Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Monday, August 14, 2017


Those were the days.............after I had gone back to work, the Cali' days were done. I seldom went out because after work I had a baby to care for. As she got older, had a set bedtime and there was always someone in the house....then I felt free to have somewhat of a social life. I was not dating for quite some time. Meeting people for one thing, was difficult. Margaret and Sheila I believe were married by then. At any rate I was too busy. Once in awhile I might go out with a friend to a movie or maybe a pub, but not often. Work was usually where we met people. Goodness knows how they do it these days with all the rules regarding sexual harassment. That was the best part of work, meeting new guys.
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At some point I was dating Paul from the computer room but I never introduced Laura to anyone I dated. That was a separate life. I had no intention of getting her involved or attached to anyone I was with because I had no plans to marry. So there was no point. Paul asked me about that, why didn't I tell him? Well because it was none of his business is why and unless we were serious, and I was not, then it would not concern him. He understood. I can't see letting a child get attached to "uncle" so and so and then him walking away.
I honestly cant remember anyone else at that time. He was probably the last English guy I went out with.
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Chicksands. An RAF base turned over to the Yanks. Chicksands played a huge part in the Second World War by receiving signals which were later decoded at Bletchley Park, where the German Enigma code was broken.
My Dad did not like Americans, his wartime experiences and the reputation they had in England was enough to put him off. Once he met some that I brought home then he changed his mind. Especially when they called him Sir.
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Chicksands Priory and the ghost of a nun who had got pregnant and walled up alive inside.
I said in my last post that my friend Chris was dating an American. He was from Chicksands and her cousin Pauline was also dating a guy from there, actually was engaged and married him, and they had introduced Chris to Randy. She was all happy about the "Club" and I got invited over, took Paul with me. He enjoyed it but could see that I was enthralled and after that as he said, he could not compete.
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So it was that Friday and Saturday nights, sometimes Sunday and Wednesday we went to the club. We went about as often as we could. The Airman's Club had a dance floor a stage with a band and they had a floor show. The drinks were 25 cents. No hanky panky in the club, no sitting on laps, no kissing on the dance floor. We went by taxi and were escorted in, we were escorted out and up to where we got our taxi home. It was after all a communications base and supposedly top secret. I felt safe there . It was so much fun and well, what can I say, it was all young men. Mostly first time away from home. It was also during Vietnam. Randy (soon to be Chris's husband) had been in the Phillipines prior to coming to England. He went to Vietnam after they married, that had to be really hard for her.
We had to sign in at the gate and be escorted to the club, or have our boyfriend come get us.
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Once we started going we got others to join us. There was Shirley, Diane, Denise, Lynn, Sylvia and Sally who were regulars along with Pauline and Chris. Every one of us married Americans. Every one of us are still married. There were a few more who came that we didn't hang out with as often but worked either with us or Sally. My memory is foggy there. At any rate if we went Wednesday night woe betide us Thursday morning at work. Diane sat behind me at work and I think we both had occasion to wake the other up. At least a couple of times we were out all night, I got home in time to get Laura up and ready for the day and change and get off to work. There were inevitable parties to go to in Bedford and around when people lived off base. It was great because we all knew each other.
The Elephant cage.
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We didn't think too much about the war going on over in Vietnam we were too busy enjoying life. There were times though that we heard someone we knew had died, but not being American it was a far off thing. I dated one guy whose brother committed suicide, he came from California. I liked him. He wanted to go out with me but said right off he would never marry me, that was great because I had no such interest. He had to go home when that happened and once he had gone home that was it. One guy was a constant though. Joe..........I think I loved him in a way. Whenever I broke up with someone I was back with Joe. He asked me to marry him, he came from New York. (I didn't know he meant New York State) I said no. He was looking for a wife apparently because he married within six months. He had given me a month to think about it and I didn't see him until the night he wanted an answer. I just couldn't. Sigh!!! I think if he had sat down and talked to me away from the club it may have been different. I did love him.
Joe and Gerry, they were friends too.
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Then there was Terry........he was from Pennsylvania I said no to him too and he took off for Pakistan. I liked him but, before we started dating he was with a woman who got pregnant by him. He didn't want to marry her because she was a little older than him and he felt she would be "past it" long before he was..........yeh like I would want him. Bye bye. I did go with him long enough for him to meet Laura at least once when we went to the zoo together.
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Most guys never made it past six months with me, I always found some good reason to break up. I got bored easy. Also it didn't seem fair to them if they were indeed looking for marriage.
