11th March 1952


Hello diary,

I bet you thought I’d abandoned you didn’t you?
I can understand why, it’s been six months or so hasn’t it. Let me try and order my thoughts so I can fill you in because so much has happened.

I thought about writing in you again yesterday morning while I drank my coffee, but I was in such a rush to leave I clean forgot as soon as I was through the door. But it’s evening now and it’s the weekend tomorrow so I can spend some quality time with you.

Firstly, let me tell you, I am fair bushed! It’s so tiring working at Marshall and Snelgrove. Not that I’m complaining, I love it! Today I impressed Miss Foster when I sold an item to a lady who looked like she was quite ready to leave without purchasing a thing but I sent her on her way with a lovely spring coat. I told her that I’d seen Merle Oberon wearing the same cut in an article in Picture Post and she was thrilled!

Miss Foster says that my knowledge of the latest fashions is very commendable and she thinks it’s very good that I keep up to date with Vogue and the like as our customers appreciate it.

Moving to Sheffield has been difficult. Telling George that I was leaving was harder. His poor face fell to the floor, and it was all I could do to stick to my guns and not say I’d changed my mind and decided to stay. However it was definitely for the best. Once I’d got the courage up to tell him, something fell into place and we began to actually talk.

All those years together and we’d never really talked to each other about what we felt or what we thought, we just sort of rolled along. He admitted to me he’d known about Frank since he’d arrived back in town and had feared the worst happening. Mother had been his eyes and ears and she was the sole confidant to his misery. I feel very bad about that.
I still love George, I really do and when I think of him spoiling me with trinkets and treating me to outings it makes me feel dreadful. I was so blind to his affection.

I spoke to him yesterday on the telephone (There is a shared telephone in this house) and he's going to travel up to visit me next week. I know he still loves me. He is so very good and understanding.

This move has been good for the both of us. George wasn’t happy, not really and it took him a good while to realise that loving me wasn’t enough to make our relationship work. Back in Hanley I was so bored. I wanted excitement but I was scared to make anything of myself because I felt it wasn’t what George wanted and certainly not what Mother anticipated for me. George expected me to be content looking after our nice house with my nice clothes and jewellery, but it wasn’t enough for me. I suppose we both existed on different planes.

We talk more now than we ever did before, and my housemates (Joan and Florence) are quite jealous about how we are together. We write all the time and sometimes I send George cuttings from magazines that I think he might find interesting and he sends me cigarette cards with film stars on that he knows I like. (He must have ditched his pipe! I’ll have to ask him about that. The irony is I’ve given up! I can’t afford my Cravens living here)

Mother was not pleased about my moving at all, she said it was a 'harebrained scheme', and she tried to persuade me to stay. ‘Why Sheffield?’ she kept asking, ‘If you have to get a job why not nearby?’ But I couldn’t explain to her that if I stayed it wouldn’t really feel like a new start, especially with the thought of Frank turning up unexpectedly at any time. I just couldn’t face it.

It took a good few weeks for me to actually move after I’d announced my plans. I had to scan every paper I could get my hands on to find a position first, and then the department store pointed me in the direction of digs. It was scary but once I moved I knew it was the right thing to do.

Mother had got into her head that I was leaving George for good and simply couldn’t understand my decision. She talked to me endlessly about how difficult I would find things and to think over what I already had. I listened to her, I really did, and I tried to explain my side of things. Eventually she saw there was no going back and supported me, but she did worry about what she’d tell the neighbours. However I received a letter last week to say she now makes a point of telling anyone who will listen that her daughter is working in fashion at a department store like the ones you find in London! Imagine that! My Mother, embracing this new era where women are now taking up jobs as well as marriage! She says it's like having two successful careers. I love her for that.

It never once entered my head of ending my marriage, even when I was gaga over Frank. I still don’t understand what I was thinking. How could I have thought it would work juggling two relationships, one of them in secret? And when I think back to how Frank and I were, I shudder at my stupidity and I feel ready to fit when I think of how blithe he was about it all! It should have been George I went for walks with, George dancing with me and listening  to my dreams. We were both as bad as each other, existing side by side but not really understanding one another. Frank was my substitute, and I guess Betty was right, he was bad news!

On the week I was due to leave for Sheffield I went to the Regent again to see Betty. I told her everything. She listened and, thank goodness, she never said she told me so. We packed my things together and I gave her some bits that I knew I wouldn’t be taking. I knew she’d admired my Hollywood Jewellery so it’s hers now. I do miss her, but Hanley isn’t that far away and I visit as often as I can.

It was George and my wedding anniversary yesterday; seven years. Goodness, just think, this time last year I was sitting in my dressing room back home scribbling away about who knows what! Last years anniversary gift comes to mind; I do so love my feather stole. I've been saving up to buy George a gift this year and when he arrives next week he'll have a new shirt and tie from the mens department which are up to date with this season. He can wear them to the bank, I just know he'll look ever so smart!

