So the resolution was made; a baby or bust in 1956. William was in complete agreement- by no means an every day occurrence – and we set about bringing ‘it ‘to fruition with gusto. We didn’t have pregnancy tests for years and years so after I missed a period I trotted down to the local hospital. Eventually they told me I was pregnant and then gave me a resounding telling –off; I should – they said – have waited at least a couple of months. I explained that, in my job, I often had to chase round London carrying cases laden with accessories and I didn’t want to risk having a miscarriage. They looked rather surprised that someone should actually answer back. Tough!
A month or so earlier I had had a shock when I fell backwards off a table. I was working with one of my favourite photographers; he was an expert colour photographer who had come down to London from somewhere north of Watford and we bonded. Sometimes he was like a bull in a china shop, but I found that quite rare and endearing. He told me that he and his wife used colour transparencies of me to put round their lamp-shades.
I can’t remember what the shoot was for but Jim persuaded me to wear shorts and sweater and balance on a chair which was balanced on a table As usual he was darting between me and the camera; tweaking and rearranging until he got the right shot and suddenly I felt myself going A over T backwards, crashed on the floor and passed out. I was taken to the nearest hospital and felt such an idiot, dressed as I was.
I was seen by a sweet doctor and I remember he had dark curly hair, freckles and a club foot - so I wasn’t completely out of it. After X-rays he said I had bruised my coccyx, there would be no permanent damage but I should rest for a few days. These were not litigious days and I don’t think it would occur to Jim that I could sue him; it certainly never occurred to me. He did however show me the series of photos which illustrated how he had pushed the chair closer and closer to the edge of the table with the inevitable results. The studio insisted on paying me the equivalent of two weeks work which I happily accepted.
Now I was pregnant I would take every precaution to make sure the little thing inside me was safe and sound. I was so happy I wanted to shout it from the house tops but Mum said not to - as nine months is such a long time and people would get bored with the idea. So it would be a secret. Ha! Fat chance! Overnight my whole metabolism changed and my personality. From being a nervy, edgy highly strung girl I became a placid, docile, happy cow. With the serenity came the avoirdupois and William had the wife he’d always wanted. If we could have lived on a boat his cup would have runneth over.
It was time to break the news to Paula. She had news for me. Ben Lyon - a famous American actor and his wife Bebe had a very successful show – ‘Life with the Lyons’ and on the strength of the Spotlight photo, wanted me for Richard Lyon’s girl friend. At the same time H M Tennant a well known London theatre management wanted me. Oh dear! I decided to invite Paula and her husband over for the day, the next week-end. Paula was delighted; she said they would love a day in the country.