5th March 1961

March 5th 1961



Hello dear!

I felt a bit hungry at 10.30 tonight and decided to make two of my special dishes, a steamed egg and cheese with tinned spaghetti on a toasted cheese sandwich.  It was alright while I was making it. But by the time I had finished I didn’t feel so hungry somehow. Nevertheless, I ate it. After all the insulting noises that this lot were making I had to.

Dad and I had another session of gin rummy last night.  He beat me as usual but I am improving. I had him worried once or twice.  The game lasted ‘til 1 o’clock and after going dancing as well last night I didn’t feel much like getting up this morning.  My uncle came over about 11.30 with my little cousin so mum came and dragged me out of bed. This uncle’s a dear. Trouble is he seems to think yours truly is marvellous and that takes a bit of living up to.  He makes me feel ever so ashamed the way he reproaches (is that the right word?) me. Like this morning, I came down, trying to look like I’d been up for hours only to find that mum had already told him she had just woken me up.  He was interested to know that I liked sketching cos he’s quite an artist himself in a mild sort of way. I never know what to say to him but this morning your ears must have been burning cos we were talking about you. He used to be in the RAF himself, so it didn’t take long to get him on the ‘well, I remember…..’ lark.

We had a right old time taking photos today.  I must send you the one of dad and me, it’s a scream, that is, if it comes out.  I won’t tell you anymore. I think that is enough to whet your appetite. I felt a right ninny parading around the garden in my cheong-sam, especially as I had an audience of the poor excuse for a male we’ve got living next door, and the girl next door to him.  It was a nuisance cos I always wear white shoes with my cheong-sam, black doesn’t look right somehow, but after suffering Friday night I dyed my black shoes white – no, ignore that – I dyed my white shoes black yesterday. Well, anyway I want to see these photos before I decide whether to send them because it was only when they were all taken that I realised I had forgotten to put any make-up on.

Don’t be surprised if dad starts calling you SAC when you come home.  Cos he never refers to you as Alan, just sac. Not S.A.C., if ye comprehend.  He says he’s getting so used to seeing envelopes addressed to you lying around the place.

I think I’ll leave this now and finish it tomorrow night as my stomach has stopped making funny noises and I am feeling a bit tired.  Anyway, there are fifteen pages to beat and the only way I can do it is in two nights.

It has been beautiful weather here this weekend.  Just the sort of to make a young man’s fancy turn to………..goodnight!


Monday 6th

I’ve had a rotten day at work today.  I’ve been lent to another section for the week.  Our office is divided unto A – D, E – K, L – R, S – Z and the section I am in has the famed Miss M…….  in charge. I don’t mind admitting, she scares the life out of me. She is so sarcastic and it is worse when she tries to be nice and honours you with one of her sickly smiles. Everyone in the Bank knows of her and it is a well-known fact that if she takes a dislike to you you’re as good as had it.  She retires this year so we are all looking forward to the day we can wave goodbye.

Our little gang slipped up once.  We got to talking to this woman in the cloakroom during the lunch hour and the conversation came around to the lady in question so we began telling her all the ins and outs of what a Tartar she was – until she let on that they were great friends.

Well anyway, I was in a flap this morning before I came across her cos I got in by the skin of my teeth and then I had to move all my junk from one room to another.  The work I am doing now means I have to wander around the Bank most of the time, checking things up. (it’s a nuisance talking about the work cos no one ever knows what I’m talking about.)  I was lounging in my chair making a list of the things I had to look up – and doodling a bit a well – when, blow me if I didn’t look up and see her looking at me over the top of her glasses.  Her favourite trick and most unnerving I assure you. I just got up and ran.

She’s not too fond of me anyway.  She used to be in charge of my section and about this time last year she got a bit funny and reported me cos she said my work wasn’t up to standard – I wouldn’t mind but she never does any – well, that entailed a long conversation with the boss, when I said I thought I was alright, etc, etc, About a week after that the people in charge of the sections had a swap around, so someone else had the doubtful pleasure of being watched over by the ‘lady’.  They must have asked for another report on my work cos soon after, I was called in again and was told my work was Ok. Bet that shook the lady. I’ve avoided her ever since. I never did tell my parents about that. You know what parents are. I would have found myself in bed by 7.30 or something like that.

