An Unexpected Event

It wasn’t as easy for Bob to find a teaching post as it was for me. He had to settle for a rather rough comprehensive school a few miles away from Harlow. At first he used to use the red Mini for the journey as I could easily walk to my school. However, I wanted to get away from Harlow. There were nicer places. We found a beautiful village, Little Hallingbury, in the depth of the country and we were very happy there. We had to buy a second car so that Bob could use it for his journey and I could take the boys and myself to Harlow.

We were also looking for a good school for the boys. It wasn’t easy. Bob wanted to find a better post for himself but that wasn’t easy either. I was in the third year of my school and I was determined not to stay for a fourth year. I had just before Christmas landed myself with a maths post at an excellent girls grammar school in Bishops Stortford, which was very close to home.

Fate stepped in again to my astonishment. It was just after Christmas when I discovered that I was pregnant. The boys were nearly ten and nearly eight years old. I was looking forward to the time when I could start my business. The last thing I wanted was another baby. Robert Burns was yet again letting me know that my well laid schemes were going a-glay. Yet what I thought was a disaster turned out to be one of the very best things in my life. Despite all my planning it turned out that I did not know what was best for me, yet at the same time my constant plans, eventually, in a very roundabout way, led me to the path that I needed to tread. I was a late developer because I had a lot to learn. All my experiences were necessary to get me to the point where I could make the best use of my inherited talents.

The weather in the late winter of 1963 was one of the worst ever. Unlike my first two pregnancies I suffered from morning sickness for several weeks as I drove my boys to school. After that I began to feel amazingly well and was able to teach up to the end of the summer term. I had to notify the headmistress who had offered me a job, that I was expecting a baby in October. She was desperate for a maths teacher. We came to an agreement that, if I could find a reliable woman to look after my baby five mornings in the week, I could take the lessons in the morning only. This came to pass. A few doors away from our house was a young woman with her first baby. She was perfect and agreed to do this for the first year.

As the time went by, I began to think how nice it would be if it was a girl. I was certain that would happen. When my daughter was born I was overwhelmed with joy and so were the boys. Bob also was pleased and he took more interest in Kate than he had taken with them. Both the boys fell in love with her. She was such a happy and very funny baby. It was she, more than anyone else, who transformed me from a sobersides into someone with a sense of humour.

I didn’t stay very long in my second post. Quite by chance, we met a teacher who was leaving her job in The Girls Grammar School in Bedford. Her subject was Spanish, which was just right for Bob and he was able to teach some English literature as well. The school was one of the four members of the Harpur Trust. The two boys were accepted by the Boys’ Modern School. Although they were behind, the teacher who interviewed them agreed that they were intelligent. He was right. All three of our children are talented in their own way and have developed their particular gifts, mostly after they left school. But all three said that they had gained a lot from these schools, though they didn’t think that at the time.

At long last I got what I wanted from Bedford where I opened my first shop.