Sunday, December 31, 2006

I was born in Oak Cottage, Yew Tree Lane, Coseley, but later on we moved to a house at 20, Yew Tree Lane. We moved into number 20 when a couple with a teenage son moved out of there. The son gave me a basket made of wire and he used to do paintings. He had painted a picture of a swan and trees and plants on the parlour door at number 20.

Number 20 had two good-sized rooms downstairs, two rooms upstairs and a brewhouse outside. We didn't use the parlour very much, only if someone special came. Aunt Esther had friends who kept a pub on Church Road, and sometimes she would bring them to our house and take them into the parlour and they would play the organ and sing.

The downstairs rooms had high ceilings. I was always changing the wallpaper. If I went into Wolverhampton and saw some different wallpaper that I liked, I would get it. I did all the papering myself. I mixed flour and water to make a paste and it stuck well. I would paper as far as I could reach and then put a border round. I used to be painting all the while. My dad would say 'You're painting again'. I would be changing the colour of the doors.

I would make rag rugs. I would cut strips from old coats or clothers. I used a podger, which was half a wooden clothes peg, to bodge hols in a piece of sacking and push the strips of material through. The rug would go on the hearth and would be lovely and warm in the winter. I enjoyed making the rugs and it was something to do in the winter nights.

At number 20, there was a big garden out at the front, up to the main road. My dad used to grow all his own vegetables. He grew potatoes, carrots, beans, onions, cabbage and parsley. The new potatoes were gorgeous. He would get us to do the weeding. I had learnt to do the weeding at school, because the headmistress of Christ Church School, Miss Brittain, would pick a few of us to weed her garden. She would take us out of school for half a day to get her garden weeded.


In the early 1930s I liked to follow the fashions. I wore the shorter skirts when they came into fashion. I used to wear some beautiful hats. I had a bowler hat when bowler hats were fashionable. I bought my hats from a shop in Darlaston, and I bought dresses and dress material from Darlaston. I liked bright colours. I made some of my dresses. I didn't have a pattern, I just cut out the material. I made one dress with a cape to match. When fur collars were fashionable, I stitched fur collar on my coats. A fur collar would cost about 4 pounds. I wore high heeled shoes - court shoes with pointed toes.

I always liked to wear jewellery. One year my dad bought me a lovely string of pears for my birthday but I lost them.

It was only once or twice that I went to the hairdresser in Church Road, Coseley. I liked to do my own hair because then I could get it how I wanted it.


My cousin Violet and I were close friends but I was left on my own after she met Lawrence. Lawrence served at the counter of a gents' outfitters and Violet kept walking past the shop where he worked till she went out with him.

I started to go with Billy Webb. At night he would say he had to get back to lock the gates at work. One of the girls at work sent word to me to tell me that he was messing about with another girl. He told me it wasn't true, but I found out for myself that it was when I was out on my bike and I saw him with a girl.

I went to get to his house to get my umbrella because I had left it there. His sisters said 'Oh come in Florry' but I didn't. I went home and wrote him a letter saying I never wanted to see him again.

About a week later I went to Penn Common with my cousin Violet when I met Ted. He said 'If you're here when I come back, I'll bring you a block of chocolate'. I said to Violet that we might as well wait for the chocolate. He asked me to the Pat Collins Bank Holiday fair at Wolverhampton.

He asked me to tea (note - evening meal in Midlands dialect) the next week. Violet went with me to tea at Brook House. Stella (Ted's sister, Florence's brother Charlie's future wife) played the piano and their mother got us a nice farmhouse tea with eggs from the own hens.

I couldn't have wished for a better man.



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