, so he heard me.  He laughed at me as he heard me say it and he said when I left school he would always remember my first day at School.. 
VioletMary Simpson Age 13

I was 13 years old and my mother had got me a job to go to, at number 10 TheCrescent, Filey, to work for two sisters, Miss’s Gibson, at five shillings per week. I had to be up by six o clock every morning and in bed by eight.  No stopping up burning light, which was oil lamps. My father used to bring me my clean clothes and I had to give my mother the five shillings and she used to make home made toffee which was lovely to eat.  She used to give me a big bag full. Then I left in the November, I went in May, but I was a child at home until I was thirteen.. I was very naughty, always getting into trouble.  My mother used to say I ought to have been a lad.  If I had been I would have got more belting than I did while I was a school girl. My grandmother (Eliza Sunley)  lived a few doors from us in Gristhorpe and I had to take the evening papers out and call and see my grandmother.  So one day, it was a Saturday, I had always to read her the Mercury.  So one day I called she said “ Ho come again, I am busy now.”   Just what I wanted.  Me and my sister  (Dorothy) had been given a new dress each from an aunt of ours.  So mother had put me mine on to let grandmother see.   My father had a bike with rubber tyres and my mother had heard I had been on my dad’s bike a few times.   She used to say, “ If I ever catch you on it I will belt your backside with buckle in.”  And she would have done.

Violet when she was 13 years old

So this day grandma didn’t want me, I knew my brother was down Station Lane with the bike, so off I ran and got on riding nicely.  I was just going on Gristhorpe station when I looked round and I was over the handlebars into a gutter of muck up to my neck.  Well, I didn’t know whatever to do, but God was good to me that day, as it was fit to roast you alive.  Then an old lady that lived in a house came across and said had I hurt myself.  I said, “ I don’t know what to do.”  So she said, “ Well come with me”, and she took all my things off which I hadn’t many on, and she put me in her washing tub and washed and ironed all my things.   You couldn’t believe she had made my dress look like it was.  It was a dress you could iron.  But she was worried more about me as I had cut my thumb badly.  She tied it up to stop it bleeding, then I couldn’t thank her plenty.  So I went home now I was going to get all this sorted out.  My brother was waiting for me in the lane when I got to him and told him,“Don’t for goodness tell our mother”.   I said, “ What have I to say about my hand?”  While on our way up from the station was a bank where violets grew, so he said, “ Get some and tell her you slipped down the bank and cut it on some glass.”   So he went home before me.  She said had he seen me.  He said, “ I haven’t seen her, I don’t know where she is.”   “ No so long as she hasn’t been on her father’s bike.”   Then I went home and I thought by the way she looked at me, my brother must have told her.   She said, “ Have you been on your father’s bike?”  and I said I hadn’t.  So she said, “Only you haven’t”, so that was alright.   Then my dad wanted to look at my thumb and said I ought to have some stitches in it, but he went into a field and he found a plant that stopped bleeding and it did the trick.   Then on the Sunday that we had to go to church I had plenty of time, so I thought I had better run down and tell Mrs Bulmer how I was, but who was coming up the lane but her.  I said, “ Where are you going?” and she said she was coming up to ask how I was.   I said, “Don’t, as my mother had told me many times if she heard I had been on my father’s bike, I would get a good hiding and sent to bed without my tea.”   So she said, “ No honey, I am glad I have seen you.”  I often went down to see her after that.

The year after that I got a job on a farm at Gristhorpe Cliff with Mrs Boyes. The Germans bombarded Scarborough, nearly frightening us to death, as we heard they had landed at Scarborough.We all got what we could together, and hams out of the granary. Then two soldiers came up to the house on horse back and the boss went out and asked them if it was right they had landed and they said not.  We unpacked all our things again.   But they did a lot of damage at Scarborough, killing so many.Then when I left there I went to live at Weaverthorpe on a farm.  The war was on and we only had two farm hands and I took both their calling up papers.I went among the horses and Kathleen, the daughter, with the cows.  We only had one man to help us in the village. I used to plough, thresh and help on the land.    Both our two lads got killed. I stayed there a year and I never had a day off.  I would be 16  (actually 18 in 1916)  I went to church every Sunday night with Mrs Boyes and Kathleen.  The year after I went on a farm at Grindale near Bridlington and our postman was my uncle.  (Robert Stubbs Sunley)  Mother wrote and told him to see I went with him to church every Sunday night, so I had no chance of going anywhere else.   The farmer I worked for, my young man had come from the war to work for his brother in the village, so one day I had to take the children to school and on our way down he was working in a field and Mary, the girl, knew him.   She shouted, “ Will you meet Violet on Sunday night?”  So I had to tell my uncle I was going to see a woman about a working dress.