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There was a certain culture there I found out, Americans did not think they same way we did. Some guys knew they didn't want to get serious and only went with girls that would sleep with them. Well who wants them right!.........I got interested in someone named Ken, he happened to be black. I would dance with him and smooch, I really liked him. I asked my Dad what he would think if I married a black man. My Dad said, "Because of him being American I would advise you not to, but if you did I would support you 100%" remember how volatile the 1960 were in America. Then this guy I knew came to me and said you need to know that the "white" guys (he was Hispanic) will not date you if you keep dancing with Ken. They believe if you are dancing with him you are sleeping with him. ( I was very indignant, this person knew me enough to know I didn't) I said "I don't care, I will do what I want you can spread the word. You know I am not and if they don't know me, then they can think what they like". Well it fizzled out quickly with Ken because, well, it was sad. I won't go into that. I was used to being friends with many different nationalities after London.
After that it was a long time before the "white" guys would come dance with me. I didn't care, I had Joe. I probably should have married Joe. I just was not ready for marriage.
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My Mother called me a whore for going over there to the base. She had a way with words. I didn't care, I knew I was not doing anything wrong. I sure as heck was taking no chances on getting a reputation there or getting pregnant thank you very much. The guys there knew the ones who would and the ones who would not and respected that I think. Maybe not, who knows, but they certainly knew if you didn't and no one ever pushed me. I do remember one guy who took me home. He parked at the end of Margaret's drive to Grove Farm and tried to make me give in, because I said no he asked if I was a Lesbian. What a cheek!, he said he could dump me right there by the side of the road, I went to get out (I would have gone up to the farm) but he relented and took me home. There's always one.
We did like to drink. That really helped me get rid of my inhibitions, to not be so shy. I would not have been able to walk into the place without a drink, we usually had one before leaving home. I only got drunk a couple of times but sure managed to get very happy most times.
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I do remember the one occasion quite well that I did over do it. It was funny and it was not. OK, I will tell you.
This time I had gone to visit Chris and to see her new baby, she was married now and living in Luton (I think) I had no intention of drinking at all. Randy and friends came home later and gave us a drink. Some how something had to have been put in my drink (not by Randy) and I blacked out. I remember sitting on the edge of the tub not feeling so good and falling in and giggling. After that I remember nothing until I got home.
Well next day I told Chris I had a very strange dream about the guy at her house trying to get me in bed...............she said it was not a dream, I guess he would have raped me had Randy not heard me yell and got him off me. She said their bed broke that night when they got in it haha......I have no idea what his name was now but he was in a helicopter crash in Vietnam and died.
Me and Gerry at Rick and Sally's wedding.
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I got a taxi home and I remember giggling because I could not get the key in the door and was swaying all over the place and shushing myself. Didn't want to wake anyone up. Well I got in and promptly fell up the stairs, giggle giggle. Got in bed and went to turn off the lamp and knocked it over. I was hanging out the bed trying to retrieve it when Mum came in "Have you been drinking?" ......."Who me?. Noooooo not at all, nite nite" alls well that ends well. I didn't do that again. We enjoyed our drinks but were safe because of the taxi service that took us back and forth. Pete's Taxi. Never to be forgotten. I bet their drivers could tell some tales.
Rick and Sally's wedding
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At some point Sally was dating Gerry and his friend Rick wanted her, so Gerry started dating me. Rick and Sally got married and me and Gerry got married. We are both still married.
Gerry home on vacation, when he went back we started seeing each other.
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I don't know why I changed my mind. I think I reached the point that I was tired of getting to know new people and having no long term goals. There seemed no point in dating unless it was going somewhere, I was tired of starting over. So when he asked me, this time I was ready.
Chris and Denise were bridesmaids.
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Joe is one of the guys there at my wedding.
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We have been married since the math.

Back home after London............................

After Laura was born, life as a new mother was different at Beechwood. We no longer had the chores. I enjoyed my life there and was content to stay. They made me feel I could stay as long as I needed. I read a persons review of Beechwood and how horrible it was. That was not my experience except for the initial run in with the nurse. They taught me all I needed to know about babies and how to care for them. I could have visitors. My friend Sheila remembers coming up to see me and that Laura was the only baby wearing a dress. I had knitted for her and so did Mum, getting a layette together was fun. Laura was 8 pounds 8oz when she was born. Although they had initially been concerned that my hips were not wide enough I had no trouble delivering after all. I was never cut, never split. I had no gas and air, no shots, no meds nothing but a completely natural child birth. I actually enjoyed it. After I felt great, full of energy. I can't say I felt that way after I had the boys later on. Although I always had a natural birth with no meds etc. I always enjoyed being pregnant (apart from morning sickness) and child birth was never horrible for me.
