July 30th 1961
Isn’t life just too wonderful? Three weeks, two days and wow!……..
And there are only four days before things begin to move up to that big climax. Honestly I have never been so excited or felt so wonderful in all my life. I’m definitely in a ‘glad to be alive’ mood. I love everybody but one person most of all. Everything has worked out so well, I can’t believe it. If you come home on the 22nd that means I’ll still have three days of my holiday left. I hope you fancy sight-seeing cos as much as I’d like to spend those three days alone with you I still have to think of Lena’s holiday.
It’s gonna be funny really. These last few months I’ve been thinking of where we’ll meet and how we’ll meet and how we’ll react. I’ve thought of meeting at the station, or meeting at Gloucester but not once did I think of the way it seems it’s gonna turn out. It you do get round here at ‘8.23 +15 seconds’ you’ll be waiting for me. The explanation is something else I’m feeling happy about.
Ever since it opened I’ve been wanting to see ‘Oliver’, so I used taking Lena to a London theatre as an excuse to get there. We had a bit of luck getting tickets at all at such short notice but we’ve got them for the matinee of the 22nd. That is 4.30 – 7.45.
There’s a new ticket agency opened in Cheapside and they put a big notice in the window ‘few tickets left for August for Oliver’. The result was a huge queue outside, according to Carol. She had to go down to Head Office Thursday morning and took advantage of that to go in there and get the tickets. She got a ticket for herself in the hope she could get a half day. Good job she was lucky.
I don’t know whether this is a good idea going to see this just before I see you, or not? At least I won’t just be hanging about waiting during the worst few hours of the whole seven months. But on the other hand I don’t really think I’ll be able to pay much attention to anything going on around me. I’ll just be wanting to get home and see you.
More good news. The party is definitely on! I do love parties, especially my own. I’ve started making the arrangements. The house is full of lists I’ve been making. I’ve got a thing about lists. I can’t help it. I’ve even worked out how many people will know how many people there, if you get me. Did I tell you altogether there are sixteen people coming and I have invited them for between 8 – 8.30. it did occur to me that you’d like some of your friends there but after thinking how much that would cut my numbers down, I thought I’d better be selfish.
I’m having a hard job as it is to keep it to sixteen and not offend anyone. It’s a worry. Anyway, roll on the 26th. I’ll leave all the drink type stuff til I see you? I’ve run out of airmail envelopes as well as paper but it isn’t worth buying any more. Good isn’t it?
If you’re still gonna write those 50 letters you’ll have to hurry up y’know. There’s less time now. I need another eight. The waiting changed from twenty-nine days to twenty-five in one day.
At the moment of writing the house is in uproar. It’s mum and dad’s twenty third wedding anniversary tomorrow and they are celebrating with one terrific bust-up. It all started – an hour ago- because we were expecting my aunt and uncle over for tea and they hadn’t come by 5.30. Dad started ranting and raving cos he was hungry and mum said we weren’t gonna start tea til at least 6. And it sorta worked itself up from there. At the moment we’ve got round to the ‘you never take me out’ stage, which I think is quite true. I’d hate to stay in as much as mum does. When they do go out it’s to my aunt’s at Barking or to my aunt in Romford. And then only every other Sunday.
It’s always poor old Jen who gets the most upset when they start rowing. She’s crying her eyes out. She’s just been weeping on my shoulder. That’s the first time I’ve had to play the comforting big sister to her. Golly, this is a double turn-up for the book.
I started making another dress last night. The last Saturday evening I’ll have to spend indoors. That’s something I won’t miss.
I’m not going to mind going to work next week. I’ve got a half day next Tuesday and I meet Lena in the evening. And I’m doing claims next week, which I like. Our principal came round Friday afternoon and asked everyone whether they preferred chocolates or toffees. She must have regretted asking, because everyone said chocolates. She retires on Wednesday so no one will do much work that day.
Mum and Jen went out to buy some cigarettes about ten minutes ago and a few minutes after dad came in. He’d been to the station to get his season ticket. I don’t think he is too pleased with me cos he started talking about mum and her arguments and for once I stuck up for her. Usually she just moans about nothing but I think she’s got a point with this ‘never go out’ lark.
Dad’s always fancied a yellow sweater but we’ve always talked him into having other colours. Friday I felt a bit generous and decided to knit him a yellow pullover. The trouble is I don’t want him to know until I’ve finished it and I have to put it away every time he comes into the room. That wool has been in and out of the cupboard like a bloomin’ yo-yo.
Oh Alan, I don’t know what I’ll do when I get old. Talk about a horrible experience. I went with my aunt and my nan to this place where nan’s staying for the next fortnight. I don’t know whether you have ever been in one of those homes for old people but you don’t want to. It really does something to you. It is pitiful it really is. Nan went to a place near Blackheath last year for a fortnight’s convalescence after she had been ill. I went with her then but that wasn’t so bad. We only saw her to the door and then the people there took over.
This time it was ghastly. The place is called St Joseph’s Hospice and it’s in Hackney. It’s a pretty big place and fairly modern. We drove into the courtyard and pulled up facing what I suppose was the hospital part. The driver and I helped nan out of the taxi while my aunt went to make enquiries and she found out we’d stopped at the wrong door of the building. I’ve told you, haven’t I that nan’s not too steady on her feet? I was helping her to walk and she was getting on pretty well until we got into the building. Then my aunt took over. I don’t know if she thought we were trying to break the sound barrier or something but she was just walking at her normal pace and it was impossible for nan to keep up with her. Nan was getting terribly flustered and by the time we had walked down a long corridor, gone up one floor in a lift and walked some more, she was almost in tears when we got to the ward she’s sleeping in.
There were about ten beds in there and four women were lying in bed. I suppose they must have been bedridden or something. Nan was asked if she wanted to go to bed then and she was most insistent that she didn’t. I was left to keep her company while my aunt went with the novice who brought us in, to see about the particulars. Then followed the worst part of all. To the accompaniment of one of the women who was groaning and talking to herself I tried to make conversation with nan. As soon as my aunt had gone she said she didn’t like it and she wanted to go home. What can you say? That half hour in that horrible place is something I won’t forget and the only cheerful thing I could think of was to tell her she wouldn’t feel like that next day when she’d got settled in.
For a quarter hour I was sitting there trying to think of something to say and I could feel those other four women watching us. I wanted to speak to them as well but couldn’t think of anything to say to them. So I just smiled at them.
My aunt and I were both glad to get out of there. But it was awful leaving nan because she was almost in tears. But, there you are. My aunt has got to have a holiday and no one else has got room to have her. What else can you do?
Isn’t it marvellous how you can feel so happy and then get so depressed in such a short time?
I will try to write a long letter in the week because after Friday it will have to be short and sweet letters. Lena is gonna think it’s a bit odd me staying down here til 1 o’clock.
I’ve got so much to do in the next week. On the next three evenings really. Thursday I’ve got to wash my hair etc. etc – you’ll have to guess the etc’s it’s not right to explain. Then I ‘ve got to finish my dress. Empty a drawer for her clothes. Tidy up all my junk and worst of all, try to find some space in the wardrobe. Goodness knows where I’m gonna put my stuff.
Y’know Jen rebelled against sleeping on a camp bed they’ve bought one of those chair beds. It’s jolly natty. Mum said, it’ll always be handy, nodding at me. she seems to think you are gonna spend quite a few nights around here. Pity it’s not a double bed.
I suppose I had better finish. I’ve got to squeeze this lot into an envelope. I have a hard enough job with Air Mail paper and big envelopes
See you very, very soon