Saturday, November 21, 2015

Self-indulgent Saturday-Sunday #3

This third episode covers around 12 years between 1955 & 1967, following my leaving Bridlington High School (previous posts are at #1 and #2 ).
 Posing! c.1955
I coulda stayed in school for two more years, coulda then gone to university or teacher training college - coulda but didn't wanna. I wanted to earn money, see life, learn from experience, get away from regimentation, exploit my independence.

A youthful dream was to be a newspaper reporter, but living where we did, that was a forlorn hope. Second choice, and one with more chance of success: work in a library aiming to become a fully fledged librarian. I was interviewed at our County Library in Beverley, some 14 miles from home, but was unsuccessful, mainly due to my lack of work experience - my GCE academic exam qualifications well exceeded what was required. That interview did lead to another opening, and one almost tailor made for me at that time : general assistant to the County Archivist, in the County Record Office, also in Beverley. It turned out to be a fascinating job which I grew to love.

I travelled to Beverley from home by train, 5 and a half days a week. I'd been learning to type and trying to learn shorthand in evening classes and spare time for a few months. My new job wasn't simply as a typist though, that was a side-requirement. The County Archivist, Mr H. had established the County Record Office a few years earlier and was still deep in process of persuading local gentry and minor aristocracy, of which there was a goodly number in East Yorkshire, to deposit their family archives in the Record Office for safe keeping, and to be catalogued and used for research by historians and genealogists.

Mr H. was a delightful guy, I wish I had a photograph of him to share, but any I owned were lost in what I call the Great Fire of 1996. I can find no photo of him online, but did unearth a list of reference numbers to archive documents since transferred from the Beverley Record Office to the History Centre of Hull University. I noticed, with glee, that all those in second half of the list - those with prefix double D ("DD..") were those I helped to sort, catalogue, index etc. so many years ago. (See here).

Mr H's powers of persuasion worked well, our three large strongrooms soon filled with lots of valuable materials - stuff crying out for investigation and interpretation. The documents, on receipt, were often absolutely filthy, having been stored in dusty attics, or dank, musty cellars, for centuries. Our first job was to clean and sort, then Mr H. would draft entries for detailed catalogues which I would type, then stamp and number the documents, store them carefully in specially-made labelled boxes, then index and cross-index a large card index system (steam version of Google!) After the first year or so I was allowed to actually catalogue many of the later documents myself.

We had visitors to the office daily, asking to see particular documents, some were staff from County Hall - we stored all the County Council's ancient and modern records too, relating to education, highways and bridges, council meeting minutes, court records, etc etc etc. Quite frequent also were visits from out of town students, historians, and the occasional person looking for family history clues. It was part of my job to locate required documents and either log them out (modern council records) or pass them over to the researcher who would study them in an outer office.

In preparing this post I searched online for a photograph of the Record Office building, which stood next door to County Hall. To my dismay I find it has been demosished and a fancy new "Treasure House" replaces it. The old building was a single story affair, with pillared doorway (looked a bit Grecian). A corner of it can be seen on the far left in the photo of County Hall below.



The new structure is shown in an article HERE, A Diamond Anniversary for the East Riding Archives and Local Studies Service which also tells that:
There is a display in the Treasure House featuring photographs of some of the buildings the archives have been stored in and some of the staff who have helped build the service up over the years.
I doubt my photograph was there, don't recall ever having had photograph taken at work, maybe I was named as one of the early staff, there were so few of us: Mr H + one general assistant; I was that one for two separate periods of 3 years: 1955-8 and 1967-70.

After 3 happy years in the County Record Office, in 1958 my itchy feet began to tingle. I loved and respected Mr H, he'd taught me such a lot, not only about history and local history, but about poetry and politics and ....well life in general beyond what I'd experienced in my own family circle. Even so, East Yorkshire was somewhat isolated, I wanted more, began to feel trapped. Once those itchy feet began to tingle something had to give.

