3rd-4th March 1961

March 3rd – 4th 1961

Fri – Saturday


Darling Alan,

I got in from dancing an hour ago and my feet are killing me still.  I’ll just have to buy another pair of shoes. I’ve decided It’s impossible to get size 9 feet into size 5 shoes.  (That is a joke.)

I enjoyed myself tonight.  We went to the Laurie Hall in Romford which, in case you don’t know it, is an old cinema at the end of the Market Place.  It’s nice there, big enough to get a fair number of people in and small enough to be cosy, especially with the lights down low.  I went with Carol and Jane, who were at the Palais two months ago today!! And Carol’s friend Diane whom I hadn’t met before, then Diane’s brother and his friend turned up, so we were quite a crowd.

There was a couple of odd RAF types there that one hears so much about.  They had what looked like a propeller on their sleeve. What does that mean?

Great news at work today.  We’ve to get another rise. We had a 5% rise last August but that was a bit disappointing as the Clerk’s Committee had asked for 10%, the same as the other banks got then.  The C.C. kicked up such a stink then that they compromised by adding another 3%. Better than a smack in the eye I suppose.

I wrote to the holiday camp last Tuesday to ask them to fit Lena in and I got a reply today.  They’ve sent me a reservation form that I have to fill in and sign for her, so it seems like it is all fixed.  I’ve yet to find out whether she has managed to book her flight. Still, I suppose she won’t have any trouble there so we are all set.

I’ve had some really odd partners tonight, I must say.  The first one looked like he’d left his teeth at home and you could smell him coming from a mile off.  He’d obviously been plucking up courage at the pub. His favourite topic of conversation was how difficult it must be for a woman to dance as she had to follow the styles of the different partners,……blah,blah,blah……etc etc etc.

Diane’s brother John was really funny, and I don’t mean funny ha ha.  He is what one could honestly describe as a great slob. He’s an enormous chap, as broad as he is tall and acts about 16.  It was a surprise when they told me he was 21. He said he had had two dancing lessons but I didn’t realise what I was letting myself in for when I waltzed with him.  He just moved in a straight line. I just couldn’t resist it. I said, ‘is your next lesson how to turn around?’ I wonder why he ignored me for the rest of the evening?

Next bit in the voice of Dora Bryan:   now, I must tell you about the one.  My dear! He was perfect, a finer figure of a man you could never hope to see.  He was…an adonis. A Mr. Universe (of the year 1901)

Have you ever seen Brian Rix playing in one of his bedroom farces?  That is exactly what he looked like. Y’know, the slack jaw and the gormless expression.  I kept waiting for him to say ‘Ee, by gum laddie.’ But he didn’t. He must have realised I wasn’t a laddie as I was dancing backwards.

Just before I danced with him Carol and I were discussing the usual questions that we poor females have to answer.  We decided the most popular was: ‘where do you live?’ Blow me, if this charlie didn’t ask it just as we passed Carol.  She thought it killingly funny and there was your poor darling trying to keep a straight face and answer questions politely.

The first dance with him was alright.  That is if one likes doing a reverse and a lock step alternately down the dance floor.  The second time he asked me was for a waltz, so I thought, ‘Ee by gum, laddie, why not? It gets a bit tiring having your arm yanked backwards and forwards like a steam hammer, though I don’t actually know what a steam hammer is but it sounds good.

The poor so-and-so even came back a third time. That third dance was really something.  He must have thought third time lucky. My dear! He actually got fresh.  Well, I mean to say.  He asked me if I would be going there next Friday and there was, well, you know that glint in his eyes.  Oooo, it sent shivers up and down my spine. Then, we got to a corner and I was so interested in trying to see the badges on those airmen’s sleeves that I got out of step.  I said (being my cheery little self, of course.) ‘Whoops, I’ve lost it! well, my dear. I don’t know what he thought I meant because he had a brain storm or something and gave a deep throated chuckle and – wait for it – actually tickled my waist.  Ooo, I was so shocked I just kept on dancing.

Right, now my little brain-storm is finished what else can I tell you about?  Someone mentioned ‘brain-storm’ on tv the other night. I’ve taken a fancy to it so I have been telling everyone here that they have been having brain-storms.  Wish I knew what it meant.

One of the girls at work was twenty-one on Wednesday, so there was a good supply of free cigarettes and chocolates going around.  Well, actually she was 21 while the clock was striking 12 between Tuesday and Wednesday cos her birthday is 29th February.  The poor thing has got the vote at 5 and a quarter.  What is the country coming to.

I’ve got the photos that I took last Saturday.  The only one that didn’t come out was the one with me in it.  All the others are of the bride etc. D’you want me to send one to you or would you rather wait until you are home to see them?

It has been a nightly ritual this week for me to come home from work and have a photo taken.  You see, I don’t want to be wearing the same things in every photo and I can’t be bothered to keep nipping upstairs and changing.  I can tell ya, it’s blinking awkward trying to get eight different photos with only our garden as background. Or perhaps you realised that when you had yours taken.  I seem to remember a certain bush that got very familiar.

I have become hairdresser to the family.  I always do mum’s hair and now Jennifer has a different style I have to do that.  Course, dad has to make some funny remark. He says he is going to grow his hair longer so I can work on that.  Well, he thought it was funny.

I had a shock yesterday.  I was working out my money for the month.  I made it £4 left over after lunches etc had been accounted for.  Then I worked out how much I would spend on cigarettes. £3.15s. Alan darling.  I am broke.

Spoke too soon, as usual.  Quote: ‘… when are you coming to bed.  You needn’t think you’re going stay in bed til 12 tomorrow ‘cos you’re not!’  She says that every weekend. I’ve got to the stage where I ignore it. Anyway, I can’t go to bed yet, I haven’t read the Weekend or the Reveille and if I don’t get in now they are likely to be fire fuel in the morning.

Suppose I’ve got to finish now.  Not through lack of topics, through lack of blood circulation in my hand.

Lots and lots of love for always


Letters from Maureen Week 9: 3rd - 7th March 1961

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