WE HAD A BALL
The week-end before the ball I spent at home. We were off the wards again in Medical Block so our week-ends were free. I had been ill and was afraid I wouldn’t be allowed home but they relented. Ginny had a friend George coming to pick her up so I had the luxury of being driven home. They came in for coffee and biscuits and then Sarah arrived for the week-end and lent me her pearls for the dance.
Back in hospital most of my friends had gone to the first ball so there were many willing hands helping me get ready. We practiced dancing but ended up ‘Balling the Jack’ a la Danny Kaye http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=Ballin+the+Jack&btnG=Google+Search&meta=.
I had a lovely dress which was white (well I was entitled as I believe most of us were) and was not thrilled to hear there were to be a least three other white dresses.
There were the usual pre-dance nerves. I didn’t have a partner – suppose no-one asked me to dance and I ended up a wall-flower. Sick with nerves I finally drifted in as the music was starting and was immediately asked to dance by the handsome consultant Mr H followed by doctor F. There was a different partner for every dance and I started to relax and enjoy it.
I noticed a bunch of naval officers Matron had invited, looking debonair in their uniforms and a dark haired one came over and asked me to dance. As we squared up to each other I felt an instant attraction and when he drew me closer and I felt his hand on my waist and his face close to mine I felt a warm tingly glow. His name was Andrew and he said the officer I had met at last year’s ball had told him to look out for me. I asked him how he had recognised me and then grimaced when he told me. I still hadn’t learnt how to accept a compliment graciously. Physically I was drawn to him and he was so much fun. It didn’t seem to occur to us to separate at the end of the dance – why would you. The evening flew by and at some stage we went out for air – in spite of the snow.
‘We walked and talked and kissed – three times. Told unintentional lie about kissing (I don’t know what that was about). Am seeing him tomorrow.’ Diary 1949
At this stage MTL and I were friends who were attracted to each other. We corresponded, had met only twice and hadn’t seen each other for almost a year so there was no sense of commitment. I day-dreamed all through the next day whilst trying to get lecture notes up to date. I met Andrew at 7pm and went to the flicks to see ‘The Winslow Boy’. The diary notes ‘It’s nice to be kissed by someone who knows how.’
Then there was a hiatus. One of our set had also started a relationship with a naval officer and I had a message that Andrew couldn’t make our next date as he had tonsillitis. He had a spell in sick bay – had a tonsillectomy and then went home on sick leave. Meanwhile Maddie had a bouncing boy, I was booked in at the Girls Friendly Society in Oxbridge and MTL had awarded me a blue for sending him a photo.
As it says in the song ‘There may be trouble ahead.’