It’s my birthday today.
I’m eight years old.
My name is Poppy Rogers.
I was born at twenty past nine in the morning on November the 11th. Mum says if I’d waited a little longer we’d have scored a hat-trick. I think that’s a funny thing to say.
Last year I had a party but this year I am going to a restaurant for a pizza instead. My friend Beth is coming with me. Mum is taking us but not coming in. I’m going to text her on my new mobile phone when we have finished our pudding. She says she’s going to go for a walk in the park to see the ducks. It’s raining so she’ll probably wear her old mac. Nan bought the phone for me as my birthday present and it’s got a whole five pounds worth of credit on it. I got some new shoes and a book from mum. I’m excited about going out. This place is too small for a party anyway. Mum and I live on our own in one room in a big house. I’ve never met my dad. We have a sink, a kettle and a microwave so we can make ourselves hot stuff to eat. My favourite is tomato cuppa-soup with bread. The other day we had tinned rice pudding which was nice too. Mum said that there was a whole box full at the food-bank. She hasn’t been eating much lately. I think she must be on a diet. We have to share a bathroom with three other lots of people which neither of us likes much. The boys in the room next door wee on the seat. We moved here just after Easter when the rent on our flat went up. Nan used to take care of me after school on the days that mum was at work but we live further away from her now. Mrs Barsar from the room across the corridor sometimes makes my tea. Mum says we are part of the hidden homeless. But we have a home, even if it’s not a very nice one, and everyone knows we live here so that doesn’t make any sense. Tomorrow we will probably go to church with nan to say a prayer for grandad. I’ve not met him either but mum says it’s not because he doesn’t want to see me but that’s he’s poorly and finds it difficult to be with people, even us. Nan doesn’t see him either and he is her husband. We don’t even know where he is. Grandad was in a war a lot of years ago and his ship was attacked. We learned about another war in school this week and wrote some poems about it. Mr Potts asked me to read mine out first. He said it was ‘fitting’ but I’m not sure what he meant by that. We made poppies out of red tissue paper, black wool and a safety pin. I wore mine all evening and asked mum why she didn’t have one. I was worried because when we walked home Beth’s mum said that everybody who loves our country and is patrotic – I think that was the word – wears one. Mum just snorted though and said that of course she loves the country and proves it when she pays her taxes, unlike some people. I don’t know what taxes have to do with anything.
Grown-ups are really weird.
NB: I posted a story last weekend - Remember, Remember … - that although stand alone, could be read as a sister piece to this: https://www.abctales.com/story/gletherby/remember-remember