Interview by Michael Thompson

Introduction by interviewer, Michael Thompson

Patricia and Betty Roberts were born as twins in Fallowfield (Victoria Park), Manchester, on 17th March 1927.

They were 12 years old when war broke out and were evacuated for a short period prior to the blitz.

This interview records their memories as children before the war and during it, and working and marrying after the war.

The transcript and the video are in one part just under 35 minutes long.

Recorded at Timperley, near Altrincham on 4th July 2017.

[Pauses indicated by ….]

Time codes on film indicated by Hour:Minute:Second for ease of reference between transcript and film on YouTube.

Wartime memories of Patricia Hayes and Betty Haworth (twins)

Transcript

Pat: My name is Patricia Hayes, and I’m 90 …. and I was born in 1927 …. on St Patrick’s Day …. with my twin sister …. Betty …. Our parents were May and Harry Roberts and we were born in …. Dennison House in …. where was that?

Betty: Fallowfield ….

Pat: Fallowfield …. yes …. Victoria Park, yes, Victoria Park …. that’s where we were born ….

Michael: Now, what about your parents?

Pat: Oh …. Mum and Dad …. well, they died quite young actually, so we didn’t have a lot of time with them …. but, Dad was in the First World War …. and …. he married Mum …. and she was younger, quite a bit younger than him …. and we lived in …. in the area of Victoria Park …. Fallowfield way …. yes …. and we had another sister …. who is 92 …. so, we have all made it, so far …. and …. she was evacuated with us, actually …. but when she was 14, she went home ….

So, we’ve all lasted quite a long time up to now!

Michael: What about your memories as children …. this is before the war …. because, you were born in 1927, so …. what, what …. I mean, there was quite a while before war started, so what were your memories in the build up to war, if you like?

Pat: Oh, it was idyllic, wasn’t it really ….

Betty: We used to call it ‘Peace’, didn’t we before the war …. Looking back after the war, we used to say our childhood was ‘Peace’ and ‘Innocence’ …. Yes, we ….

Pat: We had lots of friends …. it was all …. communal living was much better in those days …. Everybody knew everybody ….

Betty: Playing in the streets, and ….

Pat: Oh, we could play in the streets ….

Betty: And on the fields, we could go on the fields and never think about anything, you know ….

Pat: …. happening, no ….

Betty: And ….

Pat: Yes, we had a lovely childhood really, didn’t we? We didn’t know …. I suppose it was a normal ….

Betty: 1920s ….

Pat: 1920s type of thing, yes ….

Michael: Do you remember any particular sort of funny incidents, or anything like that …. from that period?

Pat: Funny incidents …. we laughed a lot …. we had lots of funny things really ….

Betty: Oh God, can’t think ….

Pat: I remember the Ice Cream …. Ice Cream ….

Betty: Oh, Carlo Visco ….

Pat: Yes! …. The Ice Cream cart …. because they had carts in those days, highly decorated …. and donkeys ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: And they, on the fields where we used to go, the donkeys and the carts were put at night ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: Yes, that was lovely ….

Betty: But …. they used to come and …. all the kids would be out and later on …. the fathers would come out with a bucket and shovel, like they used to after the horse ….

Pat: …. after the horses. Oh yes, that was a regular thing …. yes …. Holidays …. we didn’t do much really ….

Betty: Well, we didn’t, no, we couldn’t afford to ….

Pat: You’d perhaps go to Blackpool for a day …. We weren’t well off, but we weren’t poor …. compared to some of them, there was a lot of poverty in those days ….

Betty: Oh, there was ….

Pat: But everybody gelled ….

Betty: Yes, they all helped each other …. yes ….

Pat: And at school, it was the same …. wasn’t it?

Betty: Yes, it was ….

Pat: You would never …. you’d perhaps be conscious that somebody was dressed particularly nice …. when all we were dressed just normal, weren’t we? Some were well off children …. but not a lot and it didn’t matter …. You know, everybody more or less mucked in and did the same sort of things ….