When George and I spoke on the phone I asked him how things are in town and he said much the same, the Theatre Royal has had some good plays on but audiences aren’t as large as hoped. I remember my excitement about attending the grand re-opening last August and think of all the crowds we had to push our way through in the interval! It doesn't seem believable that the theatre isn't doing so well.

But that’s the way things go I suppose, you never know what’s around the corner!

George and I both realise that we are living very unconventionally. We are both aware that things are uncertain, but for now I feel happy and very lucky. We are just going to see how things pan out.

I’m off out with the girls to catch a film tomorrow, Singin' In The Rain, I do hope it’s good, I’ve heard great things. Now I just have to decide what to wear, I think I’ll try to get my hair to curl like Debbie Reynolds has hers, I’ve got the perfect picture of her in a magazine somewhere, if I can find it. I’ll let you know how it goes… until then xx

27th August 1951


Two days ago I received a message. It was handed to me by Frank’s landlady after I’d gone yet again to see if he’d returned. He’s been gone for over a week now and I was getting worried about him. I needn’t have been. He’s moved on and won’t be coming back.

Frank’s note only has a few lines in it. I’ve read them so many times I can repeat them by heart:


Please understand that this is hard for me, but I have decided to move on. Some friends of mine have told me about a good business opportunity and I’ll be moving to another area, perhaps even returning to Italy by next month. I may come back from time to time and if we bump into each other again it would be nice to see you.

I’m glad you have found happiness with your husband. Enjoy your life


I feel so stupid.

This will be the last time I'll write in this diary. I have nothing left to say, nothing left worth writing. There’s nothing left.

25th August 1951


What can you write when your heart is broken?

20th August 1951


Still no word from Frank, and we were supposed to meet today.

George took me out for a meal this evening. I feel so rotten at the moment I didn’t even bother to change my dress or do my hair or anything. I can’t stand the way George looks at me. He has a question in his eyes. He reminds me of a kicked dog asking for reassurance. I hate the way it makes me feel.

We talked about absolute rubbish too, anything but the obvious. I’ve given up my hopes of getting the job in Longton. Just to mention it will be a reminder of the night I told George about wanting to work; the night he admitted he knew about me and Frank. Though to see us now you’d think he knew nothing. He’s the model of a doting husband. But he’s not stupid. Surely he’ll snap at some point. I wish he would! It would be a relief to have it out, hear him shout at me and tell me what a bad wife am.

But no, he’s George isn’t he. Sweet caring George who fell for me the first time he laid eyes on me and would forgive me anything it seems. It doesn’t help that I now suspect all those days he’s spent away from home, he was whiling away the hours at my Mother’s house, pouring out his woes to her as she soothed him with tea. And there’s me thinking he had found a hobby!

I only know about this because Mother paid us an unexpected visit yesterday. I was glad of the distraction at first, the awkward silences between George and I are driving me mad. But it soon became apparent what she was really there for; I overheard her and George muttering in the sitting room as I went to make drinks.

‘Are things any better?’ she asked
‘Not really’ he replied ‘Worse than last time I saw you if I’m honest’
I realised then what had been happening, why Mother knew so much and why George was keeping so calm. Mother has been telling him how to handle the situation. Poor George, doesn’t he realise she’s just trying to make sure we don’t fall out and spoil the marriage?

I suppose she’s right. I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t Mrs George Brown.

I wish Frank would hurry back.

17th August 1951


I wish I could see Frank! We’re not due to meet again until the end of the week but I can’t wait that long! I have to talk to him now.

I went to his boarding house today, I didn’t even care who saw, but the landlady said he was away on business.

George has been ridiculously kind to me since the night at the Royal. I can tell things have shaken him up too and he feels bad for being so harsh with me. But his sweet nature is killing me. Every time he buys me flowers or complements me, I feel like a knife is being thrust through my heart. I feel horrid.

He even bought me a new bracelet today. It wasn’t like last time he brought me home a present, like with the disc. This time he waited until we’d finished our evening meal and slid a box over the table towards me. I looked up in confusion but he didn’t say anything, just looked expectantly at me.

I wasn’t even excited to open it, and when I saw the bracelet I said ‘Its lovely thank you’ but I couldn’t bring myself to look at it again and closed the box. George looked very disappointed.

If only I could see Frank, I just know he’d make it better. If only I could talk to him and sort this mess out.

16th August 1951


What a day! I’m still exhausted from Saturday. I’ve not slept properly since. I just lie there in the dark listening to George breathing. I can tell he’s not sleeping either he’s lying there like me, thinking, too afraid to say anything about what’s going through our minds in case something is said that we don’t really want to hear.

