Sizzum

A short story, with a 500 word limit, submitted
for a writing course I undertook.

     For two weeks every summer, Colin, my brother, and I walked past our school to the Recreation Ground, a field near the school that most of us just called the Rec. It was at what seemed a ridiculously early hour, for the school summer holidays; about a quarter to nine. I was 10 and Colin, 7. We would be on our way to CSSM, or Sizzum as most of us children called it.

The Children’s Special Service Mission was held every summer, for two weeks in the school summer holiday. The Scripture Union Christian organisation ran it for children to have some fun, be out of Mum and Dad’s, mainly Mum’s way, for a couple of weeks and learn a few Bible stories at the same time.

A marquee was set up on the Rec. for Sizzum but rarely used, unless the weather was bad. If it didn’t rain, we did almost everything out in the open.

After arriving each morning and everyone singing a few songs, we were split up into groups by age. With three years between us, Colin and I were in different groups. Once in our groups we would be told stories, often from The Bible, and then there might be a quiz on the story we had just been told. I always liked the Old Testament stories best, with the armies and heroes and battles. Then, at the end of the morning each child was given a clue to a bible story. Not everyone got the same clue but the answer was always the same.

After lunch was the real reason I suspect most of us came, an afternoon of games usually on The Rec. sometimes in the woods next to the Rec. for the older group. If it was wet, we’d be entertained in the marquee, by the grown ups. There were no screens or computers for that in the sixties.

At lunchtime, Colin and I would eat the packed lunch that Mum always sent us with, together. While eating lunch, we would compare the clues we had been given to find that day’s Bible story. So not only did we have two clues but Colin’s, because he was in the younger group, was easier to decipher and the answer still the same for both groups.

At the end of the day, before we went home, we had to guess the answer to the clues for the day. Everyone got a sweet before going home, of course, but if you got the answer right from your clue, your prize was a bit bigger. Maybe a Mars bar, instead of a sweet. Now don’t laugh, a Mars bar was a big prize to us in the sixties. By putting our two clues together each lunchtime, it was surprising how many days Colin and I both went home with a Mars bar each.

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