Betty: And the Church played a …. the Chapel in our case, wasn’t it?

Pat: Yes ….

Betty: …. played a big part …. we used to go there to concerts …. they had tables and you were all dressed up ….

Pat: Oh, and May Day ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: Oh, and particularly Empire Day which doesn’t seem to exist anymore …. because the Empire doesn’t …. in the same state ….

Betty: And they used to dress the horses up, you know, didn’t they? They used to plait the horses’ mains and put ribbons on them on May Day ….

Pat: …. and bells, and we all used to turn out to see the horses, didn’t we? …. coming round …. and there were competitions between the owners of the horses, and when we say horses, I mean, there were working horses ….

Betty: Yes, there were ….

Pat: Yes, they’d pull the carts …. the ice cream carts …. and the …. and the Green Grocery carts, the Bread carts ….

Betty: and the Beer …. the Beer carts ….

Pat: Yes ….

Betty: and they used to roll the barrels down, didn’t they, into the …. a big square ….

Pat: …. cellar under the ….

Betty: like …. like the coal did …. empty your coal bags into your chute ….

Pat: They used the cellars a lot in those days ….

Betty: …. must have been filthy ….

Pat: Yea …. Yea, it was fun …. we used to stand round and, oh yes …. and then there was the big Puffer Billy …. The great big ….

Betty: Which was that?

Pat: …. tractor thing, I don’t know what we called it …. and it used to come and repair …. and they did repair the streets …. didn’t they, and put fresh ….

Betty: Yes …. and Mum used to bring us round when she knew he was there, because she said it was good for your whooping cough …. for your chest …. the fumes that came up from the ….

Pat: …. the concrete …. pitch, it was called, pitch …. yes ….

Betty: Yes …. Oh, funny thing …. yes …. we do remember …. we were about …. we must have only been about 2 …. and the lavatory was outside, in the yard …. and it was next to the coal house and Pat and I definitely remember taking the coal and putting it in the toilet ….

Pat: …. we filled the coal right to the top ….

Betty: Mum went mad when she found out …. we do remember that!

Pat: We did used to get smacked in those days and it did us no harm …. ah, yes …. and we used to go, with it being pretty soon after the war, the First World War …. We used to go to the park, we were taken to the park …. Victoria Park …. and Platt Fields regularly ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: and there were ex-servicemen’s parades and Max Sweeney’s Pipers and …. we were always taken to see these because there were some sad cases …. I mean, you don’t see them now because there’s …. well, places where they can have new limbs made, but you didn’t see many with new limbs, did you?

Betty: No, no, oh no ….

Pat: No, it was sad …. You grew up with it, you accepted it ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: Yes ….

00:08:02

Michael: So, that was an idyllic time and then suddenly …. World War 2 comes along …. What do you remember about the outbreak of World War 2?

Betty: Oh …. we were playing cricket or something, or we were going to play cricket with the boys, weren’t we …. We were always ….

Pat: Yes, we were always with the boys ….

Betty: But what were we, about ….?

Pat: 11 ….

Betty: 10 ….

Pat: 10 or 11 ….

Betty: We were always with these boys …. we were going to play cricket and suddenly, someone came up on his bike, another boy and he said, “War is imminent ….” and so we said “What does imminent mean?! …. That’s what we remember of the outbreak of the war, yes ….

Pat: and he was in the war later and didn’t come back …. there was quite a few ….

Betty: and that’s when we were all evacuated after that ….

Pat: Yes …. We had to go to school ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: Oh, that was a thorn wasn’t it in the side because we had to spend …. more or less 4 weeks ready …. getting ready to be evacuated …. We had to have everything ready ….

Betty: in a big sack …. in a big sack, yes ….

Pat: and we carried it …. everything but the food …. was ready every day and you had to go to school so that you were on site …. for when the buses came to take you to the station and we never knew the day …. so, when our parents saw us off to school, we didn’t know when they would see us again, but we invariably came back …. for nearly 6 weeks ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: And what we did at school, we just larked about, it wasn’t ….