So that is how I met what was to be my husband  (Harry Pledger).  Then we both left our farms and we both got a job again on two brother’s farms and I stayed there until I got married.  (Marriage Certificate shows that Violet was at The Gate House at Lebberston and Harry was a waggoner at Cayton Cliff Farm). I was 20 and my husband was 24 and I lived at home with my mother as she had a bad heart and in those days there was four houses I could have which I wanted, so I went to live near my mother at Lebberston until we moved to Cayton.


The young Harry Pledger
Now I am going back to my childhood days.  One night when I had been out with the papers I was coming home and in the corner where the little shop was, there used to be big lads.  So on this night across the road from my mother’s was a lad called Jimmy Tyson, his son now lives in Ayton, and he said would I take this parcel to a Mrs Brown as she lived across from us.  So I said I would and he said to tell her it was from the station.  She said, ”Thankyou but I wasn’t expecting one.”  I didn’t say who had given me it to bring, I only wished I had then she may have said to take it back as he really did some funny things.  I didn’t tell my mother,so when I got home from school, my mother said, “ Mrs Brown wants to see you,” and I thought she will want to give me a penny or an orange.  When I went, she said, “ Who gave you that parcel to bring?” so I told her it was Jimmy Tyson and she said, “ Yes, you can tell him I want to see him.”  It was a parcel of horse muck.  Well, she didn’t see me, but I had to laugh.  No penny or an orange.
Then me and my sister both had a wool hat apiece and one day coming home from school I lost mine, it blew off in the wind and I wouldn’t stop to go for it.  So next morning my mother said, “Where is your hat?”  I said my sister had got it off my head and the wind got it and she wouldn’t go for it for me.  She said, “She is telling lies, she pulled it off.”  She said, “ Yes, come back tonight without it.”   I didn’t bother as I knew it would be there next day.  Anyway, when I went to school I couldn’t find it and in the dinner hour, we were playing in the school yard, who went by with it on her head? a gypsy.   There was some of them in a field.   I said, “ You have got my hat on,” but she showed me a knife and said she would cut my throat.  So I lost my hat and had to go without one as I told a lie
Then there was an old man who came from Filey selling any kind of fish but he only had a basket full.  So my mother couldn’t always be able to buy any as our rent was 1s per week and my father’s wage £1, but we always had a good garden.  We used to have bread and milk every night for our tea and breakfast, as we got plenty of milk from the farm when all the cream had been taken off, and mother used to bake us big biscuits for our dinner at school.  Then on a Saturday I had to go and help to clean the butcher’s shop out, which I got 3d and a great big breast of mutton and pigs feet, and so we had dumplings and broth.    Now this old fellow from Filey, mother used to tell us to see what he had in his basket and if he had no kippers, I used to have to ask for them and so we got away without getting anything from him.  Next week when he came, it was always Saturday , so I was at home next time he came.   I saw he had no kippers, so I said I wanted some kippers and he opened his coat and inside he had two pairs , so I had to have them, 6d per pair.  His name was Robert Sayers and we used to call him Bobby Sugar.    So one day while we were at school, he comes by with his basket and we shouted “Old Bobby Sugar” and he turned in the yard but we all ran in and he said, “ Ho well I shall wait until your master comes,” so we said, “ We won’t call you anymore.”  He said, “Well never mind, I shall still wait,” and when the master came in he told him about us, so we all got the cane.  On our way home we could take a short cut and there was a stile where we could get over and as soon as we got to it he was sat on it, so we had to go a long way to come back home.  Then when we got back home we got into trouble as we were late and my dad would soon be home and we had to be in bed before he came home.   We only saw our father on a Saturday and Sunday, we had a lovely father, if we were naughty Mother would say, “ Just go and slap these kids,” and he would say, “ No, your hands are hard enough without mine.”