I don't recall what propelled me into the life of a live-in hotel receptionist, I really don't. Looking back, it seemed an unlikely next step. Perhaps, at age 19, it was the only way I could find to leave home but still have a place to live and be fed. I found an advert in some publication for a job in a North Yorkshire hotel office, was interviewed, and to my surprise was successful. The hotel was a lovely old coaching inn in a picturesque area close to the border of North Yorkshire and County Durham. From what I can glean online that hotel is now quite different in atmosphere from the Morritt Arms I knew back in the late 1950s. I guess it has been 21st-centurised, maybe now owned by an offshoot of some hotel corporation or other. There's a piece mentioning it HERE.

 As was

I spent the summer there, fell in love, for the very first time, but after a few months the object of my affection disappeared one night without any warning to me, or to the hotel owners or other staff members. A mystery! Owen was his name, he was working as general hotel dogsbody and hall porter, but really didn't seem to fit that role. He befriended me immediately, we "clicked" right away. His disappearance haunted me for years. Later on I learned, from his sister, that at the time he disappeared he had been AWOL from the RAF and had either been apprehended by the authorities, or had gone "on the run". I did, eventually, meet him again, just once - that'll likely be mentioned in #4.

 Married 1962, his pic gone.  With my  parents
The years following were filled with seasonal work in the offices of 10 different hotels around the UK - north, south, east and west. Checking around the internet for photographs of said hotels told me that all have changed almost beyond recognition. One has been taken over by Best Western, others have been tarted up to the eyeballs, extended, modernised. Inevitable, I guess. There were intervals, too, as cashier in a city restaurant, secretarial work in a Rolls Royce Gas Turbine factory, assistant in the Devonshire public transport accounts offices.

In 1960/1 I met first husband, married in 1962, separated in 1963. Tried again a little later - still didn't work. I ought not to speak ill of the dead (if he is ). I'll say only that it was because of him I got to experience Rome, twice, for several weeks; for that, and perhaps for introducing me to Sinatra's genius I have to thank him. He, Val, was Italian, sometime head waiter, sometime ordinary waiter, sometime gambler, philanderer....Enough said, for now. He was removed from the wedding photo (right) it came from my mother's collection, any photos of Val I had in my own collection were destroyed in the Great Fire.

Life as a hotel receptionist, more accurately in those days described as book-keeper/receptionist, because we had to keep "the books" - detailed account ledgers as well as the usual booking records. The luxury of computers to do much of the work for us was non-existent back then. It was from learning how to keep a ledger that I taught myself, through constant practice, to add very long columns of figures (L-S-D: pounds, shillings and pence) without the aid of a calculator. I can still do that, amazingly! We answered correspondence, phone enquiries, typed menus, and in some hotels I was also responsible for making up wage packets for the staff, and dealing with related tax and National Insurance issues. We worked in shifts, very early morning to mid afternoon, or mid-afternoon to late night. We were expected to wear black - navy blue might be tolerated, though not always. I could usually eat in the hotels' dining rooms, choosing from the full menu, or sometimes from a limited list. It was politic, of course, to always cultivate a pleasant relationship with the hotels' chefs - and waiters! Occasionally office staff would be asked to do a shift in one of the bars, or assist at a wedding or banquet - that was fun! Live-in staff were sometimes allocated a room in the hotel itself - top floor or at the back; occasionally there'd be a designated staff house nearby.


Before meeting first husband there had been some boyfriends. Two of the longer lasting ones were Douglas in Devon, who loved big cars (his Jaguar in photo) and dreamed great plans for the future - I hope they transpired; and Ronnie in Lancashire who loved his pint of beer and a game of soccer. Neither ticked all my boxes, but both were good friends. Dang - but I was picky, falling in love again was not easy! There were lots of short term friendships with hotel staff members. Pam, a fellow receptionist in a Lancashire hotel, who was also training as a fashion model, comes to mind. I have her to thank for teaching me how to put on makeup properly, and how to style my hair. Pam was another friend with a birthday close to mine; it's odd how that kept happening.

