One of the very loveliest things about being officially retired and a lady of leisure is that I now have so much more time just to sit and listen to what people have to tell me.
I do hope, of course, that I did my share of listening (in between the talking) when I was a Working Gal. But these days I get to hear so many stories, so many tales of times past,
so many fond recollections, so many insights into different ways of life. Here are just a few of the most recent.
During the interval at the Swift Girls’
Dance Show (well, it wasn’t just their show, there were other girls performing but the Swift Girls were far and away the most important as far as I was concerned) I met an amazing 90 year old woman who told me all about her experiences in the Land Army
over the war years 1939 – 1945. Not only that but she told me that she now lives – and has lived since she married in 1952 – in a house built on the very land she ploughed as a Land Girl. How about that for a story?
Then there was the charming woman from Colorado who told me that she loved the wide open spaces of her adopted State. A good thing, considering that she lived 35 miles from the nearest bank. Imagine
that, a seventy mile round trip when you needed to visit the “hole in the wall”! But the best bit of her story was that her bank (when she finally arrived) always had coffee and pastries waiting for its customers. Doubtless they felt it was
the least they could do......
Today I was on Church Watch and showing a sweet elderly lady and her daughter around our church, when we stopped at the large plaque
on the wall commemorating the Queen’s Coronation in June 1953. Now I don’t remember much at all about the Coronation, as I think I may have told you before. I remember King George VI dying – but only because “Listen With Mother”
was replaced by solemn music played throughout the day on the radio. I believe I was quite cross with the King for dying. In my defence I was only five at the time. I recall that we had a magnificent model Coronation procession on the window sill in
our classroom, complete with golden coach and horses. And Mr Bellamy, Chairman of the School Governors, came to the school and gave us all an incredibly boring book called “Royalty in Essex.”
My Church visitor this afternoon had a far sweeter memory of the Queen’s Big Day. It was, she told me, her very first date with Reg, the man who was to become her husband three years later. They had stood together
in the crowd outside Buckingham Palace and waited for hours for the new Queen and her family to appear on the balcony to wave. The funny thing was that she had planned to go up to London with her sister but when Reg asked her out – well, sisterly obligations
went out of the window. Apparently her sister didn’t bear a grudge.
Ordinary people with stories to tell. I’m so glad I have the time these
days to sit and listen.