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The Day Before Yesterday: 88 - "I Won't Be Here When You Come Back''

Gladys Schofield tells of a turbulent domestic time.

To read earlier chapters of Gladys's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

Late that summer Cliff's mill had organised a trip to Blackpool. I thought wives were included and thought it would be a good way for us to spend a whole day together but he told me wives were not included. Whether this was true or not, I didn't believe him as things had been strained between us of late. The trip was on a Saturday and we had quarrelled about this, so I said "If you go, I won't be here when you come back.''

I must have been upset with both him and his mother at the time and didn't think it was right that I seemed to get all the responsibility while he had all the fun.

He set off for his day at the beach. I felt very hurt and quietly got my youngest child ready while his mother just silently stared. At that time I believe she was sorry for me because I said "Will you care for the boys until their dad gets back?" and she said "Of course I will. Where are you going?"

At that moment I couldn't give her an answer. I didn't know myself.

I caught the bus into town with David in my arms and my feet automatically turned to the Barnsley bus. I hadn't seen my friend since she had gone back home but we wrote regularly. She was surprised to see me on her doorstep but welcomed me all the same. I just had to talk to someone I could trust and she was the only one I knew.

What she thought of me, I don't know as I poured out all my troubles. They had been boxed up so long. She didn't like to advise me there and then but said "Stay the night. You may see things clearer in the morning."

I did just that. I was reluctant to go back to that situation but I had my other children to consider. It wasn't fair they should suffer, so I caught the late afternoon bus and arrived home in the evening.

I saw the first show of emotion for many years from my husband as we came in the door, The worried, agitated look on his face told me more than any words could have, as he hugged me tight saying "Don't ever go off like that again.''

It did him good to see I was not just a fixture in the house, along with the furniture and fittings and was quite capable of walking out when things got bad but I could never leave my children. They had grown so much a part of me. I had said just these words as a young bride so long ago when Cliff's family broke up. I tended to put their wellbeing before my own but that was the way I was made and I could not alter that.

We had our first Christmas in our new house. I would shop in town on a Saturday afternoon if Cliff didn't have a match. England is a place to be at this time of year It looks like a fairyland as everyone gets into the spirit of it. The shops are so welcoming, a blaze with colours. Even the most jaded of spirits are uplifted and enlightened. You may be weighed down with parcels as I often was but the sight of all this and the strains of the Salvation Army band playing carols outside the big store always moved me and uplifted me, as I walked through the dark evening to catch my bus for home.

It's always been an exciting time for our children and I believe in keeping it that way for as long as possible, so Christmas was always a time of magic, while they were young.


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