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My Days – Chapter Five

Somersby Close

As I sit writing this, it’s January 3rd, 2001. I am at David’s house – and of course his wife’s too. He is 49 today.

It’s hard to think that Bert did such a lot and had to go. That’s life. He was so proud of David. We are in the fourth year of him leaving us. I cannot get used to it. How I long for him. He went through such a lot in his time. We had a good life together; 58 years. We talked about our sixtieth, but it wasn’t to be. I don’t think I shall ever get over losing him. I ask every day why he left me, and did I look after him, which I know I did. But you do wonder. It’s so lonely, but he is always with me. I know I’m not the only one but it doesn’t make me feel any better when people tell me so.

I am very lucky. I have a very nice young lady called Jane Waterer who does my housework and garden as well. What a good job she does too. She takes a real pleasure in it all. The garden is a picture. She sets all my pots with bulbs, and the lawn looks great. It’s strange – she wasn’t born when we moved to where I am now: 6 Somersby Close, Hykeham Road, Lincoln, LN6 8AF.

Her mum and dad live across the road from me. They were there when we moved from Russell Street where David first lived after I brought him home from hospital. Jane was born a year or two after we moved there. We have been here about 36 years now. Jane is married and has a ten-year old girl, Samantha. Time just flies by.

I am very lucky and have some very good friends who look after me. One who is very good to me is Evelyn. I don’t know some days how I would carry on if I didn’t know she was across the way. I don’t expect her to do things for me, but I know she’s there if I want her. She has a heart of gold. She brings me dinners,  and she bakes and pops across with a hot scone for tea. It means such a lot when you are on our own. Her name is Evelyn Fisher, her husband is called Noel, and they have a lovely daughter; Anne Louise, 20 years old. I used to babysit for her from nearly the time she was born. She is at university in Lincoln and works in her spare time for a travel company; she says she enjoys it. She has a nice car and keeps it in my garage. It’s nice because the house next door has been empty for quite a while, but it is up for sale and I hope we get some nice people in it.

Images above:

Left – with Jane.

Right – 6 Somersby Close.

 

It’s a lonely life. I do so miss my Bert. Nobody knows the heartache until it comes to them. I don’t let people see me. They think I’m OK but they don’t know what I go through. I try so hard. After all the years we had together – you don’t forget them so quickly. I don’t think I ever will. We arranged and did everything together. I know he is still with me and I feel so happy to think he looks after me.

Some people may think it strange, but I do see him sometimes and it’s great. Even when I am at David and Pam’s in Sheffield, Bert is still with me and looking after me. He told our doctor he was worried about leaving me. The doctor told him I would be looked after. I am sure I am. With Evelyn, other friends, David and Pam – I am not alone, am I? But it is still so very lonely.

I don’t care for weekends now I am on my own. Dad and I used to have a run out in the car somewhere. I see everybody going off. It upsets me. I always hope for it to be nice weather so that I can get to Fosse House to see my friends. They seem pleased to see me. I get on well with the carers. Some were there when Dad and I were in. They were so good to us. I wouldn’t be as I am now if it weren’t for them. They were great. Thanks so much.

It’s strange but I take the Lincolnshire Echo every night, and at different times I have seen notices of three of the girls I worked with having passed away. You still think of them as young, how they were when we worked together, but they were all in their eighties like me. I look at the photos and think, gosh, how could time have gone so quickly? The photos were taken in Mablethorpe and Skegness – they were great times.

I keep in touch with one of the girls, Flo Simms, who lives in Newmarket. It’s lovely having a talk to her about the old days. I wonder what my beloved Bert would think knowing I’d got in touch with Flo. I’m sure he would have been pleased because her brother Gerald used to play football with the gang.

 

Where My Thoughts Take Me

It’s a few months since I wrote anything.  It is now Saturday 22nd November, 2003, a very wet day. I thought I would write just a few lines. The weather is dull and miserable, like me. I feel so lonely but try to keep my chin up. I miss Bert such a lot. I know I’m not the only one, but it doesn’t make my life any better. I try to make myself busy but there’s only some things I can do.

I have a lovely lady-friend who does my work and garden. She keeps it all so lovely. They call her Jane. She’s grand. I think the world of her. She came to cut the lawns and do the garden before Bert passed away. She’s been coming a few years now. I think of her as family. I often tell her I wish she was my daughter.

I also have another friend, Evelyn, across the way. She’s another wonderful person. She’ll do anything for me, and is so kind. She brings me dinners, all ready to eat, and cakes when she bakes. I know I’m very lucky but at night, when you get the curtains across, you’re on your own. Some nights I don’t mind, but there are days when you get to thinking about what you did that day or week and you take it to bed with you.

 

Images above:

Left – with Evelyn.

Right – Bert and me, taken in 1934 at Mablethorpe. I’m 19, Bert 22.

 

Maybe you won’t understand. You can’t, until it happens to you. But I wouldn’t have liked to leave Bert alone. He would never have managed and I know he would have finished up in a home. It would have broken his heart so I have a lot to be grateful for. I do know he’s alright, bless him.

We had over 58 years together, counting our courting days. I was 16, Bert 19. Good days and lots to remember. Bert once came to the Hall with his violin, and Dorothy, one of the girls, played the piano. Good times. There was a dartboard in the maids’ sitting room as well. The lads used to come in at night. We had some great times.

Bert had a motorbike. We had some great times out. We only had half a day off in the week, and every other Sunday, so we made the best of it. It was great just going to Sutton on Sea, Mablethorpe and Skegness. We used to think it was wonderful. Bert’s mum used to pack us food up and we would sit in the sand hills. It was lovely. We would go in the fish café if we could afford it, but we didn’t expect anything else. We often talked about it as we got older.

Front seat at the pictures on a Saturday night cost 1s6d. When we came out, it was into the café for fish and chips and a cup of tea for 9d each, including bread and butter. That was before Bert got his motorbike, so we had to push-bike the eight miles to Louth.

I don’t regret any of those days – some were wonderful and some very sad. Everybody has those days, but these are mine. I have a lot to be grateful for. I know I shouldn’t look back but I’m afraid I do.

Losing our first son was dreadful. I went through such a dreadful time. I don’t like saying it because you know how I feel about my dear Bert. I love and miss him so. But he never mentioned Raymond and how he felt. I was in bed for six weeks. I know he went every day to the hospital for a fortnight and was with him when he passed away, but I only saw him for four days. It was as if he wasn’t mine. They never told me anything. I got up and carried on as if nothing had happened.

I remember the four days I had with him. He was lovely, with black, curly hair. They said he was like me. I was giving him his little bottle of milk when he had a heart attack. That was the last I saw of him. The vicar came in, and the doctor. The doctor put him in his car and took him to hospital. The doctor used to come every day and see me at home. He used to say the baby was doing fine and he’d soon be home. But it wasn’t to be.

I sit some days and wonder what he would have been like. Like David, perhaps. I couldn’t wish for anything better. He’s a grand chap, my son, and has a very nice, thoughtful wife. I’m sure they think the world of one another. I’m lucky to have two such people to take care of me. I try not to be any worry to them, but there are times when I wish they had a family to come and see me. I might not be so lonely then; but it wasn’t to be. I do look forward to them coming to see me, if only for a short while.

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