I have especially nice memories of a pair of travelling representatives for tobacco firms who used to co-ordinate their visits to a North Devon hotel where I worked for one summer and an autumn in the mid-1960s. These two, Tony and Bill, were great buddies, witty, easy-going, well-read, and amazingly they befriended yours truly whenever they were in town. I loved 'em - quite innocently, like brothers I guess...they were both happily married. I often wonder if I was always looking for the brother(s) I never had. Another visitor, to the same hotel, a relief bank manager, Mr S. asked me out regularly for a meal during the time he was seconded to the area. He was a sweetie, middle-aged bachelor, rather old fashioned. I could've, probably should've....but I didn't. When he left, after a month or so, he sent me a huge bunch of wonderful long stemmed bronze chrysanthemums (because I'd told him how I loved the scent).


Mid 1960s, with Mum and Grandparents
It had all been a big adventure for me, hotel life became addictive for a time, even though in retrospect this period of my life was a chaotic patchwork of good, bad and indifferent experiences, lots of movement, not much real progress. Eventually the novelty and addiction wore off, it became tiresome, I began to long for stability.

By 1967, working in a non-hotel environment in Devon, living in a tiny rented apartment, I received a letter one January day, from Mr H, the County Archivist in East Yorkshire, my first boss. Mr H. and I had kept in touch by letter occasionally all through this chaotic patchwork time of my life. He told me that my successor, his assistant, was leaving, would I like to go back to my old job? I decided to take him up on his offer, it was a damp and cold January in Devon, I was lonely, and my feet had stopped itching.
To be continued....

19 comments:

Sonny G said...

I am lovin this sooooooooooo much, truly I am.. Thank you Annie.

You are so dang Pretty~!!! I do have to say I LOVE the lady standing beside you in the wedding photo.. she had such a mischievious smile and twinkle in her eyes..

pardon my bad spelling:)

again, our lives relate to each other in many ways. I too had itchy feet and wanted school to be over and me to be on my way to living LIFE. oh how I wish we could sit and talk for a whole day.

thanks again.. what a lovely way to begin my Saturday..

mike said...

Like Sonny, I enjoy reading of your explorations and biographical details. You said, "...this period of my life was a chaotic patchwork of good, bad and indifferent experiences, lots of movement, not much real progress." That pretty much describes my late teens and twenties, and probably most everyone's. I can't say that I knew myself at that time, but instead compiled experiences that defined myself, building the image I was to become. It was an extremely invigorating era for me, to be in charge of my own destiny, eager to meet the world head-on, not knowing the compass direction(s). Each path was fresh with promise, some thorny patches and dead-ends, but many had clear, open vistas. Astrologically, it is the relationship of the first house of self having the opposing seventh house of not-self...I learned about myself more from my not-self interactions. At times, I felt as if I'd been thrown into the Atlantic Ocean, sink or swim, and other times swimming to the shore of paradise (usually an illusion!).

I often think of how not having much in the way of life-knowledge at that tender, naive age opens one to participating actively, something that tends to be sequestered as one ages. Life's transgressions work against our faith, shutting many doors that may have been better remaining passable. We learn to take fewer chances with each passing year.

Your photograph of city hall with the corner of the record office showing certainly contrasts with the new East Riding Archives building (ugh!). Your photos of yourself present a very fashionable, attractive, femme fatale. I'm sure you had more attentive suitors than you might have thought, though Aquarian Sun signs aren't known for their rapid uptake of those encounters.

That period in my life had more drastic, sharp, and darker edges to it than the picture you paint for yourself. I wouldn't trade my years for anything, though I can flash back to situations that I could have handled far better, yet those are counter-balanced by excelling in others.

I've mentioned this line from a poem previously, author unknown:
"Life is like coral, always building upon the dead."
I can reflect on the years gone by, fifty years ago, twenty years ago, whatever years ago...each an epoch in my biography, but each is a dead layer supporting the ME that I am right now...though I don't think that I would want to repeat them....LOL.

BTW - Are you freezing your toes off, Twilight? The front is supposed to arrive in the next hour or two. This will be the strongest cold front, with our overnight lows for the next two days in the low 40s! Excellent sleeping weather.