I can not remember the journey up to Beechwood, my Aunt Liz remembers her and Mum taking me and settling me in. If I do remember its very vague. I didn't need much to take with me that's for sure. Maybe my mind shuts down when things are unpleasant because I don't remember that at all.
(Dad with Laura)
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After Laura was born I was able to think about things. What did I want to do. At that point I was not expecting to go home. I was thinking maybe a flat with a room mate. Something on that order. I was going to keep my baby no matter what but had not yet worked through any plans. They would help me with that had it been necessary. In England the social services are wonderful. It could have been hell, but was not. I had choices. They would have helped get a place to live and I would have qualified for assistance. I didn't get into that because Dad wanted me to go home. He wanted that baby right there. Mum was in a more tolerable state of mind once she realized that it was a baby like any other and latched on to that idea. She adored Laura. Me, well I was always on the outs with her one way or other but life was good. I went home just before Christmas as far as I remember.
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Life settled into a routine and we got used to each other again. Mum was watching Mark while Liz went to work and so when it was time for me to go back to work, after 6 weeks, she watched Laura too.
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I had asked to go back to AC Delco, and because Liz was head of personnel by then she had some influence. My supervisor was not at all happy to take me back and said as much. I will explain.
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I started work at Delco and all was well until I turned 18. At that time the women from our department and others in the offices were made to pay out the wages in the factory. I have explained this before I am sure. It involved carrying a tray with the wage packets full of cash. No security at all. I didn't mind that part but I did mind all the attention we got from the men/boys in the factory. I was very shy and introverted and it was hell for me. Oh I didn't mind attention from men, but not in groups and the women were bitchy. They regarded anyone in the offices as snobs at least that was my impression.
So, I refused. I said it is not in my contract and I do not have to do it. I was right, I didn't but our supervisor Miss Thurman told me that although she could not make me, she could make life very difficult for me. With that I broke the news I already had another job in Luton. Of all the women who backed me on my protest only one went as far as to leave with me. Everyone had their reasons.
So, here I was, needing my job back. I learned one does not burn bridges unless one wants to eat humble pie. Miss Thurman said outright she did not want me back but was not given a choice. She said "and you WILL pay out the wages to the factory" and I did, with the parting shot of "It is in my contract now so yes I will"
I was older and not so unhappy about it, had a bit more confidence in myself by then. I also needed the job. I stayed there until I got married. Miss Thurman and I got along very well in the end and wrote to each other after she retired. I was a good worker and she knew it.
(me with Mark, just before I got pregnant, or maybe I already was)
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I still knew some of the people who worked there and much later I started to have a social life again.
I did not date for a very long time. Or so it seems. I did eventually date a lad from the computer room that was next to ours. He liked me and he was OK, we spent a weekend away together. It was fun but well, nothing special. I decided I just was not ready for commitments and was not in love.
About that time my friend Chris started to date an American, they invited us (me and Paul) to go to the club on the base at Chicksands. I never looked back. Paul said he could not compete with that and he was right.
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Meanwhile, I took care of my child once I got off work and until she was in bed for the night. I got her up in the morning and got her dressed most of the time and if she woke during the night I was there. I did start to go out a bit more, usually on the weekends. Mum and Dad both liked Paul but that was a no go. I am sure they hoped I would get married. I didn't plan on it.
(Laura with Poppett)
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One day I was out with Dad and we stopped at The Norman King for a drink. Who should be there but my old boyfriend Mick. Dad told him to "stop in any time" (thanks dad) and he did. We went out somewhere and he had noticed the toys in the living room and asked me about it. I told him my story. His sister had got pregnant and married an American and the fact that I was going to the base, in his mind meant I was sleeping around. I had the kid to prove it right? Wrong. The last thing I wanted was a reputation at the base. I never slept with anyone there, not until I was going to get married. I was not at all bothered by his reaction, it was Dads idea not mine as he liked Mick. We didn't see each other again.
(earlier days with Mick, and Sheila and her Mick)
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One day Mum said "who's that walking down the road? It looks like Graham" It was.........I went out and stopped him and he came in. The one and only time he saw Laura.