Betty: It wasn’t school ….

Pat: No, it wasn’t, we didn’t have to do lessons …. no, but …. it was fun ….

Betty: but on the actual outbreak, when we were at …. evacuated …. we had only been there about 2 days at this big posh house at Darwen …. and she was a head mistress that took us in eventually …. and we always remember …. she’d been to Church …. and we were stood at the gate, weren’t we, at the house and she suddenly got out of a taxi and she said, “War has been declared, girls, don’t go far away ….”

When we think of it after, you know ….

Pat: We wouldn’t have known where to go ….

Betty: don’t go far away …. We couldn’t, we didn’t know where we were anyway, did we?

Pat: No ….

Betty: But we enjoyed it, the evacuation …. yes ….

Pat: It shaped …. I think it shaped a lot of our future …. I am sure it did …. yea …. When we were in Darwen, we used to walk up to Darwen Tower, didn’t we?

Betty: Yea …. and it was terrible weather that first year, wasn’t it? That Christmas, terrible ….

Pat: The summer was marvellous …. the summer was wonderful

Betty: …. couldn’t get out of the back door, could we? ….

Pat: but war …. yea …. but when the snow came, everywhere was snowed up …. no, we couldn’t get out of the back door ….

Betty: and the soldiers had to come, didn’t they …? and dig us out, more or less ….

Pat: Yes ….

Betty: We were at the foot of the moors, you see, and the big tower was on the top, Darwen, “Darren Tower!

Pat: “Darren” ….

Betty: “Darren Tower” ….

Pat: and of course, we started talking with their accents, which mother didn’t like when we got home …. We loved it …. and we still do, we love accents …. there were lots of things in our future that was based ….

Betty: shaped from that, yes ….

Pat: shaped …. oh definitely …. and yet, you used to think we were there two years ….

Betty: I thought we were there 2 years, it was 6 months ….

Pat: 6 months …. it was 5½, I think ….

Betty: We went back for the blitz …. didn’t we?

Pat: Yes, Manchester blitz, yes, we were there …. but we weren’t affected, but we could see it happening …. from ….

Betty: could see all the flames ….

Pat: yea …. oh yea …. and then …. Yes, there was a lot of …. lot of things going on …. but it …. there was so much happening ….

Michael: During the Blitz, did you see any of that? I mean, you were there at the Blitz, did you see anything going on ….

Pat: At night, you would …. well, we didn’t see …. we didn’t actually see bombs …. because …..

Betty: No, no ….

Pat: we were …. we lived in Blackley about 4, 5 miles out of ….

Betty: But we were high up weren’t we and we could see, sort of, over in the distance all the …. all the sky lit up and all that …. yes ….

Pat: all the sky, yes …. and the searchlights criss-crossing, we used to lie and look at them and …. it was lovely. It wasn’t really but we thought it was great ….

Betty: But our air raid shelter was …. It had a stream under it, naturally, it would have …. and so, they decided to give us an Anderson shelter which was inside …. was it the Anderson …. no ….

Pat: No, no, it was the Morrison shelter ….

Betty: The Morrison shelter was inside ….

Pat: It was the Anderson that was built ….

Betty: and it was built like a table …. I think we went under once or twice, but our older sister …. She was awful …. “I’m not coming under there ….”, so we would find her under the bed with a tin hat on and nothing else ….

Pat: [Laughing] Yes ….

Betty: because that’s how she slept …. oh, gosh! I bet we have exhausted it now ….

Pat: Yes!

Michael: It is absolutely fascinating!

Betty: And then we had the Yanks …. well, she had the Yanks, we didn’t ….

Pat: No, when the Americans came over, that was a big ….

Betty: When the Yanks came over, yes, she was very attractive wasn’t she …. our Jean ….

Pat: She was, yes ….

Betty: …. still is …. 92 ….

Pat: But …. yes, they made a big impact ….

