3rd July 1961

3rd July



Michael and I went to that Midsummer Dance on the 25th.  It was good.  everyone was pretty merry and didn’t seem to mind what they did.  Which is quite unusual for that place.  We were sitting on a table with three middle aged couples. And half way through the evening one of the men was giving us a lecture on how he always stuck up for the younger generation because they weren’t as black as they were painted.  It was quite, quite charming.  They had the usual balloons and streamers there but they also had loads confetti which I’ve never seen at a dance before.  We went home smothered in it and I wondered why we were getting funny looks from the few people that were about when we came home.

Now, I suppose explanations why my letter is so late, are due.  I did write two letters last week actually but neither of them looked good in the morning so I tore them up.  Yesterday I was accused of thinking entirely of myself and having no consideration at all for other people’s feelings.  ‘everything you think about is from your point of view and how it will affect you.  Everything is you, you, you.’

I’m still trying to make out if that is the truth or whether my motives have been misunderstood.  But whatever the reasons, it’s been said and it’s shaken me.

It has made it hard to decide whether it will be hurting your feelings to let you know what is happening over here or whether to leave things as they are and tell you when you come home.  But you must be wondering what has happened, especially as you haven’t heard from me for over a week.  So, rightly or wrongly I’ve decided to tell you everything and get the position clear for when we see each other again.

On Sunday I had a speech all worked out but I just didn’t have the heart to do it.  To be perfectly honest, and that’s what I am trying to be.  I don’t really think I wanted to.

Tuesday evening I knew I had to get down to it somehow and I told him I had got a letter from you, implying that it was the first since we had stopped writing before.  I told him I was going to write to you, no matter what.  I wanted him to announce ‘The End’.  I just couldn’t.  I’ve been getting very fond of him Alan.  He’s good company, he’s nice, we get on pretty well together apart from the quarrels that I’ve engineered.  In fact I knew I‘d miss him a lot if I’d stopped seeing him.  We didn’t have much time for talking Tuesday so he told me to think about it some more and let him know Sunday.




Yesterday, Sunday, we went on a coach trip to Clacton so we had just about all day to talk about it.  And a murderous day it was too.  We started talking about 2 o’clock and didn’t finish til he left at 11.30.

I told him that we’d been writing for over a month and that I wrote the first letter on the evening he had walked away from me.  I told him that you’d said (I hope you don’t mind) we’d get engaged at Christmas.  I told him how well we had got on during those five days.  And I told him what had happened.  He didn’t even flinch.

I never was much good at arguing and he seemed to have answers for everything I said.  Quite plausible answers they seemed to me.  I just stuck with what I said in the first place. I wasn’t going to stop writing to you. I had agreed to marry you and I was sticking to it.

He then informed me that I had built up a dream over the past six months.  The ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ type of thing.  And how did I know it wasn’t just a line for your own ends and you’d kept writing because it was something to do and keeping me waiting for you was more convenient than going to the trouble of finding another girlfriend when you came home.  As for getting engaged at Christmas, ‘all you want is a ring to flash around.’

Most of that was said in a temper, I think at finding out that we had been writing again.  When he had quietened down he told me he wanted to marry me but had decided it was useless mentioning it until he was nearer the end of his apprenticeship. That was really a shocker.  I know one thing.  I would have married him like a shot if I hadn’t met you.  And that is what I told him when he asked me that question.  Maybe I shouldn’t have because that started the whole thing up again and we were going round and round in circles for nine solid hours.  We took the whole thing from everyone’s point of view and I got in such a confused mess that I didn’t know what I was going to do, except write to you.

He said it would be much easier for me to finish with you instead of him as you hadn’t seen me for six months and wouldn’t be so hurt.  I said it would be worse for you as you were away and couldn’t do much about anything.

I can’t tell you everything that was said, there was too much.  But I know Michael seemed to find a satisfactory solution from my answer to his ‘build up a dream theory’.

He said, as much as he wanted to, he wasn’t going to see me in the next two months, as he wouldn’t be able to get August off his mind and anyway, he wanted to salvage some pride.  He said a month after you came home he would make enquiries from Clive via Carol on how we were getting on, then more or less review the situation at that time.

So, after quite a scene yesterday I’m afraid you’re still stuck with me, Alan. I must admit, I nearly went overboard tonight.  He came round to return dad’s sweater he borrowed yesterday and, well, the expression on his face was just about shattering to see.  He made me feel as if I had done a murder or something.

I’ve never been much good at making decisions Alan.  I usually shift them onto someone else.  I still don’t know whether I’ve done the right thing by telling you.  If not, I know it’s late, but I’m sorry.  I’ve tried to keep this whole thing level and above board.  I thought by telling you about Michael and vice versa everything would work out fine.  So much for Carol’s remark.  ‘He never takes a girl out for more than a few weeks, it’ll help to pass the time til August’.  Something misfired there.

Dream or no Alan, right at this minute I adore you and I want to marry you and I’m longing to see you again.  Tomorrow we’d have known each other six months.  Quite a time?

And now it is so much nicer to say you are coming home next month.


All my love to you,


Letters from Maureen Week 26: 3rd - 7th July 1961

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