Chapter 6 Life goes on
So here I am at the age of 35 I have just become a widower with four small children,
having lost the love of my life for the last twenty years the future looks pretty bleak but I have a job that pays well and it is essential to keep the funds coming in and my family well supported, so what I need is someone to look after the children whilst I work, I decided to place an advertisement in the local paper for a housekeeper.
This is how Janice came into our lives she had separated from her husband, had a young baby girl called Mandy the same age as little Alan, she could drive a car, she was intelligent and willing and we all got along very well, I was working shift work doing the fatigue testing for the BAC 1-11 airliner, my shifts were twelve hours on and 24 hours off, this meant that I was actually at home for quite a lot of the time.
If I had been working nights and arrived home early morning Janice would quite likely pile the two little ones into my car and go to Bristol to visit her mother and go shopping, she was very good with the babies both fourteen months old one boy one girl, she used to dress them as if they were twins and they looked very smart.
My eldest daughter Janet was growing up and at thirteen was attending the local grammar school and her biggest complaint at that time was that she could never be top of the class because there was a genius there who always managed to come first, my other daughter Stella was going to school at the local comprehensive and doing reasonably well unfortunately it was at the time when they practiced “ free expression” which meant if you didn’t want to learn you could play cards at the back of the class, but Stella was twelve years old going to a coed school and just getting interested in the opposite sex.
My eldest son Raymond was a typical ten year old but having plenty of playmates in the road he never got into serious trouble until he went to the grammar school where his only interest was computers and computing and he managed to use up the total time allocated to the whole grammar school at the technical college mainframe on his one project, the other problem of course was to try to get him to study anything else, his head master wrote to me to say that he couldn’t put Raymond into the final examinations because he hadn’t attended sufficient classes, I had to go down to the school and plead with the man that we both knew Raymond was quite capable of doing the exams and should not be excluded on a technicality, he actually did very well and went on to higher education in Cheltenham.
We all got along very well with Janice despite the fact that I knew that I was being taken for a ride, like the day she said “I want some more housekeeping money, I went into the garden opened my purse and all the money blew away” I mean, what could I say I should explain how I was paid in those days I was on the monthly staff and requested to work twelve hours on and 24 off seven days a week, they paid me overtime rate, a noise allowance, and if I worked a night they paid me for the day before on the grounds that I would normally have been working that day.
We all had some amusing times, one we all remember was the episode with the cream cake that we had bought up the shop probably for someone’s birthday and it had accidentally been dropped on the floor, it was still in one piece would no longer fit to eat, I brought the subject of how fit we were and casually asked Janice if she could touch her toes “ of course I can” she replied and while she demonstrated I brought the cream cake up between her legs for a lovely face full. All taken in good humour
Janice was with us for about eighteen months when she decided to move on at my suggestion. But I thank her once again for getting us through what would have been a very difficult time.
The next girl I employed was called Wendy she was about eighteen and just about able to do the job, but she was pleasant enough and the kids got along well with her she was not the brightest spark in the pile and as an example of this when requested to light the fire she looked a little mystified, I suggested she go up the shop and buy a packet of firelighters when she returnd she busied herself and a little later I found out that she had put the whole packet of firelighters in the hearth to light the fire.
Wendy didn’t stay with us for very long and I don’t remember why she left but I think there was a boyfriend involved.
And then along came Susan but that’s another story.