16th June 1961

June 16th 1961



Hello darling,

Friday evening again and the end of yet another boring week.  Though, I must admit they are going by pretty quickly. It was Monday when I finished my last letter, was it not?  Therefore, I will procede with a resume of the happenings since.

Monday it was 1.35am when I finally got down to thinking about sleep. I know the exact time because dad woke up and informed me in between uttering a few choice phrases about the amount of brain type things I have in my head!  I kept dozing off at work on Tuesday.  This week I’ve been in the part of the office that sorts out the work for everyone else.  To keep flicking over sheets of paper doesn’t help the old eyes much.  When I looked in the mirror Tuesday evening I had terrific great bags under my eyes and dark lines as dark as……as dark as anything.  So being the vain type of girl that I am, I went to bed early.

I remembered something you put in your letter last Saturday, or was it the one before?  Anyway, you said your watch was smashed while you were playing cricket.  Is that the one that fascinated me cos it showed date and month as well as time?  I seem to remember that while you were in the process of smuggling it in, a customs man informed you that it was a cheap one anyway.  Well, my theory is he put a curse on it.

We’ve been getting fed up with just sitting around doing nothing during the lunch hour so this female version of Maverick hit on the bright idea of taking a pack of cards.  Every lunch hour now sees us sitting on the floor of the cloakroom (Ladies of course) playing ‘Sevens’.  It’s been quite good.  We had to teach one of the four how to play it.  I don’t think she’d ever seen a pack of cards in her life before.  Today, she knocked and I could see she had a usable nine of spades in her hand (I probably saw it because I just happened to be looking over her shoulder at the time.) as I had the ten I wasn’t going to let her get away with that, so I told her.  Pat thought it was dead comical.  She said, at least I’m honest, when I cheat I let everyone know I’m doing it.

I am being loaned to another office for a month, starting next week.  I’m looking forward to it.  After spending years, well, nearly two anyway, in an office full of women, it’ll be a pleasant change to be surrounded by male-type humans.  The evening I knew I was going I came home and said to dad ‘they are letting me loose on the men at last!’  He wondered what on earth had happened.





I’ll have to get in about 8.30 to be ready to do some work at 9.  I’ve got to take my coat up to the third floor, go up to the fourth and walk half-way around the building to sign on in this new place, then come down to the first and walk around the other half to my office to open morning post, then go up to the fourth again to do their work.  Still, while I’m walking around the Bank I’m not working.  That’s all I care about.

Picked up a bit of news this afternoon.  Well, it was quite shattering really.  There are twins of about forty-ish working in the Bank.  They’re both spinsters and you hardly ever see one without the other.  Yesterday afternoon one of them collapsed and died in her office.

I was talking to one of my old friends this evening.  She used to live next-door-but-one but since she’s been married she’s moved to Basildon.  Her husband is in the Navy and when he is at sea she spends most of her time at her mother’s.  I was most surprised when she spoke to me cos since she’s been married I’ve had the honour of being cut dead every time I saw her.

Roger, her husband, was a friend of her brother and used to lodge with them between trips.  (Roger the Lodger!!)  I was never actually introduced to him but he always used to say hello, and we’ve had some pretty interesting conversations, which Pam obviously noticed.  She is two years older than me and I think must have been married just about two years.  She had a baby girl last January.  I don’t fancy being in her shoes.  She’s only twenty and she’s got a baby.  I don’t think that’s right.  Still, as Roger is at sea most of the time I suppose she is pretty bored with things anyway.  I don’t think that’s right either.  If he married the girl I reckon he ought to live with her, not just see her now and again, don’t you?

Dad was messing around with something in the bathroom Thursday afternoon.  I gather he was going to box the bath in.  He was bashing the wall and knocked a lump of plaster out.  When he told mum, she didn’t say much cos she thought as it was only the bathroom it wouldn’t show.  She had a surprise.  He was banging the bathroom wall but the plaster fell out on the landing wall.  The expression on her face sent dad into fits of laughter.  He was in a good mood all evening because of it.




Carol and I had a night out on the tiles tonight.  Well, we went to the pictures. I saw Michael on Tuesday and I was knocking like mad about going to see ‘Can Can’.  Well, he didn’t take the hint.  Clive hates musicals and didn’t want to take Carol so she said he needn’t bother and arranged to go with me tonight.  At my request she just said she was going with a girl from work.  Last night I informed Michael that I couldn’t see him tonight as I was going out.  Boy, oh boy, you should’ve seen his face.  He said, ‘’well, if you don’t want to see me Friday, I don’t want to see you Saturday’.  So I said, alright then’. – which shook him a bit.  At the end of the argument – pretty one-sided because I hardly said a word he went home with the final phrase, ‘oh well, see you Saturday then.’