Betty: Oh, they did ….

Pat: Yea, lots of girls …. and we had a friend who got married at 17 …. she went over to the States …. she’s only recently died this year ….

Betty: Yes, only a few months ago ….

Pat: She made a good match …. she was happy over there …. in California, yes …. Because they used to spin tales about they all lived on ranches and all that, you know ….

Betty: and had slaves, oh God, they spun some tales if you fell for it ….

Pat: They could tell you anything …. But one of the nice things in the war was the music ….

Betty: Oh yes, Glenn Miller and all that ….

Pat: Yeah, we used to wait for all his records to come out and …. yea, it was lovely ….

00:14:17

Michael: Do you recollect anything much about things like rationing?

Pat: Yes and no, because we were in it, we had no option …. we just ate what we were given …. what we were allowed …. and it didn’t bother us …. I mean, we could remember bananas, we were old enough to remember bananas …. but you didn’t see those until after the war ….

Betty: Then they were dried up, those that were sent over …. funny dried up things ….

Pat: Yes …. but no, we were healthy ….

Betty: We were all healthy ….

Pat: We survived …. and then there was ‘Dig for Victory’ which everybody did …. yes …. and in the holidays, the school, because we didn’t have holidays …. well, you couldn’t go away ….

Betty: No, you couldn’t ….

Pat: You couldn’t risk it …. But we used to go to …. Holmes Chapel in Cheshire ….

Betty: Oh yeah ….

Pat: and ….

Betty: Spud picking ….

Pat: We used to pick potatoes and gooseberries ….

Betty: Potatoes, yes ….

Pat: Oh, that was awful, the gooseberries, yes …. but, you know, you met people, you saw things …. you travelled …. which we wouldn’t have done normally, we would have just stayed ….

Betty: And then we were cyclists, and we joined a Youth Hostel, didn’t we, when we met our boyfriends which were our husbands later ….

Pat: Yes …. the Youth Hostels were a great help to keep the kids off the street in the blackout, you know …. We did the blackout …. didn’t bother us at all ….

Betty: No, it didn’t, no ….

Michael: You did have a blackout though, presumably where you were ….

Pat: Oh, const …. everywhere ….

Betty: Oh, all the time, yes ….

Pat: Yes, oh, yes …. Oh yes, there was always the ARP wardens …. shouting at you, you know …. “Put that light out!” ….

Betty: Oh, God ….

Pat: “Put your torch down!” and …. and you wore, sometimes you wore big luminous “round white badges ….”

Betty: right, that’s right yes …..

Pat: on your arm ….

Michael: Did your father fight in the war?

Pat: Not the Second World War ….

Betty: He was in the Home Guard ….

Pat: he was in the Home Guard, yes ….

Betty: but he did in the First, didn’t he ….

Pat: Yes ….

Michael: Was he in France in the First?

Betty: Yes, he was …. he didn’t talk about it …. only about …. He only …. he didn’t mention about people being killed, did he but we know he saw it, but …. he used to say the dead horses lining the route was terrible …. you know ….

Pat: the horses worried him ….

Betty: but …. no, he would never talk about it ….

Pat: No, he wouldn’t ….

Betty: well, they didn’t, did they?

Michael: And so, in the Second World War, he was in the Home Guard ……

Pat and Betty together: Oh yes, the Home Guard ….

Michael: Did you ever get to hear anything about that at all?

Pat: Oh yes, it was happening all the time, it was all round you ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: and they would go on manoeuvres …. Oh, and it was such a break for the husbands …. it was great ….

Betty: Oh yes, they always ended up at the pub, always ….

Pat: Yes ….

Betty: You know …. they called them the LDV first, you know that don’t you? “Look, Duck and Vanish!” and that’s why they changed it …. “Look, Duck and Vanish” …. it was awful that really, wasn’t it?

Pat: but …. oh, the men loved it …. I don’t know how they adapted to just normal life afterwards …. because it gave them an interest in it all ….