Sonny G said...

it was 34 outside this morning.. needless to say, no coffee on the porch:)

heck, it was 63 in here.. I like the cooler temps for sleeping but once I get up we need to have a nice 67 interior temp..

I need to read up on the 1st house/ 7th house thing you spoke of Mike. Never too late to learn more about myself.

mike (again) said...

Sonny - Hi! I saw that you had lots of rain the past several days, too. This cold front is coming your way, so get ready. It's very hot and sultry right now, but the front is just arriving...supposed to bring very high winds for the next 24 hours and drop the temperature about 30* this afternoon! I always have coffee on the front porch, regardless of weather or temperatures. That's when Jr the cat and GiGi eat on the porch, then I walk GiGi. I'm always fighting the elements, usually mosquitoes, humidity, or the cold...time to bundle-up.

1st house vs 7th is interesting indeed, but all houses are. Most astrologers ascribe our dark side to the 8th house (Scorpio's natural house)...our shadow self. I believe the 1st vs 7th fits that better, though how we integrate the 1st-7th is typically displayed and acted upon through the 8th (sex and mutuality). We learn about ourselves (1st house, who we believe we are) through our interactions with the outer world (7th house, relationships). If the outer world didn't exist, we would never know who we are...there would be no reflection back to us. All too often, our struggles with others are mirrored images of our personal struggles and internal conflicts.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ You're very sweet - thank you! That's my mother next to me in the wedding pic. Yes, she sometimes had a mischievous twinkle, though not always. We fought a lot, there were times when I was a great disappointment to her - no grand-kids etc etc.
We loved one another, but I suspect there were times when we didn't like or understand one another much - which was odd because Sun Libra and Sun Aquarius are supposed to be compatible. It's interesting that first husband's birthday was 1 day before hers (not same year of course) : 27 and 28 September.

Sonny G said...

oh Annie.. I just had tingle go thru my body..

My Mother was born sept. 28, 1928 at 3:11 pm.. She had cap rising.
I am Cap with Libra rising..

My sperm donor lol- Dad was June 12.. when was your Dad's bday?

so, I get the Mom thing,
another issue we share.

Sonny G said...


thanks for the explanation Mike. I'll take a peek around the net and see what it says about my 1st 7th and 8th..

I always learn so much here

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thank you kindly, and for you contribution of memories too. I'm finding this project to be a good mental work-out - aerobics for the brain - digging around in memory banks an' all that.

Nice of you to say so (fashionable etc.)- there were times when I scrubbed up reasonably well and didn't frighten the horses. I didn't really need suitors, most of the time what I needed were friends, but outside the hotel world I didn't find them easily come-by. There were times of abject loneliness, even though no true darkness or real sharp edges such as you mention.

Yes, we do take fewer chances as years pass - I'm quite surprised that I did what I did back then! Though I've managed to take a few chances in maturity too.

I'll swap you a quote - from Will Shakespeare: "the past is prologue...."

Re weather...yes much colder here today, only around 45 degrees at present, a likely frost tonight. It'll warm up again somewhat during next week, they tell us.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Oh my! A quinky-dink! :-)
My Dad was Sun Aquarius like me his b'day 8 February.
He adored Mum, but they fought too, at times. He was very sweet and tolerant though, more than I am. They lasted 55 years together. Mum was his driving force, but he had the know-how and business sense.
I don't have any planet in Libra. My Aries Moon, opposite Libra, might be a stumbling block for me with a Libra Sun person.

mike (again) said...

Twilight, your mother's Sun was close to trine with your Sun...her Sun was about 7* from opposing your Saturn, plus her Sun was inconjunct your Jupiter.

"A Sun opposition Saturn aspect can cause your partner to feel heavier responsibilities and obligations created by your relationship. You may both find that you inhibit one another based upon different needs for emotional security. When the Sun person is in opposition to the Saturn person you may find the time you spend together is more restrictive than you desire and planned activities lack much of the fun that you expected. Good times seem to keep getting put off to later, while duties and obligations pile up."
http://astromatrix.org/Horoscopes/Synastry-Aspects/Sun-Opposition-Saturn

I can't find anything on synastry of Sun inconjunct Jupiter, but I think that would indicate she didn't understand your need for freedom and exploration, particularly since your Jupiter is in the 9th house. You probably didn't agree on ideological issues, either. This aspect would have enhance the Sun-Saturn opposition. I imagine you found her ego overbearing, authoritarian.

