The story, part five, the following week, April 1934.
Ethel’s life has changed dramatically, one day, living well with a happy family. The next day, God only knows what will happen.
So far, they have been buoyed up by the kindness of her friends and, it must be said, by complete strangers—people were so moved by the situation this young family found itself in.
The ladies from the ‘poor aid’ had also given some cash as an immediate help, and surveyed Ethel’s possessions at the same time for a future auction.
The council official, had called, to assess the situation.
Mrs Salmon was ready with her plan, she had already taken in Don and Alan to live with her. Bernard and Chris were taken in by our next door neighbour Mrs Leigh. She had two older children, ‘Belvie’ and Basil.
Deirdre and Iris stayed to help their mother.
This would eventually allow Ethel to earn a wage, but not for a little while.
Iris lowered her voice as if to stop anyone hearing what she was about to say.
“Looking back at the time, I now think that on top of everything that was happening—there was a lot of whispering and rushing about in the house. I believe Mum had a miscarriage, it must have been very early on. The secrecy of all this was so that the council man never found out.”
I then asked Iris.
“What about our Granddad, I could just about remember him, he must have been devastated with losing a third son.”
She made a funny face.
“Well, he was very fond of ‘Wine, women and song’, but not too much of the song bit.
“He had four children, Dad, Walter, Stella and Christopher—who took his own life at the age of 19—they lived in Chertsey.
“In Shepperton, just a few miles away, he had another illegitimate family of four with his paramour, Septima. One child died soon after birth.
“He was very clever man, with several patents, one is still used today on model yachts, he also made lovely model sailing boats.
Then Iris said with a smile, referring to his womanising.
“He was also a very keen cyclist!
“He was left quite a lot of money by his father, a Colonel in the Indian Army, and J.C Weguelin, a writer and poet—who had a number of flowers named after him, a Peony and a Tradescantia.
“Our Granddad managed to live very well without working for quite a long time.
“By the time Dad had died though, he was just an ordinary working man on a normal wage, he was never able to help Mum at all.
“He died in 1937.