I shall always remember once we were making a noise upstairs when she told him to come and stop us, so he did, and then I thought he has gone now as I heard him close the door, so me, as soon as I heard him go, I got out of bed and said to my other two brothers’ and sister  (Sep, Tom & Dolly) as we four slept in one bed, “ I am not frightened of him.”   So I went down stairs as you could look through the top of the door and see into my mother’s room and when I went downstairs I put my feet on his head.  I nearly broke my toes rushing back up the stairs – it was always me to get into trouble. As soon as I had taken the papers out I had to go to bed, the other three were in bed and I used to sit in the window, as other children could stay up later than us.  So one night I had a penny given, you never told your mother or you would have had to give her it.  You could buy things for a penny in those days and I asked one of those lads if he would go to the shop and buy me 12 chocolates and he could have one.  When he came I moved out of the window so he could throw them in the bedroom, but he threw them on the tiles – I could have killed him.  So we had to get into bed and hope for the best in the morning.  When we got up, mother had gone to work at my grandma’s, as her and my sister  (Lizzie)  who was 7 years older than me, had to help with the ironing, as they did washing for boarding houses in Scarborough, and on a Saturday afternoon we had to walk from Gristhorpe to Scarborough.   On the morning I went to get my chocolates down off the roof, something, either birds or mice, had eaten them.

Now in our bed was four of us, we had a family of nine, but they were all in service, so in our bed, I sleep at the front and my older brother at the back, and one night I woke up as I had no clothes on me.  I said, “ You have got all the clothes from me.”   He didn’t speak, so I sat up and I could feel three heads and something hairy all the way down.  My brother jumped up and just as he did, we saw a great old monkey going over the bed end and out of the window as it was as moonlight as could be.  My brother was nearly roasted.  We all screamed and dad and mother came rushing upstairs as they slept in the room.  They said I had had a nightmare.   My father said, “ Well it smells as if something has been there,” so we all got up and went downstairs, and we wouldn’t go back.   So when we went to school next morning, the postman came from Filey and my mother told him about us that there had been a monkey in our bed.  He said, “ Yes it will be true, as I came out of Filey this morning they were finding one and they asked me to look out for him, but I hadn’t seen him on my way coming, but when I went back there he was up a tree, so where he had been I didn’t know.  There was a man down the Ravine and they came out to get him but when he saw them coming he ran up a tree, it was a great big one.  They brought a little monkey with them and they put him on the first branch and then he came down to cuddle him and they put a bag over his head and they got him and the little one as well.”
When we were little we had to go to Gristhorpe sands to get my mother wood and yellow stone to do the steps.  We had a little cart and we used to bring lots of wood which my father made into sticks for the fire.  No electric meters in those days.   Me and my sister had short hair until I left school, then mother said I could let mine grow, as we had to keep our heads clean.  When I let my hair grow, I had it down to the middle of my back, then I had to have it plaited, it grew so long I could have sat on it.  Me and my sister and brothers were in a concert.  We thought it was lovely as we had to go to the Hall after they had finished late dinner at seven, to train to be in it.  I was a French doll, My sister an English one, (Dolly) one of my brothers a fireman (Sep)  and one a clown (Tom) which he was anytime.  After we had finished we had to say what we would like, so we could say what gift we wanted.  My brothers wanted socks and my sister white stockings.  I could have a link of beads as my mother saw I was so disappointed if I had to have stockings.  I still have those beads, I think that is why I was so fond of them as they were the first present I had been able to have – they were wood ones.
I never knew my granddad (Paul Sunley) as I was two years old when he died.  He had been in the Lifeguards and was 6’4” tall.  I think that is why we were all tall as my three brothers were all over 6’.  Granddad was a real old lad as they used to tell me.  When he was first married he had Lebberston Hall, three farms and eight cottages.  His first wife died (Lucy Parke) no children.  (They actually had two sons who didn,t survive) Next he married her sister (Ann Parke) and had a son. (John Parke Sunley) She died so he married my grandmother (Eliza Stubbs) and lost the lot as it had to go to his son.  So all he could do was to take the Ox Inn at Lebberston and stayed there until he died (1900).   They told me he used to go to Seamer Market, get drunk and then come home as he had a little pony and cart, it brought him home.  But beer hadn’t killed him not at 84.  I was married from there (The Ox) and years after I was married I could have had the licence but changed my mind. ”  (1929)
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