Betty: and we once went firewatching, didn’t we?

Pat: Oh, yes ….

Betty: with these boys, we met at the Youth Club, they said, “You can come fire watching at the Coop ….” So, we said “Oh, all right ….”, but for some reason, we were down in the basement, not on the ….

Pat: on the roof ….

Betty: not on the roof ….

Pat: where we should have been!

Betty: where we should have been! I think it was a ruse to get us down there, wasn’t it ….

Pat: Yea …. I think so ….

Betty: Never saw any fires, anyway ….

Pat: No ….

Betty: Oh, God ….

Michael: So, you had essentially 6 years of or just under ….

Betty: Oh, we did, it was all our teenage really, it was ….

Pat: and then some, of course ….

Betty: till we were 18 ….

Pat: because it was a while before things …. Well they never really got back to ….

Betty: no ….

Pat: because a lot had moved on with the American …. angle ….

Michael: Before we get on to the end of the war, you said that your elder sister, she was meeting ….

Pat and Betty together: Americans, yes ….

Michael: Americans and so on, what about you? Did you not come across any ….

Pat: Once or twice …. yes ….

Betty: They came to our house ….

Pat: Oh yes, yes, we did meet them, most were very nice …. some were brash …. like you would get with our lot, anyway ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: But …. most of them were very polite, weren’t they ….

Betty: Yes, oh yes ….

Pat: We didn’t ….

Betty: I don’t know what mother fed them on when they came …. I think it was stewed apple ….

Pat: No, but they brought …. no, they brought stuff with them ….

Betty: They did bring tins of stuff, yes ….

Pat: Yes, they could get loads of stuff …. somehow it came over from America …. oh, yes ….

Michael: Just going back a little bit because you went off, away from home for a while and spent six months ….

Pat and Betty together: 6 months away, yes ….

00:19:12

Michael: Tell me a little bit about what developed when you arrived at your …. your new destination if you like …. What happened then when you arrived?

Pat: Oh, we were all lined up ….

Betty: Oh ….

Pat: Yes, we were all lined up ….

Betty: We were given buckets to have a wee in, weren’t we?

Pat: Oh, it was terrible ….

Betty: Nobody wanted to go …. it was just a sort of enclosure, but you could see people ….

Pat: Oh yes, you could see them through the canvas ….

Betty: So …. and then …. all the people who were going to have you came along …. and viewed you …. you stood there like cattle, weren’t we, really ….

Pat: Oh yes …. yes ….

Betty: Oh, and they were picking them from left, right and centre …. a few of them came …. well, quite a few …. they’d take Pat and I, stood with our plaits, you know …. but they wouldn’t take our Jean, so we said, “No, Mother said we hadn’t got to be separated ….”

Pat: which was asking a lot ….

Betty: So, we were left to the end …. with the black children, weren’t we?

Pat: Yea …. ah, yes ….

Betty: we were the ….

Pat: the family ….

Betty: Nobody wanted us …. anyway, this headmistress’s maid saw us, didn’t she?

Pat: Yes, she came …. and said, “I’ll take them!” I think she should have been there earlier and she wasn’t …. so, she grabbed what was left …. which was us ….

Betty: us ….

Pat: and there were the 5 black children …. and the Vicar came and he, who had no intentions of …. he was just organising things …. he took them all …. took all those black children and ….

Betty: They were poor, weren’t they? They’d got no ….

Pat: They were poor, yes …. and he bought them all new boots …. and oh, and he looked after them, and in those days, I don’t know whether it’s the same but the …. when a Vicar had …. could go to a new Living …. they called it a Living, they went to another place ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: and eventually, he took all that family with him …. He was a marvel …. and I have tried to find out things about him since, I wish I could …. because he really was a hero, that man ….

Betty: Yes, he was …. yes ….

