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