This is mine and Gordon's story- which could run parallel to the film 'Sliding Doors' viz-
what might have happened and what really happened- the quirks of fate deciding the path
I left school against my will in 1936- when I should have been taking my School leaving exams-we did not dare argue with our parents in those days!!- so at 14 yrs- I was literally thrown into a job at the Local Co-op office in Nantymoel a Mining village in S outh Wales, near Bridgend.
As I lived in a small mining valley- we knew everyone, boy friends and girl friends were just friends- we went to the flicks together- dances-walks after Church- just a mix of togetherness! As I was now a working girl I was thrown in to adulthood- before I was ready really- leaving my school friends to carry on with their Academic lives.
It was that year I met Gordon--who was a miner- two girls meeting two boys- whom we knew by sight and going to the flicks with them-sitting in the back seat------ . Gordon walked me home- and we were saying Goodnight, not far from my house, when Mother came out to 'see what I was doing'- I told Gordon to run-- as I knew my Mum's ability to hammer us with words!! I was grounded for weeks after that- so Gordon and I did not see each other again - just saying Hello if we happened to meet!! So- life went on peacefully - the usual teenage stuff- falling in and out of puppy love- having fun feeling so secure- seemed there was no life beyond our little village.
Then when I was 17, Gordon and I met again and we became 'a couple'-- it was hilarious when my Mum was telling him the story of how she found me with a boy!! when I was 14 - and the look on her face when he said ' That was me, Mrs Brown'-- how she loved to put me down.
We were engaged in 1939- then that September-- outbreak of war!!
In 1940 Gordon joined the RAF-- saying the country needed him and also it would give us the chance of a better life- rather than me being married to a miner!! He would not have been called up- as Miners were exempt. He was sent to Blackpool for training- used to come home frequently, and we were very much in love. He became a W/Op Air Gunner !!
On one occasion in 1942 he came home and was angry with me because I was leaving the Valley and the Co-op to start my nursing training in Birmingham in June 1942- as he thought I might meet someone else there!! Oh yes he was a jealous guy.
Sadly we split up for a while - off I went to Dudley Rd Hospital- missing him dreadfully- then he was transferred to Litchfield- so we got together again- and were going to get re-engaged in the October of that year-when we both had leave--We had so much fun when he came to Birmingham-he begged me to' stay the night' with him at an Hotel- but I was so afraid - of what Mother would say-what Matron would say- what if we got bombed - etc- so to my regret it never happened
Then in the Summer that year- 1943- he was missing on a raid on St Nazaire- and eventually his Mother heard he was killed. She was not surprised when she received the news-as the night he was killed- (as she found out later) she was washing up the Supper dishes and suddenly she dropped a pile of plates- saying 'Gordon- Gordon' -- she was so pale and shaky- and told her friends that she heard him call her 'Mam Mam'-- so knew something had gone badly wrong-- Telepathy?? ESP?? We will never know--
My life was shattered-- Training was hard in those days- I cried myself to sleep for weeks - but the work was so demanding one had to just get on with it- no counselling in those days- so life went on- a sort of live for today- cos tomorrow who knows??
So many of the boys with whom I went to school- never returned from the War-- such a loss of life in a small community--those who did return were never the same-
So , as we enter the 60th Anniversary of D Day-- spare a thought for all the brave men and women in the Forces, Civilians, ARP, Fire Service, Nurses and all those who lost their lives and the ones whose lives were dramatically changed - and let us all pray for peace..
Oh yes- I did get married in 1951- had two children- and now at 82 yrs 10months- am a grandmother- but that is another story--
Dorothy Perry ( nee Brown) D O B 31. 7. 21--