I had nothing to say to him. He held her and she cried haha. He wrote to me after that and asked me to meet him again to "talk" and by then I was engaged. I agreed to meet at the station but he didn't show up. He wrote to say he had gone on a ship for some work that came up. He phoned me once when I was in the States. His son Paul was coming over and would I be there for him if anything went wrong. I said yes of course I would. He did fine and I never heard from him. Graham wrote to me again asking me to go home where I belonged and get back with him............AS IF!!!!!.......he must have been going through a rough patch. He was living with someone in Wales and tending sheep. He asked if he could contact Laura and I said wait until she is 18 and then you are welcome to do so. He did and they were in touch on and off till he died. She got an inheritance from his father later on when he died. He was generous and left money to each of his grandchildren. Laura got 35,000 dollars.
(Me and Laura with Poppett)
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Laura did not stay in touch with her 1/2 brother and sister, she's not good at that. I could be kind and say Graham changed as he got older but, I don't think he did in many ways, otherwise why would he ask me to go home when he was living with a woman for many years. I don't know what happened to Carole, his wife but believe she was well rid of him when it came down to it. They were both young and I hope she had a happy life.
(me with Laura at Christmas at mums house)
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Those days spent at Chicksands were some of the best of my life. What fun it was. So many memories and life long friends came from those years. Unlike Laura, I am good at staying in touch. Friends are precious and I keep them all as close as I can.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

.London and about..............part two

During the time I was living and working in London and having given up on Graham due to the kind of person he was. I decided to enjoy myself best I could. I tried to forget that I was pregnant, and I did for pretty much six months. I never showed. The style of dress was loose so that helped. It was when I left work that my co workers found out, except for my friends who already knew. Some of the girls and I would go to the Overseas club in London. I loved seeing so many different cultures. The Arabs in their white robes and dusky skin, WOW!!! they remain in my mind as being so "romantic". My friend Janice married one of them. She had a baby herself and handled it differently than I did. She went home at Christmas, had her baby, gave it up for adoption and went home for Easter. Her parents never knew. Then she married and went I assume to wherever he lived where ever that was. I often wondered how her life went. I lost touch with her and was never able to reconnect.
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I did date a bit during that time, although I can't remember anything about it or anyone I dated. It was all casual, movies or dancing and so on. No one I got involved with. Probably roped into something by friends who wanted to get me "out" again. I loved London. We loved to go up the West End and look at the shops, sit in Trafalgar Square or Piccadilly Circus and watch the world go by.
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The first year I was there we spent New Years Eve in Trafalgar Square, it was such a thrill and for me an experience of a lifetime. People dancing in the fountains and hanging out of trees, sitting on the Midnight it was utter glorious chaos.....then one minute later everyone headed for the subway, last trains home if you were lucky. People pounded over the car roofs in order to make it to the Tube.
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I was able during my time in London to go to art galleries and museums and all that the city had to offer. Walking along the Thames Embankment and sitting in the parks.
I loved the Embankment, especially at night. I got inspiration and strength from Bodicea, she was my hero at the time. I didn't need a man to be strong, I was determined.
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London was a safe city for me, I had no fear, maybe I was just unaware, I don't know. I had seen the worst places and yet the city proper held just so much history and made me more curious about it all. I would go home on the underground at night and not worry about being down there alone. Good grief. We would walk to Tower Bridge and I would go from there to Putney and walk the rest of the way up to Wimbledon Common and home.
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When I was with Graham the parks and Wimbledon Common were favourite make out spots. Hmmmmm After I was already pregnant we were intimate completely, no point not to, but the next nail in the coffin was me catching something nasty from him. Nothing much but enough to shock me into a complete break up. It was humiliating. I remember going to the doctor and having to sit in a chair spreadeagled while I got "painted" inside with some concoction. That's one thing, remember never been naked? Yeh! well I had all these students surrounding me watching this procedure. I felt faint, told the doc I was going to be sick. No you wont says he, as I throw up all over him. Serves him right. Students learned to clean up puke I guess so there. Humiliation again for me.
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When I reached six months in my pregnancy I went home and made arrangements to go to a Mother and Baby Home in Putney. My Mother was distant and uninterested. She was ashamed and worried what "everyone" would say. Well, Sheila's sister Val, who was in Yarmouth when we were there on holiday, wrote and offered her shoulder. My Aunt Liz, ever faithful, wrote to tell me she understood and was with me in this. My next door neighbour Mrs MacDonald was with me and later on had me sew clothes for her and do her hair, she paid me for this so I had some spending money until I returned to work. So much kindness. I would make her a new dress for her weekends out and I would set her hair for her. Mrs Mole across the road was also supportive as was Mrs Bird. I am sure there was talk, there always is and shame, but those who mattered were with me 100 percent and long after too. In fact until each of those ladies finally died we wrote and kept in touch.