Pat: Yes …. and then I met up with one of the children …. the youngest child …. years later …. about 50 years later …. because we used to give little talks at school about the evacuation …. and …. I managed to track him down …. and he was …. yea, he was a good 50 odd years old …. he was thrilled to bits to come and talk about it …. so, that was nice …. There were good things ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: We did enjoy it …. we were very lucky with the people who looked after us ….

Betty: Oh, we were ….

Pat: Yes, they were great ….

Michael: So, moving on and you returned home and then you suddenly found yourselves in the blitz, and so on, and then ….

Pat: Yea ….

Michael: and then the war continued, and then eventually we get to the stage where V.E. Day will be on the horizon …. what do you remember of the end of the War?

Pat: The lights going up ….

Betty: Oh yes ….

Pat: The lights at night ….

Betty: The lights went on and we went dancing round ….

Pat: Everybody ….

Betty: Didn’t we …. yea, we thought it was marvellous, we could see, we could see!

Pat: Yes ….

Betty: Yea, that was the main thing to us, wasn’t it?

Pat: Yea …. And then the excitement about “Were we going to be allowed a day off work?”

Betty: Oh, it was terrible that, I think it was ….

Pat: and which day would it be?

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: Would it be the day that war was declared over or the day …. I think it was the day after ….

Betty: Yea, we only had one day, didn’t we?

Pat: Yea ….

Betty: We all thought we would get two ….

Pat: Yes …. Yes, that was …. it was amazing …. but …. and then of course, all the men who came back had to be found jobs …. and they were just drafted into offices and sat there, and …. they didn’t know what they were doing half the time ….

Betty: No ….

Pat: Eventually, you know, they sorted themselves out but there were …. lots and lots of men …. I don’t know how they ever adapted to what type of life they had led in these …. in the war …. how they adapted ….

Betty: But they were happy, weren’t they, they were always playing jokes on us and all that, you know …. yes ….

Pat: It was fun working with them …. yes ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: but then there was the sad parts, those that didn’t come back …. Some of the boys, quite a few of the boys at the Youth Hostel, they didn’t come back, you know …. and they had started off as evacuees …. and then gone into the war …. went on …. they went into the forces …. yea …. but …. when it was our youth, you know, and we’d just accept it ….

Betty: Yea ….

Pat: You don’t know what any other sort of life was like, so …. no ….

00:24:04

Michael: You would have been 18 years old …. at the time of the end of the war ….

Pat: Yes, yes, we were ….

Michael: and had you got boyfriends by that time?

Pat: Oh yes ….

Betty: It was at the Youth Club we met them, didn’t we …. when we were about …. we were 16 …. they came to our 17th birthday party, yes …. and they were friends, fortunately …. and they were the ones we married, you see …. 8 years later …. gosh!

Pat: 8 years …. You couldn’t get married then …. you know …. it was difficult ….

Betty: and we were still married in 60 years …. well, I was, you …. it was 65 for you, wasn’t it?

Pat: Yes, yes ….

Michael: So, you got married, you said, 8 years later ….

Pat and Betty together: Yes ….

Michael: So, that would have been in 1951 ….

Pat and Betty together: Yes, it was …. a double wedding, yes ….

Michael: A double wedding …. wow ….

Pat: But no parents ….

Betty: No parents ….

Pat: No, mother and father had died ….

Betty: We had to do it all within about six weeks ….

Pat: and 4 months after mother died ….

Betty: We decided to do it, didn’t we ….

Pat: So, we got married ….

Michael: So, who gave you away?

Pat: Grandpa ….

Michael: Oh, right ….

Betty: He gave us away …. he was 80 odd, wasn’t he?

Pat: Yea …. Yes, he walked down the aisle with one on each arm ….

Betty: We had to do a sort of …. funny wheel, didn’t we, at the top ….

Pat: Oh yes, yes …. Good job he gave the right one to the right groom! He was really thrilled to bits, wasn’t he? But, oh Lord …. there was …. I mean, when you think of the meal ….

Betty: What was it, I can’t remember ….

Pat: Ham, some sort of ham …. and then mainly lettuce ….