Things were not made any easier by seeing Mother today. I try and put off visiting home at the best of times. Since I got married I sometimes feel more like a little girl around her than I did before. She’s forever taking an interest! Betty used to say Mother was the best spy Britain had and if she had joined up we would have won the war years earlier.

I should have known it wouldn’t be easy to face her.

When she opened the door she said she’d been expecting me, but when I asked why that was she just looked at me and said I looked tired.

We stood in the kitchen while we waited for the kettle to boil and my palms began to sweat. I rubbed them down my skirt and caught Mother watching me from the corner of her eye. ‘Just look at you’ she said.

‘What?’ I asked a little too guiltily. She reached up and began to straighten my collar, ‘So young, and pretty and smartly turned out’. I couldn’t look at her.

‘So tell me, what brings you here? Your Dad’s at work, but you know that what him working for George. I bless the day he got that position at the bank’

‘Mother, do you always have to say that?’ I stammered.

When she turned to make the tea I sagged a little.

I began to babble then about who knows what; the dress I’d been altering, the market at Uttoxeter, the price of peas, and the latest film I’d seen. ‘Sounds like you’ve been busy’ she said as she raised her cup to take a sip. I didn’t say anything. I’d run out of things to say, things that didn’t include picnics or dances or racey pink underwear from America and the feel of Frank's sheets over my bare skin.

We sat in silence for a few moments. If she was going to reveal that she knew anything it would be now. But no, she was going to make me work for it, I was going to have to ask her outright. As I gathered up my courage to broach the subject, she suddenly asked ‘How’s George?’

‘Oh he’s fine, you know, still reading his papers and enjoying his radio programmes’

‘Hmm’ she said with a little frown then took another sip of tea. I hadn’t touched mine, my cup and saucer sat in my lap the steam curling into my face. I realised I was clutching them both very tightly.

‘But, well, to be honest,’ I said, ‘he has been a little off of late’

‘Oh?’ Said Mother, ‘Off how?’

‘Erm, well, he, he said…I mean I asked him about an advert I’d seen and…’ I stopped myself. I knew if I mentioned the job at Longton that would be another thing for her to try and interfere with. ‘I mean, the other night he said…he said’. I couldn’t do it; I was only going to point the finger at myself and I already felt awful. I began to cry.

‘Come here’ She said and before I knew it I was that little girl again being rocked back and forth.

‘Did Betty tell you?’ I asked. ‘No’ she said, ‘Betty’s not said a word, though I know she’d like to. That girl only has your best interests at heart’.

‘I don’t think she cares now’ I sniffed, ‘we fell out’.

‘Betty’s a bigger person than you think; you’ll be alright the both of you. But Frank on the other hand…’ I gasped. It felt so odd to hear his name on her lips.

‘Oh I know all about him and his ‘business ventures’; running around the town like a criminal with those goods under his coat.’ I didn’t understand I just shook my head.

‘And you my girl, getting your head turned again by that boy after all these years. It can’t last’

I felt angry then. What did my Mother know about how Frank and I felt about each other? We’re truly in love. But I didn’t say anything. Partly it was too nice to be comforted and get my troubles out, partly because I knew if I defended Frank, Mother wouldn’t listen.

She began to talk on and on then about how good I’ve got it with George, how she and Dad never had anything as good as I have. How they had to work hard to keep the roof over our heads and how George is such a catch for a girl like me. I’ve heard it all before and I began to zone out and just stood there letting the warmth of the kitchen flood over me while her voice droned on. At least I knew one thing I thought to myself, it was her who’d told George for certain. She had given that much away.

When I went to leave she took my face in her hands and said I hadn’t listened to a word she’d uttered. She stroked my cheek and said ‘Be nice to George dear, he’s worth it’.

15th August 1951 (continued)


I woke early this morning, even though I’d hardly slept a wink of sleep; I just kept running last night through my head over and over again.

I’d been so looking forward to the grand re-opening of the Theatre Royal and while I admit the event itself was wonderful, George’s harsh words afterwards have hit me like a brick. Every time I remember him saying there’s been ‘talk’ about me a cold shiver runs through my stomach.

I realise now that he suspects something. But how and how much does he know? Goodness, listen to me, I sound like a criminal! I feel wretched.

Does George even know that Frank exists? My mind is raging, I have the worst headache!

The oddest thing is George was so courteous to me over breakfast this morning, you’d have thought nothing had happened. But to be honest his calmness is making me feel worse, it only highlights what a bad person I am and how innocent he is.

If only I knew what he was thinking, I need to find out what he’s heard; these rumours he couldn’t bring himself to say. Who would be low enough to repeat gossip about me to George? Betty? No. Even though I was a heel to not tell her about Frank, I don’t think she’s spiteful enough to do such a thing.

That only leaves one other person; someone who makes it their business to meddle in my personal affairs. But God forbid it’s her!

I'm going to have to pay a visit to Mother