10th March 1951
I can’t believe that it’s six years today since I got married! To think I was just a silly 18 year old back then and I thought George was an old man at 39! My goodness what does that make him now!
Actually, thinking about it makes me feel rather odd. I always imagined I’d be living and working in London by the time I was 21, those were the dreams of a silly girl I suppose.
But then, if it wasn’t for Mother convincing me that marrying George was the best thing I could do, I don’t suppose I’d be here now. Is that a bad thing to admit? I’ve never even put it into words before but I can’t help it, it’s true!
Mother said I needed to stop moping over Frank and that I wouldn’t get a better offer than an assistant bank manager. Not a girl from my station of life. Honestly you’d think I was a beggar or something the way she went on.
But she’s always been the same, pushing at me to do one thing or another. Dad says we’re like peas in a pod, both dreamers always wishing for the stars.
But when she first suggested it I was horrified, yes, I admit it, horrified! Me marry George? I only knew him because he worked with Dad. I suppose George was just being polite the first day he popped round our house for a cuppa after work.
Dad was busy fussing around him making sure he had the best chair and offering him his best tobacco, it was quite embarrassing. I could tell Mother was secretly seething at Dad as she’d had no time to prepare anything, not knowing we were to receive guests. But the thing I remember most of that first visit was the way George’s eyes lit up when he saw me.
I noticed it right away; I can always tell when a man likes me, I used to get enough attention at work. So I admit I played on it. Well, you would wouldn’t you? I made sure I handed George his tea and I looked right into his eyes as I did it. His ears went the nicest shade of pink.
And it was fun flirting with an older man. I didn’t think anything of it, and it was just nice to feel attractive again, especially since Frank left.
But the next thing I know George was ‘popping’ around our house for a cuppa nearly every week. Dad was made up that our family was getting on so well with his boss, whilst Mother began plotting. I could tell she was up to something the way she always made sure I was in when George was expected and she took extra interest in my appearance. (She needn’t have, I always make sure I look nice; you’d never see me without my hair done and a neat frock even in those days). But when George began to bring little gifts for me and offered to take me to the theatre I think something clicked and I realised he wasn’t just coming round for the tea and cake.
Then things just seemed to happen without me having a say in anything. I remember Mother sat me down and had a serious talk with me about my options in life; I could carry on working in the cinema, dating local boys who would never be good enough for me. Or I could marry George and one day become the wife of a bank manager. Looking back I see now she just wanted the best for me, she’s always had high expectations for me. I pointed out that George was nearly forty and I didn’t think I could love someone who was close to my dad’s age, it made me feel all wrong somehow.
But over time she started listing all the things I could have; the clothes I could buy, the evenings out to posh restaurants, how I’d never need to worry about money, and how we would have our own home, and I began to feel a bit better about the idea. Besides I didn’t want to sit around and wait for a husband, I was bored of stepping out with the local boys and none of them interested me anyway. But if I’m truly honest with myself I think I panicked, I didn’t want to be alone pining for someone I couldn’t have. So I let George court me and after what seemed an age he finally proposed.
Today he gave me a feather stole as an anniversary gift, it’s lovely. I like to run my fingers through it, it’s so soft and it’s the colour of champagne. I feel ever so luxurious when I wear it. I saw Elizabeth Taylor wearing one just like at one of her premiers. I can’t believe she’s only 19 and she’s already made all those films! I think I’ll try to do my hair like hers next time we go out.
Posted by Gemma Parker at 07:31