Monday, 15 September 2008


Between leaving school and meeting my future husband, I once again became friendly with Lennie Waring from my days with Aunty and Uncle in Blackpool. I must have obtained his address from Aunty, and by now he was serving in the Army and stationed in Trieste, Italy.
We began writing long letters to each other , which inevitably became love letters. We would make pacts to look at the moon, at the same time, on the same night and we also exchanged photographs.

These were the photos we exchanged

One time he sent me a beautiful pair of pure silk stockings (nylons had not become available yet), and I showed them to Ruby, who was green with envy. Unfortunately for Ruby, no amount of money could buy silk stockings: they weren’t available. How she begged and cajoled me to let her have them. She made a fantastic offer of two pounds ten shillings (£2.50) for them, but I was adamant. How could I ever sell a token of love, even though I had no intention of wearing them! Lennie at last got leave, which he spent at his home in Bolton, Lancashire. We arranged to meet fleetingly as he passed through London on his way back to Trieste. We were to meet each other on the platform of Charing Cross railway station, before he was once again whisked out of my life. We only had a few minutes together and I got my first, long awaited kiss from him. It was also my last. We had no time to talk as the train was already filling up with soldiers and ready to leave. I stood and watched as Lennie and the train disappeared into the distance. A few months later the romance fizzled out. I was probably a lot younger and less experienced in life than he thought, and we gradually stopped writing. I never saw him again, but have often wondered what became of him. Someone once told me he worked for the Evening News in Bolton, but I don’t know in what capacity.
Because I had led quite a sheltered life as far as boys were concerned, I had never learned to dance, and had never been to a dance hall. This was quite a handicap to me, as a teenager. Most young people met on the dance floor, and it was one of the most likely places to find a boyfriend. As Mum and Dad didn’t like the idea of their daughter frequenting dance halls and getting ‘picked up’ this option was not open to me. I was almost sixteen when my friend Doreen suggested that we go to a place she had discovered where they taught you to dance. For me, it killed two birds with one stone. It was similar to a social club, where you could meet new friends, but I could also learn ballroom dancing. As it turned out, it was the most momentous thing I ever did, and it changed my life forever.
I didn’t know what to expect as I joined Doreen’s group of friends in the Lady’s Cloakroom. The conversation, amidst lots of silly giggling seemed to be mainly about this male they all fancied, and who’d playfully taken one of the girl’s headscarves home with him the week before. Since I didn’t know the girls, or the boy that they were talking about, I felt rather left out of the conversation.
Doreen said: ‘Let’s all go into the dance hall and wait for him to arrive.’ Having put on their lipstick and straightened their stocking seams, all the girls streamed back into the dance room to await this 'dreamboat.'
In due course, he walked through the door and the girls started giggling and nudging each other again. He walked over to our group and said hello. He was a couple of inches short of six feet tall, very slim and showing off the most wonderful suntan that I had ever seen. The two things that I noticed first about him were his eyes, which were very dark brown and fringed with thick lashes, and his long, slender fingers. He was dressed in a silver-grey suit, which showed off both his glorious tan and his broad shoulders. ‘Yes,’ I thought, ‘you are quite dishy, after all.’
The dance instructors separated us all into two groups, male and female, to learn our respective steps. A bit later Dorrie, the instructress shouted ‘Find a partner.’ Miracle of miracles, ‘dreamboat’ came over to me and asked: ‘Shall we?’ As we took to the floor, he introduced himself.
‘ My name’s Arthur, what do they call you?’
We danced most of the evening together and later, after we had said goodnight, I went home floating on air. I didn’t know if he would be interested in me, but I was jolly well going to try and make him so. I was nearly sixteen. I had never been out with a boy and all this was very new and exciting to me.

This is a photo of Arthur , taken just before I met him. He's the one in the foreground wearing sunglasses.


Croom said...

Oh what a lovely story to read, I could not tear my eyes from it. By the look of your photo I think Arthur was the lucky one and I think Lennie must have been quite mad to let you go. Dare I say you look like July Garland!

Thank you for that lovely blog. Tinax

Babs (Beetle) said...

You all look so old for your ages! Why is that I wonder. You look like you're in your early twenties. It's hard to believe you were only sixteen there! If I'd been mum & dad I'd be worried about men hanging around you too.

Anne said...

Your wonderful story gets better and better. It is all so fascinating and thank you so much for sharing all these memories. I might not comment every time but I am just loving it.
Anne xx

GoldAnne said...

Leeta I so look forward to reading your blogs,
You really were beautiful,( still are)
Funnily enough your boyfriend looked like tony when he was young too!!!
love anne xxx

weechuff said...

Another part of your history that I didn't know about:0) You can see from the photograph that Arthur liked sunbathing and had a lovely tan compared to his two friends. And what a lovely photo of you:0)

granny grimble said...

Next time you see Arthur you'll have to tell him! Poor Judy Garland:0)

It certainly wasn't fashionble clothes, high heels and make-up, as it is today!
I seemed to look older when I was young and younger when I was old!
Dad was very strict about me getting home at certain times, and more than once Mum met we on the doorstep with 'Dad's cross at you being late' :0)

So glad you are enjoying it, and thank you for your kind words. I'm amazed at how much it seems to be enjoyed!

Do you mean Lennie? Shows that we both have good taste eh?

What didn't you know about? All this was when you were all mere babies, so you wouldn't be aware of anything but food and sleep and play! I think that the small things in peoples past lives are the really interesting bits of history. Everyone knows about the big important things, but the happy and sad little stories get swept away by time.

Lynne Chapman said...

Daddy was so much more good looking that Lennie! Definitely the right outcome. You look so lovely in that photo too, but so much older than 16. If I had to guess, I'd say you were 21.

Ruby sounds a right madam. Fancy trying to buy your present from you!