He made such a point of finding out where I was going that I really expected to see him sitting near me in the cinema tonight.  He did threaten to go out and get drunk tonight but I think he took that idea back when I told him I didn’t care what he did.

It was a marvellous film and I’ve glad we didn’t go with Clive and Michael cos you just can’t lose yourself to the wonders of Frank Sinatra when you’re conscious of a male-type person beside you.  They would have only sat there and picked holes in the film.  There wasn’t really much story but there were some terrific dance routines including a type of ballet on the Garden of Eden.  I love watching the can-can and I was waiting for it all through the film.  We saw the beginning three or four times but each time the place was raided (I didn’t know the can-can was illegal in Paris in 1896!)  it wasn’t until right at the end that we saw the can-can right through, then it was in evidence in the court case.  It was a marvellous film.

Hope you like the photos.  You might like to know that, to date, I have received thirty-three letters, two postcards, one Valentine’s card.  Well done matey.  I’ll buy you a new pen at Christmas.

Sunday June 18


I’d just like to inform you that your darling is sitting here in absolute agony.  And I am not kidding you, one little bit!  We went walking this afternoon, somewhere around Aveley way.  We set out from Rainham about 5 o’clock in the direction of the Royal Oak pub in Ockenden.  This time we actually got where we were heading.  On the way, clever little Maureen picks up millions and millions of gnat bites.  It is awful, I am itching all over.  I’m not exaggerating.  Wait a minute, I will count them……one hour later. (well, not quite) I’ve got to 85 but the ones that have gone into one great lump I’ve only counted as one.  I am not kidding you at all.  My arm is just a great mess of red blotches and they irritate like hell.  I had thought I had caught the dreaded lergi when I first saw thousands and thousands of little white lumps come up.  The only one I am worried about is the one on my eyelid. It’s all red and swollen and has half closed my eye.  Nasty!




It was a nice walk really though.  Climbing up onto huge great tree trunks, (well one anyway) and balancing along it, above a great swirling current underneath. In peril of being dashed to pieces if one fell onto the huge boulders jutting out of the water.  Well, maybe the stream was only 6 inches wide but it did have pebble in it!  and we did have to balance along a log over it.  And climb under a barbed wire fence.

I think it is about time I put in a wages claim for being dad’s secretary.  Every weekend he brings home a huge pile of bills from the shop.  And it’s always Sunday evening when it’s time to go to bed before he remembers that they have got to be listed and added up.  Somehow it’s always muggins who gets the job. Mind you, he never lets it go at that.  He always checks it.  Doesn’t trust my arithmetic or something.  I don’t know why but he always does manage to get a different total to mine.

Michael and I came home from the Royal Oak to Upminster Bridge by bus. We walked down the stairs of the bus and who should we see on the platform but, the family.  I’m sure they must follow us around.  When they saw my gnat bites they were quite – can’t think of a word but they were quite something.  Sympathetic perhaps. Dad said he only had to put his nose out of the door and he used to get bitten.  That was is his younger days of course.  They seem to have gone off him a bit now.  We decided that I must have a fatal fascination for gnats.  Well, I mean, one just can’t help it can one?

I’ve done jolly well this weekend.  I usually buy at least forty cigarettes to last me over the weekend.  I’ve bought ten.  Taking your advice, y’see.                       Have you seen ‘Daddy’s an Officer’ around yet?  If so, how many black eyes have you got? Three?

I suppose I’d better do something about going to beddybyes.  Another week of work to go.  I hate Sunday evenings.  Even worse than Monday mornings.

There’s got to be one great change around here when you come home.  Every time somebody moans about me doing something wrong, I think, it will be different when Alan comes home, or, I’ll do this and that when Alan comes home.  The main things are about going to bed and getting up.  So you see, I wont be able to see you for very long in the evenings.  I’ve got to be in bed by nine.  Perhaps that wasn’t a very good choice of words.  I mean by myself of course.

17 pages, not bad eh?  You’ll be lucky if I’m still around by August.  I’m scratching myself to death here.

Lots and lots of love from, your saintly, scratchy girl-friend


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

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