Betty: Oh, gosh ….

Pat: And Eric and I were going quite a long …. we were going to Chipping Camden …. in Gloucester…. in the Cotswolds …. so, we left early, because we had a series of buses, a taxi, buses, trains, changing trains to get there …. So, we missed the ice cream …. but apparently, it was a good job we did, because it was horrible, wasn’t it, you said?

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: Oh dear ….

Michael: So, you had your honeymoon ….

Pat: Yes ….

Michael: Presumably, young people came along ….

Pat: Oh yes, definitely, we’d been married a few years and then …. but, we didn’t have twins, did we, then?

Betty: No ….

Pat: No, we just had one each for a while, and then you had two more and I had one more ….

Betty: but I have got twin grandsons …. that …. you know ….

Michael: So, it runs in the family ….

Betty: I’ve got twin grandsons ….

Pat: Yes, it does run in the family ….

Michael: And what about your older sister?

Pat: Yes, she got married …. she married a Lithuanian in the war ….

Betty: A Pole …. he’d escaped, hadn’t he ….

Pat: Polish, yes ….

Betty: I think his family had all been shot and he’d managed to escape ….

Pat: Yes, he came over with the Polish army when all the DPs came over …. So ….

Betty: but it didn’t last, well it lasted so long, didn’t it, and then she got divorced …. Yes, a different way of life, it was ….

Pat: Yes ….and she had two children …. yes, we’d see her quite a bit …. and phone her, so …. yes …. so, we ….

Michael: We’ve talked quite a bit about …. you know, before the war, during the war, after the war …. What about your …. you have both had by the looks of things long and very happy lives ….

Pat and Betty together: Yes …. oh yes ….

Michael: and both with good health, by the sound of things, as well ….

Pat and Betty together: Yes, yes …. yes ….

Michael: What would be …. if you were to …. talk to younger people today, what would you say is the secret to a really happy life? …. and a happy and long life for that matter …. do you have any tips and things to give to people who are ….

Pat: Oh, trust …. we trusted each other ….

Betty: Oh, yes ….

Pat: completely, and love …. that came eventually …. I mean, at 15, you think it’s …. that’s love …. it isn’t necessarily ….

Betty: and both having trust ….

Pat: and companionship, that is it, companionship ….

Betty: Both have the same interests but also different ones ….

Pat: and did your own thing ….

Betty: you can go your own way if you want, and you can go your own way if you want, you know and …. always come back ….

Pat: Yes ….

Betty: so …. yea, you just got on with it, didn’t you?

Pat: And you take risks ….

Betty: Of course, you do ….

Pat: because if you don’t take risks, you don’t know …. you are just stuck, aren’t you, in …. We did, we took a few risks …. but it paid off …. and those that didn’t, it didn’t matter, you moved on ….

Michael: Tell me about some of the risks you took then …. or was that ….

Pat: Oh, buying a house for a start, that was the biggest risk …. That was the first one ….

Betty: Then you had a bookshop, didn’t you? That was a risk ….

Pat: Well, then Eric went to Canada, we were going to emigrate …. but it didn’t work out there, the land of milk and honey …. No, it wasn’t! So, he came back …. and …. and we …. I don’t know, we …. we managed very well and we bought a house …. yes …. and ….

Michael: [talking to Betty] Did you take risks as well?

Betty: No, he wasn’t the risk type ….

Pat: No, Eric would ….

Betty: Well, he’d got a very …. a pretty good job at the Kemsley Newspapers in those days ….

Michael: Oh,yes ….

Betty: and he also suffered with …. what was his name, who pinched the ….

Pat: Oh, Mack ….

Betty: Maxwell …. yes ….

Michael: Oh, yes ….

Betty: We didn’t do too badly …. we go most of it back …. but he would, no, he’d got a good job and he would stay with that …. he wasn’t a risk taker ….

Pat: No, Eric ….

Betty: Our lives did differ, didn’t they in that respect? …. Yes ….