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When I had made my arrangements I went back to London to a Mother and Baby Home in Putney.(Many of these women were 'sent away' to mother and baby homes for the duration ..... We found out about beechwood an awful mother and baby adotion home in putney.) I found that description on line when looking for something on Beechwood. So many girls around my age were sent away in shame during those years. It was not acceptable to be a single mother.
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I stayed there until my baby was born and I had decided what I wanted to do.
Beechwood was out of the 1800s haha. It was a very large house. There were rooms for expectant mothers and rooms for Mothers and babies. The expectant Mothers were expected to do housework, we polished the silver, yes silver, we cooked the breakfasts and did dishes. One day wash, and another wipe. Big old pots and pans and a wooden draining board that had to be scrubbed with Lye soap. We also helped the new mothers among other things. Changed the beds and did laundry. Not much time to sit around and mope. We leaned to use cloth diapers and we collected our Layettes. Some of the girls had been there more than once a couple were models. So it was that as I had this nasty vaginal thing going on and the resident nurse isolated me. I had to have a bathroom to myself. The other girls felt bad for me but in fact I didn't mind the luxury of my own bath hahah. I was very shy. The nurse had been horrible, calling me bad things and saying I didn't belong with decent people. My dad found out what had been said to me, and she apologized to me and I got reinstated when she got the doctors report and it was nothing "catching". I would say what it was but I don't remember. Anyway, she did an about face telling me that it was in fact me being naive and "innocent" that led to my condition rather than the "sluts" who were back two or three times having babies and catching VD. I guess she should have been in a different line of work if that's how she felt. I found that I have thick skin, name calling didn't Phase me too much, I blocked it out. I suppose I felt I deserved it. I also suppose I was still in shock to a point, how did I reach this point in my life.
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Our beds were horse hair, thin mattresses on planks of wood to support our backs they said. I remember my milk coming in and dripping all over. My Dad would phone me probably from work. I remember one girl came to get me and said "who is that man with the sexy voice?" never thought about my dad as being sexy haha. Then I had the "show" and labour started Friday night. I told the Matron and she gave me a sleeping pill. I was a little concerned that I would not wake up in time. Then what? Not a problem. Next day I got a real pain and that sent me to my knees. I remember holding on to the stair rails and whimpering. Well I didn't progress very quickly and they were thinking I could not deliver, I was small. They called my parents. Not sure how as we didn't have a phone, so I suppose they called Liz and Ray. Anyway, I made progress and eventually landed up in the hospital on the Sunday, St Theresa's in Wimbledon. Most of the staff were nuns. I was lucky that a young doctor took an interest in me and stayed after his shift to be with me. I was otherwise alone. He told me jokes and that was terrible with the pains coming and cracking up as well. Now remember here, I am very naive, no one had ever seen me naked and especially not "Down there" and here is this strange young good looking humiliation was complete. Still he stayed with me and held me while I had the contractions and pushed hiding my face in his coat so he didn't see me. He had a white coat and I clung to the lapels with my face in his chest. When it was done and Laura was born he couldn't find a gurney to take me to my room. I felt great, full of energy and so I jumped off the table saying I can walk, I don't know where my legs went because they were not under me when I jumped off the table, he caught me. We got back to my room. Next day when he was doing his rounds with the other doctors I pretended to be asleep. Sooooo embarrassed. I remember the next thing was to take a bath. I was horrified I thought I would fill up with water. It didn't know it would all go back into place after the birth. I didn't know this 8lb 8oz wonder could come out of me and I would close right up behind her. I knew nothing...............having said that, the next few weeks were great. They taught us how to wash and care for the baby and do diapers and boil the linens (no disposables) how to prevent diaper rash. What and how to feed. To dress and swaddle my baby. My Parents showed up the day after the birth. Mum looked at the baby and said "Good grief it looks like a bloody half caste" she was indeed blue and bruised with tight black curls. A dig from her at Grahams background that she knew nothing about. Graham didn't see LauraJane. Mum didn't like the name either "Where the hell did that come from?". I don't know, I just liked it.
