William and I both wanted children – that had been the trigger that had caused me to say yes. We talked it over and decided that we should give ourselves two years to get to know one another and prepare a home for our baby. William needed to finish his apprenticeship and find a job, and I needed to find a job as a trained nurse and earn some money.
Throughout his life William would always have, or would find a book on whatever subject I, or family and friends were interested in. He haunted second hand book shops and rarely paid more than a few pence for the most academic of books. Now he provided me with Dr Marie Stopes ‘Married Love’. She was a passionate feminist and the founder of Family Planning. Fortunately there was a FP Clinic on Attercliffe Common. I had to show proof that I was married and then was educated on the methods of contraception available. I considered the following three:-
- It could be left to the husband
- An internal coil could be fitted which would require changing every few months.
- I could be fitted with a diaphragm which would be used in conjuction with a spermicidal cream. (‘Cream or Jelly?’ as an assistant at Boots once bawled at me!)
So that problem was sorted - now I had to find a job. I decided to beard the lion in his den and called at the Hospital and asked to see the Matron. I was in luck- she agreed to see me. It turned out that she was a great admirer of our own Matron and held my training school in high esteem, so I was accepted, once she had seen my references. I was to staff in the Out Patient’s Department.
I had my first outdoor uniform – a brown gabardine with a neat little hat. I just prayed no-one would have a heart attack in the street whilst I was around. Every spare minute I was scanning the news-agents windows and asking around for rooms to let. An untidy looking foreign lady with frizzy hair and high heels asked me if I was looking for somewhere to live. She said she had a house that she let out and the attic was vacant but it was quite small. When William came home from work we met up with the lady and she showed us the house. It was on a hill in a nicer area and the attic was up a tiny flight of stairs.
At the top of the stairs was a minute kitchen with a skylight and one small room. There was a gas fire and an enormous pipe skirting the room at waist height – so useful for airing clothes. Then there was a lumpy sofa which was a put-u-up where we would sleep. We had to share the bathroom on the floor below but we both rejoiced when we saw it. We would have our own private eerie and we jumped for joy.
Some time later we were told by the first floor family that our predecessor had died of polio – in/on our put-u-up – even that didn’t dampen our spirits. We reckoned this would be our home whilst we were in Sheffield. It was very cheap – we would both be earning and soon we would be able to buy furniture. There was a big department store called Coles and I had seen a lovely dining room suite. It had a Welsh Dresser with a Tudor Rose carved on it, a refectory table and the chairs were covered in a Jacobean print. I had to have it.