...........

It's nice that we each have unwritten chapters to go in our personal histories, as yet unwritten.

mike (again) said...

More investigation, Twilight:
Your mother's Sun & Venus oppose your Saturn and trine your Sun
" Mercury opposes your Moon and squares your Pluto
" Mars squares your Moon and opposes your Mercury
" Saturn squares your Saturn
" Moon may oppose your Mars and may trine your Sun
" Jupiter opposes your Neptune
" Uranus & S-N Nodes square your Uranus & S-N Nodes
" Neptune conjuncts your Pluto
" Mars trines your Mars
" Uranus conjunct your Sun

I may have missed an aspect or two, as I'm bouncing between screens.
Your mother's DOB (obtained from your comment and "Turning Down the Empty Glass #4" http://planetwatcher.com/#-1712300400

Robert Nicewander said...

YOUR CAPTCHA IS NOT SHOWING ME ANY IMAGES.

Robert Nicewander said...

E-mail I sent to Sonny:

Hi Sonny,

I hope you will help me get a message to Annie.

I have tried for about a month to post but when the captcha frame appears there are no images to select from.

I would appreciate it if you could pass this on to Annie for me.

Trying again to say how much I am enjoying your mini auto-biography.

Happy and safe holidays to you and yours are my wishes for you Sonny.

Bob

mike (again) said...

Robert - I'll respond to you, too, since Twilight is blog-master, she may not see the same stuff we do when posting. I always select the "Name/URL" option (no URL required), then I click in the "I'm not a robot" box. I'll either receive a tick-mark in the box or the photo-captcha appears. I don't know why, but for about a week now I have received the photo-captcha quiz routinely. Starting yesterday, I started receiving the tick-mark again, by-passing the photo quiz. I've never received a blank photo-captcha, eg without pics.

You successfully posted two comments, so you're doing something correctly.

Sonny G said...

I replied to your emails Bob and I also see your comments here.. Looks like it worked for you after all.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Goodness me! Thank you for that research! I'd looked at my mother's natal chart before, but for some reason had never compared it to my own as closely as that. There are some good aspects, and we did have some good times together, some very happy times. Mum was very moody though - not consistent, and that's hard to deal with. She'd had her own problems when young - her sister was her father's "favourite", which caused lots of trouble.

Twilight said...

Robert Nicewander/Bob ~ Hi there! Nice to see you! Not sure if you are the same Bob who has commented in the past - associated with "Unique Astrology", but probably not.

Thank you for your kind message, and for reading my self-indulgence posts. :-)

I'm sorry you've had such trouble getting a comment to publish. I've never encountered the problem you had, and can't think what would be causing that to happen. Blogger has been a bit weird for me this week though, while drafting posts. Perhaps they are in the midst of making some changes. I see a red "G" near your comments which is something new, not seen that before. Maybe you're commenting from mobile equipment - smartphone, i-pad or suchlike - that could be making a difference, I guess. Anyway, I do hope whatever was the problem is now cleared.

Robert Nicewander said...

Ayuh, twinkle-toes, er, ah, shiny nose. No,wait! Sunrise? Sunset? Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight ... . OH! Twilight!! It's me. Bob aka unique-astrology.

Thank you's to Sonny and Mike.

The red "G" must be from Google as the only way I can now post is to use my Google account instead having the freedom to use the "Name/URL" option which I had always used. Big B̶r̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ Cousin getting forceful with moi?

Anyway, I am enjoying your trip down memory lane with gusto.

Carry on.

Twilight said...

Rob/Bob ~ Ah- you are unveiled! Glad to know my scribbles have been found enjoyable by a few loyal readers. I've enjoyed the challenge of preparing them, so far. :-)

Google is messing with us it seems. Beware the Big G!