INSIGHTS ON IVOR
The following week came, as they have a habit of doing, followed by many more weeks and each one saw me arriving at Queen Charlottes Hospital and taking Kathy out. We very often would take a stroll along the towpath of the Thames at Hammersmith usually ending up in one of the Wimpey cafes for a coffee and a hamburger or two. Naturally, during this time we were getting to know each other and liking what we saw more and more.
As our friendship grew it was inevitable that the time would come when I wanted to introduce Kathy to my Dad back home in Greenford. I spoke to Dad about it and he said ‘Why don’t you bring her home on Sunday so that I can meet her and we’ll put on a tea for her?’’ So when Kathy next had a Sunday off duty day I bought her home to meet Dad. The meeting and having tea together helped to ease any apprehension or nervousness on any side. As it was they got on fine and I had good feedback from both of them. As the weeks passed and our relationship grew even stronger I took Kathy to meet the rest of my family who also welcomed her with the same ease and kindness shown by my Dad.
In August of that year, we managed to get a week’s holiday together when we went to Butlin’s Holiday camp situated in Clacton on Sea. The weather was fine and we thoroughly enjoyed this new adventure. Just to be together, away from me traveling daily to work in London and Kathy having a break from her Midwifery lessons, gave us the chance to completely relax together and enjoy some of the activates on offer at the camp. We hired a three-wheeler bicycle from the camp and had a good laugh cycling along the promenade with the wind in our hair and not a care in the world. We also enjoyed the swimming pool in the camp and of course, we just had to parade our dancing prowess on the dance floor.
A little later in our relationship, we arranged for me to meet Kathy’s mother who lived in Lilleshall, Shropshire (her father had died in 1957). I traveled up by train and had the pleasure of meeting her mother who was one of the nicest ladies I, or anyone else, could wish to meet. At the time of her father’s death, Kathy was undergoing her Nursing training at Burton on Trent and living in the Nurses quarters. Whereas her mother and her two brothers and sister were living in a house, which went with her father’s job, in Great Gate, near Uttoxeter Staffordshire. Unfortunately, because of her father’s passing her mother, two brothers and sister were forced to leave the house and find alternative accommodation. Fortunately, Kathy’s eldest brother Peter obtained a job on a farm in Lilleshall Shropshire and once again, fortunately, the job also included a family cottage for Mum and family...
As time went by our relationship continued getting stronger. I remember one day when Kathy and I were listening to a record of Judy Garland singing her biggest hit’ ‘Over the Rainbow’ As we both loved it very much it became ‘our’ song. Whenever we hear it we are reminded of that day in my Dad’s house when we wished upon a star and how it all came true for us on December 27th, 1958 when we were married at Greenford Methodist church. Because Kathy’s father had died the year before, her eldest brother Peter took his place and walked her down the aisle. My brother David acted as my Best Man. As we couldn’t afford a big expensive Honeymoon we settled for a weekend at the Regent Palace Hotel in London.
Now, as I write this (January 5th, 2019) over Sixty years have passed since our life-changing date of December 27th 1958 and we have just returned from celebrating our Diamond Wedding Anniversary, which we did by taking a 12 day P and O cruise liner ship called ‘Oceana’ visiting Madeira, the Canary Islands, and Lisbon . We sailed from Southampton on December 17th which due to that being my birthday added another dimension to the happy event. We were also invited to join the Captain and his officers to have a champagne breakfast with them on the morning of the 27th December but unfortunately by this time Kathy had gone down with a nasty cold infection and was in no fit state to leave the cabin to attend.
We decided that I should go and explain and discuss this unfortunate turn of events with the Captain. He and his officers were very sympathetic and understanding about the situation but it was agreed that for Kathy to attend the function would pose too great a risk of passing her germs on around the ship. As a compromise the Captain kindly arranged for a selection of foods from the breakfast menu plus the champagne and a beautifully iced cake suitably inscribed with the appropriate words of celebration befitting a Diamond Wedding occasion, to be delivered to our cabin.
Just before I left the Captain to return to Kathy in our cabin I was asked to stand alongside him and hold up an envelope he had just presented to me. The reason for this request was that the envelope contained a card of Congratulations from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Kathy and I on reaching our Diamond Wedding Anniversary and the ship's photographer was there waiting to record this happy scene for Kathy and I. This act of acknowledgment by the Queen is something she does for all UK couples upon reaching this milestone, providing the official department in Buckingham Palace receives prior notification supplying all the necessary details. About 15 minutes after I returned to our cabin the breakfast trolley arrived and Kathy and I were able to relax and sample some of the delights upon it. We left the champagne for a later date and after I had sampled some of the iced cake I asked for the remainder to be shared amongst the waiters attending us at our table in the dining room.
Who would have thought that sixty years from our Wedding day on December 27th, 1958 we would be, not only still alive but, celebrating our Diamond Wedding Anniversary at sea on a cruise liner in the Mediterranean on December 27th, 2018.
So, bearing all that in mind I suggest it is only fitting to recall that three of the biggest hit songs of 1958 were the Everly Brothers singing ‘All I have to do is Dream’, (which is what I was doing in those days back in 1958). Connie Francis singing ‘Who’s Sorry Now? This definitely wasn’t me because as one of my all-time favorite singers, Perry Como, sang, those heady days were for me wonderful ‘Magic Moments’ So, to sum it up, my family, like me, were all glad I had gone to that dance on Friday, June 13th, 1958 and ended up taking a ‘Turn for the Nurse’.
--End of Part Thirty-Eight-