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The Day Before Yesterday: 41 – Rescue Of The Innocents

..."I've an idea" he whispered, when we had managed to be alone, which wasn't easy in this household. "Do you think", he began, "your Mum and Dad would let us get married, instead of getting engaged?"...

And what was lthe response from Mum and Dad?

Gladys Schofield continues her life story. To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

We were now in a much stronger position and we decided to get engaged. It was the spring of 1939. Industry was picking up; no one needed to be hungry if they could work.

The cupboards at home were now stocked with a variety of different cereals. Mum took a liking to puffed wheat and would eat it by the handful, and shredded wheat came onto the shelves as well. We had only had porridge and cornflakes up to now, so who could blame her sampling all the different varieties flooding the shops?

A new bakery opened its doors just up the road. We now got bread delivered, still warm, and lots of little delicacies to tempt you. Mum got a little rounder but it was good she did not have to work so hard anymore.

Cliff came as usual, Mum still trying to fatten him up. She should have known her sister could cook just as well as her.

"I've an idea" he whispered, when we had managed to be alone, which wasn't easy in this household. "Do you think", he began, "your Mum and Dad would let us get married, instead of getting engaged?"

I wasn't very hopeful at this suggestion, knowing how Dad had felt about Dorothy's marriage the year before, but seeing Cliff’s eager face I said, "Shall we ask him?"

We waited until we could see them on their own, then Cliff said, "Will you give your consent to let us get married?"

Dad smiled his slow smile and sucked more quickly on his pipe. He knew his daughter would be well provided for, but we were not yet nineteen years old. All these things he seemed to be turning over in his mind.

"Well lad", he came out with eventually, "you're a nice enough lad. She could have done worse. What do you think Mum?"

Up to now Mum had said nothing but when asked said, "Yes, I think they are sensible enough. They have known each other for quite some time. They may as well."

But Dad had the last words. "Only if you let me take you down the aisle," he said.

We were overwhelmed at the outcome and rejoiced as only two people in love could. They didn't drink our health as they may have done today, but just to have their consent was more than enough for us.

The weeks ahead were blissfully happy as we planned a June wedding. Mum seemed to do most of this, though consulting me on some things. I was so pleased we had got our own way it didn't bother me.

Coloured brides’ attire was all in fashion. One of the teachers had worn pink just before I left school and I tried on several dresses before I came to a decision and chose pale blue. The gown was lovely, embossed with a brighter shade of blue that seemed to dazzle as it caught the light. The long veil had white orange blossom entwined around the head piece. This was a colour I suited, so we bought it.

It wasn't often a reception could be held other than in the bride’s own home and room would be made for friends and relations at this time. My Aunty Becky would make my bridal bouquet and also supply the white carnations for the men and two bouquets of sweet peas for my little sisters, who were bridesmaids.

About four weeks before the wedding a cottage came to let at Bank End, one of a row of six in a lane near the woods we had always loved. We decided to take it, and to save money Cliff said he would live there for the month up to the wedding. So one Saturday we went looking in furniture shops, not very skilled in the way some shop managers work, to sell their goods to innocent bystanders.

A new furniture shop had opened its doors in the town. Everything we would require was displayed in the two large windows in front of us. So innocent were we that we failed to notice a salesman from the shop had joined us outside. He soon won us over with his high speed sales talk and was ushering us into the shop before we knew what we were doing.

I bet he thought, ‘what a pair of suckers we've got here.’ Before we knew it, we had signed for a house lot of things and held them with a deposit.

On arriving home we said what we had done. Dad's first words were, "What was the name of the firm you went to?" On being told he said, "Have you put any money down?"

"Well, yes" we said, "just a deposit".

He said. "That group are sharks, out to catch innocent victims. Your signature isn't worth the paper you signed on. You are both under age." Seeing the look on our faces he said, "Come on. I will take you to a real furniture shop." We looked at each other and decided this is the best thing to be done, as Dad was certainly an expert.

He took us back to the new shop and inspected the furniture we had ordered, by pulling out the drawers and inspecting the joints and upending the chairs. He declared it rubbish.

The salesman hovered in the background saying, “They have already signed for the furniture.”

"They are under age and can't sign for anything without an adult," said Dad. And the man was glad to comply when he saw the look in Dad's eye.

Dad usually thought a lot and said little, but if there was one thing he did not like, it was seeing someone taken advantage of. We felt very disappointed and explained we needed furniture quickly for the cottage we were renting. "Come with me", he again said and took us further down the same street and entered a small shop you would hardly notice. W

We entered these premises and could see Dad was well known by the manager and were shown some genuine pieces of furniture. With Dad's advice we were able to choose enough for our requirements.

The sideboard had its own full canteen of cutlery fitted in two tiny drawers, concealed at each side. All you saw were two small knobs. This came with a table and four chairs and a green moquet three piece suite. We only got a dressing table for the bedroom, as a double bed was already on order in one of those catalogues I mentioned.

Mum bought us a carpet and also decorated the living room in our house with beautiful panelled borders that have made a comeback today.

Aunty Miriam was pleased when she saw our little home and offered to buy enough curtain fabric to fit the upstairs windows.

Aunty Kitty said we were much too young for marriage and she would get us something really nice later. (We are still waiting).

When Cliff moved into the house, his single bed came too, as my Aunty didn't need it anymore. It solved a problem for us as it would be a few weeks before we received our double bed from the club. It was a twenty week club. Each member drew a number one to twenty. The number you drew was the time you had to wait for your goods to be delivered. Ours was well past our wedding date.

The furniture we bought cost us four shillings a week in repayments, that was all we could afford to pay just then.

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