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I Only Came For The Music: 25 - Accepted and Valued

...I found being a semi-adult (no such thing as a teenager in those days) and working in an adult work-place stimulating. People were so pleasant and forthcoming. Unlike my family, these people really liked and warmed towards me. I discovered grown-ups were interesting and entertaining and enjoyed my company....

Betty McKay meets new people and makes new friends, finding that she is liked and valued.
To read earlier chapters of Betty's engrossing autobiography please click on I Only Came For The Music in the menu on this page.

To read earlier chapters of Betty's engrossing autobiography please click on I Only Came For The Music in the menu on this page.

It was about this time that I joined Rylands youth club, coming into contact with many more people of my own age, mainly girls. There weren't any young men in the offices; they all joined the services as soon as possible, anxious to get into uniform.

A drama group was eventually formed and through that I met Miss Fountain. Ivory was in charge of all the female staff employees. She paid me a great deal of attention right from the beginning of our acquaintance. I thought maybe she saw some potential in me and felt flattered.

Within a week she had me transferred from the Battersby Lane depot, to the main office in Church Street and things began to look up work-wise. This was a much more interesting and exciting place to work. I still kept contact with Margery but didn't spend quite as much time in her company.

I found being a semi-adult (no such thing as a teenager in those days) and working in an adult work-place stimulating. People were so pleasant and forthcoming. Unlike my family, these people really liked and warmed towards me. I discovered grown-ups were interesting and entertaining and enjoyed my company.

Rosemary one of my new friends was seventeen, the same age that I was. I realised she came from a far more privileged background than myself. Her father had been a colonel in the Indian Army. Both Rosemary and her younger sister were born and raised in India.

Despite my squalid background every one of my new acquaintances accepted me as an equal. Nobody ever asked where I lived or what class my parents were. When Rosemary's father asked if Dad had been in the war, I said he'd been in the First World War but that he was too old for the Second World War. They accepted me as every one else did as one of their own.

Eve by this time was out of the WAAF and back in civilian life. She was married to Robert Bain, a tall, dark, extremely handsome man. When she met him he was a sergeant major in the Royal Scots Greys.

After the war, like many others, he had to adjust to civilian life and didn't find that easy. After carrying out the duties of an important senior non-commissioned-officer, working on the shop floor of a factory must have been hard to take. He started work as a security officer at HMS Gosling, a naval training base, and for a while was happier, but then he moved on to other employment.

They had a dear little boy called Robert although he was always called Bobby, and still is all these years later, and a baby named Patrick. Patrick died suddenly at seven weeks old, of what would now be known as 'cot death syndrome'. Eve was distraught.

She became pregnant again very quickly. I remember her saying something, which at the time seemed very strange. "Betty, I feel as if this baby growing inside me is Patrick come back to me." I think that wasn't a delusion but a form of comfort to ease the pain and love she still felt for her dead child.

When the baby was born on Saint David's Day, they named him Andrew David, but everyone called him Andy. He was a lovely baby, happy and wonderfully healthy and big brother Bobby was devoted to him.

My life was so full I didn't see as much of them as I would have liked to. One evening I went across to visit and Eve asked me about the friends I'd made at work. I mentioned Rosemary and my being accepted by her family. Eve looked at me and smiled. "It's because you don't have an accent. I noticed it when I came to see you in your school play. I didn't mention it before because I thought you realised that you didn't have an accent."

I laughed, feeling quite pleased with myself. I'd never thought having or not having an accent mattered. My mother had a cockney accent, and was very proud of it. Dad had a slight Midlands accent. Eve didn't have an accent either; she had been away from Warrington for a long time in the WAAF. Come to think of it, Rosemary and her family didn't have accents, not even a colonial one; despite having been born and living in India until partition.

They must have adored living in India. Listening to her tales of life under the Raj was like something out of Kipling or a fairy tale. Rosemary had enjoyed an enchanted childhood, waited on hand and foot by ayas and servants. But she wasn't spoilt and it was a delight to be her friend and enjoy her company.

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