Saturday, August 1, 2015

Bio #38 - A New Home in England

Next morning we were called at seven, and taken after breakfast to the railway station. I got into the wrong queue and was rescued just in time to catch my right train, at 9 a.m., to Huddersfield, Yorkshire. These trains were so tiny compared to the Canadian trains, little compartments with seats facing each other. In this compartment was an old couple who were very nice, and we had an interesting visit. They got off before me. When I got to Huddersfield, Bill Livingstone was there to meet me. After seeing to my luggage, Bill drove us up to 324 Newsome Road, to his sister and mother's home. This was to be my home for the next ten months, and all three made me very welcome.

The grass was so beautifully green, this first day of November, such a surprise after all the snow I'd left behind; the St. Lawrence (river) was frozen when we left Canada. But the green grass was so unexpected, and it was a sunny day, so my first impressions of England were favorable. I just loved it.

Bill, who brought me from the station, was Ron's best friend, and at the time was off work with sciatica. However, he helped with my stuff and was a good friend. Mrs. Livingstone was a lovely person, and a real mother, who raised a daughter, Jean, and four sons, David, George, Don, and Bill, after her husband died suddenly.
Ron (left) and Bill beside him, 1940s.

When I got to 324, Jean was away on holiday at Whitby and I didn't meet her for a few days, but when we did get acquainted we enjoyed each other's company. Jean was headmistress of an infant's school (nursery school) while Bill was a machinist.

While I am writing this part in 1976, Jean is here, on her third holiday with us and we are all having a good time. She is a very interesting person and has travelled around the world a lot. It's good to see her again, and she is on her way to New Zealand and Australia, then home to England via Africa. Some trip, eh?
Letty and Jean in 1976, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
My father, Letty's husband Ron, had a difficult childhood. His mother died when he was only eight, of tuberculosis, and his father remarried a woman who became the stereotypical evil step-mother. She evicted my father from the family home when he was only fourteen, and from there on he had to survive on his own. His father died when Ron was eighteen. Travelling north in search of work, he encountered the Livingstone family who took him in and became his surrogate family. All the generation Letty knew are gone, but I am still in touch with Bill's son-in-law and grandsons, who are grown men, still living in Huddersfield. I consider them family.