Pat: When Eric came back from Canada, he got a job on the Vulcans …. at Woodford …. you know and he was there for 16 years …. and then, he …. set up his own building …. because he used to work with his father’s firm, and he set up his own building …. thing off …. yes …. and did very well …. built a lot of extensions and conservatories and what have you ….

Betty: Yes …. So, we’ve both got our …. well, we always did have our houses, didn’t we?

Pat: Yes ….

Betty: Yours has been done up …. and I …. no, you bought another house, didn’t you?

Pat: The bungalow ….

Betty: It was here, and had it all done up and …. Mine needed doing up, so it’s like living in a brand new house …. so what with …. so …. we try and meet, don’t we, as much as we can ….

Pat: Yes ….

Betty: Because I live Rochdale way …. you know, and ….

Pat: I live Timperley, yes ….

Betty: But we are quite happy, aren’t we …. even so ….

Pat: Oh yes …. well, we’ve got each other ….

Betty: Yes …. yes …. We’ve got grandchildren, great grandchildren ….

Pat: Comes back to that, doesn’t it, yes …. and very good families ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: It is good to have something, you know, such a good background, especially at 90 ….

Betty: Yes ….

Pat: and good health, we are very grateful for that …. very grateful for the family ….

Michael: Yes, indeed, yes ….

00:31:35

Michael: Ok, anything that you would like to say that we haven’t touched on at all …. anything else that you would like to tell us about?

Pat: Is there anything else we can think about that we can talk about …. oh, yes ….

Betty: what, what, what ….

Pat: our bookshop trade ….

Betty: Oh, yes ….

Pat: We both worked in bookshops ….

Betty: Oh yes, part time, didn’t it ….

Pat: Part time bookshops, yes …. That was good ….

Betty: and we met lots and lots of celebrities because ….

Pat: and authors ….

Betty: they had written invariably books and came to sign it, and all that so …. That was interesting …. I worked in one of the big …. well we both did, didn’t we ….

Pat: Yes ….

Betty: Wilshaw’s in …. Manchester, it was a very big bookshop ….

Pat: bookshop, yes, we loved that ….

Betty: Oh, we loved it! We were only there about 4 hours a day, but oh God, we used to come away, you were back …. yourself as soon as I walked through that door …. I know it sounds awful but you’d forgotten all your family and everything ….

Pat: and everything that was ….

Betty: You were normal like it used to be, you know, oh it was lovely ….

Pat: and then yes, a big risk we took …. Eric …. we …. bought this …. no, they wouldn’t let us buy it, that was the sadness …. We hired …. we rented a little house and Eric turned it into a bookshop …. we called it “The Pocket Edition” ….

It was very tiny …. we were there for 6 years …. which we both put …. well Eric had his job and I used to do that …. thoroughly enjoyed that …. but then you get grandchildren …. so … and your weekends, you know, if you are working, stop work …. weekends, weekends but ….

So, we gave it up. One of the reasons that I was sorry to leave it, but it had to be …. was that one Christmas, I never sold one Winnie the Pooh book ….

Betty: Oh ….

Pat: Oh, that upset me …. because they were all moving into sci-fi and what have you …. yes …. So, well that was one of the risks …. but you just carry on, you just move on all the time ….

Michael: Ok, well, I think we have probably come to an end ….

Pat and Betty together, laughing: Oh yes ….

Michael: But thank you very much indeed for allowing us to share your life ….

Pat: Thank you ….

Michael: and …. here’s to another good many years, I would think, by the sounds of things ….

Pat: Yea …. we are hoping so …. as long as we are together ….

Betty: Yes, as long as we are together ….

Pat: The main thing ….

Betty: We want to go together, don’t know how to arrange it …

Pat: No …. but we came into this world together, we are going out of it together …. So, there we are ….

Michael: Well, thank you very much indeed …

Pat and Betty together: Thank you very much for having us, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it ….

Recorded by Michael Thompson, Hardy Productions UK, Manchester, UK for WarGen.

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