You can’t help but do things wrong when you can feel those beady eyes on you all the time.  Whenever you go near her, there is an atmosphere you can cut with a knife. I made a booby today alright though.  There is this lot of work – I won’t go into details – that I had to do today and it has to be finished by 2.30. I forgot all about the damn stuff until someone reminded me at ten to one.  Ten minutes before I go to lunch. That meant I had to skip half my lunch hour. It’s not so much that it’s difficult it’s so fiddly. You have to carry, a red pencil, blue and red pens and a lead pencil around with you and when you’re in a hurry and start flashing the pens around you, you can look like you’ve got red and blue measles.

Hope the saga of March 6th hasn’t bored you but I must keep the pages up.  That is another thing I did wrong today. I’ve written 7.3.61 on everything. The date didn’t dawn on me until I was coming home on the train.

We got the full details of our rise today.  The extra 3% and the annual rises which always come at the end of March brings me up to £425 a year.  That looks alright on paper. It’s when I get my hands on it that the trouble starts. It’s a downright swindle though.  Cos although I am nearly 18 I’m still being paid as sixteen, as I was still 16 when the rise came round last March. If you read that a couple of times you might get the gist of it.

Carol was making me die on the train tonight.  She has got a six-year-old sister who proves a bit embarrassing at times.  Apparently Clive went to her house last night and Susan proceeded to tell him everything that Carol was wearing under her dress, and if that wasn’t enough spelt it for him as well.  All Clive said was ‘you can’t spell!’

According to the chart in my diary a quarter of the time until August has passed.  Not bad going eh? And I’m still surviving it. I’ve got it all worked out about what I’m going to wear when I first see you in August.  But I’ve still got plenty of time to change my mind a dozen times.

I had a warning tonight from Mum and Dad.  They were perfectly serious as well. They said I had better learn to control my temper a bit better for when you come home.  They said they only put up with what I say because they know me but I’ll have you walking – no, wait a minute. I can remember the exact words……..’Alan won’t stand for you lashing out at him and you’ll have him walking out on you’….So there.

It all started tonight over the shirt I am making.  I did most of it last night and I just had the hem to finish.  It’s too thick to make a double hem, so I decided I’d better blanket stitch it.  And what with mum telling me what to do one side and dad saying something totally different the other, I got a bit narked and told them to mind their own business cos I was doing it my way.  What makes me mad is when dad sits there and laughs when I lose my temper. So it invariably ends up as a free for all, with mum as a referee.

Well, my darling I’ve reached a substantial number of pages even though I did it over two nights.  I’d better go to bed now as I really must start getting up a bit earlier in the mornings. I don’t think I’ve been to bed before 12 for weeks and weeks.  Alan dear, I need you, if only to get me to bed earlier.

I don’t want to stop writing yet though wish I could think of something interesting to say.  Wagon Train was ever so good tonight. It ended up with this bloke being burned alive by the Indians.  He had given himself up in place of a crook so the Indians would free this small boy who turned out to be his son anyway cos he was supposed to have been burnt to death in this school ten years before and he wasn’t although no one knew this and they had erected a monument to him there anyway.  Well, it was good.

They wouldn’t let Carol have her season ticket at the Elm Park station this morning cos they won’t give them out before 9 am Monday mornings.  Tonight she is staying with her grandmother, so she had to go down to Elm Park all the way back to Upton Park. Boy, she was mad!

I think perhaps I had better pack up before you get too confused.  I want to say something nice but I can’t think of anything new to say.  Ask me one of those questions like the couple that have been shooting back and forth lately.  It brightens things up a bit, to decide whether to destroy the letter or hide it. Or maybe I could try eating it next time.

It is just the sort of weather here now for a nice long quiet day in the country away from everyone but there’s not much point going alone, is there?

I do wish you weren’t out there.  It’s not doing me any good y’know.  D’you think if I got run over or something and was seriously ill and kept asking for you, they would let you come home for a bit?  I’ll have to start asking around for volunteers to run me over. There might be a few more than I expect though. That would be a bit disheartening.

Less than 5 months before Lena comes over, or did I say that once.

I suppose I had better pack up now, or I’ll have a crippled right arm by the time you come home, and what good is a one-armed female.  Don’t answer that!

I love you so much darling.  I wish you weren’t so far away.

From your



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

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