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I stayed for several weeks, I could stay as long as I wanted to so that I could make an intelligent decision on the future of my child. My Father wrote to me. He said it was up to me what I did, he didn't advise me. He laid out the choices as he saw them, that if I kept the baby then my future as far as marriage went was dim.( Fine by me, I was done with men for good I thought.) That finding a man who would raise another mans child were few. (I never experienced that) On the other hand if I gave her up then I would always wonder and no doubt have severe regrets later, but that it was my choice. He would stand by me whatever. Mum didn't know he wrote me, I found that out many years later. Mum had nothing to say according to her. My Dad gave her no choice when he asked me to go home. That's what I did. I kept my child and went home. Not in disgrace as it turned out. She was the only one who didn't welcome me back.
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As time went on and it was time to go back to work, I got my job back at AC Delco and mum watched Laura because she was now watching Mark Seabrook, her nephew who was about 8 or 9 months older than Laura. Life carried on.............more next time.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

London and about......................part one.

When I was near to or about 18 I had asked my parents if I could move to London. My reasoning to myself was that I could see "my" band more often, that was not the only reason though. I wanted independence. They agreed on condition that I came home on weekends. What was I thinking? I was 18 and did not need their permission. I would have been happy to just stay up there at that point in my life. I enjoyed my life. Still, I had never done that before even though I had worked from the time I left school at just passed 14. My birthday being July I began work in August so was just into my 15th year. I went to work at AC Delco and I think I have talked about that before.
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Well I had been working in Luton for a time before this came up. I found a job at NAAFI somewhere in London. I can't quite remember where but I know I got off the bus at Vauxhall. So for me to go home on weekends was a real pain in the butt but at that time I really didn't mind it because I got to live in London. From home I would walk to the bus stop in the village (lugging suit case) and get a bus to Luton train station (1/2 hour) and then the train to St Pancras in London. From there the underground to Putney Bridge and a bus to Wimbledon Common. Several hours to make the trip most times. I would go home Friday night straight from work and back again Sunday night.
I had to have a good excuse not to go home. A special occasion.
Heathlands as it is now, a retirement home. At least it has not been pulled down but it's not as beautiful as it was. Its been added to with really modern structures.
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NAAFI had a women's hostel for its female employees. I stayed there rather than try to get a flat or somewhere else to live. It was reasonable rates and came from my wages. A beautiful old mansion house with paneled wooden walls and a huge stone fireplace with steps up inside it. For the chimney sweep boys. There was a Matron, Miss Tyson who ruled over us all. There were women from all walks of life, some older ones who had worked at NAAFI forever. I met some great friends there. There was a lounge where we were allowed to entertain a guest or two. A TV room where the more senior residents no doubt had dibs on the programs and a room to play cards or whatever. I didn't go in more than once or twice being too shy to mix with a lot of people.
Miss Marjorie Tyson and the cook Miss Nellie Ewens.... At the retirement of Miss Tyson from her task of being mother to hundreds of girls.
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There were two staircases one that led up to the first floor rooms and another servants staircase that went down to the kitchens. There was a basement that was rather creepy all white tile. The ladies would hang up the dedicates to dry on lines. Twice we had guys break in and steal underwear from the lines. It was around that time that we heard of "The Michigan Murders" where young nurses were killed in a basement much like that one.
The bedrooms were either double occupants or four beds and the room I chose that was a dorm. We had two beds with a wardrobe each and night stands. A curtain ran around the two beds so we could close off our area to be private and keep a light on and read without disturbing others. I loved it because during the day the curtains would all be open and we could all talk together. One night One of the girls woke up to see flash lights and police dogs in our rooms, they shone a light on each of us and the dogs checked us out. I didn,t wake up. One girl did, she sat up and saw all that and was told to go back to sleep. She did and thought she dreamed it. Someone had broken in and stolen the safe from Miss Tysons office.
They had some awesome claw foot tubs that were so deep you could not see over the rims. The windows had stained glass and the paneling was wonderful. Some of the doors had crests on them. One day I was leaning against a wall talking with someone and what I thought was a crest moved..........a huge spider. They heard the scream for miles I think. It fell down and I walloped it with a shoe pounding the poor thing into the rug. I was very proud of myself and told Miss Tyson what I did she said "yes we heard you all the way down here"
We had a cook, and I loved going down for breakfast. Meals were provided and were good. Someone cleaned the place no doubt while we were all at work. When we got back from a weekend there were clean sheets for us to make our bed up again.
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Sometime around then Margaret, Sheila and I went on our first holiday without parents. We booked a caravan at California Cliffs near Yarmouth in Norfolk. It was overlooking the sea and so we spent our time on the beach among other things. Sheila's sister and husband and baby came down later in the week and were close by to keep an eye on us I suspect, although they stayed away mostly.
