The three children were soon happily settled into the local primary school. New friends were made and the house and garden was often playground to several small boys and a dog. Lynne rarely asked her friends to play in the garden. She mostly preferred to go up to her own room where all her dolls, books and games were.
When we were all settled down to a routine, it was decided that I should return to work to enable us to have a better standard of living.
Feeling somewhat uneasy, I enrolled at the local employment agency for ‘temp’ work. Operating a PBX switchboard was no longer an option for me. Switchboards had significantly changed since my old ‘operator’ days. Also, apart from working for my brother for a few months, I hadn’t typed since my first job at the age of fifteen. To say that I was nervous was somewhat of an understatement. So I settled for general office work, which meant being a dogsbody who also typed envelopes and did everything that nobody else wanted to do. Of course this job carried he lowest paid rate for office workers, but at least it was a start.
There was no way that the children would suffer from my return to work. I made it quite clear to the agency that I would only be available to work from nine-thirty to three-fifteen. Each morning I prepared myself for work, then got the children up and gave them their breakfast. It wasn’t until I had kissed them all goodbye and waved them off that I left for work. Each afternoon, I would rush home to be there when they all returned. I didn’t want my children to become so-called latchkey kids.
I don’t pretend that the ironing didn’t pile up or dust didn’t collect in places, but I was always there ready to listen to how the children’s day had been, and provide them with hot meals and home made cakes, just as my mother had for me.
My typing capabilities soon returned and I upgraded myself to copy-typist – for more money! The children grew older, their school hours increased, so did my working hours. I seemed to be appreciated by those that employed me. I was hardly ever moved on, and stayed with each company for weeks and sometimes months at a time.
I worked for quite a long period at Wadham Stringer (Unipart), and shared a job in the stock control dept with a lovely lady who turned out to be Cliff Richard’s aunty. At that time, he and his family lived at Waltham Abbey, which was next door to Enfield where we lived. She told me many tales about Cliff and how he handed down his clothes to her son. I also got to see the wedding photos of Cliff’s sister.
School holidays and teacher’s strike days were a nightmare, as far as our income was concerned. Whenever the children were home from school, I also had to be home. That meant no wages for me, and no housekeeping. Arthur’s wages came under a great strain and something had to give: usually, an electricity or gas bill. If we really couldn’t manage, then Mum and Dad Chapman could always be relied on for a loan. It was at times like this that I wished my parents hadn’t moved to Kent. Although they rarely had money to spare, there was always an abundance of love, support, and an overflowing ‘goody-bag’ whenever they were around.
At eighteen, our dog Rusty was getting old. He was very arthritic and his eyesight was going a little, but he was still full of fun and ready for the odd game or two. He would spend most of his days mooching around or dozing. In the evenings he would snuffle around the back garden for a while, then usually lay beneath our bed in peace and quiet for the best part of the evening. The gap beneath our bed was so small that he had to get down on his tummy and shuffle along on his haunches to get into the gap. We would often hear a noise, like someone shifting furniture, coming though the lounge ceiling, and would know that Rusty was going for forty winks!
One evening at about ten-thirty the phone rang and Arthur answered it.
To be contd…