Vicky’s Journey From East to West
THE STORY OF VICKY MEYER'S EARLY LIFE IN A JAPANESE CONCENTRATION CAMP AND HER LATER BUSINESS SELLING ANTIQUES ON PORTOBELLO ROAD.
Vicky Meyer (a.k.a. Grace Ann Chalkley) spent her early childhood in China, during which time the Japanese Army invaded Pearl Harbour, and foreigners in China were now considered enemies of Japan. As a result, Vicky’s school were first required to remain in the school compound, and then later taken to the same concentration camp as Olympic athlete Eric Liddell.
After surviving the War, Vicky went on to become a stall holder in London’s world-famous Portobello Road. She experienced joys and sorrows of family life, and eventually arrived in the picturesque village of Thixendale, set in the undulating countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.
Vicky’s story is one of courage, hope and the faithfulness of God through all circumstances.
“…a life formed in hardship and lived with fortitude…”Dr Gordon Temple
About the Author
Retired Antiques Seller
Born to missionary parents in 1933, Vicky spent her early years in the Port of Chefoo in Northern China, close to the Korean boarder. There, her father taught languages in a school for English-speaking children. Life was peaceful and pleasant until 1941 when, following the invasion of Peal Harbour, war was declared. Vicky and her family were imprisoned in concentration camps for the next four years by the Japanese.
Coming to England after the war, meeting her relatives and catching up in school on her limited education were totally new experiences for Vicky. When schooling was done, Vicky trained in journalism and was appointed as a secretary in Bond Street, London.
Vicky met and married Walter Meyer, a self-employed Civil Engineer and Antique Dealer, in 1955. Vicky eventually held her own antique stall on Londonís famous Portobello Road selling walking sticks and became famous there as ëthe walking stick ladyí. Their marriage produced five children, though tragically they were to lose two of their three sons to drugs.
Vicky continued to trade on Portobello Road several years after Walterís death until ill health forced her into retirement in her late 70s.
Now, living in the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds with her youngest daughter and family, Vicky tells her rollercoaster life story for the first time and speaks of how her faith has turned bitterness to acceptance, resentment to forgiveness and sadness to joy.
Author Vicky Meyer launched her new book at Thixendale Village Hall at an event attended by visitors both from the village and from father afield.read more
Endorsements and Reviews
Dr Gordon Temple, CEO, Torch Trust
Here is an engaging story of a life formed in hardship and lived with fortitude, facing losses accompanying disability as well as those from a succession of family tragedies. I came to know Vicky and husband Walter when in St Albans, and my abiding memories are of the strength of personality and Christian maturity they contributed to the fellowship of the church there, and of Vicky’s curious walking sticks! Now, years later, we are again in touch as with her sight loss Vicky has turned to Torch Trust for accessible Christian reading.
Though brought up by Christian parents it was only after living independently that Vicky found faith for herself, a faith in Jesus that has clearly been the foundation of her security and stability ever since. There’s a line from a familiar Christian song that captures for me the testimony of Vicky’s well-lived life: ‘Father, I place into your hands the things that I’ve been through.’
Dr Gordon Temple
CEO, Torch Trust
Sarah Frettingham, psychotherapist and churchwarden
This is the story of a remarkable life journey, its difficulties and joys. It is told with a lightness of touch that belies the impact on Vicky of its hardship and pain, as a child interned by the Japanese during the Second World War, and in the griefs of family life.
We see how her courage and resilience in the face of adversity is firmly rooted in her faith and her hope in God. I found this book a fascinating and inspiring read.
Psychotherapist and churchwarden
Felicity Bentley-Taylor, former missionary
Ann, later to be known as Vicky, and I were born in the same year and our families, six Chalkleys and five Houghtons, lived next door to each other on the compound of the Chefoo School. Her parents and mine were CIM missionaries and members of the school staff.
Like Ann, I was interned under the Japanese in north China and came to England in 1945 after the war. When we met again, in 1950, Ann had become a Christian and was living in Mussel Hill.
Years later, when I was a missionary on home leave, she invited me to speak at a women’s meeting of the Brethren Assembly to which she and her husband belonged. I remember meeting Walter then and seeing some of the walking sticks he had collected.
Our paths have differed widely. This is a good time to look back, as Ann does, and reflect on her experiences of joy and sorrow, and to look forward with Christian hope.
Former missionary in Chile and Bolivia
M. Christina Butler, children's author
From China to Thixendale (a remote village in Yorkshire). That’s quite a journey, and so is Vicky Meyer’s autobiography.
When I first met Vicky, it was soon obvious she’d led a very interesting life. Her fascinating walking sticks are works of art every one! But, of course, it’s Vicky’s journey, so amazing and full of trepidation, especially during her early years in a Japanese internment camp during WWII, that makes this such a great story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
M. Christina Butler
Bishop David James
Vicky gives us a fascinating and absorbing first-hand account of living as a child in Japanese-occupied China and the complete contrast of growing into adulthood in post war London. She shares the joys and the sorrows, the blessings and the heartbreak of being a parent and grandparent.
This autobiography is a moving illustration of the hymn Vicky heard sung in the POW camp at the funeral of Eric Liddell, the Chariots of Fire missionary.
Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side
Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide
In every change he faithful will remain.
Bishop David James
“…courage and resilience in the face of adversity….”Sarah Frettingham
“…a fascinating and absorbing first-hand account…”Bishop David James
"In Vicky's Journey from East to West, Vicky, who is 85 years old tells the story of how after being born to missionary parents, she spent the first nine years of her life in Chefoo, a seaside town in northern China, until Pearl Harbour and the beginning...read more