Next 3 taken at California Cliffs....on the beach
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Margaret and me
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Sheila and me
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Sheila at that time was engaged to be married, but Margaret and I were open to seeking out boys. We had good radar we thought. One day we met two guys who were walking on the beach and who came over to chat with us. Graham and his friend Len. We hit it off and saw each other for the remainder of the holiday, they had been working on trawlers and were from London. Dagenham to be exact, the east end of London. Well how lucky was that for me? Being new to London I got the invite to be shown around. For a short time the boys would come down to our places on weekends, either staying at my house or the farm. During the week I met both of them in the evenings when I was in London. Sometimes Margaret would come up to London for a day.
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We had some fun times at first. Len told Margaret he was married and so that was not going anywhere, he was apart from his wife but not looking for a divorce. Hmmmmmm eventually she stopped seeing him as there was no point to it. I still saw them both when I was in London. I got to see parts of London I never would have seen. They never had money so we just would walk around all over the place. I really loved London. We would go through Soho and they knew all these out of the way places. I loved the architecture and back streets and loved exploring. Then I discovered they had a fondness for Hashish. I was NOT amused and would have nothing to do with that. I did go with Graham sometimes when he went to buy stuff and the places he went to were a shock to me, I was very naive. I saw young boys with tracks on their arms who did the hard stuff, Graham at least had sense enough to not do anything like that he said they would not see their 21st year. He didn't smoke or drink but liked the weed. One place he went to in the back streets was an eye opener for me. He knocked on a door, the door opened onto concrete stairs that were filthy and two little kids were just sitting there. The person he came to see got a wad of Hashish from under a dustbin lid. Yeuk!!! Further on was a drunk? old man laying in another doorway. We moved on up through Soho. A couple of police officers had a row of kids lined up facing a wall as they searched them. Graham told me to palm the hash and I refused, he said they would never look at me. (remember I was a mod and dressed according) I refused. He was not at all happy with me, expected me to support him and I would not. We walked on by and no one noticed. I thought then of my "band" as there were clubs there that they played sometimes. I never did see them again.
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Weeks later when I was at the hostel I got a phone call...........from Grahams wife. She was apologetic and asked if I knew Graham, I said yes and told her how we met. Well naturally I broke it off right away. He found a way to see me to "explain". Miss Tyson had a few words with me, she was concerned. She said "men who are married seldom leave their wives, they just go on to the next affair and will never be faithful". Graham told me they were married at 16, given no choice as she was pregnant. Blah blah blah.........well I refused at first to reconcile but eventually he wore me down and I listened. I met her, Carole, she invited me in for tea. I was not expecting that, I was tricked by him. I was waiting around the corner while he went to get his key, and there she was in front of me. Come on over she said and I being struck dumb followed like a sheep to slaughter. She was very nice, told the story of how they met etc.......she loved him she said, but he loved me and she hoped we could be happy. She had two kids. He had taken me to his apartment one evening (before I knew all this) and it turns out Carole was in hospital having their 2nd baby at that time. I had no idea. I missed clues? It took some time for all this to unwind and for me to get to know the "Real" Graham. Carole was not the first to have had a child by him it turns out. I do not make any excuse for myself from here on. Up to that time I was clueless, besotted and still a virgin. When he convinced me that it was over with Carole and she seemed to know it was time for her to make a better life for herself (smart woman). she wrote me a letter wishing us well, that she loved him but had to take care of her kids. However, I knew that if he could do it to her, he could do it to me and I know he did. Although we had not at that point had intercourse, I got pregnant because we did go apparently far enough for that to happen. I keep saying I was naive, I was also gullible and believed what I was told. I had gone to the doctor when I missed a period and got the 3rd degree from him. Talk about embarrassed. I said "I can't be pregnant, I haven't done anything" with that the doctor asked pointed questions and said "well you did something!!!!, did he do this or that?" I think the electric bars of his fire burned into my eyeballs as I stared at them. I could not look at him, the fire burned my cheeks and my cheeks burned from inside out. I told you, I was very naive and innocent. I mean I knew how you got pregnant but not enough apparently. There was no birth control and I had not had intentions of "going all the way".
Anyway as it turned out I was indeed pregnant. I told Graham, his first words were "Is it mine".............that ended it for me. Len said "well he had to ask" and I replied, he knows me and he knows that I have not been with anyone. At least he accepted that the baby was his. Even though he could not do much about it being married and all. Thank the Lord for small mercies. He wanted me to stay with him but that was out of the question, I had more to think about now.
Laura brand new.....
