Saturday, 25 June 2011

My Friend Freda - Early Days

Buying your first house is a daunting as well as exciting experience.

I was 22, mother to a young son and equally thrilled and terrified.

Standing in the front room surrounded by boxes, this wasn’t playing house anymore, this was our new home.

This was the place we would grow as a family in a community that may or may not choose to accept us, would we fit in?  Would they like us?

There was a knock at the door, I opened it to find an elderly lady standing there with a full tea tray in her hands complete with tea pot, strainer and a china plate covered in a paper doily filled with biscuits.

I’m Freda she said, welcome to our street.

Thus began a friendship that lasted for over 20 years.

There is so much more to say about Freda some of it best told in her own words.

‘People keep telling me I should write a book about my life’ she told me more than once ‘but who would want to read it?’

Freda did eventually write that book, it’s not a particularly long book and there is so much more that she could have said but it is her own words. The words of a lady who became very special to me and I would like to share them with you.

She wrote the book in the form of different chapters in her life and this is how I will share them perhaps one a week. (please excuse the formatting, it looks fine until I publish it!)

Freda’s Book

So many people have said to me, have you ever written down your life story? No, I
have replied. What is there to write about? I have always thought of my life as normal,
uninteresting, in fact, mundane, but at last I have decided to write about my life and
times. So be it. You, who care to read it, must make up your own minds!!

Early days

I was born in St Augustine Street No. 7, (later it became 13 when the council decided
to make our side of the street odd numbers). I might add that my mother, who was
very suspicious of lucky numbers, was horrified that our number 7 had been changed to
number 13 and even went as far as to approach the council to see if it could be changed
to 11a!! But to no avail.

However, in the following months, a rep from Blue Cross matches called at number
13 and asked if Mother could produce a box of Blue Cross matches, which she readily did
and was awarded 10 shillings (50p), a lot of money in those days. She was delighted and
from that day on No 13 was a lucky house.

When I was born my Mother was aged 38 at the time. I had two sisters Marjory and Eva
who were 14 and 13 respectively and were out at work when I arrived on the scene. In
those days you left school at 13 and were thrown in right at the deep end, working full
hours every week. Eva was employed by the Somerset Manufacturing Co. owned by a Mr
Harold White. She became a very capable employee and was highly respected by her boss.
Nurses’ hats and collars were fashioned by her and she worked for the company for 60

As you can well imagine, I was thoroughly spoilt, having a doting mother and father
and two teenage sisters. My sister Eva always made my dresses, one I remember being
made of lavender material, trimmed with swansdown around the neck and sleeves, very
fetching. I still have the photo taken by Montague Cooper, a first class photographer,
wearing the said dress sitting on a country stile, very posh!

Marjory was the sister who looked after me.


I'm So Fancy said...

She sounds like a gem!!!

Sarah Mac said...

She was Fancy, a real character and a good friend.