10th June 1961

June 10th 1961


Darling Alan,

I haven’t got much to write about but I feel like writing, so that’s a warning.

We’ve been to the Rainham Town club tonight.  I do enjoy it there.  It is a members only place and seems terribly elite, more so because there are hardly any teenagers there.

We had what started as a discussion ended in a heated argument.  I am fed up with the constant moaning between us. It makes me miserable and I don’t enjoy myself. Another thing I always keep on about is my shoes.  I bought some plain white court shoes – or let’s be honest and say my dad bought them for my birthday; and every time I wear them for dancing they get trodden on and I end up with them filthy dirty with great marks all over them.  This evening they were playing a very romantic waltz, the lights were low, and everything was really dreamy and I had him dancing about half a yard away so he wouldn’t tread on my shoes.

My aunt came over this afternoon (mother of Terry) Do you know Upney Station at all?  She lives just opposite and at the corner of the block is a lane that runs parallel to the railway line.  Every time Terry is let out into the street he goes down this lane and plays.  Last year a young boy got killed by a train when he climbed over the fence onto the line to get his ball or something.  Ever since then Terry has been forbidden to go down there.  Nevertheless, no matter how much they threaten or punish him he gets down there at the first opportunity.  Probably because it’s forbidden territory.  His punishment (after walloping failed) is to be kept in for a week, which he hates but even that doesn’t work now.  She came over asking for more ideas to make him behave himself.  Even the ‘nasty man’ theme hasn’t worked.

Today I got the photographs I took Whit Monday.  This is Maureen in two different moods.  I’d put my glasses on for one of them so I could send it to Sweden so she’d recognise me when I met her.  In that I look about 30.  Then there’s another one taken at Abridge sitting down all casual like in jeans and shirt, no make-up on and hair a mess, in that I look about 15.  I really caught the sun that day and all my freckles showed up.  It needed a skilful make-up job for a couple of days afterwards to hide them.

Mum had begun the old yelling lark again. she must guess that I am writing to you cos for the last month I’ve been going to bed at a pretty reasonable hour.  Well, fairly reasonable anyway.

Whoops, she’s getting vicious.  I had better go.  The usual threats are coming forth.  ‘if you don’t come to bed I’ll wake your father up’ as if he’s not awake already with that bawling right in his ear.


June 12th

I’ve just come in from work.  First time for ages it’s been to an empty house.  Judging by the wee note on the table, mum’s gone to the doctors with Jennifer.  Jen’s arms been hurting for ages but yesterday she knocked it again.  Now she can hardly lift her wrist.

I took those photos to work today, photographs seem to have a fatal fascination for the girls in the office, cos we never do any work when there’s any about.  I told them on Friday that I would be bringing mine in today, so everyone that remembered asked to see them.  I’ve spent most of today explaining who, what and where.  Trouble is every time I have had them out one of the bosses has walked through the office, just my luck.

Don’t know if any of this is making sense to you but I’m half listening to Acker Bilk and the Springfields on the old steam radio and the row sort of spoils the old concentration a bit.

When the girls saw the photos of Michael, the usual remark was, ‘oh, is this the boyfriend?’  It would have been so much quicker to say ‘yes.’  But I ended up giving full explanations all round.  I’m in a new section this week so not many people know my life story.  So then out comes me darlin’s photographs.  It made me feel ever so proud and wanted, when they said ‘Wow! Where did you pick up such gorgeous looking blokes’?  I could feel my nose going up and up and up.  I’ve had many offers ‘to take the spare one off my hands.

The Governor of the Bank of England is retiring soon and there is a presentation of some sort or other going on at Head Office on the 29th June.  If we wanted to go we were drawn out of a hat.  (Probably a topper, knowing the Bank).  I have the doubtful honour of being chosen.  Don’t think I’ll bother to go though.  I only put my name down cos I thought it would be a few hours off work.  Found out today it doesn’t start until 4 pm.

When you get your demob, is it only you coming back to the UK or your particular mob?  And will you fly back – or swim or walk?  And will you (on the 25th I mean) come home from Gloucester in uniform or civvies?  On second thoughts, you don’t keep your uniform, do you? Or do you?  And is there a final parade or anything?


While we’re on question type things…Leading questions coming up.  Would you rather be in the RAF or at the Stock Exchange?  Oh yes.  I’ve been asked dozens of times what you do at the SE and feel such a nana when I have to say dunno.  What do you do?  Not exactly what do you do, cos I know you probably sleep half the time like me, but whom doest thou workest for? And what ist thou called – apart from Alan Blake.


A couple of days after you went back to your Beachcomber existence, when I didn’t have anything to do.  It got to thinking about the few days we’d known each other and what had happened .  Then I sorta got to writing it down, it made it seem more real.  Oh don’t worry, anybody positively anybody could read it.  It’s just, where we went and the more writable things that were said.  I like writing (as you may gather from the manuscripts you receive sometimes) but the old imagination doesn’t  amount to much so I have to stick to the facts, man.

