Thursday, 18 September 2008


During this period of my life, I was getting very frustrated at work and wanted to become a full time telephonist; not just a relief operator to stand in when Molly wanted to go to lunch or to the loo. At the time, this seemed a big decision to take and I was rather scared. But I went for it, and changed my job.
My new position was with a company called Williams Bros. They were very big in those days, rather like the Co-op. They had stores all over London and the Home Counties and owned chains of butcher’s shops, greengrocers, florists, grocers and furniture stores.
I was employed by them as a telephonist/receptionist, and loved being in charge of the switchboard all day. The pay was three pounds five shillings (£3.25), ten shillings (50p) more than my last job. Now that Dad was working and I didn’t have to give the whole of my wage packet to Mum, I felt quite rich. Each morning I would by a daily paper on the way to work, and each evening buy the Evening Standard to read on the bus journey home. This really was the working girl’s world!
Payday was always the day that I loved because it was on that day that I could buy Mummy and the children their weekly treats. The ritual was always the same, every Friday night, until I left home.
Firstly, I would go into the local cake-shop and buy Mummy two ‘Melting Moments’. These were little cakes in paper cases that truly did melt in your mouth as you ate them, and Mum loved them. Then, I would make my way to the sweetshop and buy an assortment of sweets, so that each of my brothers and sisters received a collection of sweets for themselve I don’t recollect Dougie or Billy’s reactions, but I can still picture Sandie, Tina and Babs jumping up and down with excitement, hands flapping at their sides, as they shouted ‘Treat day! Treat day! when I walked through the kitchen doorway.
They are all middle-aged ladies now, but I bet that they too can still remember those Fridays.
It was about this time that I gave up my amateur dramatics. Although I still enjoyed my hobby, my life was getting busier and I had lots of other things to occupy my time, such as going to Maurice Jay’s School of Dancing twice a week. No time for learning lines and dress rehearsals now!
I loved my job, loved my new dancing classes, and loved my new- found dreamboat.


When each Saturday night came around, I would curl my hair with dozens of small metal ‘Dinky’ hair-curlers (rollers hadn’t been invented yet), put on my ‘war-paint’ and, don my three inch, high-heeled, silver, dancing shoes and catch the trolley-bus to Maurice Jay’s School of Dancing in Wood Green.
One of the hit records of the time was by a band (the word ‘group’ would not be invented until years later) called Pee-Wee Hunt, and was entitled ‘Twelfth Street Rag’. This was our favourite record for dancing the quickstep to. Although we weren’t yet officially going steady, no matter who we were dancing with, Arthur and I would always get together as soon as this tune came on. Before I became Arthur’s girl, I went out and bought ‘Twelfth-Street Rag’ so that I could play it at home and dream about him. I still have this same original 78rpm recording that I purchased sixty-one years ago! It’s one of my most treasured mementoes.

By the time we left Maurice Jay’s, the last bus had usually departed. Arthur, myself and another girl called Jean would start the long trek home on foot. I lived the nearest, so Arthur and Jean would bid be farewell at the bottom of my road and the two of them would continue on until he dropped Jean off at her house.

I was still working hard to get him to myself, and was now halfway there. After a couple of weeks, I successfully persuaded him that two was company and three a crowd! From then on, he only took me home. This was wonderful as we then had plenty of time to talk. I would walk along beside him, my arm tucked lightly through his, his hand deep in his raincoat pocket. How I longed for him to hold my hand, but he didn’t. One evening, I linked arms with him as usual, and then decided to take the initiative. I let my hand slowly drift down his sleeve and into his hand. I was home and dry! He didn’t say anything and neither did I, but I felt that this was going to be ‘the start of something big’

To be cont…


weechuff said...

How romantic! It doesn't seem girls and boys are like that any more does it?
I remember one Friday night you bringing home our first taste of gooseberries! They were huge, ripe and hairy, and I loved them!

granny grimble said...


They don't seem to 'court' like we did, and there doesn't appear to be the tenderness of love either. It's all loud and brash and then they fall into bed and live together. At least that's how it seems to be. We courted for eighteen months and were engaged for eighteen months and then got married! Must have done it right, we are still together sixty years down the line.

Babs (Beetle) said...

Oh how romantic :O) I remember those 'courting' days. It was nice to spend time getting to know one another. All too much of a rush to take it further now. Before they know each other! Sad.

Sadly, I can't remember the treat days, I must have been too young at the time.

Anne said...

I can so picture you being starry-eyed - and how forward of you to hold Arthur's hand first! Luckiest man on earth. Getting to know one another seemed so much more special a few years ago.

Croom said...

I know this sounds silly but I spent most of the time reading your blog with eyes full of tears! Thank you so much for those lovely treats Leeta, like Babs I sadly do not remember them either. I do remember the bag of shared sweeties we used to love to get but I thought that was from Daddy, am I wrong?

Oh very sad is the day the younger generation lost that loving feeling ah :O) I expect they still get it but in a much quicker in and quicker out way. They don’t seem to stay together long (even when married)

I am sure the time you and Arthur have had together had something to do with Mum and Dads upbringing, they stayed together all those years, you did with Arthur, Sandie has been with her first real love all her life, I have with my first love, Babs has been together with her love for most of her years, Not bad ah.

Thanks for the blog even if it made me cry. Tinax

granny grimble said...


Do you remember the Friday payday treats? It was only a few years ago that Babs and Tina remembered them, because they said so. Now they've forgotten! What a shame.

Yes, There is nothing like first love, is there? I was so fortunate to experience first and last love with the same person.


I don't remember Daddy ever bring home treats or sweets for any of us. He worked long hours and didn't do shopping. I think you must have got confused with me!
I don't think Mum and Dad had much to do with us staying together. They had seven children, and only three of them had lasting first relationsjips. Not a very good record I think. I think it's goverened by circumstances.
Sorry I made you cry, it was meant to be happy :0)

GoldAnne said...

What a wonderful story , so romantic I pictured you walking home with your hand in his pocket so sweet.
You were so good to your sisters etc no wonder they love you so much.
Thankyou leeta,
love Anne xxx

Jay said...

That is a lovely, romantic post! And I love the story about the treats, even if they don't remember them, all these years later!

My Dad brought us home sweets each Friday night (payday, of course). One quarter pound each, in little white paper bags with twisted corners to keep them safe. Something different every week from the big jars on the shelves in the sweet shop. Happy days!

Funny too, you persuading your Arthur that three was a crowd! LOL!