March 12th 1961
I think this letter is gonna be pretty hard to understand cos dad is sitting here watching television and he is definitely unnerving me, probably a guilty conscience.
Hope you got the parcel ok. Very unoriginal I know, but what can you do? Did you have to pay anything on it? After paying 4/- for that book, 1/6d didn’t seem quite right somehow. It was the same as last time in the post office, they all had to have a consultation then out came the dusty old volumes to see how much it cost. They had quite an argument about whether the card should go as a parcel or as a letter. I know it was big but, I mean. Well, anyway, as you can see, I won, and it went as a letter.
Right, he’s gone to bed now I can concentrate on the problem at hand. That is, trying to find something interesting to tell you. I’ve got to start by wishing you a happy birthday from all the family and of course, yours truly. I wish I could have been with you dear, but there it is……..Still, think of next year…….(dirty laugh!)
Bet you were surprised to get a card from Jennifer. Not as surprised as we were when she bought it. Her only excuse was, well, I like him. You can’t imagine the time we had persuading her not to put ‘lots of love from Jennifer’. She talked me into putting it in with my card because she said she couldn’t afford the stamp.
That photo was about the only decent one of the batch. They developed five out of the eight. Two of those are very dark (very dark? You can hardly see them.) and the other two are awful but as it’s the best I can do I suppose I’d better send them before you start filing complaints. I took most of them when I got home from work in the evenings and the light was worse than I thought. I’ve got some very good negatives. Do you want them?
Friday night we were invited next door to see the new baby. I absolutely refused to go. You feel such a charlie making gaga noises over some soppy little bundle of flesh that doesn’t know what’s going on anyway, don’t you? Mum and Jennifer were in there like a shot. Dad said he was glad he wasn’t home from work at the time. Apparently they are calling the baby Paul Alan. It seems mum got her little bit in there. According to Jennifer she says, ‘oh, Alan is Maureen’s boyfriend’s name.’ etc. etc. So I expect the latest tit-bit of the girl from number ** has reached the Heathway by now.
Honestly, you can’t do anything around here. And I’ve got a very good instance of that. A year or so ago I had a date that I sorta didn’t mention at home. (I may give you the details of why not, when you’re home.) Well, anyway, I told them I was going to a girl-friend at Elm Park and arranged to meet this chap at Dagenham East station. About a week after mum asked what I was doing getting in to a big black car at Dagenham East Station when I was supposed to be going to my friend’s house? Boy, did I have to think quickly then. I don’t think she believed me anyway but she didn’t say anything else. I was fuming but she wouldn’t tell me who had told her. I’d really love to know, I’d knock their block off.
We had the pleasure of Jean’s company here Friday night. She had arranged to meet Stan at the station but after half an hour had given him up and came here. Dad and I were just teaching her how to play gin rummy when Stan knocks. He’d been to her house and her mother had told him she may be here. So, bang went the game of gin rummy. Jean came round again last night to finish it, but dad had dozed of in the armchair so we stuck to pontoon. Her mother’s just as bad as mine. Jean asked her what she thought of Stan and after saying, oh, he’s alright’ she added ‘he hasn’t got much flesh on him has he?’ Jean said ‘yes, he has been losing a bit of weight lately’ (ever defending female) So looking quite concerned Mrs Porter says, ’He hasn’t got consumption, has he?’ Mothers. What would you do with them?
Marjorie and Bill came this afternoon to bring us the photos we ordered and to show us their album. They really are a marvellous pair. Being married definitely suits them. I was quite jealous. I want to be married. They have already got a car but they heard of this old Austin from someone and have bought this one as well. Wait until I tell them at work tomorrow! Two cars!
Can we have two cars when we are married? Please? Well maybe I will be satisfied with just one. Come to think of it, what do they want 2 cars for? They both work in the same road as their flat is in and I shouldn’t think they go out by themselves – well, not yet anyway. I give them a bit longer than a fortnight. Still, that’s what money does for you, goes to your head.
We had the old boy himself here tonight – that’s dad expression not mine. Dad’s boss came to ask dad if he’d be at the shop at 7.30 tomorrow. That means dad has got to leave here at 6,30 cos the shop is at Bow. Did I tell you that? They’ve got the builders up there to do something to the floor and have got to cement it tomorrow so they aren’t opening the shop til Tuesday. Mr Duggie came round to warn dad that the place is in an awful mess and all the stock has got to be cleaned up, so dad has got his dungarees out. He looks like he is gonna help with the cementing. It’s funny really because Jennifer and I have always called the boss Mr. Duggie ever since we were small. The shop is called Duggie’s Stores but his name is Douglas Glover. This didn’t seem at all strange until dad told us that Mr. Duggie’s daughter had introduced dad to her fiancé as Mr.Ted.
I just sorta happened to mention tonight that if anyone had any money that they didn’t want they could always buy me a pair of slippers. And blow me if dad didn’t cough up there and then. He’s quite a generous old so-and-so really.
We started playing gin rummy at 11.30 Saturday night and I was winning all the way through. We usually make it the first to reach a1000 points wins but he just wouldn’t give up. At one o’clock he said I’ll go on playing on one condition, that you don’t make a noise when you creep upstairs. As I’ve had a lot of practice at that I accepted. I wish I hadn’t. He beat me on the very last hand.
I was dead beat but I couldn’t get to sleep Friday night because the blasted baby next door was trying out its lungs until about 2.30, then I had to get up and go to work on Saturday morning. It was a wonder I got there on time. I was still in bed at 8 o’clock and I’m supposed to catch the 8 o’clock train. I never do catch it but I’m supposed to.
The Lady was making us die Friday morning. She is the secretary of the Bank bridge club (favourite remark: the men’s fees went up when she joined) and she had the winnings of Thursday night’s game. She was trying to get some other woman to hand out the lolly and honestly, you’ve never heard anything so funny. She put on this high – sophisticated voice (on the phone this was) terribly to-to, y’know. And was coming out with, ‘Oh, but dar—ling, you must. Well, ducky you’ll be seeing Bobby before I do and I just …..hate, hanging on to all this money. But darling I mean……..etc etc. we were all crouched down over our pads and when she went out it was just an uproar.
I must pack up now, time is rushing on. I wish it would rush on a bit quicker though. I hope you have [had] a nice birthday Alan darling. I’ll be thinking of you. I wish I could be there with you. Twenty two now, eh? Tut, tut give your long grey beard a special comb for me. I’ll wait until next year before I buy you the bathchair. It would cost too much to send all that way.
Lots and lots of love
from your Maureen.