Well, during the month of silence (hey, there’s a good name for a book) I got to reading it, and in it I had remarked on your ‘dark brown’ voice.  I’d forgotten all about that and I fell for you all over again.  I love deep voices.  I am dying to hear you speak again.  It made me feel really odd to remember that, it really did.  Don’t suppose there is such a thing as a tape recorder over there, is there?  Still, only a couple of months to go, not worth it.

I’m in the groove now.  Or rather, my fingers have stiffened to one position.  Let me think, what else can ich schrieben about?

By the way, I haven’t just come home from work now.  Mum and Jennifer came home in the middle of page 10 so I packed up.  One just cannot write letters with tea being prepared around one.  Well, this one can’t anyway.

Jennifer said the doctor got hold of her wrist and started twisting it around and listening for any breakages.  She said if it wasn’t broken before it must be now the way he was tugging at it.  He’s given her some mucky stuff to put on it and she’s got to keep it bandaged.

That 1d on cigarettes is a bit much.  Weekend, it got to the point of finding out which shops were still selling them for 3/6d and which had gone up.  I’m not mean, just careful.  You’ll have to smuggle a few thousand into the country with you when you come home.  That should last me at least three weeks.

Have you heard the record by Les Paul and Mary Ford  ‘It’s Been a Long, Long  Time.’  It’s gorgeous, very slow and very dreamy.  It’s my turn in the old family record club this week and I’m going to get it so I can play it to my darling Alan when he comes home, when I said I was going to get it, dad and Jennifer just turned their noses up but a sort of ‘I understand’ expression crept into mum’s face.  She knows there’s method in my madness.  She’s often said she can read me like a book.  I’m getting worried.  I beginning to think she can.

I have one single aim in life, I have just thought of it.  I’m going to make this a twenty pager!  And I’m not cheating.  Note, it is very small writing, you are getting your money’s worth.  Or perhaps it’s me that’s getting my money’s worth.  Now then, what can I write about?

I’ve read your last letter through.  You make me quite jealous, you know, with all that sun and sand and sea.  Don’t you do anything but have leave?  Right at this very moment it is absolutely teeming down (with rain). It is the first we’ve had for ages but I could still have done without it.  I hope you’re cultivating that sun tan that I ordered.  Golly mate, you won’t ‘arf miss the sun when you come back just in time for the good ole English winter.  You’ll be freezing.  I’ll certainly have to do something about keeping you warm.  Good excuse as any I suppose.

I’m glad Ron and -?Brenda – are getting married.  I love weddings.  They make me feel all sad and sentimental.  I even felt like crying when I was watching the Duke of Kent’s wedding on television.  Goodness knows what I will be like at ours.

Help, running out of material and there are 3 pages to go yet.

Seventy three, repeat, seventy three days left.  And only one clear month.  It gets better and better every time I mention it, doesn’t it?

There’s something wrong with the guttering around this place.  Every time it rains as heavy as it is now, it sounds like someone’s pulled the plug out of the bath.

Did I tell you I have just finished reading The Flesh is Weak.  It’s jolly good.  the sort of book you can’t put down once you’ve started it.

Mother’s started yelling again.  I wouldn’t mind but it’s only 12.30. early yet.  Maybe if I make some ‘getting ready for bed’ noises she might turn over and go to sleep again.  Pauses for try-out of plan.

It’s not good, it didn’t work.  I’ll have to take the whole works to bed with me.  Pauses for gettings into beds .  (This is good, I feel like I’m writing a play.  I like to give you the right atmosphere y’know.)  Blimey, she’s off again!

Right.  I’m in bed now.  The sort of having a lovely time, wish you were here, type of thing.  It’s a bit narrow, so we’d have to squash up a bit, but…..who cares!

I’m getting as bad as a certain SAC I know for changing the subject.

It does seem ages and ages since January, yet it’s gone quite quickly in a way.  I know that doesn’t make sense really but I know what I mean.

It probably seems like that because there hasn’t been anything very special happened since then.  Looking back it just seems like one long string of days.

I suppose I’d better pack up now.  Still I’ve reached page 20.  One ambition achieved.

I’ve got so much paper knocking around here I don’t know whether I’m coming or going, and I’ll need a parcel to send it in.  Brilliant type idea has just arisen on my sleepy brow:  I will put the letter (when I finished it of course) under my pillow to flatten same down.


I think Jennifer is delirious.  She is carrying on a marvellous conversation with herself and she is boiling hot.

I really am getting tired and getting cramp as well – so, I had better finish.  I do truly wish you were home Alan darling.  When I start thinking about you, and – well, things.  I get so depressed.  Frustration, that’s the trouble.

All my love to you


Letters from Maureen Week 23: 10th - 17th June 1961

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