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Eventually my parents found out. I would have done anything at that point to avoid them knowing. Abortion was not available, not legal anyway and I had no idea how to go about anything like that, I do know though that I was desperate enough that had it been available I would have done it rather than my parents knowing. For that reason I am totally against abortion. I would have done it because I was scared even though it was not something I knew anything about and would not have been able to live with later.
When my Mother found out as she eventually would, her words were "you're not bringing any bastard into this house especially his".................and so I looked into Mother and Baby homes and stayed away from home for as long as I could. At that time I could only work up until I was 6 months pregnant and I did so. What I did learn was that I was stronger than I thought I ever could be. I am stubborn and decided I could take care of myself and I did. I can't say Graham stood by me, he was no help in any way at all, but I did see him now and then. His infidelity, lies and dishonesty were not something I could live with and eventually it fizzled out and I moved on. I saw him once after Laura was born because he came to my parents house. I will continue this story later because I want to tell about the Mother and Baby home as it was then.......................

Thursday, August 10, 2017


I was just listening to an add that had a BeeGees song on it. It made me think. When I look in the mirror I do not see me, I see an old lady. Sometimes it's shocking. When I listen to those old songs I see the young men they were back then. Think of Mick Jagger. I saw him when he first started to sing all those years ago. Mick has not changed that much, neither has Rod Stewart. Could we ever conceive of those people still singing when they were in their 70s and still sounding good.
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Every Friday and Saturday night my friends Margaret and Sheila would accompany me to the "Cali" the California Ballroom. I would assume that most kids in the surrounding county would also go, but we were regulars. I met my first real boyfriend there. Actually I first laid eyes on him at the movies, he was leaving with his girl friend. He looked at me and me at him, we connected. The next Friday he saw me at the Cali and came over to talk to me. We started dating after that. Those were the days of Mods and Rockers. He was a Mod. I was not either but got used to Mod culture, the clothes and the "scooters" (Rockers rode motor bikes)
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Of course I had to be a MOD look at the clothes. In England the two cultures clashed, so that on weekends kids would end up in places like Brighton for big fights on the beaches. It would dominate the news, ah more innocent times when that was the worst thing in the news. Kids had "punch ups" and annoyed the police. Those were the days.
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The best music was to come out of that time. I saw just about every group possible those weekends, they all played the Cali. Twice I saw the Stones there and got autographs.
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We loved to dance and it seemed every month a new dance. My favourite band was The Symbols, I was in love with Johnny Milton. We went all over to see them.
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Back then Cinema's became concert halls on a weekend. We saw some American bands too, like the Crickets who had lost Buddy Holly and had Bobbie Vee fronting them. We were there when P J Proby split his pants and got shut down. The Walker Brothers and many others. It was our life during those days.
Then I look at pictures of these people now..............we are all old. I am 71 and some of those guys are older still. It's sad. Now we see them dying. Glen Campbell was not one from my days but I loved his songs, gone now. It was hard seeing Elvis grow old and die it will be worse when Jagger goes.
I see my childhood friends going through illness's and loosing spouses or with spouses with their last illness's and some have already gone. When I think of them all I see the young people I once knew. Inside I am sure they are about the same.
Margaret and me at the Cali
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We loved going to other towns to see our favourite groups. One time we went to see Joe Brown and the Bruvvers, we had got there early and were just waiting outside, no one else was even around yet. I said we were early. Joe Brown just walked right on by, we were in awe. We were also quiet ones so didn't approach him or ask for autographs. I was braver at the Cali when I caught Mick Jagger crossing the dance floor to go talk to someone on stage. I did step out and ask him, he stopped and wrote it for me. They were promoting their first record/hit "Come On".
My boyfriend Mick and I stayed together for six months or so before his friends pretty much broke us up. They said we were too young and too serious so he broke up with me. I never fell in love like that again. A couple of weeks later he wanted us to get back together but I said no, I was really into following the band. This too was all innocent it was later that the term "groupie" came to mean girls who followed and slept with the band. This was not like that. I think he probably had a girl friend back home but when he saw us he would always dance with me and took me home one night. Unfortunately for me my Mum had stayed up and Margaret had got back from the Cali. I had stayed with the band as they packed up their gear and went home in their van........they dropped us off at my house and went to take someone else home and came back for him later. Oh if only we had been alone.............what would have happened? We will never know. I was soon to move to London where I had got a job in the hope maybe of seeing the band in the London clubs. That too was never to be. I did move to London but..............
Things moved on, we went away on holiday, Margaret, Sheila and I, we met Graham who became Laura's father and those days were gone forever.