Nurse Jones asked if I would like to come and work for her as a cook. She was a busy career-person and didn't ever have the time to cook proper meals for herself, let alone bake cakes. She enthused over how lovely it would be to return from work to home-cooking each day. I was really chuffed to think that, at fourteen, my cooking was good enough for the District Nurse, but I graciously declined her offer. I hoped to aspire to greater things!
It was time to think about getting Babs christened. Since the rest of us children had been bought up in the Catholic faith, Babs was to be no different.
Mum had to find two Godmothers and one Godfather for her, in accordance with Roman Catholic practice. I can’t remember who the Godmothers were, but Mike the American Sailor (who happened to be a Catholic) was chosen as her Godfather. I cannot conceive why Mum and Dad chose him, as he was due to go back to the States very soon. Perhaps they thought and hoped that he would keep in touch, which would have been beneficial to Babs in later life (another mad idea?), but Mike it was.
In the summer of 1946, before he went home, Mike asked Ruby to follow him to the States so that they could be married. Ruby of course got very excited about this. Unfortunately she was never able to obtain a visa and, though she tried very hard, Mike duly departed from Ruby and Babs’s life forever.
Probably the first time you have seen your Godfather Babs!
Mum never had a job outside the home from the day she married Dad, with the exception of one brief period during the late 1950s, when she did a short spell of temporary office-work. Since she was either pregnant and/or nursing small children most of her life, she really never had the chance. In any case, Dad was one of the old school who thought that it was the man’s responsibility to provide for his family, even if, as in his case, it was difficult to do so. However, there was just one occasion that Mum caused quite a stir by going to work. Dad got a contract to paint and decorate the frontage of a butcher’s shop situated in our local high street at Harringay. He needed a labourer to assist him, the money wasn’t really enough to split with someone else. Mum suggested that she go with him; that way they could keep all the money. Dad laughed and said’ Why not?’. He thought it would be a fun-thing to do, so he fixed Mummy up with white bib and brace, and a paint kettle, and off they went.
There wasn’t even the faintest whisper of equal opportunities in those days; so one can imagine how much it stimulated the interest of passing shoppers. Mummy shinned up and down the ladder and negotiated the scaffolding like an old hand at the game, much to the amusements of the butchers in the shop, and the passing trade below. All her life Mum thrived on attention, and she certainly received enough on that occasion. It was an experience never to be forgotten and she was, rightly so, rather proud of herself.
Have been asked what our lovely Mum looked like. Here are a few photos for those interested: